Flight Safety Information [December 31, 2018] [No. 264]

Flight Safety Information
Top Flight Safety Information   

December 31, 2018  –  No. 264


In This Issue
Incident: American B738 near Dallas on Dec 26th 2018, lightning strike
Incident: NAC B744 near New Delhi on Dec 23rd 2018, climb without clearance causes loss of separation
Incident: Korean BCS3 near Busan on Dec 26th 2018, engine failure
Incident: Uzbekistan B788 at Moscow on Dec 24th 2018, engine vibrations
Incident: Skywest CRJ9 at Saskatoon on Dec 21st 2018, runway excursion on backtrack
Incident: KLM B738 at Amsterdam on Dec 28th 2018, noisy flightdeck
Incident: American B772 at Dallas on Dec 28th 2018, cargo door indication
Incident: KLM Cityhopper E190 near Amsterdam on Dec 30th 2018, airframe vibrations
Incident: Flybondi at Asuncion and Buenos Aires on Dec 28th 2018, burst tyre on departure
AgustaWestland AW119Ke – Fatal Accident (Russia)
Agusta Westland AW139 – Wire Strike Accident (UAE)
Military jet slides off runway during training
LIBIK Fire Suppression Kits for the Cabin and Flight Deck
FAA extends conflict zone Notams on Pakistan airspace by a year
Airline Fatalities Grow Tenfold In 2018
Defective bracket found on collapsed jet bridge at airport
Aircraft Captain Deported As ‘Stowaway’
Airline Cancels All Flights, Blames Pilot Shortage
Five Pilots of Pakistan’s National Airline Did Not Even Study Till Class 10
SF Airlines adds freighter 50 and launches Bangkok route
Embry-Riddle, Eviation Partner On Electric Aircraft
Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base feels effects of national pilot shortage
China Probe Set To Land On The Far Side Of The Moon
High Altitude Flying Course
Get ahead with AQS – IOSA Auditor Training
Cabin Accident Investigation from SCSI
Position Available: Deputy Director of Safety

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Incident: American B738 near Dallas on Dec 26th 2018, lightning strike
An American Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration N983AN performing flight AA-919 from Fort Lauderdale,FL to Dallas Ft. Worth,TX (USA), was descending through 8000 feet towards Dallas Ft. Worth when the crew reported their aircraft had been hit by lightning. The crew continued for a safe landing on Ft. Worth’s runway 17L about 12 minutes later.

The aircraft remained on the ground in Dallas for about 42 hours before returning to service.


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Incident: NAC B744 near New Delhi on Dec 23rd 2018, climb without clearance causes loss of separation with two aircraft
A NAC National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400, registration N919CA performing flight N8-840 from Bagram (Afghanistan) to Hong Kong (China), was enroute at FL310 about 65nm northeast of Delhi (India) when the crew requested to climb to FL350, ATC replied “Standby, expect FL350”. The aircraft began the climb to FL350 however.

A KLM Boeing 777-300, registration PH-BVB performing flight KL-875 from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Bangkok, was enroute at FL330 exactly above N919CA.

An Eva Air Boeing 777-300, registration B-16716 performing flight BR-61 from Bangkok (Thailand) to Vienna (Austria), was enroute at FL320 on the same airway in opposite direction.

When the 747 began the climb an alert activated at the controller’s desk, who in response immediately turned the 747 to their left off the airway and as a precaution turned the Eva Air to their left, too. TCAS advisories occurred between the 747 and the two other 777s, the 747 reached a maximum FL330 then began to descend again already turned to their left and was subsequently cleared to climb to FL350.

All three aircraft continued to their destinations for safe landings.

According to ADS-B position data the separation between N8-840 and KL-875 reduced to 0 feet vertical and 2.2nm horizontal at 05:04:43L (23:34:43Z Dec 22nd).


