October 25 marks the 10th anniversary of an event that shocked the worlds of aviation and golf when one of the game’s greats–Payne Stewart–lost his life after the Learjet in which he was traveling suffered a loss of pressurization during a flight from Orlando to Dallas.
The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched investigators to examine a Southwest Airlines jet after it made an emergency landing in West Virginia yesterday after a hole opened in the body of the airplane and the cabin lost pressure.
Bell 222, Aurora, Ill., Oct. 15, 2008–The Air Angels medical transport helicopter hit a 734-foot-tall radio station tower, killing all four people on board, including the commercial pilot, a flight paramedic, a flight nurse and the patient. The accident occurred at 11:58 p.m. in clear weather. The strobe lights on the tower were working before the helicopter hit, but their electrical wires were severed in the crash.
If you get the feeling you’re just a number when it comes to getting your medical, you may be interested to know that the FAA issues 453,000 airman medicals every year. According to an FAA spokesman, the agency also processes 5,700 special issuances, responds to 87,600 written inquiries, answers 95,000 telephone inquiries and conducts 155,000 full reviews of medical records. But don’t be too quick to assume they’re an uncaring lot.
Bell 407, Huntsville, Texas, June 8, 2008–Four people–the pilot, flight nurse, flight paramedic and a patient–were killed when the EMS Bell 407 crashed in Sam Houston National Forest in night VMC. The Med 12 flight had picked up a patient at Huntsville Memorial Hospital and was en route to Herman Memorial Helipad in Houston.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), established in Cologne, Germany, in 2003, has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for the regulation of pilot licensing.
It is the first step toward EASA’s adoption of new rules and responsibilities that will also cover aircraft operations and authorization of third-country operators.
Altitude chamber training is now being offered by MedAire at Arizona State University. The Tempe, Ariz.-based medical emergency response firm said the stand-alone, five- to six-hour course–available on demand–costs $995 per person and covers physiology, hypoxia, oxygen systems, altitude sickness and the physical effects of flight and decompression.
A growing number of aviation medical professionals are questioning pilots’ reliance on their required annual (or, in the case of first-class medicals, six-monthly) medical examinations as their primary source of personal health monitoring.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has extended until March 5, 2009, the deadline for U.S. airmen (including pilots, engineers, navigators and control tower operators) to replace their airmen certificates with ones that include the ICAO language proficiency endorsement. The FAA already requires U.S.
For aviators and their passengers, oxygen means life at the high altitudes traversed by modern aircraft. True high-altitude passenger flight wasn’t really practicable until large-cabin pressurization was introduced during the halcyon days of aeronautical development surrounding World War II, most notably aboard the Boeing 307 Stratoliner and Lockheed Constellation transports and Boeing B-29 bomber.