Flight Safety Information [December 21, 2018] [No. 258]

Flight Safety Information
Top Flight Safety Information   

December 21, 2018  –  No. 258


In This Issue
Incident: LATAM B773 near Belo Horizonte on Dec 20th 2018, electrical failures, RAT deployed
Incident: JAL B772 at Osaka on Dec 19th 2018, hydraulic leak
Incident: Alaska B737 at Anchorage on Dec 19th 2018, wing tip strike on landing
Four killed in Cessna 560 Citation V accident after takeoff from Atlanta-Fulton County Airport
Plane blows tire while landing at Hilo’s airport
LIBIK Fire Suppression Kits for the Cabin and Flight Deck
Textron Aviation’s Graham In Line For NTSB Seat
But Jet Engines Aren’t Supposed To Fail
A Japan Airlines pilot has evaded blood-alcohol tests more than 100 times since last year
JAL slapped with improvement order following alcohol incidents
Airbus Makes First Unmanned Flight in VSR700 Helicopter
Republic Airways and Embraer sign firm order for 100 E-Jet aircraft
Mitsubishi Aircraft seeks to have Bombardier lawsuit dismissed
Bombardier delivers Global 7500 jet as corporate travel race intensifies
GE Aviation’s Passport Gets European Approval
Position Available: Deputy Director of Safety

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Incident: LATAM B773 near Belo Horizonte on Dec 20th 2018, electrical failures, RAT deployed
A LATAM Boeing 777-300, registration PT-MUG performing flight LA-8084 from Sao Paulo Guarulhos,SP (Brazil) to London Heathrow,EN (UK) with 341 passengers and 16 crew, was enroute at FL290 about 90nm southwest of Belo Horizonte,MG (Brazil) when the crew decided to divert to Belo Horizonte due to electrical problems, the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) deployed. The crew performed an overweight emergency landing on Belo Horizonte’s runway 16 at 01:43L (03:43Z) and became disabled on the runway due to all 12 main tyres having deflated.

The airport reported the airport will be closed until 19:00L.

The airline reported the aircraft diverted due to technical reasons, during landing the tyres of the aircraft were damaged and will need to be replaced before the aircraft can be removed from the runway. All passengers disembarked safely. The removal of the aircraft however has been prohibited until at least 19:00L.

Passengers reported there was a strong odour in the cabin, subsequently the captain announced there was a serious electrical fault prompting the diversion to Belo Horizonte.

Another passenger reported that suddenly all lights and the inflight entertainment system went out, only emergency lights remained. Shortly afterwards the aircraft began the descent towards Belo Horizonte, the crew announced that they had lost all electrical systems and were unable to dump fuel. The landing was hard, emergency services foamed the landing gear. About one hour after landing they were able to disembark via stairs. In the terminal it was being said, that the aircraft had lost all navigation equipment, too, the commander flew the aircraft with the assistance of ATC on the remaining radio for a safe landing. When the crew finally showed up in the terminal lounge, the crew was received with lots of applause, the captain took and answered a lot of questions.

Azul Linhas Aereas ATR-72-212A registrations PR-AKJ and PR-AKD have been dispatched to take about 7 tons of equipment, including the needed hydraulic jack and replacement tyres, to Belo Horizonte.

On Dec 20th 2018 Brazil’s CENIPA reported electrical failures occurred in cruise flight, which also compromised other aircraft systems. The crew decided to perform a precautionary diversion to Belo Horizonte for an overweight landing. As result the brakes overheated causing the fuse plugs of the tyres to open and the tyres to deflate. There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained minor damage.

Related NOTAMs:
J0992/18 NOTAMN
Q) SBBS/QMTCM/IV/NBO/A/000/999/1937S04358W005
B) 1812201255 C) 1812202130

J0990/18 NOTAMR J0989/18
Q) SBBS/QMRLC/IV/NBO/A/000/999/1937S04358W005
B) 1812200617 C) 1812201400

J0989/18 NOTAMN
Q) SBBS/QMRLC/IV/NBO/A/000/999/1937S04358W005
B) 1812200539 C) 1812201000

SBCF 200500Z 13008KT 9999 SCT040 22/17 Q1016=
SBCF 200400Z 14004KT 9999 FEW040 22/17 Q1016=
SBCF 200300Z 09009KT 9999 SCT035 22/17 Q1016=
SBCF 200200Z 18002KT 9999 VCTS SCT040 FEW045CB 22/16 Q1017 RETS=
SBCF 200100Z 13008KT 8000 -TSRA BKN035 FEW045CB BKN070 20/16 Q1 018=
SBCF 200040Z 15011KT 4000 TSRA BKN040 FEW045CB BKN070 23/16 Q10 18=
SBCF 200025Z 16010KT 9999 TS BKN040 FEW045CB BKN070 25/18 Q1018=
SBCF 200000Z 19002KT 9999 VCTS SCT040 FEW050CB 26/17 Q1017=


