Tuesday, June 11, 2013

de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300, Kenn Borek Air, C-GKBC, Accident occurred January 23, 2013

Three Canadian men who were in a plane that crashed into the upper slopes of one of Antarctica's highest mountains have officially been pronounced dead by a New Zealand coroner.

Pilot Bob Heath, 55, first officer Mike Denton, 25, and engineer Perry Anderson, 36, were aboard the Twin Otter aircraft which smashed into the 4480-metre Mt Elizabeth, which is part of New Zealand's international territory, on January 23 this year.

They were traveling from the South Pole Station to Terra Nova Bay, where they were to assist an Italian research team.

Due to the extreme weather conditions and high altitude their bodies have never been recovered.

An inquest into their deaths was held before New Zealand's Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean in Auckland District Court today.

The hearing was live-streamed to the men's families in Canada as Judge MacLean determined they died of multiple injuries resulting from a high-speed crash into the side of the mountain.

The officer in charge of the search and rescue effort, Senior Sergeant Bruce Johnston, told the inquest searchers were not able to even see the site of the crash for several days due to poor weather before a Hercules plane spotted it.

"It was steeply angled into the snow. The cockpit was not visible and appeared to be deeply embedded in the snow. There were no signs of life in the aircraft," Mr Johnston said.

"It was obvious due to the nature of the impact into the mountain that the crash would not have been survivable."

On January 27, the weather improved sufficiently for a search and rescue team to be positioned on a ridge above the crash site and make its way down.

The searchers recovered some of the men's personal belongings, including Mr Heath's wallet and driver's license, Mr Anderson's passport and Mr Denton's bag containing an airline ticket and a book with his name written in it.

Judge MacLean said it would be "extraordinarily difficult", if not impossible, to recover the bodies from the mountain.

He praised the efforts off the search and rescuers involved.

"It is clear that the recovery efforts were very dangerous - the personnel involved were at high altitude in extreme conditions," Judge MacLean said.

"I don't think it's putting it too highly to say they showed great personal courage to try and recover those bodies."

He said he had sufficient evidence before him to determine how the men died.

"In a very harsh and unforgiving environment an experienced pilot well used to the conditions in an apparently well maintained plane ... came to grief by impacting on the upper slopes on Mt Elizabeth in Antarctica.

"Without the benefit of a post-mortem the only thing that can be said about the cause of death is it is likely to be multiple injuries sustained when the aircraft slammed at speed into the slopes of Mt Elizabeth."

Judge MacLean extended his condolences to the men's families.

Source:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz

Airbus Confirms Plan to Test-Fly A350 Friday: WSJ

Updated June 11, 2013, 2:13 p.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal

Airbus confirmed a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday that the first flight of its new A350 wide-bodied aircraft is set for Friday from the aircraft maker's headquarters in Toulouse, France, if weather conditions permit.

The A350, which competes directly with Boeing Co.'s Dreamliner and 777, will undergo a strenuous flight-testing program involving 2,500 flight hours over the coming year. It is slated to enter into service with launch customer Qatar Airways in the second half of 2014.

The plane, which will be able to carry between 270 and 350 passengers in a three-class layout, will lift off from Toulouse airport at around 10 a.m. central European time, Airbus said.

Airbus is a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.

Source:  http://online.wsj.com

Icing problems send 787 Dreamliner back to Tokyo: JAL Japan Airlines Boeing 787-800, JA824J, Flight JL-35

A Japan Airlines Dreamliner bound for Singapore had to abort mid-air and turn around, going back to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Boeing’s flagship plane reportedly experienced a glitch in its anti-icing system, prompting the pilot to decide to head back to the airport before encountering any major problem.

Seven minutes into the flight, the plane’s anti-icing system for the left engine showed a glitch, a spokesman for JAL said. When the glitch could not be fixed immediately, the pilot decided to turn around at around 1:30 AM since he was expecting clouds and elements that would have caused ice to form en route to Singapore. He was able to land the plane safely at the airport and all but two of the 155 passengers chose to take the replacement Dreamliner that JAL offered. It departed Haneda five hours later without any untoward incident. The spokesman also said that the glitch did not affect the battery system and they are still investigating what caused it in the first place.

This is just the latest in a series of minor problems that the Dreamliners have had with both Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways ever since they came back from a four-month suspension due to battery problems. The two are the biggest operators of the 787s just recently put their full fleet back into service after the battery issues, but already they have had minor glitches, including problems with an air pressure sensor. Boeing still has not been able to determine the cause of the battery issues after months of investigation, but rolled out modifications to the battery system, prompting a lift of the world-wide grounding of the planes.

