Flight Safety Information [December 27, 2018] [No. 262]

Flight Safety Information
Top Flight Safety Information   

December 27, 2018  –  No. 262


In This Issue
Incident: American B738 at Miami on Dec 24th 2018, door open indication
Incident: VietJet A320 at Nha Trang on Dec 25th 2018, landed on closed runway
Incident: British Airways A320 near Paris on Dec 26th 2018, burning odour in cockpit
EVAS – Cockpit Smoke Protection
Saab 340B – Air Return – Engine Trouble (Japan)
Boeing 737-4Y0 – Engine Damage on Landing (Afghanistan)
Beechcraft 58P Pressurized Baron – Fatal Accident – (South Dakota)
2 injured as plane diverts to Austin airport because of turbulence
LIBIK Fire Suppression Kits for the Cabin and Flight Deck
Med Flight rescue mission aborted, pilot injured after someone shined laser pointer at helicopter
Autoland Runway Excursion Blamed On Pilots
Lawsuit against Boeing over Lion Air crash demands Chicago jury trial
Lack of spares grounds 15 Air India jets: New Delhi
Australia Updates Ops Regs
Aspen Airport Leaves Runway Lights on During Daytime
Airplane Safety Inspector: Federal Shutdown Could Compromise Safety
The year in aviation: Billions of passengers, two high-profile accidents
Government Shutdown Furloughs Nearly 18,000 FAA Workers
Insurance Premiums Trending Up
PIA operating fleet of 32 aircraft on domestic, international routes
Ravn Air Group Announces the Acquisition of the Assets of Peninsula Airways
5 great pilot training schools in Arizona
China is infiltrating US space industry with investments
Cabin Accident Investigation from SCSI
Position Available: Deputy Director of Safety

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Incident: American B738 at Miami on Dec 24th 2018, door open indication
An American Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration N956AN performing flight AA-1429 from Miami,FL (USA) to Managua (Nicaragua) with 168 people on board, was climbing out of Miami when the crew requested to level off at 16,000 feet to work some checklists indicating they might need to return to Miami. The crew subsequently declared emergency reporting they had an aft door open indication and needed to return for an overweight landing. The aircraft landed safely back on Miami’s runway 09 about 45 minutes after departure. The crew requested an outside inspection, mainly wheels, flaps and wings due to the overweight landing.

The door was found secured however the latch was open.

A replacement Boeing 737-800 registration N856NN reached Managua with a delay of 3:45 hours.



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Incident: VietJet A320 at Nha Trang on Dec 25th 2018, landed on closed runway on technical return
A VietJetAir Airbus A320-200, registration VN-A695 performing flight VJ-689 from Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), was climbing out of Nha Trang’s Cam Ranh Airport’s runway 02 when the crew stopped the climb at FL130 due to a technical problem, entered a hold south of Nha Trang and decided to return to Nha Trang. The aircraft’s transponder stopped transmitting position data after the second holding pattern. The aircraft subsequently approached runway 02, however, landed on the already finished but not yet opened runway 02R instead of runway 02. There were no injuries and no damage.

Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority reported the aircraft departed Nha Trang at 11:14L (04:14Z) and was climbing out a few minutes after takeoff when the crew received a warning indication of a technical problem. The crew decided to return to Cam Ranh Airport for an emergency landing, however, mistakenly landed on a runway that was completed but not yet opened. The CAA assigned an investigation team and opened an investigation, soon after the CAA decided to suspend all staff by VietJetAir involved in the operation of this flight, to prohibit the airline to introduce new routes and to put VietJetAir under special monitoring.

A similiar occurrence had happened earlier this year, see Incident: Vietnam A321 at Nha Trang on Apr 29th 2018, landed on runway under construction.

Related NOTAM:
A3253/18 NOTAMN
Q) VVTS/QMRHW/IV/NBO/A/000/999/1200N10913E005
A) VVCR B) 1809281029 C) 1812311659 EST
– ITEM 2.1.1 PHASE 1: CONT UNTIL 1659 DATED DEC 31 2018


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Incident: British Airways A320 near Paris on Dec 26th 2018, burning odour in cockpit
A British Airways Airbus A320-200, registration G-GATH performing flight BA-2578 from London Gatwick,EN (UK) to Turin (Italy), was enroute at FL350 about 25nm southwest of Paris (France) when the crew decided to divert to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport reporting a burning odour in the cockpit. The aircraft landed safely in Charles de Gaulle’s runway 08R about 25 minutes later.

A replacement A320-200 registration G-GATM is estimated to reach Turin with a delay of about 5 hours.


