A meeting late last month between the FAA’s top regulatory officials and business aviation interests will likely result in renewed emphasis on new and existing aviation safety programs rather than any sweeping regulatory changes. The meeting came in the aftermath of six fatal turbine business aircraft accidents since late October.
Aviation accidents and incidents
While the NTSB determined that “unnecessary and too aggressive” rudder inputs by the first officer broke the vertical stabilizer off American Airlines Flight 587, there was plenty of blame to spread among the airline, U.S. and French aviation regulators and Airbus Industrie, builder of the A300-605R that crashed into the community of Belle Harbor, N.Y., on Nov. 12, 2001.
Though unconfirmed by DHL, an unofficial collection of photos and text circulating on the Internet sheds chilling light on the November 22 missile attack at Baghdad International Airport. The Brussels, Belgium-based DHL Airbus A300B4-200 freighter, bound for Bahrain, was hit after takeoff and made a successful emergency landing back at the Baghdad airport with no injury to the three-man Belgian/UK crew.
With the notable exception of professionally flown corporate jet operations, which had no accidents, business turboprops and jets posted more accidents and fatalities last year than in 2002 (71 versus 64 total accidents and 60 versus 51 fatalities), according to statistics compiled by Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.
Ever feel like no matter what you do you just can’t win in the eyes of some
people? I’m not talking about the average aviation enthusiast. I’m talking about the editors and reporters of many of the nation’s news outlets. A number of aviation industry employees and organizations have worked hard to achieve an accident rate for Part 121 that is the lowest in history, but that is often unappreciated.
The NTSB is recommending modifications of Honeywell flight management system (FMS) software that would provide warnings to pilots if they try to enter inconsistent weight and performance information.
Nearly four years after the accident, the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (BFU) published its final report on the Jan. 10, 2000 crash of a Crossair Saab 340B at Nassenwil near Zurich Airport. The unusual delay stems from appeals filed against the BFU’s conclusions, the most publicized objection coming from Moritz Suter, Crossair’s CEO at the time of the accident.
From a safety perspective, last year was not a good year for the air medical sector. A spate of fatal accidents has led to much media speculation about the safety record of U.S. air ambulances and even the medical benefits of using them so (apparently) freely. It has also further tarnished a deteriorating rate apparent in statistics from previous years.
Cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcripts indicate that the pilots of the Gulfstream III that crashed in IMC November 22 after being cleared for the Runway 4 ILS approach at Houston Hobby Airport had the VOR frequency tuned instead of the ILS. The Part 135 flight was on its way to pick up former President George H.W. Bush. According to the CVR, about 45 seconds before the crash, the pilot said, “Oh my, what’d you do to me?
An NTSB proposal to add to the list of events that must be reported as an accident or incident is getting little support from the industry.