Incident: S7 A321N near Moscow on Dec 23rd 2018, engine shut down in flight
A S7 Sibir Airlines Airbus A321-200 Neo, registration VQ-BGR performing flight S7-1023 from Moscow Domodedovo to Sochi (Russia) with 192 people on board, was climbing out of Domodedovo’s runway 14R when the crew stopped the climb at FL100 due to the failure of the right hand engine (PW1133). The crew secured the engine and returned to Domodedovo runway 14R about 40 minutes after departure.
A replacement Airbus A321-200 registration VQ-BQI reached Sochi with a delay of 3 hours.
Incident: Lufthansa Cityline E190 near Hamburg on Dec 23rd 2018, burnt water isn’t coffee
A Lufthansa Cityline Embraer ERJ-190, registration D-AECI performing flight LH-843 from Billund (Denmark) to Frankfurt/Main (Germany) with 90 people on board, was enroute at FL230 about 50nm north of Hamburg (Germany) when the crew decided to divert to Hamburg due to a burning odour on board the aircraft. The aircraft landed safely on Hamburg’s runway 23 about 18 minutes later. Emergency services found no trace of fire or smoke but located the source of heat and odour: a coffeemaker which had suffered a short.
The airline reported the remainder of the flight was cancelled, the passengers were rebooked onto other flights.
The occurrence aircraft remained on the ground in Hamburg for about 6.5 hours, then positioned to Frankfurt and resumed service.
Incident: China Southern A321 at Penang on Dec 23rd 2018, powerbank did not observe no smoking signs
A China Southern Airlines Airbus A321-200, registration B-6683 performing flight CZ-369 from Penang (Malaysia) to Guangzhou (China), was climbing out of Penang’s runway 04 when the crew stopped the climb at 9000 feet due to passenger’s powerbank, stored in the passenger’s luggage in the overhead locker above seats 43ABC, emitting smoke. Cabin crew donned their smoke hoods and discharged two fire extinguishers into the overhead locker while the flight crew returned the aircraft to Penang. Cabin crew managed to put the fire out and secure the device, the flight crew aborted the first approach at 3000 feet, entered a hold at 5000 feet, later 7000 feet, to burn off fuel and landed safely back in Penang about 2:20 hours after departure.
The aircraft remained on the ground for about 10.5 hours, then departed again maintaining a maximum cruise level FL290 and is estimated to reach Guangzhou with a delay of about 13 hours.
Incident: Transat B738 at Paris on Dec 12th 2018, rejected takeoff due to thick white smoke in cockpit
An Air Transat Boeing 737-800, registration C-GZEH performing flight TS-41 from Paris Orly (France) to Toronto,ON (Canada) with 2 crew, was initiating the takeoff run from Orly with the crew adjusting power to set TOGA when thick white smoke appeared in the cockpit prompting the crew to reject takeoff, the smoke dissipated as soon as the power levers were brought to idle. The aircraft vacated the runway and returned to the apron.
The Canadian TSB reported the aircraft (MSN 2615, former tail number F-GZHE) was on its very first flight for Air Transat and was positioning to Toronto for delivery. The previous operator’s maintenance had prepared the aircraft but had overserviced the engine oil levels of both engines. Both engine oil reservoirs were drained in accordance with the aircraft maintenance manuals and an idle run leak check was completed with no anomaly.
Incident: Transavia B738 near Amsterdam on Dec 22nd 2018, cockpit crew member sick
A Transavia Boeing 737-800, registration PH-HXD performing flight HV-6331 from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Valencia,SP (Spain) with 183 people on board, was enroute at FL370 about 50nm south of Paris Orly (France) when the crew decided to return to Amsterdam. On approach to Amsterdam the crew indicated they did not need to declare emergency but were required by regulations to do so due to a member of the cockpit crew being sick. The aircraft landed safely on Amsterdam’s runway 27 about 55 minutes after the decision to return.
The aircraft remained on the ground for about 4 hours, then departed again and reached Valencia with a delay of 5.5 hours.