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Incident: Korean BCS3 near Busan on Dec 26th 2018, engine failure
A Korean Airlines Bombardier C-Series CS-300, registration HL8314 performing flight KE-753 from Busan (South Korea) to Nagoya (Japan) with 64 people on board, was climbing out of Busan when the crew stopped the climb at FL290 due to the failure of the left hand engine (PW1524). The aircraft returned to Busan for a safe landing about one hour after departure.

A replacement Boeing 737-900 registration HL7716 reached Nagoya with a delay of 2.5 hours.


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Incident: Uzbekistan B788 at Moscow on Dec 24th 2018, engine vibrations
An Uzbekistan Airways Boeing 787-8, registration UK-78702 performing flight HY-604 from Moscow Vnukovo (Russia) to Tashkent (Uzbekistan), concluded the flight with a safe landing in Tashkent.

The aircraft is still on the ground in Tashkent about 4.3 days (104 hours) later.

Uzbekistan Media claim citing an unnamed informee that maintenance engineers were aware of engine (GEnx) vibrations beyond limits before departure from Moscow and had informed the airline’s management. However, the aircraft departed Moscow for Tashkent.


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Incident: Skywest CRJ9 at Saskatoon on Dec 21st 2018, runway excursion on backtrack
A Skywest Canadair CRJ-900, registration N896SK performing flight OO-4811 from Saskatoon,SK (Canada) to Minneapolis,MN (USA) with 79 people on board, was backtracking runway 15 for departure. While turning around near the edge of the threshold the crew lost directional control and the aircraft skidded off the paved surface coming to a stop on frozen grass with the nose and right main landing gear. There were no injuries or damage. The passengers disembarked and were taken to the terminal. The aircraft was towed to the apron.

The Canadian TSB reported maintenance inspected the aircraft with no damage found. At the time of the occurrence the runway 15 edges outside the 100 foot centerline were reported to be ice covered.


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Incident: KLM B738 at Amsterdam on Dec 28th 2018, noisy flightdeck
A KLM Boeing 737-800, registration PH-BXN performing flight KL-1395 from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Saint Petersburg (Russia), was climbing out of Amsterdam’s runway 24 when the crew stopped the climb at FL200 reporting a very very loud noise on the flightdeck, which was impossible, they had to return. The aircraft landed safely back on Amsterdam’s runway 18R about 40 minutes after departure.

A replacement Boeing 737-800 registration PH-BXI reached Saint Petersburg with a delay of 2.5 hours.

The occurrence aircraft remained on the ground for about 7 hours before returning to service.


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Incident: American B772 at Dallas on Dec 28th 2018, cargo door indication
An American Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration N789AN performing flight AA-229 from Dallas Ft. Worth,TX (USA) to Kona,HI (USA) with 222 people on board, was in the initial climb out of Dallas Ft. Worth’s runway 36R when the crew requested to stop the climb at 3000 feet reporting a forward cargo door indication, they wanted to work the related checklists. The crew subsequently declared emergency and decided to return to Dallas for a safe landing on runway 36R about 25 minutes after departure.

The aircraft was able to depart again after about 2:40 hours on the ground and reached Kona with a delay of 2.5 hours.


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Incident: KLM Cityhopper E190 near Amsterdam on Dec 30th 2018, airframe vibrations
A KLM Cityhopper Embraer ERJ-190, registration PH-EZF performing flight KL-1345 from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Billund (Denmark), was enroute at FL330 about 130nm northnortheast of Amsterdam when the crew decided to return to Amsterdam reporting airframe vibrations. No assistance was needed and no priority was requested, the crew explained they had talked to maintenance and maintenance had requested them to return. The aircraft landed safely back on Amsterdam’s runway 18C about 50 minutes after departure.

A replacement ERJ-190 registration PH-EZN reached Billund with a delay of 2 hours.


