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Flight Safety Information

TopFlight Safety Information

 

February 7, 2020 - No. 028

 

In This Issue

ARGUS 2020 TRAINING COURSES

New 737 MAX software flaw found during tests, Boeing sticks to return timeline

The Boeing 737 Max may take its certification flight in the next few weeks, FAA chief says

Accident: Nok B738 at Bangkok on Feb 7th 2020, collided with tow tug

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan - Landing Accident (California)

Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance - Fatal Accident (Alaska)

Helicopter pilot in fatal Hawaii crash lost license for 2010 drug use; 2 from Wisconsin died

Report: Emirates pilots unaware engines idle in 2016 crash

Emirates says it is enhancing safety after civil aviation report

Foreign Pilots Placed On Unpaid Leave In China

Years of Safety Disputes: Inside the Company that Flew Kobe Bryant

'A crash was going to happen': Two accidents by same airline at Istanbul airport raise questions

You may be able to fly from New York City to London in 5 hours this weekend

Honda Aircraft Expanding Asia Footprint

NASA panel recommends Boeing software process reviews after revealing second Starliner issue

Helicopter Accident Investigation from SCSI

Investigation Management from SCSI

MITRE - SMS Course - March 2020

ACSF Safety Symposium

TODAY'S PHOTO

ADVERTISE WITH...FLIGHT SAFETY INFORMATION



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New 737 MAX software flaw found during tests, Boeing sticks to return timeline


LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Flight testers discovered another flaw in the software of Boeing Co's grounded 737 MAX, the plane that suffered two fatal crashes, though the company and the top U.S. aviation regulator said on Thursday the issue most likely could be fixed without extending the target date for the plane's return to service.

U.S. Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson mentioned the new flaw at an airline industry event in London, but said he did not think it "will be a significant delay" in the aircraft's return.

The 737 MAX was grounded in March after two crashes killed 346 people. Boeing has had several setbacks in its efforts to update software that played a role in both crashes and win approval for the jets to fly again.

In January, the FAA and Boeing said they were reviewing a wiring issue that could potentially cause a short circuit on the grounded 737 MAX. The new issue involves an indicator light associated with the stabilizer trim system that incorrectly illuminated in the flight deck during testing.

Boeing said in a statement it was working on an update to ensure that the light "only illuminate as intended." It said the issue will not affect its mid-2020 estimate for the plane's return to service.

Dickson, the U.S. regulator responsible for approving 737 MAX updates, said a key certification flight might take place in the next few weeks, though it could depend on how Boeing resolves the new software issue.

He said that international air safety regulators were likely to agree on the design fixes needed for the return, but cautioned against any definitive timeline.

While international regulators including EASA might differ in terms of the operational return to service of the plane, he said they agreed on what needed to be fixed.

"On the design approval, from everything that I have seen I think we'll have very solid alignment," he said.

Boeing shares rose 3.6%, with investors reassured by the comments from Dickson and the planemaker despite the new flaw.

Boeing has said its best estimate is that the aircraft will not be back in the air until mid-2020, after endorsing simulator training for pilots before flights resume, and that regulators will determine the timing.

Last month, Dickson told senior U.S. airline officials the FAA could approve the return of the aircraft before mid-year, earlier than the planemaker has suggested, according to people briefed on the call.

On the wire bundles, Boeing said on Thursday it was still performing analysis including lab testing, fleet data assessment and third party reviews and that it would be premature to speculate as to whether the analysis will lead to design changes.

Officials have said the review was looking at whether two bundles of wiring are too close together, which could lead to a short circuit and potentially result in a crash if pilots did not respond appropriately.

"They have not given us a proposal on the wiring yet," Dickson said.

"I wouldn't say I'm worried. I want them to take whatever time they need to give us a fulsome and a data-driven proposal."

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/faas-dickson-says-u-europe-150209282.html

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The Boeing 737 Max may take its certification flight in the next few weeks, FAA chief says


Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. July 1, 2019. Picture taken July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

  • The FAA expects the Boeing 737 Max certification flight to take place in the next few weeks, according to a Reuters report.
  • The certification flight is the among the last major hurdles Boeing faces to get the grounded jet cleared to fly again.

The FAA expects the Boeing 737 Max's certification flight - among the last major steps in the certification process - to happen in the next few weeks, FAA chief Steve Dickson said on Thursday.

Dickson said that once the certification flight takes place, there would be "fewer variables" affecting the timeline of the plane's return to service. Reuters first reported Dickson's statements.

He also said that the FAA had completed its audit of the software fix on the troubled plane, and that while there may be some "adjustments" needed, there would not be a significant delay.

Dickson's statements came at an airline industry event in London.

However, Bloomberg reported that the adjustments included a required fix to a warning light, which indicates when the plane's trim system is malfunctioning.

During his remarks at the event, Dickson also said that international air safety regulators were likely to agree on the changes made to certify the plane.

"On the design approval, from everything that I have seen I think we'll have very solid alignment," he said.

Boeing said last month that it did not expect the plane to fly before "mid-2020." However, the FAA said that certification could come sooner than that.