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Saab 340B – Air Return – Engine Trouble (Japan)

Date: 26-DEC-2018
Time: 12:15 LT
Type: Saab 340B
Owner/operator: Japan Air Commuter
C/n / msn:
Fatalities: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 22
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location: near Kagoshima Airport (KOJ/RJFK) –    Japan
Phase: En route
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Kagoshima Airport (KOJ/RJFK)
Destination airport: Matsuyama Airport (MYJ/RJOM)

A Saab 340B of Japan Air Commuter suffered successive double return trouble. Flight 3X/JAC3687 from Kagoshima to Matsuyama with 22 persons onboard suffered an engine trouble which forced the plane to return to Kagoshima. The troubled flight was disconnected and the return flight was cancelled. After replacing the affected part(s), the Saab was back in service in the same day for flight 3X3809 from Kagoshima to Okinoerabu (OKE/RJKB) with 35 souls onboard, however, the plane faced the same engine trouble at 15:30 LT, 30 minutes after takeoff. The flight should return again. No personal injuries were reported in both incidents.


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Boeing 737-4Y0 – Engine Damage on Landing (Afghanistan)

Date: 26-DEC-2018
Type: Boeing 737-4Y0
Owner/operator: Ariana Afghan Airlines
Registration: YA-PID
C/n / msn:
Fatalities: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: None
Location: Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport (OAMS) –    Afghanistan
Phase: Landing
Nature: Passenger
Departure airport: Kabul International Airport(OAKB,KBL)
Destination airport: Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport (OAMS)

An Ariana Afghan Airlines aircraft reportedly suffered damage to an engine in a landing incident at Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport.

The airline operates three Boeing 737-4Y0 and two Airbus A310-304 aircraft. Flightradar24 shows Boeing 737-400 YA-PID arriving at Mazar-i-Sharif as flight FG511 at 04:14 UTC. There is no record of the aircraft departing.


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Beechcraft 58P Pressurized Baron – Fatal Accident – (South Dakota)

Date: 25-DEC-2018
Time: 17:00 LT
Type: Beechcraft 58P Pressurized Baron
Owner/operator: Private
Registration: N6745V
C/n / msn: TJ-272
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: SE of Sioux Falls Regional Airport (KFSD), Sioux Falls, SD –    United States of America
Phase: Unknown
Nature: Private
Departure airport: Grand Rapids, MI
Destination airport: Tea, SD

A Beechcraft 58P Pressurized baron impacted residential terrain and a post-impact fire ensued southeast of Sioux Falls Regional Airport (KFSD), Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The airplane was destroyed during the accident sequence and both occupants onboard were fatally injured. Four residential structures were involved, two with exterior damage.


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An Air Canada flight traveling from Vancouver to Hawaii turned around mid-trip on Christmas Eve.

Flight AC535 was about halfway through the route on Monday morning to Maui when the plane returned to its destination.

“A Boeing 737 with 167 passengers on board returned to Vancouver for maintenance reasons due to a hydraulic indication. We arranged the transfer of passengers to another aircraft to get them on their way to their final destinations as soon as possible. The decision to return to Vancouver was made for maintenance reasons only due to a hydraulic indication and was not an emergency,” an Air Canada Director of Media Relations Isabelle Arthur told Newsweek.

“We provided customers with discounts for future travel, offered free meals during the flight and had buffet snacks and meals at the gate before departure of the flight.”

Arthur said that passengers were delayed by about 11 hours.

Passengers were disgruntled at the delay, according to CTV News. Rahuo Amelkarn expressed displeasure “how on Christmas Eve, we had to turn back … and waste our entire day.”

Founder of Air Passenger Rights Dr. Gabor Lukacs said that individuals who were on the flight could receive thousands of dollars in damages if they could prove losses.

“They are liable for up to $8,700” under the country’s Carriage by Air Act if they can demonstrate they lost money for travel or rental alterations, Lukacs said.

A much stranger incident interrupted a flight earlier this month.

A Southwest plane going from Seattle to Dallas was forced to abort its flight path after the crew discovered a human heart intended for a Seattle hospital.

“We made the decision to return to Seattle as it was absolutely necessary to deliver the shipment to its destination in the Seattle area as quickly as possible,” a Southwest spokesperson told Newsweek, apologizing for the travel delay. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers, and the safe delivery of the precious cargo we transport every day.”

And in October, a United Express flight traveling from Chicago to Tennessee was forced to turn back — reportedly because the plane was too large.

The initial plane had been swapped before takeoff due to a mechanical problem.

“We’re sorry for returning to Chicago,” a text sent to passengers read. “The airport in Chattanooga is unable to assist with ground operational requirements for your current aircraft type. We assigned your flight a new plane.”

Customers arrived more than three hours late, according to tracking company FlightAware.


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2 injured as plane diverts to Austin airport because of turbulence

Two people went to the hospital after being hurt by turbulence Dec. 26, 2018 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Multiple people were hurt because of turbulence as their plane was diverted to Austin Wednesday night.

Austin-Travis County EMS said it checked out three people who were hurt. Two of them were taken to the emergency room with injuries that are not expected to threaten their lives. The passenger and flight attendant had knee pain and neck pain.