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Incident: Flybondi at Asuncion and Buenos Aires on Dec 28th 2018, burst tyre on departure
A Flybondi Boeing 737-800, registration LV-HKR performing flight FO-5600 from Asuncion (Paraguay) to Buenos Aires Palomar,BA (Argentina), suffered damage to the inboard left main tyre on departure from Asuncion when the tread separated and the tyre deflated. The crew continued the flight to Buenos Aires but diverted to the Ezeiza International Airport for a safe landing.

Air Control (ARG) reported the crew did not declare emergency despite the burst tyre.

The tyre damage (Photo: Air Control (ARG)):


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AgustaWestland AW119Ke – Fatal Accident (Russia)

Date: 30-DEC-2018
Time: 10:38 LT
Type: AgustaWestland AW119Ke
Owner/operator: Private
Registration: RA-01908
C/n / msn: 14742
Fatalities: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: 18km NE of Ulan-Ude, Eastern Siberia –    Russia
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:

The helicopter, owned by a local business owner, crashed and was destroyed by fire. Four occupants died in the crash.


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Agusta Westland AW139 – Wire Strike Accident (UAE)

Date: 29-DEC-2018
Time: 17:50 LT
Type: Agusta Westland AW139
Owner/operator: National Search and Rescue Center
C/n / msn:
Fatalities: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaima –    United Arab Emirates
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature: Ambulance
Departure airport:
Destination airport:

An AW139 SAR helicopter crashed while on a mission to airlift an injured man from Jebel Jais in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The helicopter reportedly crashed after hitting a 2.8km zip line cable.


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Military jet slides off runway during training

An Air Force T-38 Talon slid off a runway at a Virginia airport during training exercises Friday, but no injuries were reported. Pictured: A T-38 Talon touches down on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 30, 2018. (Ilka Cole/Air Force)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Officials say a military jet slid off a runway at a Virginia airport during training exercises, but no injuries have been reported.

Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport spokeswoman Jessica Wharton said Friday that the aircraft based at nearby Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton was training at the civilian airport. She said it’s unclear what happened, but weather doesn’t appear to be a factor.

The base said in a statement that no one was injured in “an aircraft landing incident” involving a U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon, a trainer jet. The base says that a board of officers will investigate.

Wharton said the airport is temporarily closed because the jet came to rest near the intersection of two runways. She said one or two commercial flights will be affected.


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FAA extends conflict zone Notams on Pakistan airspace by a year

30 December 2018
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration extended the Conflict Zone Notam on Pakistani airspace by a year, to 30 December 2019. U.S. pilots are warned about the risks when flying into and out of Pakistan for the potential threat of terrorists using manpads.
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Airline Fatalities Grow Tenfold In 2018

Assuming a safe New Year’s Eve, Monday ends what can best be described as an average year for airline-related fatalities. According to one measure (fatalities involving airliners in flight, not necessarily in revenue service) there were 16 accidents that killed 555 people (as of Dec. 27) in 2018. That compares to the safest year on record in 2017 when there were only 59 deaths. Aviation Safety Net opined that the tenfold increase “is not acceptable. The airlines, regulators and crew must work together to ensure this troubling trend does not continue,” the publication said in its annual review. For perspective, there were 45 million airline flights in 2018 carrying 4.5 billion passengers.

The most serious crash was the loss of a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX in Indonesia in October, which killed all 189 on board. The cause hasn’t been determined but the investigation is focused on sensors related to an automatic system designed to prevent the aircraft from being inadvertently stalled. The crash of a Cubana Boeing 737-200 in Havana in May killed 112 of 113 people on board. The only U.S. passenger fatality was a woman who was partly sucked out of the window of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 that experienced an uncontained engine failure over Pennsylvania in April. Aviation Safety Net counted the death of a suicidal Horizon Air ramp attendant who stole a company Q400 and intentionally crashed it near Seattle in August.


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Defective bracket found on collapsed jet bridge at airport

This photo provided by Lynn Krugman and taken through a window shows emergency personnel responding after an “equipment failure” involving a jet bridge at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Baltimore. Officials say several people were injured. (Lynn Krugman via AP)

HANOVER, Md. (AP) – Investigators found a defective metal bracket on the jet bridge that collapsed and injured six people at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, officials said Sunday.