Airlines have pulled the Max from their schedules until early-summer, and have been forced to cancel multiple flights and change growth plans based on the lowered capacity.

The plane's recertification would mark an end to a disastrous saga at Boeing, even as it will likely continue working to convince passengers that the plane is safe, and persuade potential customers that it is still a good product.

The 737 Max has been grounded since March 2019, following the second of two fatal crashes. 346 people were killed.

Both crashes have been linked to a faulty automated flight system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. The system was designed to automatically adjust the plane's trim under certain conditions to make the plane handle like older versions of the 737, the 737 Next Generation, or NG.

The ongoing grounding has contributed to Boeing's worst year in decades, and the firing of CEO Dennis Muilenburg. Boeing suspended production of the plane last month, leading to a rippling wave of layoffs at suppliers around the US and globally.

https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-737-max-certification-flight-faa-2020-2


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Accident: Nok B738 at Bangkok on Feb 7th 2020, collided with tow tug

 

A Nok Air Boeing 737-800, registration HS-DBT performing flight DD-6458 from Bangkok Don Mueang to Nakhon Si Thammarat (Thailand), was being towed to the departure gate along taxiway K and was about to turn into taxiway H when the tow bar broke. The tug stopped, the aircraft however continued to roll and turn until colliding with the tug now underneath the fuselage and wings. As result of the collision two ground workers were seriously injured, the tow tug driver subsequently died because of his injuries.

A replacement Boeing 737-800 registration HS-DBV reached Nakhon Si Thammarat with a delay of 30 minutes.

Video of the accident (Video: TNN Channel 16):

 

เปิดคลิป อุบัติเหตุเครื่องบินนกแอร์ พุ่งชนรถลาก พนักงานเสียชีวิต I TNNข่าวเที่ยง I 07-02-63

เปิดคลิป อุบัติเหตุเครื่องบินนกแอร์ พุ่งชนรถลาก พนักงานเสียชีวิต I TNNข่าวเที่ยง I 07-02-63

 


http://avherald.com/h?article=4d2fa9a3&opt=0

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Cessna 208B Grand Caravan - Landing Accident (California)







Date:

Thursday 6 February 2020

Time:

06:55

Type:

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

Operator:

Redding Aero Enterprises Inc.

Registration:

N24MG

C/n / msn:

208B0850

First flight:

2000

Engines:

1Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A

Crew:

Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1

Passengers:

Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0

Total:

Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1

Aircraft damage:

Substantial

Location:

NW off Eureka-Murray Field, CA (EKA) (United States of America)

Phase:

Approach (APR)

Nature:

Cargo

Departure airport:

Sacramento-Mather Airport, CA (MHR/KMHR), United States of America

Destination airport:

Eureka-Murray Field, CA (EKA/KEKA), United States of America

Flightnumber:

1966

Narrative:
The aircraft impacted the waters of Arcata Bay during a landing attempt in fog conditions to Murray Field Airport, Eureka, California. The airplane came to rest inverted, sustaining substantial damage, and the sole pilot onboard was not injured.

https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20200206-0

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Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance - Fatal Accident (Alaska)



Date:

06-FEB-2020

Time:

13:45

Type:


Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance

Owner/operator:

Yute Commuter Service

Registration:

C/n / msn:

Fatalities:

Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5

Other fatalities:

0

Aircraft damage:

Written off (damaged beyond repair)

Location:

near Kuskokwim community, Tuntutuliak, AK -United States of America

Phase:

En route

Nature:

Passenger

Departure airport:

Bethel Airport, AK (BET/PABE)

Destination airport:

Kipnuk Airport, AK (KPN/PAKI)

Narrative:
A Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Lance crashed under unknown circumstances near Kuskokwim community, Tuntutuliak, Alaska
Al five occupants were killed.

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/232807

***************


Five people were killed when a small plane crashed in Alaska


(CNN)Five people were killed when a commuter airplane crashed about 12 miles southwest of Tuntutuliak in Alaska, the Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers in Bethel were "notified of an overdue Yute Air commuter aircraft that was traveling from Bethel to Kipnuk with one pilot and four passengers onboard," the agency said.
A Blackhawk helicopter was dispatched Thursday afternoon from the Rescue Coordination Center and located the crash.
All victims were deceased, the agency said, adding it is trying to notify next of kin. The National Transportation Safety Board has also been notified, it said.
In a Facebook post, Yute Commuter Service said all flights are canceled Friday.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/06/us/alaska-plane-crash/index.html

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Helicopter pilot in fatal Hawaii crash lost license for 2010 drug use; 2 from Wisconsin died

 

Hawaii helicopter crash

LIHUE, Hawaii - A pilot who was flying a sightseeing helicopter that crashed in Hawaii in December had his license revoked for marijuana use in 2010.

The Federal Aviation Administration revoked the medical, commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates of Safari Helicopters pilot Paul Matero in June 2010, The Garden Island reported Wednesday.