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Incident: JAL B772 at Osaka on Dec 19th 2018, hydraulic leak
A JAL Japan Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration JA8979 performing flight JL-133 from Tokyo Haneda to Osaka Itami (Japan) with 325 people on board, landed on runway 32L but suffered a hydraulic leak. The aircraft vacated the runway and stopped.

The runway was closed for about 40 minutes until the oil spill had been cleaned up.

The airline reported the aircraft suffered a hydraulic problem after landing. The aircraft temporarily stopped on the taxiway and reached the gate about 75 minutes after landing, the passengers disembarked normally at the gate.

The occurrence aircraft remained on the ground for about 25 hours until returning to service.


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Incident: Alaska B737 at Anchorage on Dec 19th 2018, wing tip strike on landing
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-700, registration N626AS performing flight AS-7015 from Barrow,AK to Anchorage,AK (USA), landed on Anchorage’s runway 07L at 15:19L (00:19Z Dec 20th) but struck a wing tip onto the runway surface. The aircraft rolled out without further incident and taxied to the apron maintaining routine communication.

The FAA reported, the aircraft “struck wingtip on runway” causing unknown damage.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Anchorage about 20 hours after landing.

PANC 200153Z 00000KT 10SM FEW004 BKN085 BKN150 M08/M11 A2941 RMK AO2 SLP962 VIRGA SW T10831111=
PANC 200053Z 35004KT 10SM FEW004 BKN085 BKN150 M08/M11 A2939 RMK AO2 SLP956 VIRGA SE-SW T10781106=
PANC 200023Z 36008KT 10SM FEW004 BKN070 BKN095 M07/M11 A2939 RMK AO2 VIRGA SE-SW T10721106=
PANC 192353Z 36009KT 10SM FEW025 BKN050 BKN120 M07/M10 A2939 RMK AO2 SLP955 VIRGA ALQDS 4/013 60002 T10671100 11061 21083 50000=
PANC 192253Z 01006KT 10SM FEW025 BKN044 BKN120 M07/M09 A2939 RMK AO2 SNB2159E13 SLP956 VIRGA ALQDS P0000 T10671094 $=
PANC 192153Z 35005KT 10SM SCT025 BKN044 OVC055 M07/M09 A2939 RMK AO2 SNE48 SLP956 P0000 T10671089=
PANC 192140Z 34003KT 10SM -SN SCT025 BKN045 OVC055 M07/M09 A2939 RMK AO2 P0000 T10671089=
PANC 192122Z 01007KT 2SM -SN BR SCT015 BKN027 OVC060 M07/M09 A2939 RMK AO2 P0000 T10671089=
PANC 192107Z 02006KT 1 1/2SM R07R/5500VP6000FT -SN BR BKN015 OVC038 M07/M09 A2939 RMK AO2 P0000 T10721094=
PANC 192053Z 36005KT 3/4SM R07R/P6000FT -SN BR VV019 M07/M09 A2939 RMK AO2 SLP955 P0001 60002 T10671089 51010=



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Four killed in Cessna 560 Citation V accident after takeoff from Atlanta-Fulton County Airport

Status: Preliminary
Date: Thursday 20 December 2018
Time: 12:11
Type: Cessna 560 Citation V
Operator: Chen Aircrafts LLC
Registration: N188CW
C/n / msn: 560-0148
First flight: 1991
Crew: Fatalities: / Occupants:
Passengers: Fatalities: / Occupants:
Total: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: 2 km (1.3 mls) NE of Atlanta-Fulton County Airport, GA (FTY) (   United States of America)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature: Unknown
Departure airport: Atlanta-Fulton County Airport, GA (FTY/KFTY), United States of America
Destination airport: Millington-Memphis Airport, TN (NQA/KNQA), United States of America

A Cessna 560 Citation V corporate jet, N188CW, impacted English Park, Atlanta, Georgia shortly after takeoff from Fulton County Airport-Brown Field (KFTY). The airplane was destroyed during the accident sequence and a post-impact fire and the three occupants onboard received fatal injuries.
The aircraft was cleared for takeoff from runway 08 at 12:10 hours local time. After takeoff the flight was instructed to turn left heading 310.