Metal brackets will be replaced on the jet bridge that collapsed Saturday and on five other jet bridges made by the same manufacturer, the Maryland Department of Transportation said in a statement.

The department said 33 jet bridges made by the manufacturer were inspected and deemed safe to use. The rest of the airport’s jet bridges also will be inspected.

All six people injured in the collapse were released from the hospital early Sunday, the department said.

Southwest Airlines said the jet bridge failed while paramedics were helping a passenger with a medical problem off Flight 822 after it arrived from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Southwest said the jet bridge, which connects the plane to the terminal, failed while medics were helping the passenger outside the aircraft. Remaining passengers safely exited the plane using air stairs, the airline said.

The state transportation department said airport operations will not be affected by the work on the six jet bridges that will be taken out of service so the brackets can be replaced.

“Our passengers’ safety is the top priority and BWI Marshall Airport has moved quickly to address this issue,” state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said in a statement.


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Aircraft Captain Deported As ‘Stowaway’

A Nigerian airline is claiming one of its pilots was deported from the U.K. as a suspected “stowaway” leaving one of its aircraft and the first officer stranded there. Max Air, which is based in Kano, Nigeria, sent one of its aircraft to Bournemouth for maintenance. According to a story in the Independent, Capt. Adam Dilli Ibrahim, 36, didn’t have a visa and was detained by immigration authorities. He left the country voluntarily after being told he would be deported. Under U.K. rules, pilots from other countries can spend up to seven days without a visa but the maintenance on the aircraft was expected to take longer than that.

Ibrahim left after his seven days were nearly up and the maintenance wasn’t finished until three days later. The airline says it can’t find another pilot-in-command to fly the airplane back and that it’s costing them $200,000 a day. “The captain has done nothing wrong. I feel terrible, I feel ashamed. It is so much bureaucracy,” said Frank Unokasan, who owns Feemsmak, the Bournemouth-based company that claims to be the maintenance company that looks after Max Air’s planes.”Whenever they see a green (Nigerian) passport they have doubted they are the captain and believe he is a stowaway, that’s their mindset,” Max Air operates at least three Boeing 737-300s, three 747-300s and an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet. It’s not clear which type was involved.


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Airline Cancels All Flights, Blames Pilot Shortage

A fledgling California airline says it is canceling flights until further notice because of a shortage of pilots. California Pacific Airlines began service to and from its base in Carlsbad, California, in November with four 50-seat ERJ145s and was plagued with delays and cancellations shortly after it launched. In one case, a plane was damaged when it was hit by a backhoe on a ramp in Pierre, South Dakota, but other cancellations were blamed on mechanical issues. In late December the airline announced it was canceling all flights until it could get more pilots hired and trained.

The airline’s reservation website shows no availability through the end of February. Airline officials told the NBC San Diego affiliate that the company hoped to resume service in February. Those who have booked flights in January will get refunds. The airline lists its destinations as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and San Jose with one-way fares starting at about $100.


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Five Pilots of Pakistan’s National Airline Did Not Even Study Till Class 10, Reveals Aviation Authority

At least 50 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees have been suspended for not furnishing their documents.

Lahore: Five pilots of Pakistan’s flag carrier PIA have not even completed their matriculation, the country’s aviation body told the Supreme Court after finding the academic credentials of seven pilots bogus.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said a non-matric person could not even drive a bus but these people were flying planes, putting the lives of passengers in danger, Dawn news reported.

At least 50 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees have been suspended for not furnishing their documents, the three-judge bench of the apex court was told, it said.

Academic credentials of seven PIA pilots were found to be bogus and five of them had not even done matric, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed before the Supreme Court (SC) bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, on Friday, the report said.

The bench was hearing a matter relating to the verification of degrees of pilots and other staff of the PIA. The CAA complained that educational boards and universities were not cooperating with it in carrying out the degree verification process.