After the positive drug test, Matero was issued temporary "special-issuance" certifications following a one-year waiting period, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

"A special-issuance medical certificate enables (the FAA) to limit the validity of the certificate to a shorter-than-normal time period, and to require the pilot to provide information showing that they are continuing to successfully address a medical condition," Gregor said in an email to The Associated Press Thursday. "Pilots who continue to demonstrate sobriety for an extended period can get regular medical certification."

The FAA issued Matero a standard license in 2012 after further testing.

"When a pilot's certificate is revoked, they have to wait at least a year to apply for a new certificate. They don't get the old one back," Gregor siad. "Applying for a new certificate requires them to go through the same tests that a first-time applicant would go through."

The pilot was rehired and returned to flight duty after completing a substance abuse treatment program and receiving his renewed licenses, Matt Barkett, a Safari spokesperson, told The Garden Island newspaper.

Matero had flown about 5,000 hours since that time in compliance with federal regulations, Barkett told the newspaper.

Barkett emailed a statement on behalf of the company to The Associated Press on Thursday saying the one-time positive drug test for marijuana was the only drug-related violation the company has ever had.

Matero was "rehired by Safari only after he satisfied all FAA requirements for reinstatement," the statement said. "From the time of his reinstatement to the day of the accident, he was subject to ongoing drug screening by the FAA and was certified for flight annually. No other pilot in company history has failed a drug test."

Tour helicopter companies must have FAA-approved drug-and-alcohol testing programs, Gregor told the AP.

Matero and six passengers - two of those passengers were named as 47-year-old Amy Gannon and 13-year-old Jocelyn Gannon of Madison - died when the helicopter crashed on a remote mountain ridge on the island of Kauai the day after Christmas.

A hiker who was about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) away from the crash site told investigators that visibility was only about 20 feet (6 meters) at the time because of fog and rain, according to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Safari owner Preston Myers declined to comment to The Garden Island.

https://fox6now.com/2020/02/06/helicopter-pilot-in-fatal-hawaii-crash-lost-license-for-2010-drug-use/

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Report: Emirates pilots unaware engines idle in 2016 crash


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The pilots of an Emirates flight that crashed in 2016 and caught fire in Dubai did not realize the engines of their Boeing 777 remained idle as they tried to take off from a failed landing attempt, according to an investigative report released on Thursday.

Without power from the engines to lift the plane, Flight EK521 coming from Thiruvananthapuram, India, was doomed to crash on the runway at Dubai International Airport on Aug. 3, 2016. But prior to its attempt to land, air-traffic controllers also failed to warn the pilots that two other flights before it couldn't land due to windshear, a final report by the United Arab Emirates' General Civil Aviation Authority said.

The crash represents the most-serious incident ever to face the government-owned long-haul carrier in its 34-year history. While the 300 passengers and crew onboard the Boeing 777-300 escaped with their lives even as high winds blew away some of plane's evacuation slides, a subsequent explosion that engulfed the aircraft in flames killed a firefighter on the ground.

"The flight crew reliance on automation and lack of training in flying go-arounds from close to the runway surface ... significantly affected the flight crew performance in a critical flight situation which was different to that experienced by them during their simulated training flights," the report said.

In a statement, Emirates chief operating officer Adel al-Redha said the airline had taken steps to improve based on the findings of the investigative report, as well as from its own internal probe into the crash.

"Maintaining safe operations is a top priority at Emirates and we are committed to the continuous review and improvement of our operations," al-Redha said.

Dubai Air Navigation Services, which runs the air-traffic control at the airport, did not respond to a request for comment.

As pilots attempted to land the flight, they didn't realize that the plane touched down for some six seconds on the runway, the report found. Because of that, they didn't realize the plane's takeoff-go around switch had been turned off, investigators said. That switch automatically pushes up the throttle of the airplane, providing more power to head back into the sky again.

Without that power, the plane tilted upward only to slam back down onto Runway 12L at the airport, the world's busiest for international travel. The plane skidded down the runway for 800 meters (half a mile) before coming to a halt.

The report praised the flight's cabin crew for their "highest professional standard" in getting all the passengers onboard off the aircraft, even when the wind blew slides away and some passengers pushed their way off with their carry-on luggage.

Among those onboard, 21 passengers, one of the pilots and six cabin crew members suffered minor injuries, while four cabin crew members suffered serious injuries, the report said. Some suffered burns on their feet as the temperature of the airport's runway was 68 degrees Celsius (154 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the report.

The overall temperature at the time of the crash was 48.9 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). The hotter the temperature, the more power is needed to get a plane airborne. There also had been windshear reported at the airport. That's a sudden change in wind speed or direction which can affect planes.

The Emirates crash-landing came after another Dubai government-owned airline, discount carrier FlyDubai, suffered a March 2016 crash in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, that killed all 62 people aboard one of its 737-800 jetliners. Russian investigators blamed pilot error for that crash.

https://wtmj.com/national/2020/02/06/report-emirates-pilots-unaware-engines-idle-in-2016-crash/

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Emirates says it is enhancing safety after civil aviation report

Emirates should examine training system, give pilots more information: GCAA report


Dubai: Emirates airlines said on Thursday it has been taking measures to enhance its operations and safety, based on recommendations from authorities following a 2016 accident.