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Plane blows tire while landing at Hilo’s airport

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Blown tires are common on highways. Not so much on runways.

But that’s exactly what happened Thursday at Hilo International Airport.

State Transportation Department officials said an Interisland Airways chartered plan blew a tire upon landing at the airport about noon.

No injuries were reported, and the incident caused no flight delays.

Crews were set to wrap up repairs to the plane by Thursday afternoon.


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Textron Aviation’s Graham In Line For NTSB Seat

The White House is selecting Michael Graham, a long-time employee at Textron Aviation with a deep background in aviation safety, to become the newest member of the National Transportation Safety Board. If confirmed, Graham would fill out the remainder of a five-year term that expires Dec. 31, 2020.

Currently chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), Graham would bring a broad knowledge of safety management systems (SMS), operations, and security to his new role.

He has spent more than 20 years with Textron Aviation, currently as the director of flight operations safety, security, and standardization. In that role, he steers Textron Aviation’s SMS and security and oversees air safety investigations. Graham has remained active in the aviation community, not only as chairman of ACSF but also as leader of the NBAA Safety Committee’s Single Pilot Safety Working Group and as a member of the General Aviation Information Analysis Team of the Aviation Safety Information Analysis & Sharing program.

An ATP-rated pilot with 10,000 flight hours and type ratings in six different Citations, Graham began his aviation career as a U.S. naval aviator. He later joined Boeing/McDonnell Douglas as an F/A-18 aircrew instructor and avionics integration engineer and then moved to Cessna as a demonstration pilot.

“Mike has been a tireless advocate for business aviation safety, including championing our work to address single-pilot business aviation safety issues,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.


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But Jet Engines Aren’t Supposed To Fail

Nothing like a loud bang at 35,000 feet (FL350) westbound over the North Atlantic in late November to make the sleepiest coach passenger snap both eyes wide. Subsequent bangs from the American Airlines Boeing 777-200’s right engine quickly had the cabin crew’s attention, and even though the explosions were somewhat muffled forward of the cockpit door, Captain Robert Matthews, 63, also heard it, saw the EPR fall as EGT rose and knew there’d be paperwork. Spoiler alert: This Triple-Seven didn’t make it to Miami from Paris as filed, but didn’t make the evening news, either. Should have.

Consider how routine it is for thousands of airplanes to cross the U-boat-infested North Atlantic every day without incidents more serious than running out of Prosecco. In the piston-engine days of DC-7s and Connies, the flight engineer, an airborne mechanic, routinely nursed a misbehaving radial, while giving Ernie Gann new material for his next novel. Jet engines provide far less drama, Captain Sully’s bird-sucking experience notwithstanding. In Captain Matthew’s three-decade AAL career, he never shut a turbine down in flight, and six miles above the ocean isn’t the ideal location to learn how to handle losing one, especially when you only have two.

While ETOPS sounds like a supporting monster in Homer’s Odyssey, it really means Extended-Range Twin-Engine Operations. Or: Two engines will safely haul hundreds of passengers across the ocean, because jets are so darn reliable, and two are cheaper to run than four. Until they’re not, and then the other engine, the one still turning, is expected to take you back to land, although at a lower altitude and slower speed, giving the crew more time to run through pages of emergency checklists, notify ATC and try not to consider how big and cold the ocean below is.

Flying across the Atlantic is common enough but not simple. Domestically, instrument pilots are used to receiving radar service from departure to arrival. But it’s hard to construct radar sites on water, so trans-Atlantic crews will hear, “Radar service terminated,” as coastal lights fade behind the tail. Non-radar lateral and longitudinal (same altitude) separation standards are huge. Put simply, traffic operating above 28,000 to 43,000 feet enters the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT), which are parallel airways (sorta) 60 miles apart, arcing between North America and Europe.

Generally, westbound traffic takes the northern tracks and eastbounders use the southern routes. Track positions change based on the jetstream and turbulence. Without radar, aircraft fly in-trail 10 minutes apart. Pilots make position reports and arrival estimates for the next two fixes. Controllers receive these reports digitally or via scratchy HF and adjust flows accordingly. It’s 1940s ATC procedures augmented with datalink and satnav. Vertical separation is a skinny 1000 feet, so to avoid wake turbulence from a heavy above, lower traffic is permitted to offset one mile from the center of the track.