The American Airlines plane operated by Mesa Airlines landed safely and taxied to the gate around 5:50 p.m., and the Austin Fire Department reported it may have been damaged because of the turbulence.

The plane carrying 79 people was traveling from San Luis Potosí International Airport in Mexico to Dallas, but diverted because of turbulence caused by severe weather in the area, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport said. ATC EMS was alerted around 5:18 p.m. and met the plane when it landed.

“We received notification that a diversion was taking place when they were still out a little way and they came in and everyone was in place to respond appropriately,” said Bryce Dubee, the public information specialist for the City of Austin Department of Aviation.

Flight diversions such as this one are very common during severe weather, he added.

“Safety is a top priority in these situations when there is severe weather,” Dubee said. “Airports will work together all the time to reroute flights to divert them to keep planes moving safely.”

The 75 passengers and 4 crew members on American Airlines Flight 5781 have gotten off the plane and will work with the airline to get to their destination. American Airlines said they will receive hotel accommodations for Wednesday night and will make their way to Dallas/Fort Worth on Thursday.


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Med Flight rescue mission aborted, pilot injured after someone shined laser pointer at helicopter

A UW Med Flight pilot aborted a rescue mission on Christmas in southern Wisconsin and suffered an eye injury after someone shined a laser pointer at the helicopter.

The helicopter was attempting to land in Pardeeville to pick up a 17-year-old boy injured in an all-terrain vehicle crash when someone on the ground aimed a strong laser pointer at the aircraft, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department reported Wednesday.

The pilot, who was using night vision equipment, was injured and had to return to the UW Med Flight home base for treatment. Meanwhile, the crash victim, who suffered a head injury and broken bones, was taken to a hospital by ground ambulance.

While searching for the suspect with the laser pointer, a Columbia County Sheriff’s deputy encountered unseen ice and suffered a lower leg injury that will keep him out of work for a while, said Lt. Wayne Smith.

“It’s alarming because obviously, it’s a serious injury if Med Flight is called,” Smith said of the ATV crash victim. “They weren’t able to treat the person, and now the Med Flight pilot got injured and so did a deputy. It just compounded itself.”

The crash involving a side-by-side utility vehicle happened around 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Town of Scott, north of Pardeeville. UW Med Flight couldn’t land at the crash site, so the victim was taken to Chandler Park in Pardeeville.

While the helicopter was trying to land at Chandler Park at 5:53 p.m., someone shined the laser pointer, injuring the pilot. The Med Flight helicopter couldn’t land and returned to UW Hospital in Madison.

The park has been used previously as a landing zone for UW Med Flight, said Frank Erdman, UW Health critical care transport manager.

“When we’re approaching that sort of landing zone, we take a couple of passes to see if there are any hazards or obstructions. While the pilot was doing that maneuver, he noticed the laser, which actually struck him in the face and eyes a couple of times,” said Erdman.

Also on board were a flight physician and registered nurse who saw the laser’s light but it did not hit them in the eyes. The pilot, UW Med Flight’s only one, told Erdman he saw spots after his eyes were hit by the laser pointer. After returning to Madison, the pilot was treated and returned to duty on Wednesday.

If the suspect is caught, he or she could face federal charges of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, which is punishable by a maximum five years imprisonment and $250,000 fine, plus state felony charges of obstructing emergency or rescue personnel.

“Not only do we urge people not to do this, it’s illegal to do so,” said Smith. “Aside from that, it’s just common decency and care for fellow humans.”

The primary hazard of aiming laser lights at aircraft is from interfering with a pilot’s vision especially during critical phases of a flight such as takeoff and landing, according to laserpointersafety.com.

The FAA reported more than 5,000 incidents involving laser pointers and aircraft in the United States in 2015.

A 2016 study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology reported that laser pointers cannot permanently damage a pilot’s vision. However, though no air accidents have been blamed on lasers pointed at aircraft, pilots have reported pain, spots in their vision and disorienting flashes.

UW Med Flight transports 1,000 to 1,200 patients annually and flies in a 125- to 150-mile radius of Madison, though sometimes the crew is called to handle patients and incidents farther away.

“Even though (laser pointers) seem fairly innocuous, they can be dangerous especially when pointed at the eyes,” said Erdman, adding that this was the first time a UW Med Flight mission was affected by them.

Columbia County Sheriff’s detectives were working Wednesday to find the person who aimed the laser pointer. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 293-8477 or Columbia County Detective Sgt. A.J. Agney at (608) 742-4166, extension 3318.