The Dubai carrier said it welcomed the findings of the final report from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) regarding the August 2016 accident in which the fuel tank of an Emirates plane caught fire as the jet missed its approach on landing.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer, in a statement acknowledged the conclusions and recommendations drawn by authorities.

In addition to actions identified in the final report, Emirates has "proactively taken the appropriate steps to further enhance operating procedures," Al Redha said.

These actions were taken in conjunction with our regulator, the UAE GCAA. Maintaining safe operations in a top priority at Emirates, and we are committed to the continuous review and improvement of our operations.
- Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer

Internal investigation

The carrier said it conducted an internal investigation and used the findings from the GCAA reports.

"These actions were taken in conjunction with our regulator, the UAE GCAA. Maintaining safe operations in a top priority at Emirates, and we are committed to the continuous review and improvement of our operations," the COO said.

An Emirati firefighter died putting out the flames, and 30 other people were injured.

"We would like to once again express our sorrow and covey our condolences to the family of the firefighter who lost his life while responding to the accident. We would also like to recognise our teams on the aircraft and on the ground that day, who responded to the emergency in an exemplary fashion and ensured the safe evacuation of everyone on board EK521."

Passengers and crew

Emirates said it has been supporting the passengers and crew who were on board that flight since the accident happened and has been reviewing its own internal processes.

The statement from Emirates was in response to the final report from the GCAA on the 2016 accident. The report advised Emirates to provide more information to its pilots on factors affecting landing and to "examine the training system to assess its adequacy in enhancing the cockpit monitoring skills of flight crew."

The accident occurred just as a Boeing 777 jet belonging to Emirates landed at Dubai International Airport from the Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram carrying 282 passengers. The jet missed its approach because of winds.

The GCAA in its report said Emirates should include in its cabin crew training evacuation scenarios where the escape slides are effected by wind.

It added that Emirates should reiterate to its flight crew the effects of wind changes on landing and aircraft performance. Emirates should also "implement changes to crew resource management training, taking into consideration the lessons of the...accident."

In addition to recommendations to Emirates, the final GCAA report also made recommendations to Boeing, Dubai Airports, and to the Dubai Air Navigation Services. Safety recommendations to Boeing included enhancing the operations manual and the training manual for the manufacturer's 777 model.

https://gulfnews.com/business/aviation/emirates-says-it-is-enhancing-safety-after-civil-aviation-report-1.69538498

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Foreign Pilots Placed On Unpaid Leave In China

News has emerged that China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, as well as a number of other mainland Chinese carriers have been placing foreign pilots on indefinite unpaid leave. This is according to multiple sources and a memo obtained by the South China Morning Post. The action is in response to the suspension of hundreds of flights out of China as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

China Southern has an enormous fleet of over 850 passenger and cargo aircraft. Photo: China Southern

"All foreign pilots, including those who have applied for leave exemption and those who have not, shall start a non-fixed term leave without pay as soon as possible," - China Southern memo

The memo, obtained by the media, is said to be effective that same day (Tuesday). This is a significant move as China Southern is one of the world's largest fleets. The airline reportedly has just under 10,000 pilots.

Foreign pilots in China considering other opportunities
The Chinese air travel market has been rapidly expanding. As such, the pay is normally quite generous for foreign pilots working in mainland China. In fact, in recent years foreign pilots have been attracted to the country by offers of lucrative salaries and attractive flying schedules.

Unfortunately, as a result of the coronavirus crisis and the overwhelming amount of flight suspensions, hundreds of foreign pilots are now unnecessary. In fact, some have told the South China Morning Post that they are considering other options and opportunities elsewhere.

Hainan Airlines 787 landing

 

Hainan Airlines is also removing some pilots from duty. Photo: Hainan Airlines

"It is nice to be home, but like everyone, I have bills to pay, so being home for an indefinite period with no pay is obviously unsustainable." - Anonymous pilot

China Southern isn't the only airline taking action. In fact, Xiamen Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines (BCA) have also placed its foreign aircrew on unpaid leave, according to multiple sources. Another source reports that Beijing Capital Airlines' pilots are being offered the opportunity to take a significant pay cut that is in line with their Chinese counterparts. China Eastern is offering unpaid leave to its foreign pilots. However, the airline has not yet made this mandatory.

Foreign pilots are paid substantially more than their Chinese counterparts.

Conclusion
The coronavirus crisis has had a substantial impact on air travel out of and within China. In fact, for the January 23-February 3 period, China Southern canceled over 7,900 flights. Furthermore, Xiamen Air axed 3,287 flights, and Hainan Airlines eliminated 2,967 domestic services. China Eastern's domestic flights took a hit of 27% while Air China flights were reduced by 20%.

