The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team warned rotorcraft pilots to be extra cautious while flying next month because July typically sees more fatal accidents than any other month of the year, usually three or four accidents, representing approximately 13 percent of the annual total. The industry normally records approximately 20 fatal accidents during the rest of the year. The helicopter safety team believes the reasons for these July accidents vary, although the following three primary causes appear to stand out: collisions with wires or trees, mechanical problems and poor weather.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said in a June 20 report that it was unable to determine the reason why a de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter operated by Kenn Borek Air flew into terrain on January 23 last year during a VFR flight from South Pole Station to Terra Nova Bay. All three people on board perished in the crash. The flight was initially considered overdue after the crew failed to make a required position report.
A female passenger died and three flight attendants were injured on June 24 when unidentified gunmen fired on a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A310 flying at approximately 5,000 feet and carrying 170 passengers. Reports say between four and eight bullets pierced the aircraft’s cabin as it overflew Badhber in the Peshawar region on approach to the local airport.
Asiana Airlines released a statement on June 24 closely following the NTSB’s finding of probable cause for the July 6, 2013 crash of Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. The South Korean airline said, “The NTSB made four training recommendations to Asiana, all of which Asiana has already implemented. We believe the NTSB has properly recognized the multiple factors that contributed to the accident, including the complexities of the autothrottle and autopilot systems, which the agency found were inadequately described by Boeing in its training and operational manuals.”
French air traffic controllers called off their work stoppages three days early on June 25 just as Belgian controllers launched a series of two-hour strikes that ran through June 26. The Association of European Airlines said in a statement, “The reason for this social unrest is linked to the self-interest of the unions, which refuse to accept much needed efficiency improvements to their working practices.” Nearly 400 flights in Europe were affected by the strikes on Wednesday alone.
Two pilots of a Boeing 757 were reported to be temporarily blinded on June 25 as their cockpit was hit with a green laser while the aircraft was descending into Omsk in southern Siberia. The pilots believed the laser was aimed upward from a city street about three miles from the airport. The aircraft landed safely, with no permanent injuries to anyone aboard.
The FAA is investigating an incident last week in which a chartered Learjet 60 left the runway while landing at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho. After rolling for approximately 1,000 feet along the milled asphalt shoulder and packed dirt next to the 7,500-foot runway, the jet regained the runway and came to a stop, destroying two runway lights in the process. There was minor damage to the aircraft, which was able to taxi under its own power; no injuries to passengers or crew were reported.
MRO service provider AAR has become the first MRO operator to agree to share safety information voluntarily with the FAA under a new program. AAR recently signed on to participate in the FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (Asias) program, which is designed to help MRO operators avoid serious and potentially costly safety issues and to help the FAA identify high-risk areas.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has determined that Asiana Flight 214 crashed on July 6 last year at San Francisco International Airport because the flight crew mismanaged the approach and inadequately monitored airspeed. Announcing the findings at a meeting on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the Board also found that the complexities of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems and the crew’s misunderstanding of those systems contributed to the accident.
Flight operations of the F-35A Lightning II conducted by the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., were suspended after one of the fighters caught fire on June 23 as it prepared to take off on a training mission. The U.S. military is investigating the incident.