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Autoland Runway Excursion Blamed On Pilots

German investigators say a runway excursion by Boeing 777 that was on autoland was the fault of the pilots. The unusual incident happened in November of 2011 at Munich Airport but the report from the German BRU was just released this week. The BRU found the Singapore Airlines crew initiated the chain of events that led to the autopilot putting the aircraft on the grass. It was reported by Aerossurance on Monday. The flight was arriving from Manchester in the U.K. and was just about to touch down when an RJ85 taking off further down the runway momentarily blocked the signal from the localizer at the opposite end. For a few seconds, nothing and no one was in control of the aircraft which was less than 50 feet above the runway.

The widebody banked left before landing on the left main gear and veering left off the runway, even though the captain hit the go-around button on the throttle lever. The pilots were only able to gain manual control when they kicked right rudder, sending the big jet back across the runway where it finally stopped in the grass on the right side. There were no injuries and the plane wasn’t damaged. The investigation concluded the aircraft performed as designed and blamed the pilots.

The crew’s mistake occurred when they got their final weather report for the destination airport. As per their company’s procedures, the captain took over from the first officer as pilot flying because of the low visibility (1.25 nm) and ceiling (300 ft.) Even though the conditions didn’t require it (they were CAT I), the captain decided to let the plane autoland but he didn’t tell controllers. The controllers were operating under CAT I procedures, which allowed them to clear the regional for takeoff ahead of the approaching 777. Had the controllers known the 777 was autolanding, the investigators said the controllers would have held the RJ85.

The timing of the events proved critical to the eventual outcome. The localizer signal was interrupted just as the 777 was about to touch down. When it banked left, the captain hit the automatic go around but not before the gear touched and caused the aircraft to reject that command. It instead went into the roll-out mode. The pilots were, however, able to manually retract the spoilers in anticipation of the go around and that likely contributed to their wild ride on the ground. The BRU recommended that flight crews be brushed up on the regs and do more sim training for localizer deviations. The mishap was caught on video.

MISSED LANDING Singapore Airlines B777-312ER Munich Airport
MISSED LANDING Singapore Airlines B777-312ER Munich Airport


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Lawsuit against Boeing over Lion Air crash demands Chicago jury trial

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) sub-committee head for air accidents, Nurcahyo Utomo, holds a model airplane while speaking during a news conference on its investigation into a Lion Air plane crash last month, in Jakarta, Indonesia November 28, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

CHICAGO(Reuters) – The family of a man who was killed when a Lion Air flight crashed in October has sued Boeing Co, alleging the 737 MAX 8 aircraft was “unreasonably dangerous” and demanding a jury trial in Chicago, where the U.S. manufacturer is based.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on behalf of the estate of Sudibyo Onggo Wardoyo, who died when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta on Oct. 29.

All 189 people on board the plane were killed.

The lawsuit alleges that the two-month-old Boeing aircraft was unreasonably dangerous because its sensors provided inaccurate data to its flight control system, causing its anti-stall system to improperly engage.

It also alleges Boeing failed to provide adequate instructions to pilots on how to respond to and disengage the plane’s anti-stall system.

“It was like Boeing first blindfolded and then tied the hands of the pilots,” said lawyer Thomas Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio, which is representing Onggo Wardoyo’s estate on behalf of the victim’s parents and three siblings.

Boeing did not immediately return requests for comment.


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Lack of spares grounds 15 Air India jets: New Delhi

The Indian government has revealed that 15 aircraft from Air India’s fleet have been grounded due to lack of engines and spares.

Responding to queries in parliament, minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha says that as of 6 December, two Boeing 787-8s, three 777s and 10 Airbus A320 family aircraft “were on ground for want of engines and spares”.

Air India has a fleet of 123 aircraft.

Sinha adds that due to the grounding of the aircraft, Air India has not been able to add more routes and has had to re-schedule and combine some flights.

The Star Alliance carrier has a long history of well-publicised financial woes.

In October, New Delhi said it was finalising a revival package for Air India that would include financial assistance and a strategy aimed at making it a more competitive carrier.

In his latest response, Sinha says that the revival plan’s financial package “[will] help in recovery of grounded aircraft”.

Air India has also been trying to raise capital on its own through sale-and-leaseback proposals of its aircraft, in particular the 787s and 777s. It previously indicated that proceeds from the sale of the jets will be used to repay bridging finance on the seven aircraft.


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Australia Updates Ops Regs

Over the last year, six new flight operations regulations have been signed into law, a major milestone for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia. Agency officials said updates to CASA Parts 91, 119, 121, 133, 135, and 138 “consolidate the existing flight operations rules, deliver safety improvements and align [requirements] with international best practice.”

While the rules have been enacted, this is only the first step in the process, because compliance won’t be required until March 25, 2021. In the interim, CASA will develop documents to support the regulations, as well as material to provide guidance and compliance recommendations. According to CASA, “All pilots and operators who fly in Australia will be affected by these new rules, with the exception of drone, sport and recreation, and balloon pilots and operators.”