Foreign pilots are among the most expensive employees outside executive airline positions. Therefore, the decision to place them on leave will bring immediate cost savings to Chinese carriers already suffering immensely from the crisis. Hopefully, the Chinese air travel market will rebound after this crisis.

https://simpleflying.com/foreign-pilots-placed-on-unpaid-leave-in-china/

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Years of Safety Disputes: Inside the Company that Flew Kobe Bryant

A former Federal Aviation Administration inspector who previously oversaw Island Express Helicopters said he had disagreed with management over safety.

A helicopter operated by Island Express Helicopters crashed on approach to Catalina Island, near Los Angeles, in 2008, killing three people. The company, under new ownership, operated the flight in which Kobe Bryant and eight others were killed last month.

LOS ANGELES - In the years before the helicopter crash that killed the basketball legend Kobe Bryant and eight other people, the company operating the aircraft, Island Express Helicopters, had a series of disputes over its safety practices, according to federal accident reports and a former federal safety inspector.

The tensions first came to the attention of federal investigators in 2008, when a fatal accident involving an Island Express helicopter revealed disagreements that had been playing out for years behind the scenes. A Federal Aviation Administration operations inspector assigned to oversee the company, then under a previous owner, had been pushing for more stringent safety practices, according to federal records. The company's president at the time pushed back, asking the F.A.A. to assign a different inspector.

The inspector, Gary Lackey, who agreed to step aside, said he was concerned that the company seemed unwilling to spend the money necessary to improve safety beyond what was minimally required.

"Everything that involves safety usually involves money also," Mr. Lackey, who is now retired, said in an interview. "I think they were trying to cut corners."

Before the tragedy involving Mr. Bryant, Island Express had four crashes since 1985 that damaged or destroyed helicopters, all under the company's previous management, according to records.

Tensions over the company's safety culture simmered even after the 2008 crash as the company came under new management several years later, according to people involved in the discussions.

The F.A.A. recorded an additional "incident" in the summer of 2018, when two Island Express helicopters were started up too close to one another, causing significant damage to the blades on both aircraft.

As recently as 2017, Kurt Deetz, a pilot and former safety manager at Island Express, resigned from his safety responsibilities, he said, over "differences of opinion" about how the company's safety management system should be run.

It is not known what caused last month's crash. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said they are looking at a range of potential issues, ranging from weather to mechanical problems. A key question is whether the Island Express pilot attempted to fly into thickening clouds and fog; N.T.S.B. investigators have asked for the public's help in gathering photographs of weather conditions near the scene of the crash.

Island Express's general counsel, Teri Elizabeth Neville, declined to comment in detail until after investigators release their findings on the crash. In a telephone interview this week, Ms. Neville said she was not aware of disputes with safety officials and noted that the company's four crashes happened before the current management took over. She declined to say when that was, but state records and the company's website suggest it was in 2012 or 2013.

Mr. Lackey, who was the F.A.A.'s point person for Island Express off and on during his 17 years at the agency, said the tensions between him and the company's management began sometime around 2005, and N.T.S.B. records show that he issued warning letters to the company.

The records also show that the company's former owner, John Moore, pushed back against Mr. Lackey's efforts - in particular, his recommendations to tighten safety procedures on refueling, operating rotors when passengers were boarding, and operations at a helipad in San Pedro, Calif., that Mr. Lackey felt were unsafe. The company also protested when Mr. Lackey failed a pilot on a proficiency check.

Discussions over flying in bad weather came up with all helicopter companies, Mr. Lackey said. Though federal regulations allow helicopter flights in relatively low visibility, given their ability to fly very slowly when necessary, Mr. Lackey said he urged charter operators to consider the risks of doing so and advised them in such cases to land the aircraft and wait for the weather to clear.

He was aware that companies had to balance safety with the need to complete the jobs they were hired to do, he said, and those that did not deliver their customers on time might find their clients going to another operator.

Island Express was one of the few companies to go to Mr. Lackey's managers to challenge his oversight, he said. After a series of clashes, the F.A.A. in 2008 assigned a new principal operations inspector for the company, records show.

"When John came in and said he wanted a new P.O.I., I said, 'Fine, you can have somebody else,'" Mr. Lackey said, referring to Mr. Moore. Mr. Lackey said he felt the new person would also be vigilant about safety and that it was an opportunity to reset what had become a contentious relationship.

In a statement, the F.A.A. said it could not comment on an individual case, but that it was not uncommon to periodically rotate inspectors to new assignments. "All aviation safety inspectors are qualified to perform the oversight work they are assigned," the statement said.

Mr. Lackey said he was assigned once again to oversee Island Express in subsequent years and found that Mr. Moore seemed more willing to accept F.A.A. safety requests. The relationship improved, Mr. Lackey said, until new owners and managers took over at Island Express.

After that, Mr. Lackey said, some of the old conflicts began to re-emerge. Once again, the company argued for a different inspector, but this time, Mr. Lackey said, he did not recall a change taking place in response to the request.

Accident and aviation experts said that tensions between aircraft companies and local F.A.A. inspectors are not uncommon. But short of gross incompetence on the part of the inspector, they said, it is highly unusual for an inspector to be replaced at the suggestion of a regulated company. In his interview with N.T.S.B. investigators after the 2008 crash, Mr. Moore did not raise any issues about Mr. Lackey's competence, acknowledging that the inspector "knows his stuff."

