Fire is the sharpest two-edged sword in man’s bag of tools. When under control it was a formidable tool that warmed, comforted, cooked food and kept wild beasts at bay for prehistoric man. Today, it fulfills those and many other needs, yet out of control it is man’s worst nightmare. What greater fear can a pilot have than being at altitude with a fire in the cabin?
Operators of all U.S.-registered Challenger 600s, 601s and 604s and Canadair Regional Jets, which are derived from the business jet, must incorporate flight manual revisions to ensure that before takeoff the “wing leading edge and upper wing surface are completely free of ice, frost, snow or slush,” under a new AD. The FAA directive (AD 2005-04-07) followed an identical AD from Transport Canada.
The Citation 560 that crashed short of Runway 26R at Pueblo Municipal Airport, Colo., on February 17 was only about 300 feet agl while still four miles out, according to the NTSB. The airplane crashed just seconds later, at about 9:15 a.m. The two pilots and six passengers were killed and the aircraft was destroyed. The jet was one of two Circuit City Stores airplanes making the same flight.
Boeing has cut a familiar feature of Boeing 737s with its new-production aircraft. New 737s are no longer being built with the four eyebrow windows above the pilot and copilot positions.
The NTSB has asked the FAA to limit the number of times a pilot can fail a checkride and questioned whether the existing requirements of providing additional training after multiple failures is adequate. Additionally, the Safety Board wants the FAA to require Part 121 and 135 operators to improve their safety background checks of pilot applicants by obtaining all notices of failed checkrides before making a hiring decision.
The FAA recently issued revised guidance for daily preflight checks of cockpit voice recorders to ensure that the system is functioning properly. The new guidelines stem from NTSB recommendations made more than two years ago.
With the recent issuance of a probable cause, the NTSB has completed its investigation into the second of two cargo Falcon 20 accidents on the same day by the same operator–Grand Aire Express of Toledo, Ohio. The Safety Board is still investigating the November 30 crash of the company’s Hansa Jet that killed the two pilots, including the founder and president of Grand Aire.
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) is scheduled to announce a “human factors tool kit” project at its European Aviation Safety Seminar this month in Warsaw, Poland. The project aims to reduce human error, a causal factor in more than 85 percent of aviation accidents and incidents.
In addition to much healthier sales, GAMA had some other good news to share with attendees at its annual industry review and outlook meeting. Despite the high-profile accidents at the end of last year, the NTSB’s preliminary statistics on the number of general aviation accidents last year show a decline of about 8.7 percent. Fatal accidents were down 11.6 percent.
Word was circulating last month that the weight of the Quiet Technology hush kit fitted to the Gulfstream III that crashed on November 22 while landing at Houston to pick up former President Bush might have played a role in the accident.