One of the main aims of the new rules is to improve the safety of Part 135 charter operations. “There is a significant statistical difference in accident rates between charter and regular public transport (RPT) flights,” noted CASA officials. “There are also, currently, different regulatory requirements for RPT and charter. The new rules reduce this difference by creating one category of air transport, but scale the requirements to the size and complexity of the operations.”

Meanwhile, the Australia Safety Transportation Bureau (ATSB) has released its annual 10-year statistical report of accidents and incidents, 2008 through 2017. Although there were no fatalities in high-capacity scheduled airline operations in the 10-year study, the period did see an increase in fatalities from other segments.

Of turbine and non-turbine aircraft combined, 200 were involved in accidents in Australia, and 203 were involved in a serious incident: commercial operations (including business charter) experienced 28 fatalities from 14 accidents; personal and business general aviation suffered 68 killed in 116 crashes. Recreational flying, training, aerial and agricultural work, and search and rescue accounted for the remaining fatal mishaps.


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Aspen Airport Leaves Runway Lights on During Daytime

In a move aimed at avoiding a repeat of an off-runway landing, tower officials at the Aspen/Pitkin County (Colorado) Airport (ASE) plan to operate Runway 15’s lights in the daytime during the winter months. That’s according to a December 12 letter to airmen from Aspen tower air traffic manager Wayne Hall, who said the action is the most immediate step officials can take following the Jan. 7, 2018, landing of a Falcon Jet on frozen sod west of and next to the airport’s primary runway.

There were no injuries or damage to the airplane. During an investigation of the landing, several people reported “visual illusions and possible confusion with the landing surface and the area adjacent to it,” Hall said, also noting an “anecdotal history” of off-runway landings at ASE.

Hall said aircrews should expect runway lights to be operated on a middle setting during daylight hours. Crews can also request adjustment of the lights by contacting the tower controller, he added. Wrong surface landings are a top safety issue for the FAA, said NBAA’s Heidi Williams, director of air traffic services and infrastructure.


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Airplane Safety Inspector: Federal Shutdown Could Compromise Safety

ORLANDO, Fla. – With no definite end in sight for the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, inspectors who oversee the safety of air travel say they’re worried about the safety of air travelers.

While TSA workers and air-traffic controllers are considered “essential” workers and on the job, the aviation inspectors are furloughed.

Doug Lowe, president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists Florida Chapter, says he’s just one of a few aviation safety specialists still working during the federal government shutdown. A few must stay on to make sure equipment for air-traffic controllers stays up and running.

But Lowe says nearly 200 safety inspectors at Orlando International Airport, who keep a close eye on airlines to make sure they’re following Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations, aren’t working.

“That’s a huge concern for myself as well as others in PASS, because we know these inspections need to get done to ensure the proper oversight is done for the airlines,” Lowe said.

Although he works for the FAA, Lowe is speaking on behalf of the union.

He says airlines are still likely inspecting their aircraft for safety, but there’s currently no one with the federal government to oversee that conduct federal inspections.

“It’s a little bit concerning, but I’m sure the airport and other airports have an idea of what to do in this situation,” said Tim Smith, who was flying out of Orlando the day after Christmas.

Isabelle Wassilie, who was also flying out of Orlando, says she has concerns.

“… the biggest rule for a pilot is to keep your aircraft and your passengers safe, so if they’re not doing that then you’re putting everybody in danger,” she said.

Lowe says most planes in the air now have had recent inspections, but he says the longer the shutdown goes on, the more those planes will go unchecked.

“We get in a situation where … what inspections have been missed? What things have not been seen by our inspectors to ensure the safety of the flying public? And that’s our major concern,” he said.

And Lowe says he’s concerned about his co-workers who can’t go very long without a paycheck. He worries if the shutdown continues, some of those workers may have to find other jobs to make ends meet.


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The year in aviation: Billions of passengers, two high-profile accidents

John Cox, Special to USA TODAY Published 8:54 a.m. ET Dec. 26, 2018

Southwest Fatal Accident

2018 was an average year for air safety based on the number of accidents for cargo and passenger operators. Let’s put it into a little broader perspective.

Airlines flew nearly 4.5 billion passengers on nearly 45 million flights worldwide. Those are both record-breaking figures. But sadly, there were 15 accidents worldwide according to the Aviation Safety Network. Two of them were widely reported: the engine failure and cowling separation on Southwest Flight 1380 near Philadelphia, and the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 near Jakarta, Indonesia.

The engine failure on the Southwest flight caused inspections on all similar engines to ensure that no similar cracks existed in other engine fan blades. Additionally, regulators are looking at how the cowling departed the airplane, striking the wing and fuselage. They are reviewing certification standards and the life limits for engine components. While today’s engines are incredibly reliable, a tragedy such as the loss of a life on Southwest 1380 causes a thorough review.

The Lion Air investigation is ongoing. There have been notices sent to all 737 MAX pilots to reduce the likelihood of a similar accident. The industry acted quickly to address the initial issues raised in the investigation.

