The FAA last week published guidelines detailing the prohibition of personal electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablet computers, on the flight decks of Part 121 aircraft when the aircraft is in operation, unless those devices have been specifically approved for flight.
NTSB investigators are probing the May 31 fatal crash of a Gulfstream IV at Bedford-Hanscom Field Airport in Massachusetts. According to NTSB senior investigator Luke Schiada, the U.S.-registered aircraft (N121JM) crashed into a gully in a wooded area about 2,000 feet beyond the end of Hanscom’s Runway 11. It exploded and became engulfed in flames. All seven people on board–two pilots, a flight attendant and four passengers–were killed. An eyewitness told NTSB officials that the GIV, which was departing for Atlantic City, N.J., never got off the ground.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada last week published a final report on the January 2012 crash of an Airbus Helicopters AS350B3 operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The pilot was killed after the engine failed while the helicopter was hovering at an altitude of 80 feet above the ground.
On Friday, an Indonesian volcano–Sangeang Api–sent plumes of ash as high as 65,000 feet. The ash quickly began drifting southeastward toward the Northern Territories of Australia. Darwin Airport was shut down and airlines Virgin Australia and JetStar canceled a number of flights that could have brought aircraft within the vicinity of those clouds. Authorities expect the ash to dissipate this week as it moves further east, although the volcano is still erupting.
The pilot of a Beechcraft King Air B200 reported engine problems shortly before the aircraft crashed onto a sandbar in southwestern Uruguay on May 27. Five of the nine people on board, including the pilot, were killed. The cause has not yet been determined.
Chile’s aviation authority has suspended the air operator certificate of local airline PAL after it failed a safety audit. The only reason given by the agency was “the airline’s failure to satisfy unspecified technical requirements laid down in its AOC that could put its safety and security at risk if not resolved.” PAL operates a fleet of Boeing 737-300s.
As of the middle of May, the FAA had yet to determine if it will renew its mandatory VFR helicopter route along the north shore of New York’s Long Island. The controversial North Shore Route was established for voluntary compliance in 2008 as a response to residential noise complaints and political prodding from elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y), who pressed then Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the FAA to make it mandatory.
One of the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G turbofans installed on the first Bombardier CSeries flight-test vehicle suffered an unspecified “incident” late on Thursday afternoon during stationary ground maintenance testing at Bombardier’s facilities in Mirabel, Quebec, the airframe manufacturer confirmed on Friday.
Airbus has suggested civilian operation of the A400M airlifter for disaster relief flights. At a media briefing during the ILA Berlin airshow last week, Norbert Kolvenbach, vice president for public affairs Germany, noted that the aircraft is already certified by EASA. He floated the idea of a “supranational” operator, such as the United Nations. “The A400M could be interesting,” said Birgitte Stalder-Olsen, head of logistics for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the same briefing.
The Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) on Tuesday released the raw satellite data that it used as the basis for its March 21 announcement that Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 had crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after disappearing on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.