Two flight attendants were injured on February 17 in separate onboard incidents. A Russian Ural Airlines attendant fell from an open cabin door during ground servicing in Dubai after a service vehicle struck the aircraft. Reports said the truck struck with enough force to move the aircraft 10 feet on the ground. In another incident, three United Airlines attendants were injured after their Boeing 737 encountered severe turbulence on approach to Billings, Mont. One attendant was critically injured, while the other two were treated and released from a local hospital.
Fresh pressure is being placed on the FAA to revise and finalize its 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would mandate the installation of helicopter terrain avoidance and warning systems (HTAWS) and radar altimeters on all U.S. emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters. The NPRM drew a firestorm of criticism from affected stakeholders for favoring high-cost solutions over less expensive, and some argued, more effective safety technology such as night-vision goggles (NVGs).
The UK CAA unveiled a series of stringent measures today as a result of a review it launched last September to improve the safety of helicopter operations in the North Sea. These changes are expected to improve survivability after a ditching.
Bell Helicopter has sold two Bell 412EPIs and two 407GXs to Chongqing General Aviation, marking the first Bell helicopters to be used in China for parapublic missions, including firefighting and search-and-rescue. The four aircraft will serve the Chongqing Fire Fighting Department. “We are pleased to collaborate with Chongqing in its efforts to further its parapublic offerings,” said Chris Jaran, managing director for Bell Helicopter in China.
On February 17 the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked the aircraft single-handedly and flew to Geneva airport to seek political asylum. Although both Italian and French aircraft were scrambled to escort the 767, the fighters of the Swiss Air Force remained firmly on the ground. A Swiss air force spokesman confirmed that no interceptors were on alert at the time, as the air force operates to office hours only, or by special notification. However, the air force was keen to point out that it could have generated interceptor sorties given more warning.
The Helicopter Association International (HAI) will offer registered attendees no fewer than 44 educational seminars during the three-day event’s rotor safety challenge at next week’s Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, Calif. The event opens with NTSB-led sessions covering lessons learned from helicopter accidents in which investigators will look at the facts gathered through safety recommendations related to pilot training and helicopter maintenance.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada reported that the crash of a Bell 206B last May 75 miles north of Fort McMurray in Alberta was caused by the pilot’s failure to recognize that the aircraft was entering a right-quartering tailwind that reduced the effectiveness of the helicopter’s tail rotor.
The investigation into the EC135 fatal crash on November 29 in Glasgow, Scotland, is struggling to find any specific cause or telltale evidence. The investigators have determined that both of the helicopter’s engines flamed out, according to a special bulletin the Air Accidents Investigation Branch published on Friday. They now still have to understand why this happened with a functional fuel system and 25 gallons of fuel in the tanks.
Just in time for the Heli-Expo show, the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) announced an app–I Fly Safe–that will provide helicopter pilots and operators with expert safety information. The app will offer access to a library of the latest safety bulletins, essays, fact sheets and videos, as well as a link to the new www.USHST.org website. I Fly Safe can be used on iPads, iPhones and Android phones and will be available from the Apple Store on February 24.
The FAA released a safety alert for operators (Safo) last week for the Cessna Citation 500 reminding pilots to observe the Citation’s operating limitations by ensuring aileron trim is properly set before takeoff. The Safo also highlights the need to avoid excessive use of trim in flight. A Citation 500 operated under Part 135 rules crashed in 2007 shortly after takeoff, killing the two pilots and four passengers.