In the U.S., airline (fixed wing) operations began on Jan. 1, 1914, with the initial flight of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. It flew more than a thousand passengers safely in its five months of operation. It was a good start for commercial airlines to follow. In the 104 years since that first commercial flight, airlines now fly all around the globe, safely delivering passengers and cargo to thousands of destinations. Safety has improved through those years.

As with every year, 2018 gave us information we will use to improve safety. The thorough investigation of the 737 MAX accident in Jakarta will help this new version of the world’s most widely used jetliner maintain its very good safety record. As has happened in the history of aviation, out of this tragedy will come knowledge that makes future flights safer.

The airline industry and aviation regulators continue to modernize air traffic control, bring new airliners into the fleet and improve training. Each of these are essential elements of a commitment to improving aviation safety. While there is a widely reported shortage of pilots, we have to ensure that the men and women in our flight decks maintain the extraordinary degree of professionalism that helped provide the level of safety we have today.

Following aviation’s safest year in 2017, this year seems a bit of a letdown. It serves as a powerful reminder of the critical importance of remaining vigilant and committed to transporting passengers, crew and cargo safely by air.

John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways and runs his own aviation safety consulting company, Safety Operating Systems.


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Government Shutdown Furloughs Nearly 18,000 FAA Workers

Nearly 18,000 FAA workers involved in activities such as airmen certificate issuance and NextGen development are furloughed as a result of the partial federal government shutdown took effect on December 22. This marks the third time this year the government has shut down as Congress and the White House reached stalemates over various issues, this time border-wall funding.

While Congress was able to pass year-long funding bills for agencies such as the Department of Defense, it could not push through bills for numerous federal agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security, and Commerce.

For the FAA, this affects 17,791 positions that are not involved in the excepted “life and safety” positions. In addition to airmen certificate issuance and NextGen development, activities suspended include unmanned systems exemption, aviation rulemaking, facility security inspections, routine background checks, air traffic control specialist development, certain drug testing, dispute resolution, and air traffic performance analysis, among many others.

Thanks to the most recent FAA reauthorization bill, the aircraft registry remains open. ATC, maintenance of ATC equipment, field inspections, and “limited” aircraft certification activities also continue.

At other agencies, essential activities such as TSA and Customs continue. However, NBAA notes that overtime arrivals would be affected and advised operators to communicate directly with their port of entry to clarify if this would have an impact on proposed arrival times after normal business hours.

NBAA further encouraged members to report to the association how the shutdown is affecting their operations. “This information will be used to tell elected officials about the damage the government shutdown is doing to companies of all sizes, all across the U.S.,” the association said.


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Insurance Premiums Trending Up

A series of aviation-related judgments each awarding $100 million to a single individual and the departure of several large reinsurance companies from the aviation sector have together shaken the aircraft insurance industry out of its soft market, according to various insurance experts. Aircraft operators should expect insurance premium increases of between 10 and 25 percent in 2019 as insurers try to refill coffers that were already depleted from a decade of artificially low premiums.

“We started out this year seeing five to seven percent increases as the norm,” said Steve Johns, president at LL Johns and Associates. “Then the last few months, it was 10 percent. Now we’re seeing up to 25 percent increases, especially for operators that are higher risk or have had a history of losses.”

Various factors enticed new insurance companies to enter the aviation market starting in about 2006, fueling intense competition that drove premium prices to pre-2000 levels. The total aviation premiums declined from $2.16 billion in 2005 to $1.65 billion in 2014, even though the number of commercial aircraft delivered increased each year during that time period.

Since 2010, there have been at least five years where total aviation premiums collected were less than total claims paid out, but premiums stayed low as the new insurers continued to bring capital to the market, creating a glut of capital available to cover claims. However, as individual companies failed to make a profit over time, those newcomers-including some of the reinsurance companies that essentially insure the insurers-began to leave the market just as payouts of claims in excess of $100 million for a single individual have begun to hit the industry.

“Twenty years ago, you expected a maximum award of $1 million per person,” said Ernest DeSpain, senior v-p at W. Brown and Associates Insurance Services. “The airlines’ current budget for liability exposure is about $3 million per person. The $100 million per person judgments have been shocking, and set a whole new standard-that basically the entire policy limit may be awarded to just one person.”

According to DeSpain, part of the recent increase in premiums can be traced to reinsurers getting out of the unprofitable aviation market, forcing the others to raise rates to cover losses.

“Six reinsurers have recently pulled out of the aviation market,” said DeSpain. “The rest have been increasing their rates 10 to 15 percent. There’s still a lot of capacity available, but the reinsurers need to start seeing profits and they may need a 15 to 25 percent increase to do that. That will accelerate premium increases because the insurance companies will pass that cost on as well.”


