During a recent conference in London the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Flight Operations Group (FOG) solicited the views of a select group of speakers representing pilots, airlines, manufacturers and regulators about the various scenarios that might have led to the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. At least one contradictory statement accompanied each of the plausible explanations, however, suggesting more than one causal event occurred simultaneously, according to one expert. “If it was hypoxia, then who turned the aircraft?” he asked. “If it was a fire, then how did it continue flying? If it was the flight crew, then why did the cabin crew not intervene?”
“I’m telling you, our plane was like a pharmacy with wings.”
The European Aviation Safety Agency STC’d Hartzell Propeller’s swept airfoil composite five-blade propellers on the Daher-Socata TBM 700/850. First installation of the new higher performance Hartzell prop on a European-registered TBM was recently performed at the Socata North America Service Center in Pembroke Pines, Fla. According to Hartzell, the new propeller for the turboprop single results in faster takeoff acceleration, higher cruise speeds and better climb, along with less noise.
The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.
Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.
The NTSB’s recent safety alert #033 reminds pilots that without adequate preparation, robust monitoring and position cross-checking using all available resources, flight crews may misidentify a nearby airport that they see during the approach to their destination.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on March 26 released a comprehensive review of the November 2013 shooting incident at Los Angeles International airport in which a TSA employee was killed. Immediately following the November attack, the TSA stepped up local and state law enforcement patrols at major airports. The TSA report said new agency protocols should enhance the safety and security of its employees, as well as airline passengers.
A preliminary NTSB accident report released last week provided details of the March 18 crash of a Eurocopter AS350 in Seattle. The pilot and the photographer aboard the helicopter were killed when it spun out of control shortly after lifting off from a TV station’s helipad near the downtown Space Needle tower. One person on the ground was seriously burned after the crash set his vehicle on fire near the crash site.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said an additional go-around might have prevented a January 23 wet-runway excursion involving a chartered Fairchild SA-226 turboprop at Archerfield in Queensland.
Twenty air traffic controllers, all members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), were honored for their skill, dedication and professionalism at the association’s March 26 Archie League Medal of Safety awards ceremony. The annual event spotlights controllers who saved at least one life during an emergency.