On Nov. 29, 2018, when American Flight 63 was 650 miles west-northwest of Shannon, Ireland, its right Rolls Royce Trent 892 experienced a compressor stall, a disruption of smooth flow of air through the engine. Not good, but the flight crew, as Captain Matthews said, “Reacted within seconds.” The causal factors will be determined months hence, but immediately the crew had to shut down, get down and turn around. Oh, and declare mayday before letting the cabin crew and passengers know what was happening without panicking anyone at 35,000 feet above the North Atlantic. Here’s how Matthews put it: “In an emergency, we get task saturated very quickly, even in a minor emergency. The captain has a lot to think about, just the nature of what comes with command. You worry first about safety and resolving the emergency but also legalities, procedures and policies. Not least of these are keeping the flight attendants in the loop and briefing the passengers.”

Training is everything. Pilots rehearse this unlikely scenario in recurrent simulator sessions, so when the fit hit the fan blades, the crew reacted as trained with the FO reading checklists while the captain flew the airplane. The Engine Limit, Surge, Stall checklist automatically popped onto the electronic checklist display. Combined with memory items, they secured the failed engine but left it at idle so the engine generators could continue running as well as engine- and pneumatic-driven hydraulic pumps, bleed air and pressurization. All within accepted procedure. But after an hour, the engine over-temped, and they shut it down, although the APU had been fired up to provide electrical power.

Aviate, navigate, communicate. They flew the airplane, and after initial power loss, turned–as procedure demanded–45 degrees from the track and descended, because one engine wasn’t going to keep them at FL350. Their choices came down to diverting to Keflavik, Iceland, where weather was awful or back to Shannon, Ireland, where it was better. Turning, they contacted Shanwick, the oceanic controller, announcing–not requesting–that they were heading back. Shanwick knew what to do, and all doors opened for the single-engine Triple Seven now descending to FL210.

Matthews flew the ILS on autopilot but kicked it off at 400 feet AGL to land the half-million-pound B777 by hand, even though it was perfectly capable of autoland. Because he’s a pilot, and “The Triple Seven is an awesome airplane,” that’s why. Brakes smoked a bit after stopping on the 10,000-foot runway, but fire crews declared them safe to taxi, and Matthews did so to the gate.

Full disclosure: I’ve known Captain Matthews for decades. His wife, Jodi, was my primary student before she met Bob and realized he was a way better pilot with a really cool Stearman biplane. When Jodi informed me of Bob’s unsung emergency, I thought, “Who better than Captain Matthews to handle a flame-out over water … especially since Sully already had his Tom Hanks moment?” And now, the Paul Harvey “Rest of the story.”

When things went bang at 35,000 feet, Captain Matthews was three weeks from retirement. He’d made over 900 trans-Atlantic crossings in his 20 years flying international, which, besides Europe, included South America, polar flights to Asia and even Moscow. This flight was supposed to have been his penultimate crossing before hanging it up, but when asked what he wanted after landing at Shannon, Matthews replied, “to retire.”

Wasn’t to be. American Airlines offered to let Captain Matthews fly his final trip from Ireland to Miami. He accepted, and the next day–with fire trucks arcing water cannon streams over the replacement Triple Seven–Captain Matthews pulled up to the gate, where below on the ramp, wearing a yellow ramp rat vest, stood (danced) Jodi, who just may have pulled off the best retirement homecoming ever, as a 40-year aviation career wound down with a healthy turbine whine and not a bang.


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A Japan Airlines pilot has evaded blood-alcohol tests more than 100 times since last year

The latest revelation adds to a series or drink-related incidents involving the airline’s flight crew, including last month’s jailing of a pilot in the UK

A Japan Airlines pilot has evaded preflight breathalyser tests more than 100 times since last year, the company said on Thursday, adding to the series of drinking incidents involving the airline’s flight crew.

The latest revelation came as the government conducted an on-site inspection of the airline following the arrest of one of its pilots in London in late October who showed up for work with a blood-alcohol level well in excess of the UK’s legal limit.

Company officials said the 52-year-old captain involved in the last incident had not taken the breath tests because he thought they were not compulsory under the airline’s regulations.

The Japanese government plans to set more stringent rules for drinking by airline pilots. Alcohol tests are currently not mandatory in Japan and there is no set legal limit.

According to Japan Airlines, the pilot in the latest case, who has flown 180 services since the summer of 2017, avoided taking breathalyser tests 110 times during that period. There were also 49 cases in which his co-pilots did not take breathalyser tests, it said.

The company did not announce how the pilots would be reprimanded.

