Friday, October 12, 2012

Phenom 100 off runway in Brazil

Returning from Argentina Phenom 100 PR-PNM sn 144 while landing at Salgado Filho Airport, Brazil - in rain and 70 mph winds - went off the runway Oct 10 2012. Damage is unknown, but no injuries to the five persons on board.

(Thanks Rob!)

Gulfstream G650, Gulfstream Aerospace, N652GD: Accident occurred April 02, 2011 in Roswell, New Mexico

NTSB Identification: DCA11MA076
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 02, 2011 in Roswell, NM
Aircraft: GULFSTREAM GVI, registration: N652GD
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 2, 2011, about 0934 mountain daylight time, a Gulfstream GVI (G650) airplane, N652GD, was substantially damaged after impact with terrain during takeoff at Roswell International Air Center Airport (ROW), Roswell, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. The two flight crewmembers and the two technical crewmembers were fatally injured. The flight had originated from ROW about 0700 for a local area flight.

The airplane was operating under a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Experimental Certificate of Airworthiness and was performing a take off with a simulated engine failure to determine take-off distance requirements at minimum flap setting.

Wingtip scrape marks beginning on the runway approximately 5,300 feet from the end of the runway lead toward the final resting spot about 3,800 feet from the first marks on the runway. Witnesses close to the scene saw the airplane sliding on the ground with sparks and smoke coming from the bottom of the wing, and described the airplane being fully involved in fire while still moving across the ground. The airplane struck several obstructions and came to rest upright about 200 feet from the base of the airport control tower. Several airport rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) units responded quickly and fought the fire.


SavannahNow/Savannah Morning News
Gulfstream crash: The right approach
Posted: October 12, 2012 - 12:02am

FEDERAL SAFETY officials scolded Gulfstream’s management this week for actions they say contributed to last year’s crash of a new business jet that killed four company employees.

American businesses have a responsibility to protect their workers from harm. That’s a major challenge in some endeavors, such as testing expensive new aircraft in a highly competitive industry.

But it’s important to know what the limits are and to respect them, as opposed to pushing them too far. That’s when people can get hurt.

In the case of the fatal Gulfstream accident on April 2, 2011, experts with the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that Gulfstream officials failed to properly evaluate warning signs from previous test flights of the company’s ultra-high-speed G650 business jet.

That’s the new $64 million aircraft, manufactured in Savannah, that received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in September last year. The company said it expects to deliver its first G650s to customers later this year.

Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairwoman, chided Gulfstream’s management for decisions it made during the flight testing process and prior to the crash of the G650 during takeoff trials in New Mexico.

Killed in the accident were all four Gulfstream employees on board: experimental test pilots Kent Crenshaw and Vivan Ragusa and technical specialists David McCollum and Reece Ollenburg.

“Two prior close calls should have prompted a yellow flag, but instead of slowing down to analyze what had happened, the program continued full speed ahead,” Ms. Hersman said in her opening comments.

“In this investigation, we saw an aggressive flight test schedule and pressure to get the aircraft certified,” she said. “Assumptions and errors were made, but they were neither reviewed nor evaluated when review data was collected.”

That’s troubling. While mistakes happen and people make incorrect assumptions when pushing new aircraft to the limit, it’s important to look back and not rush things too quickly, especially when lives are on the line.

To its credit, Gulstream has taken full responsibility for the accident. Even better, according to Ms. Hersman, the company recognized that many changes needed to be made in its testing process. It has started to implement them, including the appointment of an aviation safety official who reports directly to the firm’s president.

“Safety is Gulfstream’s first priority,” the company said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “Since this accident, we have redoubled our efforts to strengthen the safety culture in flight test and throughout the rest of the company. We are committed to continuous safety improvement.”

That’s not just good business. It’s responsible management from one of this area’s largest, most valued and community-minded employers.

Improving safety is easier said than done in this line of work. Testing new aircraft involves pushing the envelope. It’s inherently risky. The test pilot’s job is to find the limits of an aircraft’s performance. At the same time, it’s the company’s job not to push their test pilots too hard in the competitive desire to bring a new product to market against fierce rivals.

Ms. Hersman is correct. She said no one can change what happened in New Mexico last year. “But we owe it to the four flight test professionals who lost their lives to make sure we learn from it,” she added.

Exactly. The NTSB is taking the right approach here, and so is Gulfstream, The entire aircraft industry should pay attention and become better educated.


Corvette-Size Electric Motor Seen Changing How Jets Taxi

Bloomberg News

By Thomas Black on October 12, 2012


As fuel prices continue to soar, airlines are studying new technology that may save more than $200,000 per jet every year. The breakthrough only sounds mundane: It’s all about how planes taxi.

Travelers are familiar with the sight of low-slung airport tugs pushing aircraft away from the gate so the main jet engines can crank up safely. Thrust from the kerosene-slurping turbofans then powers planes into position for takeoff.

Now, equipment makers such as Honeywell International Inc. (HON) are devising electric motors that weigh about as much as V-8s in Chevrolet Corvettes yet pack enough torque to move 180,000-pound (81,650-kilogram) jets, letting pilots taxi without relying on main engines or diesel tractors.