It said that cases of 4,321 employees of the PIA had been verified while 402 were pending, the report said. Justice Nisar asked the PIA to submit a list of its all 498 pilots along with their result of licence examination, the report added.

Last month, the cash-strapped Pakistani government approved a Rs 1,700 crore bailout package for its ailing national flag carrier PIA which has been running into losses for years.

The government approved the bailout package to keep it afloat. The PIA’s accumulated losses surged to Rs 36,000 crore by the end of June, which, according to the finance ministry, speaks volumes about the persistently deteriorating performance of the carrier.

The PIA has been in losses for years but successive governments have failed to improve its financial situation.


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Delta has signed up to Turbulence Aware. (Delta)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has unveiled a new tool to help airlines better avoid turbulence.

Called Turbulence Aware, the program uses an algorithm that takes in existing sensor parameters from an aircraft’s onboard systems to calculate the intensity of any turbulence on a scale from zero representing smooth air to one, which indicates very severe turbulence.

Given the inputs to Turbulence Aware are already collected on most aircraft, no additional equipment is required. Rather, a software update to the onboard systems is what is needed to begin collecting the data.

The data could be accessed by pilots flying on similar routes, offering real-time updates on potential areas of turbulence.

IATA senior vice president for safety and flight operations Katya Vashchankova said Turbulence Aware would offer a smoother and safer journey, noting turbulence was the leading cause of injuries to passengers and cabin crew in non-fatal accidents, according to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Turbulence Aware would also help airlines reduce costs and potential disruptions.

“Turbulence is not just something that can make your flight occasionally uncomfortable, it is an important safety concern for many airlines,” Vashchankova told reporters at the IATA Global Media Day briefings in Geneva on December 12.

“Turbulence also has an important economic impact on the airline operation and airlines every year incur millions of dollars in costs.”

“Most of these costs come from potential diversions, damaged cabin interiors, as well as excessive fuel burn that occurs when a pilot is searching for a smooth ride and deviating from their optimal flight level.”

Vashchankova, who is also the head of the IATA meteorological program, said the existing tools available to pilots and dispatchers to manage turbulence had a number of limitations.

First, pilot reports of turbulence to air traffic controllers are often quite subjective.

“To a more experienced pilot it can be just some light chop and to a pilot flying a very small aircraft it can be a very severe turbulence encounter,” Vashchankova explained.

Second, turbulence forecasts can be hours old and therefore obsolete. Also, weather radar is unable to predict clear air turbulence.

“In many instances, the limitations of these tools leads to the fact that turbulence remains unforeseen and unanticipated, leading to injuries.”

Turbulence Aware uses parameters such as true airspeed, windspeed, pitch and angle of attack, among other indicators, which is sent to the ground using standard communications systems.

While airlines typically compile their own data on potential turbulence, Turbulence Aware would have the benefit of collecting data from multiple airlines. It would take about 30 seconds to process the data using a platform developed by United Kingdom-based software company Snowflake.

“The idea is that once this data is available to airlines they can integrated it into their own tools used by their pilots, their dispatchers or their OCC personnel,” Vashchankova said.

“So IATA is being very flexible in how airlines can operationalise this data.”

IATA said the data would be “consolidated into a single, anonymised, objective source database” that would be accessible to participants.

“Turbulence Aware data is turned into actionable information when fed into an airline’s dispatch or airborne alerting systems,” IATA said.

“The result is the first global, real-time, detailed and objective information for pilots and operations professionals to manage turbulence.”

Some 14 airlines, including Qantas, are part of the IATA turbulence advisory council, which works on the definition of technical specifications of the platform, the governance framework and best practice for data sharing.

Among those, IATA said Aer Lingus, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have signed contracts.

IATA said the first operational version of the platform was to be developed by the end of 2018, with operational trials to take place in 2019. The final product will be launched in early 2020.

IATA said Delta had started contributing data to the program.

