The Rhode Island division of taxation issued a revised regulation regarding the application of a user tax to noncommercial aircraft in the state. The new regulation clarifies many of the uncertainties created by the previous emergency regulation, such as making it clear that the tax applies only to noncommercial aircraft exceeding specified operating limits within the state.
Cessna Citation 550 Bravo, Bethany, Okla., May 20, 2002–Citation N13VP was substantially damaged when it hit a perimeter fence and road during a runway overrun after an aborted takeoff at the Wiley Post Airport. The ATP-rated pilot and four passengers were not injured. One passenger sustained minor injuries. VMC prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed for the Part 91 business flight.
Bombardier CRJ200, Inner MongolIa, China, Nov. 21, 2004–Only 12 seconds after taking off from Baotou en route to Shanghai, the CRJ operated by China Eastern Airlines as Flight Mu5210 crashed into an ice-covered lake in the Nanhai Park, killing the six crewmembers, 47 passengers and apparently two park workers on the ground.
Why, when the safety record of professionally flown turbine twins is so impressive, did four business aircraft experience fatal accidents during a five-week period late last year? Three were fan-powered–a Learjet 35A, a Gulfstream III and a Challenger 601–and one was a King Air 200. There was a highly qualified two-person crew at the controls of each aircraft. Three of the four airplanes were operating in accordance with Part 91.
Securaplane Technologies and Luminator have signed an agreement to offer a wireless cabin LED lighting system for use in business aircraft and airliners.
The companies expect to capitalize on the growing popularity of the so-called “mood lighting” that allows a change in cabin ambiance through a wireless controller for the shifting of colors and lighting intensity.
There are typically fewer business jet accidents each year than turboprop mishaps and that distinction didn’t change last year. Unchanged also, for the second year in a row, there were no fatal accidents involving Part 91 corporate jets flown by salaried pilots. In fact, professionally flown Part 91 business jets were involved in only one non-fatal accident last year.
The FAA has finally released its study of Part 135 air-taxi operators, mandated by Congress more than four years ago in the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21). Because it took the agency four years to publish the report–in part because of 9/11–the charter industry is questioning the value of the data.
In another effort to help reduce accidents, NATA is developing a ground-incident safety management system (SMS) that it hopes will merge data on ground-handling accidents from as many as 500 FBOs within two years. Though NATA president James Coyne estimates that such accidents cause $100 million in damage claims annually, there is no data readily available on the details.
Accidents involving aircraft on airport ramps remain one of the most expensive sources of claims for insurance companies. Efforts to curtail such losses have taken a new turn with a three-way cooperative program that teams the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU).
A New Zealand air ambulance trust has bought a second Sikorsky S-76 to meet a growing demand for emergency medical flights in Auckland. The Northland Emergency Services Trust expects the helicopter to enter service at its Whangarei base in the first quarter of this year.