From a safety perspective, last year was not a good year for the air medical sector. A spate of fatal accidents has led to much media speculation about the safety record of U.S. air ambulances and even the medical benefits of using them so (apparently) freely. It has also further tarnished a deteriorating rate apparent in statistics from previous years.
British investigation authorities implicated a manufacturing defect in the July 16, 2002, crash of a Sikorsky S-76 into the North Sea. Operated by Shell, the helicopter, G-BJVX, was completing a 13-minute leg between two rigs when one rotor blade failed, leading to separation of the entire rotor system. The two crewmembers and nine passengers died in the crash.
Cessna named West Star Aviation of Grand Junction, Colo., an authorized Citation service center and warranty fulfillment facility, one of six non-factory-owned authorized Citation service facilities in the U.S. West Star Aviation consists of more than 20 acres of ramp space and 140,000 sq ft of office and hangar space.
Cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcripts indicate that the pilots of the Gulfstream III that crashed in IMC November 22 after being cleared for the Runway 4 ILS approach at Houston Hobby Airport had the VOR frequency tuned instead of the ILS. The Part 135 flight was on its way to pick up former President George H.W. Bush. According to the CVR, about 45 seconds before the crash, the pilot said, “Oh my, what’d you do to me?
Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) want to require pilots to respond to resolution advisories (RAs) from airborne collision avoidance systems (ACAS) in all circumstances. On March 1, the regulator issued a notice of proposed amendment (NPA) for JAR-OPS 1.398 rules covering ACAS operations.
When investigators inspected a King Air C90 after it collided with a weather station antenna, they found an obstruction light was embedded in the right wing, two propeller blades on the right engine were bent and the right horizontal stabilizer had a five- to six-inch gash. On December 18, at approximately 7 p.m., N55EP struck the antenna after departing from Runway 35 at Salt Lake City International Airport. Weather was IMC at the time.
An NTSB proposal to add to the list of events that must be reported as an accident or incident is getting little support from the industry.
The Corporate Airlines Jetstream 31 that crashed a mile short of the runway while on a night, reduced-visibility localizer approach to Kirksville Regional Airport, Mo., on October 19 evidently stalled.
Darby Aviation is the latest to feel the wrath of the FAA in the wake of the Challenger runway overrun accident at Teterboro Airport (see page 58). On March 23 the agency ordered “the indefinite suspension” of the Muscle Shoals, Ala. charter operator’s Part 135 certificate. The agency said in part that by “selling, assigning and/or leasing its air carrier certificate to Platinum [Jet Management] and relinquishing operational control
“The center of gravity was found to be well forward of the allowable limit,” according to an NTSB update on the accident in which a Challenger 600 overran a runway on takeoff from Teterboro Airport, N.J., on February 2 (see page 58). Initial findings of the investigation have indicated that, as configured, the airplane would have had a c.g.