PHI flew the first operational automated “rig approach” to a platform in the Gulf of Mexico in a Sikorsky S-92 on November 14. Sikorsky and PHI developed the system to reduce pilot workload and the FAA approved its functionality earlier this year. The system is expected to be offered on the Sikorsky S-76D as well.
Recognizing the value of crew monitoring and cross checking skills, the industry is poised to roll out the first edition of a comprehensive training guide to teach pilot monitoring skills. At the Bombardier Safety Standdown, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt characterized “a lack of good cross checking and pilot monitoring skills” as one of the greatest threats we face today.” A former USAir pilot, Sumwalt said 20 percent of the errors his old airline experienced and some two thirds of the undesired aircraft states would never have occurred if the crews had been properly monitoring the aircraft.
The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.
The NTSB opened an investigation last week into why a Boeing Dreamlifter 747-400 mistakenly landed at Wichita’s Jabara Airport on November 20, rather than its intended destination, McConnell Air Force Base some eight miles farther south. The audio between the McConnell tower and the freighter reveals the state of the crew’s disorientation, even after the aircraft was safely on the ground. The Atlas Air crew operating the aircraft for Boeing contacted the McConnell tower to signal its intent to use the Rnav GPS approach to Runway 19 Left.
There were no survivors among the 34 people on board a Mozambique Airlines Embraer E190 that crashed in Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park on November 29. The aircraft was en route from the Mozambique capital Maputo to Luanda, Angola, where it was due to land at 2:10 p.m. local time. Embraer dispatched a technical team to the crash site, where accident investigators started work on November 30.
International Air Transport Association director general and CEO Tony Tyler has said that over the past decade the aggregate safety results for airlines adhering to the association’s Operational Safety Audit standard are superior to those of carriers that do not use the system. His remarks came at last week’s annual African Airlines Association general assembly in Mombasa, Kenya. Tyler also said in 2012 there was not a single hull loss of a Western-built airplane by any of IATA’s 25 African member airlines.
A Cessna 208B Grand Caravan operated by Tropicair crashed November 25 in the Gulf province of Papua New Guinea killing three of 10 on board. The Caravan pilot was among the seven survivors. The airplane was on a domestic flight from Kikori to Gobe when it crashed into a river near an airstrip, possibly during an emergency-landing attempt.
After an exhaustive two-week search, local salvage divers recovered the flight-data and cockpit voice recorders from the Lao Airlines ATR 72-600 that crashed into the Mekong River in Laos on October 16. Divers initially lost the signal of the recorders on October 27 after the sonar and acoustical locating equipment provided by France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) ceased working due to excess usage in the turbid waters of the Mekong.
Preliminary Report: LongRanger Crashes on Oil-rig Run
Bell 206L, Belle Chase, La., Oct. 8, 2013–Operating under Part 135, the LongRanger crashed shortly after takeoff from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, destroying the machine and killing the pilot. Two of the three passengers aboard were seriously injured; the third escaped unharmed.
I got to thinking about voluntary versus mandatory safety reporting programs after reading an article in a British newspaper about two UK pilots who allegedly fell asleep in the cockpit of an Airbus A330 shortly after takeoff. What caught my attention was the statement from the UK Civil Aviation Authority that enforcement action against the pilots is unlikely.