The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has downgraded its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program rating of India from a Category 1 to a Category 2 based on a recent reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority. Under Category 2, India’s airlines can continue to fly existing service to the U.S., but they cannot establish any new service until the FAA reinstates the country’s Category 1 status.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is stepping up efforts to improve helicopter operational safety after adding this to its Most Wanted list of goals for increased awareness and advocacy.
In a January 14 statement, the NTSB said that between January 2003 and May 2013 there were 1,470 helicopter accidents, resulting in 477 fatalities and 274 serious injuries. The Board is concerned that helicopter accidents will continue to happen unless a concerted effort is made to improve the safety of rotary-wing operations.
The FAA has updated its air traffic controller handbook–JO7110.652–in an effort to prevent aircraft from flying too close together when operating on or near a busy hub airport. The update addresses arrivals and departures using both intersecting and non-intersecting runways. The effort evolved in response to a number of close calls that brought departing aircraft into close proximity with an arrival that had executed an unplanned go-around near the airport.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently reported a simple cause for last year’s close call between a Fairchild SA-227 cargo airplane and a Bell 47G helicopter at the non-tower Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport in New South Wales: the volume of the helicopter’s receiver was turned down.
Recently released feed from five of Aspen-Pitkin County Airport’s video cameras shows the January 5 approach and eventual crash of a Bombardier Challenger 601-3R. The infrared videos show the aircraft bouncing high into the air after touchdown, followed by a pronounced nose-over maneuver from which the aircraft never recovered. The copilot was killed in the crash.
The FAA notified Ethiopian aviation officials last week that their country had passed the agency’s five-day-long safety audit, allowing that African nation to retain its Category 1 safety status. The FAA allows foreign-carrier flights to the U.S. only from countries that pass audits measured against ICAO standards. Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to Washington, D.C., and plans to inaugurate service to two other, as yet unnamed, U.S. cities.
A recent safety video posted on the International Helicopter Safety Team website demonstrates some of the risks inherent in flying large helicopters within an urban environment. The video shows the close quarters to which the pilot was restricted in lifting and delivering an air conditioning unit from a residential street to the top of a nearby building.
AeronomX is sponsoring a series of twice-monthly conference calls as a forum for business aviation safety officers to share notes and ideas about their safety management systems (SMS). The calls begin at 11:30 a.m. EST on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month with a current SMS topic followed by a short discussion. The remainder of the call is open to any topic raised by anyone on the phone.
Robinson Helicopter issued a Service Bulletin (SB-109) requiring retrofit installation of fuel bladders in all R22s through S/N 4620 “as soon as practical,” but no later than the next 2,200-hour overhaul or 12-year inspection. It began installing fuel bladders in new-production R22s early last year beginning with S/N 4622.
Norwegian Air Shuttle reported on Wednesday that it remains unsatisfied with the reliability of its three Boeing 787s following Sunday’s incident in which a problem with a fuel valve delayed a flight between Bangkok and Stockholm for 19 hours. Norwegian Dreamliners have suffered a series of maintenance glitches such as erroneous fault warnings, costing the airline revenue and standing with its customers.