“IATA’s collaborative approach to creating Turbulence Aware with open source data means that airlines will have access to data to better mitigate turbulence,” Delta senior vice president of flight operations Jim Graham said in an IATA-issued statement.

“Using Turbulence Aware in conjunction with Delta’s proprietary Flight Weather Viewer app is expected to build on the significant reductions we’ve seen already to both turbulence-related crew injuries and carbon emissions year-over-year.”

Snapshot of the Turbulence Aware viewer.

Delta said on its website the Flight Weather Viewer app has been able to reduce the number of altitude changes in search of smooth air during a two-hour flight from up to seven times to an average of two or less. This represented a reduction in carbon emissions of about 80,000 metric tonnes a year.

“I’ve been operating flights where the app shows me a smooth altitude when both controllers and other flights have reported rough rides everywhere,” Delta Captain Greg Young said.

“When I’m able to request an altitude that looks good in the Flight Weather Viewer and then report a smooth ride, it surprises everyone.

“This is one of a number of tools that empowers us to make a difference for our customers and fellow crew members.”

IATA senior vice president for safety and flight operations Gilberto Lopez Meyer predicted Turbulence Aware would have huge impact on the aviation sector.

“This is going to be a game-changer for the industry,” Lopez Meyer said.

“We are integrating a system that could have thousands and thousands of aircraft in the near future.”


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SF Airlines adds freighter 50 and launches Bangkok route

On December 21 Chinese express carrier SF Airlines added its fiftieth freighter, shortly after adding number 49.

The airline said that the delivery of a Boeing 757-200 converted freighter marked an important milestone as it officially becomes a medium-sized airline.

In recent years, SF Airlines, which only started operations in 2009, has successfully launched special freighter transportation routes for fresh products and electronic products such as hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake, big cherries from Yantai, juicy peaches from Wuxi, lychees from Hainan and mobile phone parts made in China.

This year, the airline also took delivery of its first B747F as it looks to grow its international services. On December 20, the airline took delivery of another B757-200F.

Its fleet now consists of one B747-400ERF, five B767-300BCF, 27 B757-200F, 14 737-300F and three B737-400F.

Shortly after taking delivery of the two aircraft, SF Airlines officially launched the “Lanzhou-Bangkok” international freight route utilising a B757-200F. The transported goods are mainly general cargoes and fresh products.


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Embry-Riddle, Eviation Partner On Electric Aircraft

Electric aircraft company Eviation announced last week that it is forming a research and development partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Through the partnership, fourth year undergraduate engineering students will collaborate with Eviation on zero-emission all-electric aircraft solutions. According to Eviation, the university program will focus on performance analysis, validation and testing, future electric propulsion and airframe design concepts. It will also include work on Eviation’s all-electric Alice Aircraft, a nine-passenger regional commuter designed to travel up to 650 miles at a cruise speed of 240 knots.

“Embry-Riddle is at the forefront of aviation innovation and we are excited to partner with Eviation Aircraft and deliver on our commitment to exposing students to groundbreaking technology,” said Embry-Riddle Chancellor Frank Ayers. “By including Embry-Riddle engineers and students in the R&D pool, Eviation and the Alice Aircraft will take advantage of the exposure and knowledge from our best and brightest engineers.”

The university program is scheduled to launch at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Arizona, campus next spring. Eviation plans to debut the Alice Aircraft at the 53rd Paris Air Show, which will take place in June 2019. The Israel-based company announced last August that it had chosen Prescott as the location of its U.S. corporate headquarters.


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Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base feels effects of national pilot shortage

Pilots and instructors are in short supply for both the F-16, front, and F-35 fighters at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.

GLENDALE – Luke Air Force Base is feeling the effects of a national pilot shortage, which has left the Air Force without enough pilots, maintenance crew and support staff to fully power U.S. military needs.