A number of drinking incidents involving Japanese airline pilots have surfaced this year. The pilot arrested in London was about 10 times over the UK’s legal limit and was sentenced to 10 months in prison by a British court late last month.

Separately, Japan Airlines said in a news conference on Thursday that a high level of alcohol was detected in a breathalyser test taken by one of its female flight attendants earlier in the week, though she denied drinking any alcohol before duty.

Alcohol was not detected in a test she took before boarding a flight from Narita airport to Honolulu on Monday, but two other cabin crew noticed her breath smelled of alcohol and demanded she take another test, the airline said.

The second test detected 0.15 milligrams of alcohol in her breath, but the 46-year-old crew member said she had not drunk any alcohol since Friday and repeatedly used mouthwash during the flight. The airline said it will continue to investigate the matter.

Japan Airlines does not currently have specific rules for drinking by flight attendants but said after the London incident that it plans to introduce breath tests for them as well as engineers.


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JAL slapped with improvement order following alcohol incidents

Japan Airlines Co. President Yuji Akasaka, left, responds to reporters after the company was given an operations improvement order, at the transport ministry in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district on Dec. 21. (Hideki Kitami)

The transport ministry ordered Japan Airlines Co. to improve its operations specifically related to flaws in its breath-alcohol testing system that came to light after a recent series of alcohol-related scandals.

The order, issued Dec. 21, is the first for JAL since 2005, when a string of safety problems emerged ahead of its collapse in 2010.

In response to the order, JAL President Yuji Akasaka said: “We lost considerable trust from the public. I want to express my deepest apologies.”

Akasaka said that flaws with the breath-alcohol test system is a management issue and that the company will consider further measures to take responsibility, including disciplinary measures.

The ministry pointed out that such flaws are a serious violation of Japan’s aviation law and could lead to serious accidents.

A JAL co-pilot was arrested in London in October after failing a breath test shortly before a flight to Tokyo, showing nearly 10 times the legal limit.

It was later discovered that the first officer, who has since received a prison sentence, evaded an in-house breath-alcohol test before starting his duties, and that the two chief pilots failed to visually confirm the checks.

In addition, although their flight required three pilots, only the two chief pilots flew the airplane, with the first officer scheduled for duty, which is against the airline’s regulations.

Based on a ministry inspection of JAL, it was also discovered that among alcohol tests conducted from August 2017, data records for 4,175 cases did not exist. There were also at least 197 cases in which tests were not conducted appropriately.

In 110 of those cases, a chief pilot in his 50s deliberately avoided taking the test.

The ministry also issued warnings on Dec. 21 to All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) and ANA Wings Co., a subsidiary of ANA, and Skymark Airlines Co., as well as Japan Air Commuter Co., an affiliate of JAL, saying that their safety management systems are insufficient.

On Dec. 20, JAL announced that a female flight attendant in her 40s on duty for a 7:55 p.m. flight from Narita to Honolulu on Dec. 17 showed an alcohol level beyond the airline’s in-house limit. No alcohol was detected in a breath-alcohol test conducted two hours before she started her duties, and the flight attendant denied drinking any alcohol.


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The FAA has proposed a new airworthiness directive (AD) requiring the inspection for metal fatigue of main wing spars on numerous Piper PA-28 and PA-32 single-engine airplanes that have reached a certain factored time-in-service level; reporting the inspection results to the FAA; and replacing wing spars that fail the inspection.

AOPA file photo of a Piper Arrow. Photo by Mike Fizer.

The AD comes in response to a report of fatigue cracking of a lower main wing spar cap on a Piper PA-28R-201 airplane, the FAA said. Public comments will be accepted on the proposal until Feb. 4.

The AD-which the FAA noted could be an interim action with further rulemaking possible-would apply to the listed PA-28 and PA-32-series airplanes that have either accumulated 5,000 or more “factored” hours time in service (TIS); have had either main wing spar replaced with a serviceable main wing spar (more than zero hours TIS); or have missing and/or incomplete maintenance records. An aircraft’s applicability status would have to be determined within 30 days of the AD’s effective date. Before further flight, a formula provided in the AD, tied to the number of 100-hour inspections completed, would be used to calculate the number of factored service hours for each main wing spar of an airplane to which the AD applies.
If either main wing spar has been replaced with a serviceable main wing spar (more than zero hours TIS), the airplane maintenance records are missing or incomplete, a wing spar has a factored service life of 5,000 hours or more, or the factored service hours cannot be determined, an eddy current inspection must be performed on the inner surface of each bolt hole on the lower main wing spar cap for cracks, within time intervals specified in the AD. Inspection results must be reported to the FAA.

