Two Air India pilots and a pair of flight attendants have been suspended from duty pending an investigation into an April 13 incident in which both pilots left the flight deck of the Airbus A321 at the same time for 40 minutes of rest in the cabin. The pilots left two flight attendants in the cockpit to monitor the aircraft. The pilots returned to the cockpit only after one of the flight attendants mistakenly turned off the autopilot.
Aviation accidents and incidents
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.
A string of poor decisions by the pilot of a Eurocopter AS350 being flown on an emergency medical mission preceded the Aug. 26, 2011, crash of the aircraft, according to the NTSB’s report on the accident. Four people–the pilot, a patient, flight nurse and paramedic–were killed in the accident at 6.41 p.m. in Mosby, Mo. after the commercial pilot first ran the helicopter out of fuel and then failed to establish an autorotation.
While most aviation safety sources have identified loss of control (LOC) as the leading cause of accidents in the past few years, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) “is making a strong comeback,” according to Flight Safety Foundation fellow Jim Burin.
In the first quarter of this year, seven people died in two fatal accidents involving Part 91-operated U.S.-registered business jets compared with 14 fatalities in three Part 91 business jet accidents in the first quarter of last year, according to preliminary data gathered from various AIN sources. Both of the fatal U.S. business jet accidents in the first quarter befell privately operated Hawker Beechcraft Premier Is.
In the first quarter of this year, seven people died in two fatal accidents involving U.S.-registered private business jets compared with 14 fatalities in three private business jet accidents in the first quarter of last year, according to preliminary data gathered by AIN. The two fatal U.S. business jet accidents in the first quarter involved privately operated Beechcraft Premiers.
Preliminary Report: Twin Turboprop Crashes in Peru
Beechcraft King Air 200, near Matibamba, Peru, March 6, 2013–Nine people died in the crash of a Peruvian King Air 200 at 8:30 a.m., on a flight to Pias Airport in west central Peru. The aircraft, operated by Aero Transporte, had been chartered to carry seven employees from Lima to a local mining site. The aircraft struck a wooded hillside in unknown weather conditions.
Preliminary Report: Jet Crashes in the French Alps
Confronted with years of stubborn and static accident statistics for general aviation operations, the NTSB is taking more aggressive actions in an attempt to reduce the number of crashes. Last month, the independent safety agency issued five GA Safety Alerts, to be followed later this spring by a series of videos.
Paul Comtois knows why safety is a tough business for some people to comprehend: “Because it’s difficult to prove that what you’ve implemented actually had any effect.” Comtois, a former fighter pilot, is director of advanced pilot training programs at ETC, a Southampton, Pa.-based training company focused on upset prevention and recovery.