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PIA operating fleet of 32 aircraft on domestic, international routes

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been operating a fleet of 32 aircraft – six of which are currently under maintenance – with an average age of 11.8 years on international and domestic routes.

Of the fleet, 12 Boeing 777s, 11 A320s and nine ATRs have been flying to more than 30 destinations. The six grounded aircraft include one Boeing 777, two A320s and three ATRs.

The PIA used to have a fleet of 64 aircraft of various makes, including the Airbus A310, A300 and A330, the Boeing 737 and 747 and the Douglas DC-9 and DC-10. That number has now decreased to 32.

A PIA spokesperson, Mashood Tajwar, told Dawn that of the 32 aircraft, 26 are still flying while six are under maintenance.

He said the airline needs to expand its fleet to meet the increase in passengers that has affected other airlines, the PIA included, since the closure of a private airline.

The shortage of aircraft and closure of an airline has also led to a rise in fares, causing difficulties for a rising number of passengers.

“None of the airlines operating in the country have increased their capacity in line with the increasing load of passengers,” he said.

An engineer associated with the airline said the maintenance of aircraft has been neglected under previous governments, but the present government is concentrating on spare parts for aircraft, which will help reduce losses and make it possible for more planes to operate.

The unavailability of parts, even light bulbs, causes problems for cabin crew and passengers.

“We did not get light bulbs due to the unavailability of parts in the recent past, but the situation is now gradually improving,” he said.


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Ravn Air Group Announces the Acquisition of the Assets of Peninsula Airways

NEW YORK, Dec. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Ravn Air Group, Inc. (“Ravn”), a portfolio company of investment affiliates of J.F. Lehman & Company (“JFLCO”), announced today the purchase of the assets of Peninsula Airways, Inc. (“PenAir”) by one of its subsidiaries.

Headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, PenAir is a regional Part 121 airline operating passenger, freight, and charter flights to seven destinations in Southwest Alaska and the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. JFLCO and Ravn were the prevailing bidders in a Section 363 bankruptcy auction for the assets of the company.

Ravn is a leading provider of regional air transportation and logistics services in Alaska. Headquartered in Anchorage and supported by over 1,000 employees, Ravn utilizes its fleet of almost 70 aircraft to provide passenger, freight, and charter air transportation services to over 115 destinations throughout Alaska.

“This is a big win for Ravn Air Group, as well as for PenAir and all of our team members, customers, and Alaska communities,” said Dave Pflieger, President and CEO of Ravn. “The two companies coming together provides an incredible opportunity to better connect Alaska, with the ability to provide broader, more reliable, and more consistent service.”

“The acquisition of PenAir represents another successful step in expanding Ravn’s unique service offering and enables us to better serve the residents and businesses of Alaska,” said Alex Harman, Partner at JFLCO. “PenAir’s exceptional safety culture and talented group of employees represent a strong fit, and we are pleased to welcome them to Ravn Air Group,” added Will Hanenberg, Principal at JFLCO.


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5 great pilot training schools in Arizona

What better way to experience Arizona than from above? If you want to learn how to fly, start with these awesome pilot training schools.

Avoid icy runways, fly through perpetually sunny skies, get experience with some of the best pilot training schools in the country. Learn to fly in Arizona.

If you’re looking for the best state to begin a career as a pilot, Arizona is home to several great pilot training schools to set you on your path.

Here’s our list of the top 5 pilot training schools in Arizona, what sets them apart, and why they should top your list of flight schools to consider attending.

1. AeroGaurd Flight Training Center
AeroGaurd is an Elite pilot training school. Located in Phoenix, it’s not only a great location for flight school but boasts proximity to all the great amenities of downtown like shows, sporting events, delicious food, and more.

Students at AeroGaurd receive schooling in basic aircraft flight via an optimized curriculum. They offer a fully integrated training for their students.

AeroGaurd’s alliance with SkyWest Airlines means you can begin your professional airline career just 24 months after starting with their program.

2. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 out of every 4 pilots today is now a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Beginning back in 1925, Embry-Riddle now has over 130,000 graduated alumni. Located in Prescott, Arizona, this flight school is an obvious choice for any aspiring professional pilot.

3. Alliance Flight Schools
Averaging about 350 flight days a year, this flight school in Scottsdale, Arizona is a great match for anyone looking to learn in accelerated curriculum or standard.

Alliance flight schools offer Cirrus training as well as private and instrument training, CFI and commercial training.

Their team of certified flight instructors will help instill confidence and professionalism in students.

4. Classic Air Aviation
If you’re looking for a fast track to becoming a professional pilot, Classic Air Aviation provides this option. If speed isn’t as much of a concern, the standard curriculum is also available.

Classic Air has a campus in Mesa, Arizona, just outside of fabulous Phoenix.

The school is at historic Falcon Field and has a flight club, aircraft rental availability, and flight training. With its advanced endorsements and ratings, Classic Air Aviation is another great option for aspiring pilots.