“You could have tug-less airports,” said Ian Davies, chief of engineering and maintenance for EasyJet Plc (EZJ), Britain’s largest discount airline. “It might fundamentally change how we operate in airports.”

Taxiing on electric power is an example of how technology, in this case motors so small they fit in the hub of a jet’s nose wheel, can revolutionize something as routine as an airliner’s journey between the terminal and the runway.

“It’s a simple concept, but it’s complex to integrate into an aircraft,” said Olivier Savin, chief of Safran SA (SAF)’s Green Taxiing System Joint Venture with Honeywell. “Integration is the key to success.”

Airbus, EasyJet

The prospect of annual savings topping $200,000 a jet from lower fuel use and less ground time has stirred interest from planemaker Airbus SAS and airlines such as EasyJet and Alitalia SpA. The first new aircraft with electric-taxi technology may be in production in as few as three years, and older planes may get the gear as soon as 2013.

Airlines face the highest sustained prices ever for jet kerosene, the industry’s largest cost, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL), the world’s biggest carrier, says it burns $25,000 of fuel a minute. Jet fuel for immediate delivery in New York Harbor has averaged $3.12 a gallon in 2012, more than four times as much as a decade ago.

Taxiing on one engine has become a common fuel-saving practice for twin-engine jets in recent years, and planes already make electricity when they’re at the gate by running small turbine engines known as auxiliary power units.

What’s new today is the convergence of airlines’ hunger for more efficiency and recent advances in miniaturizing electric motors to propel a plane at the 20 miles (32 kilometers) per hour it may need for taxiing.

How Heavy?

The Honeywell-Safran team estimates its unit would weigh a maximum of 880 pounds, while startup WheelTug Plc said its electric-taxi technology is only about 300 pounds. Another entry, a venture between L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL) and Crane Co. (CR), isn’t commenting on the heft of its system.

WheelTug’s motor fits in the hub of a jet’s front wheel and is just 5 inches wide, Chief Executive Officer Isaiah Cox said. That’s half as broad as two years ago, when the Gibraltar-based company still had to attach the motors outside the hub, he said.

“It’s like packaging an elephant into the nose wheel of an airplane,” Cox said.

That would eliminate the cost of a push-back from a tug, which runs $50 to $150, and the consumption of about 55 gallons of fuel taxiing before and after takeoff, based on average burn rates and ground times at U.S. airports, Cox said.

WheelTug says its system may save about $500,000 a plane annually, including benefits such as less wear on engines.

Eliminating Tugs

Honeywell and Paris-based Safran say the savings may exceed $200,000 per plane a year by paring fuel use and ground time, and eliminating charges for tugs’ services. Stamford, Connecticut-based Crane also says taxiing on electricity would cut noise, reduce emissions and shrink the risk of having a jet’s main engines ingest tarmac debris.

Meshing small electric motors and new cockpit controls won’t be the only challenge for Morris Township, New Jersey- based Honeywell and its rivals.

Suppliers will have to convince airlines that the savings will make up for the extra fuel burned in flight from the equipment’s added weight, said Tim Campbell, president of St. Paul, Minnesota-based Mountain Vista Consulting and the former chief of regional operations for Northwest Airlines Corp.

Airport tugs also would need to be on hand in case a plane’s APU fails, Campbell said in a telephone interview.

Boeing, Airbus

Boeing Co. (BA) isn’t “actively pursuing” electric taxi, Terrance Scott, a spokesman, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Airbus is talking with “potential suppliers” for an electric taxi system, Martin Fendt, a spokesman, said in a telephone interview, without identifying them. “It’s certainly something we’re keen to see where the potential is.”

WheelTug’s focus is to fit its electric-taxi system to existing jets, and it has installation agreements with Alitalia and El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (ELAL) The company has a target of late 2013 to get the first units onto planes.

The Honeywell/Safran and L-3/Crane groups are concentrating instead on persuading planemakers to adopt the technology for new aircraft. Their systems drive the main landing gear. Honeywell and Safran expect to run trials with a Safran-owned Airbus A320 by mid-2013. L-3 and Crane tested their team’s unit in December on a Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) A320.

Airlines have powerful incentives to act, said Scott Whitfill, who oversees about 70 tugs as North America maintenance director for Worldwide Flight Services.

‘Not Cheap’

“If airplanes were able essentially to back themselves out and I didn’t have to supply a push-back tractor, that would impact the cost of my handling for the airline,” Whitfill said in a telephone interview. “Push-backs are not cheap.”

Savings from the electric motors would be greatest on single-aisle jets such as the A320 and Boeing’s 737, whose frequent short-haul flights mean more time taxiing. Wide-bodies land and take off less often because they fly longer routes.

“It’s huge,” said Rick Jones, vice president of Crane’s aerospace unit. “It’s looking to us like it’s going to be a compelling value proposition for the airlines.”

Davies of Luton, England-based EasyJet is convinced. The carrier’s 215-plane fleet consists entirely of jets from the A320 family. That makes it one of the airlines that would benefit from electric taxi, and it’s preparing to test the Honeywell-Safran system.

“There’s no doubt to me that the technology is there. It will work,” Davies said. “Let’s say 40 years from now, maybe all aircraft will have this.”