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In This Issue
WHO Yet to Issue Warning on Chinese Avian Flu Virus
Despite reports that the H7N9 avian flu has been responsible for 10 deaths out of 28 reported cases in China, international medical authorities don’t yet believe the virus is a concern for flight crews or airline passengers traveling to Asia, or at least not enough for the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend any travel or trade restrictions. All cases have occurred in regions of eastern China–Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, with 13 in Shanghai. None appears to have been transmitted from person-to-person, only to people who have been in contact with infected poultry. The WHO is, however, investigating a group of family members who may have transmitted the virus from person-to-person. Flight crews should review the WHO and the ICAO CAPSCA websites for updates before traveling to the region.
Runway Lights Go Out at Chicago O’Hare
The runway edge lights on four of the seven active runways at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) went dark on April 11 in the middle of an evening traffic rush. The runways affected were 22 Right, 32 Right and both 27 Left and Right, causing air traffic delays and flight cancellations. Some lights went out completely while others flickered for nearly an hour. A spokesman for the City of Chicago’s Department of Aviation said the cause of the outage is unknown.
Police Helicopters Collide in Berlin
Two German police-operated helicopters returning from a training mission collided near the ground in Berlin while landing on March 21. Both were Eurocopter models, one an AS332L1 Super Puma and the other an EC155B1. The pilot of the Super Puma lost ground reference in blowing snow and struck the smaller helicopter, killing the pilot of the EC155. Seven people on the ground were also injured–four seriously–mostly by flying debris. The two helicopters were participating in a police exercise being held near Berlin’s downtown Olympic Stadium. A portion of the accident was captured on video.
FSS Also Waiting for Sequestration Plan
Regarding the effects of sequestration on Flight Service Stations, contractor Lockheed Martin had this to say: “As we anticipated, it is taking time for our customers [the FAA] to determine how they will implement sequestration’s required cuts. We’re working closely with them as they explore a host of potential scenarios, although we still do not know exactly how our employees or many of our programs, including general aviation, will be affected.”
Video Available of LOT 767 Wheels-up Landing
This video of the November 2011 gear-up landing of a LOT Airlines Boeing 767 demonstrates the teamwork of everyone on the ground and inside the aircraft, and makes a review of the incident worth five minutes of every pilot’s time.
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Poor Decision Making Cited in EMS Helicopter Crash
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. The pilot had departed a hospital heliport for a refueling point aware that he had just 30 minutes of fuel remaining at the time of liftoff. The NTSB investigation discovered that the flight training the pilot had received in autorotations did not cover the control inputs required to enter the maneuver safely from cruise airspeed. The report also highlighted numerous phone calls and texts the pilot initiated and received during the course of the multi-stop trip that the Board considered to be distractions and contributors to the accident, despite a lack of evidence that the pilot was using his cellphone at the time the engine failed.
CFIT Makes a Strong Comeback, Says FSF
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. At the FSF’s Business Aviation Safety Seminar in Montreal last week, he cited recent accidents such as the loss of the Sukhoi Superjet SSJ-100 airliner demonstrator in May last year when the crew ignored multiple automated terrain warnings and flew the airplane into a mountain in Indonesia with the loss of all 45 people aboard. Burin also mentioned that 17 turboprops with more than 14 seats were lost to CFIT accidents last year alone, with four more lost so far this year to flights into terrain. When Burin reviewed business jet accidents over the past two years, he found that none were CFIT occurrences. What he did identify, however, was that of the 20 business aviation accidents in 2011 and 2012, the majority took place during the approach to landing phase. Three business aviation accidents that have occurred so far this year also took place during the approach to landing phase.
Remote Control ATC Tower Passes Site Acceptance
A remotely controlled ATC tower constructed by Saab for Norway’s Avinor air navigation service has passed the site acceptance tests that will eventually allow for a smoother fit into the Sesar air traffic management system, Europe’s version of NextGen, once final testing of the facility’s operations is completed. The remote tower (r-TWR), designed for Værøy, a low-traffic heliport, will allow air traffic controllers in another location to see all of the airfield’s operations on multiple high-definition displays via a number of high-resolution video, audio and other sensors. The remotely located air traffic controllers have complete control over all sensors and airfield lighting, along with integrated flight data, electronic flight strips and other ATC tools. In addition, Saab is testing an infrared camera at Værøy to determine its real life benefits in poor weather and night operations. The Værøy facility is the second Saab r-TWR system to pass site acceptance testing. The first was built for Sundsvall and Örnsköldsvik Airports in Sweden for Swedish air traffic management agency LFV.
Pavement Edge Lighting May Enhance Situational Awareness
One drawback to traditional round taxiway lights is the difficulty pilots often face in determining the precise location of the edge of the taxiway surface using those lights. The technology behind blue taxiway lighting has changed little over the past 50 years, until a recent test of a new kind of lighting fixture began at Ohio’s Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE) in February. This involves the new Pavement Edge Light Safety System (Pelss) from Lumin Aerospace. “Enhanced design provides more than just single blue lights at the edge of taxiways,” the company claims. “Instead, Pelss incorporates a pair of illuminated arms extending from both sides of the existing blue light that are aligned with the direction of the taxiway. This allows pilots to intuitively recognize the actual pavement edges at night and/or in inclement weather.” According to Lumin, the new lights will improve pilot situational awareness even in good weather. Because the lights are in various testing formats at CLE, pilots transiting the airport when the lights would normally be used are encouraged to view them and provide the company with their feedback in a three-minute survey.
ALPA Protests FAA Cut to Weapons Training Funds
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is fighting back against U.S. government cuts slated to slash funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program, which trains pilots how to safely carry weapons aboard Part 121 aircraft. “It is beyond belief that, at the same time the administration’s budget proposal [presented on April 10] recognizes the value of risk-based aviation security, it proposes to eliminate funding for this well established and extremely effective program,” said ALPA president Lee Moak in a statement last week. “When the President proposed to cut FFDO funding in half for FY2013, Congress rightly rejected the misguided idea. ALPA urges in the strongest possible terms that Congress reject this budget proposal, and fully and appropriately fund the FFDO program so that passengers, crews and cargo shippers can benefit from its proven and clear contribution to securing air transportation.”
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