Jeff Guzzetti, a former N.T.S.B. and F.A.A. accident investigator, said that "a personality clash between an operator and an inspector" is not uncommon.

"It's less frequent that an operator would hold sway over the F.A.A.," he said. "It would have to be something that rises to the level of getting the attention of upper F.A.A. management to say, 'Let's get this inspector off and get another inspector.'"

Mr. Moore did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Mr. Deetz, the former safety manager who also flew Mr. Bryant as a pilot for Island Express, said that proactively managing safety within the company had been part of his job.

He said he established safety protocols for the company and convened a quarterly meeting with pilots and maintenance employees to discuss safety issues. But he said it was the company's owners who usually dealt directly with the F.A.A., and he was unaware of any disputes with federal regulators during his time at the company.

Mr. Deetz declined to elaborate on the specific dispute with company management that prompted him to resign from his position as safety manager sometime in 2017. "It all goes back to culture," he said. "There is window-dressing safety, and there is real, actual, get-your-hands-dirty safety culture."

He later left the company altogether to take a pilot position with a competitor and now flies air ambulances in Arizona.

Most of the company's previous crashes - a total of four since it was founded in 1982 - involved mechanical failures, federal records show.

In the 2008 accident, a turbine engine blade failed during an approach to Catalina Island near Los Angeles, leading to a rapid plunge and a crash into the ground that killed three people and injured three others.

In 1999, in the same area, a helicopter with seven people on board crashed and slid down a hill, striking some trees and rolling over after an engine failure caused by a loose pneumatic fitting. The crash resulted in mostly minor injuries.

In 1989, another incident with minor injuries occurred when an engine failed over the ocean because of a worn fuel pump assembly. The pilot was able to set the craft down with the help of emergency floats.

In 1985, an Island Express helicopter collided with another helicopter, an accident that investigators found was probably a result of "the inadequate visual lookout of both pilots." One person was killed and 11 others were injured.

In the most recent incident, in 2018, two of the company's Sikorsky S-76 helicopters were parked next to each other at Long Beach Airport for a photo shoot. When pilots started the engines, the drooping rotors straightened, and their blades began colliding. All six blades were damaged, an F.A.A. report says, "and Island Express Helicopters altered their parking plan to no longer park two S-76 aircraft next to each other."

Mr. Guzzetti, the former federal accident investigator, said the 2018 incident was of more concern than it might initially appear. "This one is recent and it's operational," he said. "It's an indicator of inadequate safety culture."

But John Cox, an accident investigator and the head of Safety Operating Systems, an aviation consulting firm, said it was hard to determine any pattern in the company's overall record. The previous crashes, he said, occurred over a long time period and many of them involved equipment failures, not operational ones.

"It could be construed as a red flag to have this many accidents for the same operator," Mr. Cox said. "But you have to look more deeply as to when those accidents happened, over what period of time."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/us/kobe-bryant-island-express-helicopters.html

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'A crash was going to happen': Two accidents by same airline at Istanbul airport raise questions about flight safety


Latest deadly incident saw plane split into three parts, leaving three people dead

The hard landings of two planes by the same airline at the same Istanbul airport in the space of a single month have raised questions about aviation safety in Europe's largest city, a major transit hub for much of Eurasia.

On Wednesday, a Pegasus airlines flight arriving at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport slipped off the wet runway on landing, smashed into a wall, split into three pieces and burst into flames, killing three passengers on board and injuring almost every other one of the 179 of the crew members and other people aboard the Boeing 737-800.

The accident follows a 5 January incident in which another Pegasus airlines jet landing at the same airport during a rainy day also slipped off the runaway. No passengers or crew were harmed.

News of Wednesday's crash dominated headlines and television broadcasts across Turkey, with many pundits criticising the authorities and the privately owned airline. The crash temporarily shut down Istanbul's number two airport, located on the Asian side of the city.

The crash has prompted criticism about Turkey's aviation policies, one year after the country closed down the storied Ataturk International Airport. In its place it opened what it billed as the world's largest airport, along the Black Sea on the city's northernmost edge - and despite the objections of some urban planning and aviation experts.

"The country is like an out of control train," former pilot Bahadir Altan told pro-government CNN Turk, after the crash. "There should be more sense than just carrying out one project after the other."

Among those killed was Zehra Bilgi Kocar, a young dentist whose husband was forced to take a flight several days earlier.

"Everything happened in two or three seconds," 36-year-old Yunus Elmaci, one of the passengers aboard the plane, told the DHA news agency, as he recovered from his injuries.

The accidents at Sabiha Gokcen come amid claims that the government is neglecting the airport in favour of the newly built Istanbul International Airport, which is the hub of the country's flagship carrier Turkish Airlines.

Expansion work at Sabiha Gokcen, which some aviation experts say is underutilised, has stalled as the new airport on the city's European side struggles amid an economic downturn to maintain enough traffic to pay off the mega-contractors who built and operate the facility.

