Six people aboard a Mexican government-owned Beech King Air 300 were killed April 30 when the turboprop crashed five minutes after takeoff from Aeropuerto Internacional de Zacatecas Airport (MMZC) in central Mexico. A post-crash fire destroyed the aircraft.
Eurocopter Japan has delivered a Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin retrofitted with a high-speed, real-time satellite transmission system to the country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The helicopter satellite communication system enables direct transmission to relay satellites, without being interrupted by the helicopter’s moving rotor blades. Mitsubishi Electric developed the system, intended for use when ground-based networks are unavailable.
The 58th Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) safety seminar for business aviation was held in Montreal last month under a new name. What has long been known as CASS (corporate aviation safety seminar) is now called BASS (business aviation safety seminar), “to align us better with the business aviation community, which comprises 60 percent of the foundation’s membership,” according to FSF CEO Kevin Hiatt.
The most noteworthy accident event in the first quarter was the string of fatal Beechcraft Premier I crashes over a period of approximately three weeks, from February 20 to March 17. All three crashes, which killed nine people, involved Part 91 operations and occurred in VMC during takeoff or landing. The two accidents in the U.S. accounted for the only fatalities by U.S.-registered business jets in the first quarter of this year.
The FAA is planning to expand a new safety data collection and analysis system beyond scheduled air carriers to all elements of the aviation community, including helicopters. The move comes as the helicopter industry formally acknowledged earlier this year that, while it has made considerable progress, it will likely fall short of the International Helicopter Safety Team’s (IHST) goal of reducing the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016.
Qatar Airways became the second Boeing 787 customer to return a Dreamliner to service after a worldwide grounding of the fleet in January as Flight QR116 took off from Doha for Dubai Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. local time.
The pilots of an Air India Airbus A320 were suspended after an April 12 incident in which they landed their aircraft without an ATC clearance on a closed runway in Mumbai. Two local air traffic controllers were also suspended for not taking action when they realized the incident was happening. In a preliminary report, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation said the primary reason for the incident was that the pilots had selected the wrong tower frequency and proceeded inbound despite the lack of any radio contact.
An MD369A helicopter pilot was seriously injured April 2 during a hard landing on private property in Darby, Mont. The three passengers aboard received minor injuries. The rotorcraft was destroyed when its engine failed to respond to throttle inputs at 10 feet above the ground. The tail rotor, tailboom and all main rotor blades separated from the helicopter on impact.
As Ethiopian Airlines and other Boeing 787 customers prepared to return their Dreamliners to service with battery system modification kits, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an exhaustive, two-day investigative hearing into the design and certification of the lithium-ion batteries implicated in the airplane’s grounding. Sixteen witnesses testified and answered questions during the hearing on April 23 and 24 at the Board’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.