“Right now we don’t have enough of certain types of pilots to actually account for all the jobs that we need to do in the Air Force,” said Maj. William Andreotta, operations director for Luke’s 56th Training Squadron. “Those can be anything from here in the front line of actually flying the aircraft all the way to staff jobs that require pilot knowledge as a background to be able to do the job.”

The Air Force is trying to make training more efficient, and programs around the state are playing their part by building passion in high schoolers, teaching them the intricacies needed to become a pilot, mechanic or air-traffic controller.

As of September, the Air Force had unfilled positions for 1,500 pilots. At Luke, a training base, the shortage of instructors to train fighter pilots to fly F-16 and F-35 fighter jets is particularly acute.

Pilots have tough work lives and those undergoing training often leave to pursue a better balance between work and family life, leaders said.

Luke spokesman Jensen Stidham said that as of September, there were 58 instructor pilots, leaving 26 open positions for F-16s. For F-35s, 85 out of 101 instructor-pilot positions were filled.

A backlog of aircraft mechanics also has led to a decrease in available aircraft, which leads into an ongoing loop: The number of pilots who can train depends on the number of aircraft available.

Andreotta said one way the Air Force is trying to solve the problem is to make training more efficient.

“Where we can decrease the course length but not decrease the quality of the product that we’re sending out there, so that’s how we produce more” pilots, he said.

Air Force officials say their goal is to have most positions manned at 95 percent by 2024, Andreotta said. But that’s going to be longer for fighter pilots: the 95 percent goal is set for 2029.

For the high-schoolers, students are learning what it takes to build a kit airplane through Southern Arizona Teen Aviation, a nonprofit organization. They’re building a two-seat Van’s Aircraft RV12 and will fly it, according to the group’s website.

The students are involved in building all parts of the single-engine airplane, the website says. The experience gives the students skills to pursue careers ranging from pilot to aircraft mechanic.

“We’re trying to give the kids an opportunity to get their hands on an airplane, see what an airplane’s like, fly on an airplane, work with an airplane, build an airplane,” co-founder Alan Muhs said.

At Phoenix’s South Mountain High School, senior Jaja Obasi enrolled in his school’s aerospace program.

According to the school’s website, students enrolled in the program learn aviation fields such as aircraft maintenance and air-traffic control and can work towards their private-pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Obasi said he loves aviation and that he wants to become a pilot.

“Then just getting up in the air, that feeling that you get in your stomach,” he said.


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China Probe Set To Land On The Far Side Of The Moon

A Chinese space probe is getting ready to be the first ever craft to land on the far side of the Moon, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The Chang’e 4 spacecraft started its planned elliptical lunar orbit this morning, coming as close as 15km to the surface. Chang’e has actually been in orbit around the Moon since December 12, but getting this precise route has taken two lots of manoeuvers over the last few weeks.

Chinese mission control has also been testing the comms link between Chang’e 4 and the relay satellite Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) which is in orbit at the second Lagrangian point awaiting data from the probe and its surface rover.

A three quarter moon photographed from Italy (Credit: Getty)GETTY

Spacecraft have seen the far side of the Moon before, but no lander or rover has ever made it there. If Chang’e 4 is successful, the mission will be a first and a big step towards its ambitions to be on a par with the US and Russia in space exploration. China has made it clear it hopes to become a major space power by 2030.

The science side of the mission includes astronomical observation of the Moon’s terrain and mineral composition and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms of the environment on the far side of the Moon, according to the Chinese national space agency.

Here on Earth, we only see one side of the Moon, because it’s rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet. The other side, referred to as the far side or the dark side, is not actually in darkness at all, it’s just uncharted from our perspective.

Chang’e 4 aims to change that. The probe, lander and rover were launched by a Long March-3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province on December 8.

The national space agency has not said when the Chang’e 4 aims to attempt the rover landing. But it said that it had “checked the imaging instruments and ranging detectors on the probe to prepare for the landing” and given that the craft is now in place, it’s reasonable to assume that they will be trying soon.


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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.
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  • 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.

Lockheed 12

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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.