But others alleged that simple incompetence at the airport by the pilots may have led to the latest crash. Retired pilot Kazim Dikici, speaking on privately owned NTV television said the Pegasus jet should have never been approved to land as tailwind speeds had reached 25 knots,

"At this point the operation should be stopped and planes should be told that those who have fuel should wait and those who don't should divert to alternate airfields," he said, noting that two planes had aborted landings just before the accident.

"If I was in the tower, I would have made that plane abort its landing and plan its landing at another runway," former air traffic controller Ibrahim Ozcan said in a television interview.

"It was a mistake to leave it to the pilot," Mr Ozcan said. "It was obvious a crash was going to happen."

Publicly traded Pegasus, Turkey's number two airline, operates nearly 82 planes and emphasises no-frills flights across Turkey, the Middle East and Europe, including to London's Stansted airport. Passengers often pay extra for meals and checked-in bags, while flight attendants and other crew often complain about low wages. At a press conference on Wednesday, Pegasus CEO Mehmet Nane was visibly shaken, tearing up as he spoke, but declining to take any questions.

"It is not easy to come here," he said, according to a transcript of his prepared statement. "We will do whatever it takes to heal the wounds. This process is a difficult process for us, the families of those who lost their lives."

He denied that the pilots took a chance by landing the flight. "If our pilots see risk, it is stated by regulations that they pass or be directed to other airports," he said.

The previous incident in January, involving a Boeing 747 arriving from Sharjah, also took place during rough weather.

"I have never seen a storm like this in many years," one user on the social media channel Eksi Sozluk wrote at the time. "The car was shuddering right to left and shifting lanes. Driving is very dangerous and trees are being knocked down."

And a 13 January 2018 Pegasus airlines flight skidded off a wet runway runway while landing at the airport in the Black Sea city of Trabzon. No one aboard the Boeing 737-800 was injured, though the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/istanbul-plane-crash-airport-pegasus-airlines-flight-safety-turkey-a9322186.html

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You may be able to fly from New York City to London in 5 hours this weekend


You win some, you lose some.

There's a 200-mile-per-hour jet stream over the Atlantic Ocean that will propel a strong storm toward Ireland and the United Kingdom this weekend, according to Weather.com. The system, named Storm Ciara, will bring strong winds - up to 70 mph - and rain to the region late Saturday night into Sunday. It will then make its way to other parts of Europe on Monday. Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the northern regions of France, Germany and Denmark, could be hit the hardest.

A yellow National Severe Weather warning for wind has been issued by the U.K. Met Office, warning travelers about potential delays to road, rail, ferry and air transportation, according to The Sun. So if you have U.K.- or Europe-bound travel plans, keep an eye out for delays or cancellations.

But it's possible the storm will actually be good news for travelers.

The World Meteorology Organization defines a jet stream as, "A strong, narrow current ... characterized by strong vertical and lateral wind shears ...." Jet streams flow from west to east, which is why flights from Europe to North America take longer than those heading in the opposite direction. Pilots can take advantage of jet streams by flying as close to the center of the stream as possible.

Remember that Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR) that flew over 800 mph back in 2019? Thank the jet stream for that.

A similar phenomenon is expected to happen this weekend. Here's what happens: Most commercial aircraft fly at jet stream level. Most planes fly approximately 550 mph (without wind), so the jet stream helps eastbound flights fly faster - occasionally shaving an hour off your flight. This time around, though, the rare 200 mph tailwind will speed them up even more so.

We're willing to bet you could fly from New York City to London in about five hours. Who needs supersonic flights when you have wind?

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

No such luck if you're flying in the opposite direction, though. Instead, since your plane will be fighting headwinds, expect your flight to be longer than normal.

https://thepointsguy.com/news/storm-ciara-jetstream-europe-flight/

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Honda Aircraft Expanding Asia Footprint


The HondaJet Elite parked outside the Honda Aircraft chalet (CD15) isn't here just for customer demo flights or to show off the airplane, but represents a larger strategy: the company's slow but steady expansion into the Asia market. One by one, Honda Aircraft has achieved goals to certify the HondaJet in Asia, the most recent being China in August 2019, after Japan.

"Asia is considered to be a very important market for the HondaJet," said Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino. "South America and Europe are important, but our objective is to open the market in Asia."

Japan is somewhat unique in that general aviation is underutilized in that country, in part because the industry isn't well-known but also the aviation infrastructure, like that of many Asian countries, is designed around airlines. Honda Aircraft's strategy in Japan has been to educate the public about business jets, not only one that is made by a well-known indigenous company (although manufactured in the U.S.) but also an efficient light jet, which people who aren't familiar with business aviation tend not to understand.

In Japan, Honda Aircraft delivered five HondaJets last year. "That is a good start for us," Fujino said. "Previously, Japanese people were not using business jets a lot, but now many are talking about them. People are now kind of educated to how people use business jets. One of our first customers uses their HondaJet for domestic travel and opening new ways of travel in Japan." Another group of customers flies a HondaJet in a fractional-share setup, and their jet is flying a significant number of hours. "People thought it would be very difficult to sell business jets in Japan," he said, "but it has been very encouraging. We will work very hard next year, not only on private sales but charter and fleet sales for special missions."

