A new Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90GTx delivered on Monday was ditched into the ocean some 17 miles north of Oranjestad, Aruba, the following day during the ferry flight to Brazil. An NTSB spokesman told AIN that the two Brazilian nationals flying the twin turboprop were unharmed in the ditching and subsequent rescue by the Dutch navy. The pilots declared an emergency after both engines lost power, said the NTSB, which is investigating the accident. The King Air sank in 4,000 feet of water.
The FAA is moving to redefine what “extremely remote” means when it comes to Part 29 certification provisions regarding loss of helicopter gearbox lubrication. The S-92 originally gained certification after Sikorsky convinced the FAA that complete loss of lubrication was extremely remote. Failure of the main rotor gearbox lubrication system is blamed for the fatal ditching of a Cougar Helicopters S-92A off Newfoundland in March 2009.
In an informal reader poll conducted on AINonline, readers chose Jack Pelton, the former CEO of Cessna Aircraft, by a margin of 46 percent (89 votes) to be the next FAA Administrator.
Bell 206L3, Gulf of Mexico, June 10, 2010–The Petroleum Helicopters LongRanger suffered a tail-rotor failure during a Part 135 flight from its base at Port O'Connor, Texas, to an offshore oil platform. The pilot inflated the emergency floats and attempted to make a water landing, after which the helicopter rolled over. All aboard escaped the inverted cabin and were rescued.
Although the outcome of US Airways Flight 1549 could not have been much better, the accident nevertheless prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to issue 33 recommendations to U.S. and European aviation authorities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As a result of findings from US Airways Flight 1549–which lost power in both engines after hitting a flock of Canada Geese and successfully ditched in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009–the NTSB issued the following 25 recommendations to the FAA on May 21:
The NTSB met on Tuesday to conclude its 15-month investigation into the Jan. 15, 2009, accident of US Airways Flight 1549, flown by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and FO Jeffrey Skiles. Shortly after departing New York La Guardia Airport, their Airbus A320 struck a flock of Canada geese at 2,700 feet, heavily damaging both engines and forcing the crew to ditch the airliner in the Hudson River.
Bell 206L-1, Gulf of Mexico, Nov. 1, 2009–The LongRanger, operated by Rotorcraft Leasing, was substantially damaged after a loss of engine power forced a water landing shortly after liftoff from an oil platform. Just before touching down, the pilot inflated the pontoons but the helicopter rolled over as it settled in the water. Preliminary examination of the recovered helicopter indicated a loose compressor discharge pressure line.
One year’s end always gets me thinking about the past 12 months and my hopes for the year to come. In my business, one of the things I do is look at the accidents that have occurred, what we can learn from them and how we can prevent future ones. Last year there were two high-profile accidents that have a lot to teach us; unfortunately, the lessons are ones we have already learned but for whatever reasons failed to tackle successfully.
When Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger brought the aft belly skin of his US Airways Airbus A320 into contact with the cold water of New York’s Hudson River on January 15 and pulled off a magnificent emergency ditching after Canada geese had choked the life out of both engines, he restored to the piloting profession an aura of cool skill and professionalism that had been sullied by decades of accidents blamed on pilot error.