5. Cochise College Aviation
With over 45 years of aviation training under their belt, the team at Cochise College has earned great respect in the aviation industry.

FlyCochise alumni have found jobs with every major commercial airline, the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs, corporate aviation businesses, the Federal Aviation Administration, and air freight services.

As an alumnus of Cochise College Aviation, your options are far from limited upon graduation.

Cochise is located in Douglas, Arizona and is fortunate to own and maintain a fleet of their own. This may be especially appealing to potential students as this lowers overhead costs for the school, resulting in fewer student expenses.

More Perks of Arizona Pilot Training
As if choosing to become a pilot weren’t exciting enough, opting to attend a pilot training school in Arizona brings with it even more perks.

With a variety of great outdoor adventures, national sporting events, nightlife, and more, Arizona isn’t just a great place to attend school. It’s a great place to live. So come, check us out in Arizona where the sky is literally your limit.


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China is infiltrating US space industry with investments

Recent actions by China illuminate growing concerns regarding their influence in the technology industry and the national security implications for the U.S. Echoed by reports from the national security community regarding Chinese investments in U.S. emerging and critical technologies, concerns indicate the political landscape is shifting towards a more aggressive posture with respect to China. Increasingly, U.S. policymakers are dedicating attention and resources to this issue, creating a rift between regulators and industry that the space industry will not be immune from.

The most recent act of Chinese aggression, announced last week by the U.S. Department of Justice, charged hackers who allegedly stole data from over 45 technology companies and government agencies, including NASA.

Months of trade tensions between the U.S. and China culminated in a 90-day standstill agreement struck between President Trump and People’s Republic of China’s Xi Jinping at the 2018 G-20 Summit in December. But even with the temporary truce, the U.S. is unafraid to show strength, as was the case in the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou earlier this month.

Huawei has played a major role in China’s strategy for global telecommunications supremacy and is considered a national security risk by U.S. officials. Beijing has undertaken a similarly aggressive approach in the space industry, actions that could eventually prompt equally confrontational responses from U.S. officials.

China’s interactions with the U.S. space industry include commercial investment in U.S. startups, civil and commercial competition, and hostile cyberattacks. On Dec. 6, Boeing announced that it would be canceling a satellite order with Global IP, a Los Angeles-based startup, following The Wall Street Journal investigation that shed light on a $200 million investment by a Chinese company into the startup. Boeing acted swiftly once the report was released, citing payment concerns as the primary reason for abandoning the project.

While Global IP is the most recent U.S.-based space company caught in between the two rival powers, it is not the only one. China’s Tencent Holdings has invested in Moon Express, a commercial lunar exploration company. Moon Express has worked closely with NASA, a relationship that recently paid off when NASA announced that it had been selected for the agency’s new Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), a program that partners with commercial entities on delivering payloads to the Moon.

Tencent Holdings has also invested in U.S.-based Planetary Resources and World View Enterprises. Similarly, in March 2018 Shenzhen-based Kuang-Chi initiated a “commercial partnership” with U.S.-based Nanoracks on a helium fueled spacecraft.

In January, a Defense Department white paper assessed the economic and national security implications of China’s investments in the U.S. tech industry and expressed concerns about the U.S.’s ability to respond effectively. The report stated that “Chinese participation in venture-backed startups is at a record level of 10-16% of all venture deals (2015-2017).”

Tensions between the U.S. and China over tech have also led to recent Department of Commerce and Treasury regulations devised to monitor and deter foreign investment and restrict the flow of high-tech exports across borders. In October, Vice President Mike Pence referenced China’s influence in U.S. technology as a key concern during remarks on the administration’s China policy at Hudson Institute.

Chinese access points into the U.S. space industry do not end with investments and commercial partnerships. In 2018, China-based hackers infiltrated U.S. defense contractors, satellite operators, and telecommunications companies, infecting satellite operating systems that controlled positioning and data transfers. A similar attack in 2014 hacked U.S. satellite weather systems.

China’s space ambitions fit in well with their broader goal of becoming a global technology leader. Earlier this month the country launched its Chang’e-4 spacecraft with the intention of becoming the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon. China is also building up its Beidou system, a satellite network that recently launched its 42nd and 43rd satellites. With Beidou, China intends to compete globally with the U.S. GPS system. Beijing has a number of other space-related goals on its agenda that will require advanced technologies in areas such as launch vehicles and robotics.

China is flexing its financial muscle to become a global technology leader, resulting in increased attention from U.S. policymakers. In the wake of The Wall Street Journal investigation into Global IP and the fallout that has resulted from the recent arrest of Huawei Technologies’ CFO, U.S. space companies should be cautious about their interactions with China. And participating, when appropriate, in policy conversations regarding the future of U.S.-Sino relations couldn’t hurt.


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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.