Two fatal bizjet accidents in the first two weeks of this year, already half the total for all of 2006, have claimed the lives of four pilots.
The NTSB determined today that the Feb. 16, 2005 crash of a Circuit City Cessna Citation 560 during the approach to Pueblo Memorial Airport, Colo., was caused because during the approach, as they flew through a cloud containing supercooled liquid droplets, the flight crew didn’t activate the deicing boots at the first sign of ice buildup (as specified in the AFM) and possibly not at all, and didn’t monitor airspeed, which led to a stall.
Last year the FAA said it would delay until this January its plan to limit “priority service” for aircraft registration in connection with international flights to allow only one request per aircraft (by N-number) in any three-month period due to agency staffing limitations, but now it has decided to back off.
The NTSB final report on the May 2005 crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B found several causes, notably the pilot’s mishandling a partial power loss in the left engine due to his lack of recent flight experience and recurrent training. While flight logs provided by the family showed the pilot had more than 500 hours operating an MU-2, his last MU-2 flight before the accident flight was 14 years earlier. Four people were killed in the crash.
The FAA extended by 24 months–to Sept. 2, 2009–the date for affected regional and major airline operators to comply with new Part 25 fire safety requirements for thermal/acoustic insulation used in transport-category airplanes manufactured after September 2 this year.
The FAA is concerned that some noise-canceling headsets might prevent pilots from hearing audible alarms, abnormal engine noise or other mechanical sounds. The agency, in a January 1 Information for Operators (InFO 07001), said noise attenuation of headsets “may vary by make and model” and if these sounds cannot be detected “discontinue the use of noise-canceling headsets.”
Universal Weather & Aviation said it could take until the middle of this month before it can fully repair damage to its Paris Le Bourget FBO. The facility suffered extensive fire and smoke damage during an overnight blaze on January 3. The company established a temporary operations center and made other arrangements for passengers and crew.
A lack of professionalism, discipline and knowledge exhibited by the two pilots flying the Pinnacle Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 that crashed in Jefferson City, Mo., on Oct. 14, 2004, directly led to the tragedy that took their lives, the NTSB has determined after more than two years of investigation.
While the NTSB investigation into last month’s runway incursion at Denver International Airport continues, the pilot of one of the aircraft involved said blowing snow, which reduced visibility and covered the taxiway, caused disorientation, leading his Key Lime Air Metroliner to taxi onto an active runway. Pilots of a Frontier Airlines A319 that had been cleared to land saw the Metroliner while only 50 to 100 feet above the runway.
The five major fractional operators fell short of AIR’s projected pilot hiring levels last year, according to statistics prepared by the Atlanta-based aviation employment consultant. The major players–Avantair, CitationShares, Flexjet, Flight Options and NetJets–hired 674 new pilots, more than 300 shy of AIR’s January 2006 estimate that 1,000 pilots would be required.