Crash: Gomair AN26 near Kinshasa on Dec 20th 2018, impacted terrain short of runway
A Gomair Antonov AN-26 on behalf Central Electoral National Independent Commission (CENI), registration 9S-AGB performing a cargo flight from Tshikapa to Kinshasa Ndjili (DR Congo) with 7 or 8 crew and election materials, was cleared to descend to 5000 feet on approach to Ndjili’s runway 06 when the aircraft went missing about 20nm short of Kinshasa’s runway 06 at about 10:00L (09:00Z). The aircraft was found about 24 hours later in hilly terrain (peaks rising up to 700 meters/2300 feet MSL) about 19nm before runway 06.
Local Congolese media report Authorities did not launch a search for the aircraft. The aircraft was found by random chance by a local, who reported 8 bodies in the wreckage.
CENI reported no official of the Electoral Commission was on board of the aircraft, the official remained in Tshikapa. The plane belonged to Gomair tail number 9S-AGB (former Blue Air 9Q-CZO, later 9S-AZO) and carried 7 crew.
The airline confirmed the aircraft crashed about 35km short of Ndjili Airport.
Locals reported visibility had been poor at the time of the disappearance of the aircraft.
A U.S. registered Beechcraft 350 skidded off the runway to the left while landing at runway 27 of Sendai Airport, Japan. The plane was ferried from New Chitose, Japan to Sendai for maintenance. The pilot, sole onboard, received no injuries. The runway 27/09 was closed until 18:17 LT, causing 28 commercial flights to be cancelled, and 4 more to be diverted or returned to the departure airport.
Smoking Vistara airlines passenger keeps plane grounded for three hours
According to the New Indian Express, Vistara flight UK 707 was preparing to depart from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata when the incident occurred. (Reuters)
A passenger who told attendants he needed to smoke during a Vistara flight in India Friday was removed from the plane and caused a three-hour delay for his fellow travelers.
According to the New Indian Express, Vistara flight UK 707 was preparing to depart from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata when the incident occurred.
Airline officials revealed a male passenger started smoking as the plane was pulling away from the gate and he was instructed by crew members to stop immediately, as it is illegal to smoke on domestic flights in India.
When the unruly passenger refused to stop smoking, the captain called for the plane to return to the gate and he was removed for not complying with air safety rules. The incident caused the flight to be delayed over three hours.
When the unruly passenger refused, the captain called for the plane to return to the gate and he was removed for not complying with air safety rules. The incident caused the flight to be delayed over three hours.
“We had an unruly passenger who insisted on smoking on board,” a Vistara spokesperson told the New Indian Express. “He was issued a warning letter by the captain and later offloaded when he denied to comply with air safety rules. Vistara regrets the delay.”
The same plane was also forced to turn around during the Delhi-to-Amritsar leg of its service when a passenger asked to be offloaded with his family due to a personal emergency. The incident also resulted in a delay of several hours.
Cockpit automation may be jetliners’ Achilles heel
Autopilot capabilities have made airline disasters rare, but it is an increasing factor in the few that do occur
Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive officer of Boeing Co., speaks during a Business Roundtable CEO Innovation Summit discussion in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. The summit features discussions with Americas top chief executive officers, government leaders and industry experts on ideas and policies. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
If you have ever flown in a commercial jet over the past few decades, it is most likely to be a Boeing 737.
The US plane maker has sold a big number of them since 1965 – in fact, the figure comes in at little less than 15,000. By comparison, Boeing’s second-best-selling aircraft, the wide-body 777, has received less than 2,000 orders.
So one would assume every aspect of the smaller plane’s operations have been thoroughly tested, and any potential issues have long since fixed. Yet, as Boeing was developing its latest version of the 737, it discovered the design was slightly more prone to a loss of control.
So the company added a computer-powered safety feature – one that has become the focus of an investigation into a fatal crash in October near Indonesia.
The crash of the Lion Air 737 Max 8 may end up as one in a number of cases in which the cockpit automation that has made flying safer has also had an unintended consequence of confusing pilots and leading to tragedy.
Investigators considered the possibility that the new anti-stall system that repeatedly pushed the Lion Air jetliner’s nose down was fed erroneous data from a faulty sensor left in place after a previous hazardous flight.