The agency said the AD “was prompted by a report of a fatigue crack found in a visually inaccessible area of the lower main wing spar cap” of a PA-28R-201 airplane. Investigation revealed that “repeated high-load operating conditions accelerated the fatigue crack growth in the lower main wing spar cap” of the accident airplane.

“Airplanes used in training and other high-load environments are typically operated for hire and have inspection programs that require 100-hour inspections. We determined the number of 100-hour inspections an airplane has undergone is the best indicator of the airplane’s usage history,” the FAA said, noting that approximately 19,696 airplanes would be affected by the review provision.

AOPA has been closely monitoring this issue and expected FAA action since a fatal accident on April 4 in Florida in which a wing separated from a 2007 Piper PA-28-R-201 with 7,690 flight hours in the fleet of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said David Oord, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. A preliminary accident report noted fracture features consistent with metal fatigue.

“Ideally, AOPA would have preferred that the FAA start this process with an airworthiness concern sheet (ACS), as it has in the past, to solicit information from aircraft operators, owners, and mechanics before initiating rulemaking,” Oord said. “However, we appreciate the agency’s development and application of a formula to calculate factored service hours to target the AD to only aircraft that were subjected to repeated high-load operating conditions. As a result, we expect that the inspections will ultimately be required for only a portion of the affected aircraft.”

The FAA estimated that two hours of work would be required to comply with the mandate to calculate the factored service hours of an airplane. Conditional costs to perform an inspection and to replace nuts and bolts were estimated at $147.50 per wing spar. The cost of replacing a wing spar, if needed, was estimated at $8,260 each.

AOPA is reviewing the proposed AD and plans to submit comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking, Oord said. He encouraged members to contact AOPA with any comments or concerns, and to provide their own comments to the FAA.

Comments may be submitted online or by mail to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Please include “Docket No. FAA-2018-1046; Product Identifier 2018-CE-049-AD” at the beginning of your comments.


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Airbus Makes First Unmanned Flight in VSR700 Helicopter

VSR700 in flight
Airbus recently made the first unmanned autonomous flight of its unmanned tactical demonstrator. The VS700 was piloted and monitored from a ground station. (Photo: Airbus Helicopters)

Airbus Helicopters has completed the first unmanned, autonomous flight of its VSR700 demonstrator “tactical vehicle.” The highly modified Helicopteres Guimbal Cabri G2 took off from the military airbase in Istres in the south of France. The VSR700’s 30-minute flight consisted of a variety of flight patterns before landing autonomously. The helicopter was piloted and monitored from the ground station located at the base. The helicopter had been flying autonomously since May 2017 with a safety pilot aboard.

The aircraft is fitted with a diesel engine to meet military requirements and has an automatic flight control system designed to meet regulatory standards. The VSR700 is a light military tactical unmanned aerial system able to carry multiple payloads, with an endurance of around eight hours. The system will initially offer extended surveillance capabilities for navies, allowing them to preserve manned helicopter flights for critical missions. The VSR700 is designed to land on navy ships as small as corvettes, and successful sea trials have already taken place.


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Republic Airways and Embraer sign firm order for 100 E-Jet aircraft

Deal solidifies Republic’s position as the global fleet leader

INDIANAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Republic Airways Holdings Inc., the world’s largest operator of E-Jet aircraft, announced today that it has finalized a firm order for 100 E175 aircraft with Embraer, which originally was announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England, earlier this year. With this firm order, Republic is in position to begin accepting deliveries during the second half of 2020.

“This order represents another significant advance in our long-standing partnership with Embraer and positions the airline to capitalize on growth opportunities we see developing over the next five years, as more than 300 regional aircraft flown by our competitors reach their natural expiry”

“This order represents another significant advance in our long-standing partnership with Embraer and positions the airline to capitalize on growth opportunities we see developing over the next five years, as more than 300 regional aircraft flown by our competitors reach their natural expiry,” Republic President and CEO Bryan Bedford said. “As the fleet leader on the E-Jet, we know the product better than anyone in the industry, and we believe the E-Jet positions Republic to deliver differentiated value to our codeshare partners and the flying public.”

The contract also provides Republic with purchase rights on an additional 100 E175s, as well as the ability to convert any number of aircraft to Embraer’s E175-E2 platform.

“As we expressed at Farnborough, Republic has been one of our largest and most valuable customers for nearly 20 years, and the confirmation of this order ensures Embraer will be in a position to continue providing a product that appeals to their customers’ increasing demands, while delivering on improved economics,” said John Slattery, president and CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “Expanding such a valuable partnership for years to come is a great way to end what has been a very busy and productive year at Embraer,” Slattery continued.