With the summer Olympics coming to Japan this year, he added, "I'm optimistic that the Japan private aviation market is changed, and I hope it's becoming a good market for the HondaJet."

Fujino believes that despite the challenges of operating private jets in China, the country has even more potential for the HondaJet than Japan. However, Chinese buyers prefer to remain low-key about owning a business jet because the perception is that only the super-rich can afford a jet, typically an airplane much larger than a HondaJet.

"We have to work on how we can change or improve those perceptions in China," Fujino said. "Enquiries for the HondaJet are very strong in China." He sees a potentially large business opportunity for light jets in China, especially for younger buyers who appreciate being able to improve the efficiency of business travel. "They have a more aggressive attitude for success," he said, "and they need an efficient tool to make their business successful."

The first HondaJet delivery in China was to Honda Aircraft dealer Honsan General Aviation, which is based at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The company provides sales and maintenance services for Honda Aircraft in China.

China does have a problem with the acceptance of smaller business aircraft, for example, charging ground-handling and airport fees based on larger aircraft types. Making the fees more reasonable for smaller aircraft would help improve the market for smaller business aircraft in China. "We need to have those discussions with China's industry," Fujino said.

Meanwhile, at Honda Aircraft's headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the U.S., the company has begun construction on a new building that will house its wing-manufacturing operation, with new automation technology that will increase manufacturing efficiency. "We're investing in continuous improvement of the HondaJet with new technology," he said, "and investing in future products."

Although Fujino won't reveal details about future Honda Aircraft products, he said, "We don't want to just utilize technology but want to employ new technology, which we are developing now so the next aircraft we develop will be the most advanced."

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2020-02-06/honda-aircraft-expanding-asia-footprint

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NASA panel recommends Boeing software process reviews after revealing second Starliner issue


NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) is recommending that Boeing's software testing processes undergo a review, following the discovery of another problem with the on-board system that was in operation during the CST-100 Starliner uncrewed Space Station docking test launch in December. Starliner never made it to the Space Station as planned during that launch, due to a mission timer error that resulted in the capsule burning too much fuel too early in the flight.

During their meeting on Thursday, the ASAP group revealed that there was a second software "anomaly" detected during the mission, which was corrected while the capsule was in flight, Space News reports. Had the issue not been noticed and corrected, the result would've been misfired thrusters that could've ultimately led to a "catastrophic spacecraft failure," per panel member Paul Hill via Space News.

Both Boeing and NASA are currently investigating the issues that occurred during the test mission. Both partners also stressed that the launch, which did result in a successful Starliner re-entry and landing in White Sands, New Mexico, accomplished a number of planned tests despite not making it to the ISS.

At the time, they also pointed out that the error with the mission timer would not have resulted in any danger to any astronauts on board. This newly disclosed error sounds like it may have been more severe, without correction, and it was fixed just two hours prior to the capsule's re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Accordingly, the panel would like to see review of Boeing's systems engineering, software integration and verification testing, and that doing so should precede a decision about whether or not to go ahead with either another uncrewed yes launch, or move ahead to the crewed test flight which would've been the next step had everything gone to plan on the December launch.

NASA has already decided to go ahead and conduct an "organizational safety assessment," the panel said, which it has already conducted for fellow commercial crew program participant SpaceX last year.

Speaking of SpaceX, the panel also shared that its program is "at a point where there is not a question of whether they will be flying crew in the near term, but when," which does sound promising for their goal. Separately, a report on the Commercial Crew Program issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) earlier this week revealed that SpaceX is actually ahead of its current schedule on delivering the Crew Dragon capsule for the first operational crew mission.

Boeing provided TechCrunch the following statement regarding the ASAP's statements at the meeting on Thursday:

We accept and appreciate the recommendations of the jointly led NASA-Boeing Independent Review Team (IRT) as well as suggestions from the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel following Starliner's Orbital Flight Test (OFT). Their insights are invaluable to the Commercial Crew Program and we will work with NASA to comprehensively apply their recommendations.

Regarding the Mission Elapsed Timer anomaly, the IRT believes they found root cause and provided a number of recommendations and corrective actions.

The IRT also investigated a valve mapping software issue, which was diagnosed and fixed in flight. That error in the software would have resulted in an incorrect thruster separation and disposal burn. What would have resulted from that is unclear.

The IRT is also making significant progress on understanding the command dropouts encountered during the mission and is further investigating methods to make the Starliner communications system more robust on future missions.

We are already working on many of the recommended fixes including re-verifying flight software code.Our next task is to build a plan that incorporates IRT recommendations, NASA's Organizational Safety Assessment (OSA) and any other oversight NASA chooses after considering IRT findings. Once NASA approves that plan, we will be able to better estimate timelines for the completion of all tasks. It remains too soon to speculate about next flight dates.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/nasa-panel-recommends-boeing-software-230124299.html

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Western Pacific Airlines 737-300

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