Boeing has said cockpit procedures that were applied on the previous flight are already in place to tackle such a problem. But US regulators have said the plane maker was also examining a possible software fix, after coming under fire for not outlining recent changes to the automated system in its manual for the 737 Max.
The pilots in the Lion Air crash did not follow an emergency procedure that could have deactivated an automated feature and allowed them to fly normally, reported investigators. A different pilot crew the night before the accident had effectively shut it off during an identical emergency and landed routinely.
Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said this month he was “very confident” in the safety of the 737 Max.
“We know our airplanes are safe,” he said. “We have not changed our design philosophy.”
For decades, plane makers have been adding automated systems to help pilots set engine thrust, navigate with higher precision and even override the humans in the cockpit if they make mistakes. Airline disasters have become increasingly rare as a result, but automation-related crashes have become a growing factor in the few that do occur, according to government studies and accident reports.
“There’s no question that automation has been a tremendous boon to safety in commercial aviation,” said Steve Wallace, who served as the chief accident investigator for the US Federal Aviation Administration.
“At the same time, there have been many accidents where automation was cited as a factor.”
A 2013 report by the FAA found more than 60 per cent of 26 accidents over a decade involved pilots making errors after automated systems abruptly shut down or behaved in unexpected ways.
For example, pilots on Air France Flight 447 inexplicably made abrupt movements and lost control of their Airbus A330 over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 after they lost their airspeed readings and the plane’s automated flight protections disconnected. All 228 people on board died.
The US National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pilots of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that struck a seawall in San Francisco in 2013 killing three while trying to land, did not realise they had shut off their automatic speed control system in part because it was not properly documented.
Pilots on Lion Air Flight 610 were battling multiple failures in the minutes after they took off from Jakarta on the early morning flight, according to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee. The pilots had asked to return as they struggled but plunged into the Java Sea at high speed before they could land, according to investigators. All 189 people aboard were killed.
Data from the recovered flight recorder shows that the Max’s new safety feature, known as Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), was triggered. An errant sensor signalled that the plane was in danger of stalling and prompted the MCAS to compensate by repeatedly sending the plane into a dive.
The pilots counteracted by repeatedly flipping a switch to raise the nose manually, which temporarily disabled MCAS. The cycle duplicated itself more than two dozen times before the plane entered its final dive, according to flight data.
This occurred as multiple other systems were malfunctioning or issuing cockpit warnings. Most notably, the cockpit was permeated by the loud thumping sound of a device on the captain’s side of the cockpit known as a stick shaker, which is designed to warn the pilots they are in danger of losing lift on their wings. The stick shaker was erroneous, too, prompted by the same false readings from the sensor.
Boeing stresses that a procedure pilots train for should have overcome the malfunction. “Automation is an aid to flight crews on our airplanes and is a significant contributor to improving safety,” the Chicago plane maker said.
Airline accidents almost never occur from a single cause and preliminary information from the investigation suggests multiple factors were at work on the fatal Lion Air flight.
While maintenance and pilot training may be found to be more significant, the underlying issue with an automated system behaving in unexpected ways puts the accident in a now-common category.
Plane makers have been adding more automation to help pilots avoid errors as aviation technology has become increasingly sophisticated.
At Airbus, flight computers oversee pilots’ control inputs on models built since the late 1980s and will not allow steep dives or turns deemed unsafe. Boeing’s philosophy has been to leave more authority in the hands of pilots, but newer designs include some computerised limits and, like Airbus, its aircraft are equipped with sophisticated autopilots and systems to set speed during landings, among other functions.
The new feature on the 737 Max family of aircraft was designed to address one of the most common remaining killers in commercial aviation. By nudging the plane nose down in certain situations, the MCAS software lowers the chances of an aerodynamic stall and a loss of control.
Accidents caused by failure to control killed 1,131 people between 2008 to 2017, by far the biggest category, according to Boeing statistics.
This type of automation is credited with helping create the unprecedented safety improvements of recent decades, yet it has not been perfect.