Republic and Embraer’s partnership dates back to 1999, when Republic took delivery of its first ERJ 145. Since then, Republic has acquired approximately 350 Embraer aircraft, and it currently operates a fleet of nearly 190 Embraer 170/175 aircraft for its codeshare partners American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express.

About Republic Airways 
Republic Airways, based in Indianapolis, operates a fleet of about 190 Embraer 170/175 aircraft and offers scheduled passenger service with about 950 daily flights to 100 cities in 40 U.S. states, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America. The airline provides fixed-fee flights operated under its major airline partner brands of American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express. The airline employs about 6,000 aviation professionals. Visit www.rjet.com for more information, follow the Company on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and connect on Facebook or LinkedIn.


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Mitsubishi Aircraft seeks to have Bombardier lawsuit dismissed

Mitsubishi Aircraft’s US unit has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Bombardier alleging that the Japanese airframer poached key staff and trade secrets related to aircraft certification.

Court documents provided to FlightGlobal show that Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America is arguing that Bombardier has failed to substantiate a number of the claims against it.

Those include that Mitsubishi and its partner Aerospace Testing Engineering and Certification (AeroTEC) interfered with Bombardier’s expectations that its staff would not leave for another aerospace company; that it allegedly misappropriated trade secrets from Bombardier; and that, in doing so, that the plaintiff’s actions were intended to cause delays to certification of the CSeries (now the Airbus A220) and the Global 7000/8000 business jets.

Mitsubishi Aircraft is developing the MRJ regional jet programme, and AeroTEC is involved in the certification testing for the jet, a large portion of which is taking place in the United States.

In a separate statement, the Japanese manufacturer explained that the motion to dismiss is based on its belief that the allegations brought by Bombardier have no merit, and categorically denied that it ever sought or misappropriated trade secrets from the former and current employees of the Canadian manufacturer.

“Regardless, these materials would not be useful or applicable to our program, which relies on a unique certification process distinct from that employed for any Bombardier aircraft program,” it adds.

Mitsubishi’s filing also notes that for two years Bombardier tried to pressure it and AeroTEC into signing “what would have amounted to illegal no-poaching agreements.”

It also states that it was only after the two defendants refused to sign such an agreement that it “filed this ‘trade secret’ lawsuit.”

The motion to dismiss the suit is set to be heard in the US District Court in Seattle on 11 January.


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Bombardier delivers Global 7500 jet as corporate travel race intensifies

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canada’s Bombardier Inc will deliver its first Global 7500 corporate jet on Thursday, premiering a full-sized bed and optional en-suite shower, in a challenge to U.S. planemaker Gulfstream at the top of the luxury jet market.

To meet demands by wealthy travelers, business jet manufacturers are increasingly filling their cabins with hotel-style features, previously seen only in converted commercial aircraft, by harnessing lighter-weight materials and technology that do not compromise a plane’s range.

The Global 7500, with a $73 million list price, will compete with Gulfstream’s G650, which has dominated the top end of the business jet market since its entry into service in 2012.

“With no direct in-production competitor in this segment, Gulfstream has had quite a run at the top of the market,” said Rolland Vincent, a consultant and founder of business aviation forecasting service JetNet.

Both jets can connect far-flung cities like New York and Tokyo while flying at just under the speed of sound. But Bombardier says its Global 7500, the largest corporate plane not transformed from an airliner, is the first to offer a bed not converted from an onboard sofa.

“It’s really a battle of superlatives,” Vincent said.

Bombardier, in the middle of a deep restructuring, is counting on sales of its Global 7500 and other new large-cabin aircraft, the Global 6500 and 5500, which enter service next year, to boost its business jet division revenues to $8.5 billion in 2020, up from about $5 billion in 2018.

Among new features for the 6500, which lists for $56 million, the company is developing a convertible chaise lounge that passengers can use as a bench, a reclining chair or a lie-flat mattress.

“We wanted it to look like the type of furniture you’d have at home,” said Tim Fagan, manager, industrial design, at Bombardier Business Aircraft.

The Global 7500 is sold out until 2021, with 19 deliveries planned for 2019 and 39 for 2020, when Bombardier will ramp up production, according to JetNet data. The same data shows Gulfstream, a division of General Dynamics Corp, is expected to deliver 55 G650 family jets in 2019 and 50 in 2020.