“A lot of the experts have commented that human beings are not very good at monitoring machines,” said Roger Cox, a former NTSB investigator who specialised in pilot actions. “The reverse is better. Machines are pretty good at monitoring human beings.”
Devices that offer relatively simple warnings of an impending mid-air collision, for example, have proven nearly foolproof, according to reports. On the other hand, more complex systems that aid pilots but require human oversight have on rare occasions confused crews and led to crashes.
It is also important to keep in mind that issues with automation can be exacerbated by pilot actions, Mr Cox said.
“Often times, what we call an automation error is really a proficiency error or a lack-of-attention error and not fundamentally a fault of the automation,” he said.
At least one reason that these type of accidents occur may have to do with how pilots’ manual flying skills atrophy as cockpits become more automated, according to a 2014 study by Nasa research psychologist Stephen Casner.
While basic tasks like monitoring instruments and manually controlling an aircraft tend to stay intact in the automated modern cockpit, the study found “more frequent and significant problems” with navigation and recognising instrument system failures.
A different study by Mr Casner and others in 2013 found a similar issue: “flying has got so safe that pilots don’t experience emergencies much during regular operations, if at all. That is good news in the main, but it means that crews also are not as prepared”.
The study suggested that airlines devise more realistic and complex training scenarios, and that they give pilots more practice reacting to emergencies that occur while automation is off.
“Where novices are derailed, discombobulated or taken by surprise when problems are presented under novel circumstances, experts characteristically perform as if they have ‘been there and done that’,” the authors said.
In the wake of the Lion Air crash, aviation authorities in Indonesia and India have pushed for more simulator training for Boeing 737 Max pilots, Reuters reported. Indonesia said this month it will immediately impose new requirements for simulator training.
“In the past there were three hours of computer-based training,” Indonesian air transportation director general Polana Pramesti said, in reference to requirements for pilots switching from older versions of the 737.
The Lion Air crash could have serious implications for Boeing’s bottom line. The budget airline has confirmed it is considering cancelling Max orders worth $22bn.
GA groups can claim a victory in the fine print of the latest government shutdown. The FAA has confirmed to AVweb that aircraft registry services will be maintained throughout the shutdown, which began at midnight Dec. 22 and is still the subject of political machinations in Washington. “Air traffic controllers, as well as those who maintain the aircraft registry, remain on the job,” a senior FAA spokesman told AVweb. In the past, only operations directly involved in air traffic control were maintained during a shutdown but, as we reported during last January’s shutdown, GA groups protested that registry services were also essential.
During that shutdown, six GA groups, led by NBAA, appealed to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to reopen the registry office in Oklahoma City, citing the Antideficiency Act, which obligates the government to maintain services “vital to the protection of human life and property.” The groups argued that allowing aircraft registrations to lapse would impair oversight of flight safety oversight and put the U.S. in violation of bilateral agreements with other countries. Closure of the Oklahoma City office also prevented manufacturers from registering and transferring newly built and sold aircraft and also held up the paperwork on used aircraft sales.
To keep pilots from leaving, Air Mobility Command aims to get them back in the air
Capt. Thomas Bernard, a 36th Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules pilot, performs a visual confirmation with night vision goggles during a training mission over Kanto Plain, Japan, in October 2015. The percentage of mobility pilots accepting hefty retention bonuses saw a sharp decline in 2018, and Air Mobility Command is trying to figure out a way to convince them to stay. (Osakabe Yasuo/Air Force)
Air Mobility Command has a problem. Commercial airlines are in the midst of a hiring spree, and AMC’s mobility pilots have exactly the experience companies like Delta and United need.
And there are signs that the problem is even more acute for AMC than the rest of the Air Force, which is also hurting for pilots. In a Friday interview, Brig. Gen Darren James, AMC’s director of operations, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said that from 2015 through 2017, mobility pilots accepted hefty aviation retention bonuses at about the same rate as the rest of the Air Force.
That changed in 2018, when the percentage of eligible mobility pilots signing up for the Aviation Bonus Program dropped sharply, to 37.9 percent. That’s a 6-percentage point decline from the previous year, and is now about 7 percentage points lower than the overall take rate for manned aircraft pilots across the Air Force.
“That’s concerning to me,” James said.
In recent years, AMC has tried to find out why their mobility pilots are leaving – and taken steps to correct those problems and encourage them to stay longer.
Some factors are apparent, and out of AMC’s hands, he said. The economy is doing better, and the private sector – particularly airlines – is hiring, which is typically when AMC has trouble with retention. The Air Force has been fighting in the Middle East and Afghanistan for 17 years now, and that continuous operations tempo puts strain on airmen and their families.
But AMC has also been surveying recently separated pilots to find out what pushed them to leave. And their responses have given AMC some ideas on how to improve pilots’ lives, James said.
Alarming number of mobility pilots decline bonuses to keep flying; overall bonus ‘take rates’ up slightly
The percentage of manned aircraft pilots accepting hefty bonuses to stay in the Air Force stopped its slide in fiscal 2018. But turning on the cash spigot appears to have had limited effect in some areas.
One of the most common complaints from mobility pilots has been the 365-day deployments they were sent on, or were at risk of being sent on, that had nothing to do with flying, James said. When pilots are tapped for those year-long deployments to places like Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar or Afghanistan, they usually end up working with personnel from host nations, or U.S. allies, to build relationships and maintain continuity.
But a pilots grow weary of being away from home for a year to do non-flying jobs. That’s not why they signed up. So AMC has taken steps to reduce year-long deployments, from 47 to 26, AMC spokesman Col. Chris Karns said Dec. 10.
James said AMC cut some of those deployments entirely, and reduced others to 120 days or 179 days.
AMC also sought to increase pilots’ so-called “white space,” or time available for training, professional development or home with their families when they’re back from deployments. The command is also trying to reduce the additional administrative support duties in the squadrons that pilots are commonly asked to do.
In early 2018, AMC began hiring contractors to handle scheduling, training and evaluations at squadrons and take the pressure off pilots, James said.
AMC is also exploring a flying-only technical track that allows pilots who aren’t interested in leadership roles to spend more time in the cockpit. This technical track would allow participants to skip traditional “stepping stones” designed to prepare them for leadership, former AMC head Gen. Carlton Everhart said earlier in the year.
When Everhart asked for suggestions last year on how to retain pilots, one of the most popular ideas was creating such a flying-only track.
But when it came time to sign up this summer, relatively few pilots showed interest. James said AMC received four application packages, and chose two pilots to take part in the program.
While AMC didn’t have a quota it hoped to fill for that program, James said he would have preferred more participants. He was not sure why more pilots didn’t try to sign up. The Air Force is now conducting a broader survey to see whether pilots are truly interested in such a flying-only track, and if so, what AMC must do to meet their needs. Air Force headquarters will likely provide more guidance on how to set up these programs when the survey is done.
Long-awaited Mitsubishi jet has one last hurdle to clear
Crucial test flights to begin next month in US
The timeline for a mid-2020 delivery of the MRJ is tight.
TOKYO — Japan’s first homegrown jet airliner, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, has received the green light to launch make-or-break test flights in January, the final regulatory challenge ahead of its targeted delivery in mid-2020.
Developer Mitsubishi Aircraft, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, on Friday won approval from the transport ministry to undertake so-called type certification testing.
The plane, which has been plagued by numerous delays, is currently undergoing in-house flight tests at the company’s center in the western U.S. state of Washington. Cumulative flight time has exceeded 2,400 hours.
Pilots from the ministry’s Civil Aviation Board will be on board during the test flights. The process for certifying the airworthiness of a plane for its designed purpose involves a long process, beginning with the analysis of blueprints, performance testing with models and the actual plane, strength tests of material and structural components, and finally actual flights to collect and analyze data.
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner took about 20 months to gain certification after starting flight tests. Honda Motor’s HondaJet required about two years to become certified.
The MRJ’s timeline is tight, having only about 18 months to meet the mid-2020 delivery target. It has already suffered five delays spanning seven years as it is. Preparation for mass production and customer support operations will be accelerated next year.
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.