Gulfstream could not be reached for immediate comment.

One Global 7500 customer said the jet’s layout that includes a separate space for sleeping was an important factor in his decision to purchase the plane.

“In such long-range, high-speed aircraft, you must have a proper stateroom allowing you to get some good, comfortable sleep,” said Thomas Flohr, founder of business aviation company VistaJet.

According to Adam Twidell, chief executive of global online private jet booking platform PrivateFly, more clients are looking to recharge on flights.

“The ability to rest undisturbed and comfortable, in a private space, is – for many – a higher priority than indulging in champagne and caviar,” Twidell said.


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GE Aviation’s Passport Gets European Approval

As Bombardier prepared to hand over the first Global 7500 to a customer on Thursday, GE Aviation notched another milestone for the engines powering the ultra-long-range aircraft: EASA approval. EASA released the type certification sheet for the Passport 20 on December 18.

The 16,500-pound-thrust engines received the FAA nod in April 2016 and were on track to amassing 4,000-plus hours of testing and 8,000 cycles as the engine approached entry into service.

Certification comes nearly a decade after GE Aviation made a strategic decision to fully jump into the business and general aviation market. The first of the purpose-built GE Aviation business aviation turbofans, the Passport family is to fill the long-range and ultra-long-range sector in the 10,000- to 20,000-pound-thrust class.

Building on technology developed for GE’s Leap engine with a similar core, the Passport features a 23:1 compressor pressure ratio and incorporates advanced materials and technologies that are designed to provide an 8 percent lower specific fuel consumption than other in-service engines in the same class. In addition, the engines meet Stage 4 noise standards.


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Helicopter Association International (HAI) is dedicated to providing its members with services that directly benefit their operations, and to advancing the international helicopter community by providing programs that enhance safety, encourage professionalism and economic viability while promoting the unique contributions vertical flight offers society. HAI has more than 3,800 member organizations and annually produces HAI HELI-EXPO®, the world’s largest trade show and exposition dedicated to helicopters.
Position:  Deputy Director of Safety
Overview: The Deputy Director of Safety is responsible for supporting the association’s existing aviation safety programs and developing new safety initiatives to benefit HAI’s membership.
Essential Functions of the Position Include, but Are Not Limited To:
  • Providing auxiliary support to the Director of Safety
  • Serving as the HAI safety representative on various industry, government, and international boards, task forces, and meetings
  • Providing feedback for the association’s response to proposed safety-related regulations and legislative initiatives
  • Collecting, researching, and analyzing safety and accident data for subsequent statistical reporting
  • Developing and implementing new HAI industry safety initiatives
  • Routinely interacting with aviation related agencies and organizations in support of the rotorcraft industry
  • Supporting all aspects of HAI’s accreditation programs (IS-BAO & HAI APS) that assist helicopter operators in reducing incidents and accidents, while improving industry safety culture
  • Providing safety supervision for flight activities at the association’s annual trade show and exposition, HAI HELI-EXPO®
  • Responding to requests for rotorcraft safety assistance from HAI members and the general public
  • Serving as staff liaison for assigned HAI committees
  • Contributing content for use in HAI’s printed and electronic publications
  • Making safety presentations on behalf of HAI as necessary
  • Other duties as assigned
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities.
Desired Qualifications for the Position Include:
  • College or advanced degree related to aviation safety and/or management
  • Five or more years of related helicopter safety background, training, and experience
  • Certificated helicopter pilot and/or maintenance technician
  • Previous experience with helicopter or other aviation-related organization
  • Prior international experience preferred
  • Experience with auditing protocols and accreditation programs
  • A passionate commitment to the promotion of helicopter safety
  • Highly motivated, able to work independently and in a team environment
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with prior experience in creating and delivering written proposals and public presentations
  • Research, data analysis, and report writing experience
  • Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite
  • Detail oriented, self-starter, with strong organizational and time management skills
  • Ability to travel
The above qualifications are representative, but not all-inclusive, of the experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position.


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Curt Lewis & Associates, LLC is an international, multi-discipline technical, scientific and research consulting firm specializing in aviation and industrial safety. Our specialties are aviation litigation support (Expert Witness), aviation/airport safety programs, accident investigation and reconstruction, safety & quality assessments/audits (ISO-9001/AS-9100), system safety, human factors, Safety Management Systems (SMS) assessment/implementation & training, safety/quality training & risk management, aviation manual development, IS-BAO Auditing, technical writing & editing, airfield/heliport lighting products, patent infringement/invalidity expert testimony and Technical Support.