Source:  http://japandailypress.com

Directorate General of Civil Aviation nudges pilots, controllers to interact face-to-face

The Times of India
Subhro Niyogi

Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 03.26 PM IST

KOLKATA: A pilot misreading an air traffic controller's instruction can spell disaster in the air. The inability to comprehend the person at the other end of the radio transmitter can be frustrating for either.

Many pilots consider controllers to be sadists, refusing to provide the desired flight altitude and dictating terms from cushy seats in air-conditioned offices on the ground while they have to ensure a safe flight. Controllers, on the other hand, consider pilots overpaid and pampered to do a job that is not too difficult in modern day aircraft equipped with fly-by-wire avionics.

More often than not, pilots and controllers-the two most crucial components in flight safety-have a poor opinion about each other. Though critically inter-dependant: the pilot can steer the aircraft but can make a safe journey only under the guidance of a controller's eye on the sky, a prejudiced mind and lack of appreciation for each other's capabilities and difficulties at work leads to ineffective communication that can compromise safety.

"Whenever there is an incident like two aircraft veering too close to each other or a plane heading into a wrong runway, the pilot and controller concerned jump at each other's throat. The pilot blames the ATC for issuing wrong instruction and the latter accuses the pilot for ignoring the command. All such major incidents are recorded and post-flight data analyzed. But there are hundreds of incidents that should be avoided but are not because they do not get recorded in the data. While they may not have caused a disaster, they certainly compromise safety. There's no substitute to effective communication between the cockpit and ATC," said Sarvesh Gupta, chairman of the Airlines Operators' Committee in Kolkata and captain of Boeing aircraft.

Recognizing the need for more effective face-to-face dialogue, Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Singh has instructed all regions to formally put in place a platform pilots and controllers can regularly meet to clarify issues and clear differences. Kolkata has taken in the lead in the matter and is set to organize the first such formal Controllers' and Pilots' Interactive Forum (CAPIF) later this month. A steering committee has been set up to discuss complete functionality of CAPIF.

"Kolkata did organize a CAPIF in 2007 and again in 2010. A CAPIF was also held in Guwahati in 2010 in which controllers from 12 stations in the Northeast as well as Air Force participated. But all of them happened due to the personal initiative of some. There was a need to institutionalize the process and make CAPIF a regular feature of civil aviation in India and that is what we are set to initiate from Kolkata," Singh told TOI.

To understand and appreciate each other's concerns, constraints and work environment, airline pilots will have to visit the area and tower control and spend some time there. Controllers too will be encouraged to get into the cockpit whenever a plane is making a long stop-over at the airport. A proposal to get a controller to actually get into a pilot's seat at a simulator is also on the table.

"There are a lot of issues that cannot and should not be discussed over RT. A face-to-face interaction is important as it will enable us to react more realistically to the situation. It will also help pilots better understand our constraints. We are gathering data that will be analyze to cull out gray areas that will be discussed at CAPIF," said joint general manager (air traffic management) Kalyan Chowdhury.

Source:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Pilot training school planned in Samoa

Tuesday  11 Jun 2013

APIA, Samoa --- Plans are afoot to establish a flying training school within this year in Samoa.

Local airline Samoa Air is behind the idea.

Chief Executive Officer Chris Langton says they’ve committed to start the school.

“(We’re) looking at establishing basic flying training within this year,” Langton said.

It is to be based at Faleolo International Airport at the old hangar where Samoa Air is establishing an engineering base.

“In the old days there were training rooms there for aviation courses,” said Langton.

He said they’ve committed to starting a Flying Training School here in Samoa to bring Pilots to Commercial Pilot License level and graduate with Multi Engine Command with Instrument Rating.

“(The) plan is to ally the training with the applicable university courses,” he said.

“It’s for anyone, but you would have to say that it’s an ideal location for any Samoan students and for any of the Pacific countries especially.”

As an airline Samoa Air started operations mid-last year by reviving flights between Upolu and Savai’i islands.

Source:  http://www.islandsbusiness.com

Mindless youths risk death walking on runway as plane tries to land: Fishburn Airfield, Sedgefield, County Durham, UK

6:00am Tuesday 11th June 2013 
Mindless teenagers risked serious injury as they fooled about on an airport’s runway, forcing a pilot to take evasive action as he attempted to land.

Pilot Craig McLeod, 42, was stunned to see six teens on the runway at Fishburn Airfield, near Sedgefield, County Durham, on Friday (June 7).

Unable to land his Cessna 172 aircraft, the 42-year-old was forced to circle the airfield at 7.30pm as the gang of youths gestured at him.

Mr McLeod, a flying instructor at the airfield, was finally able to land safely and the teenagers ran away.

Durham Constabulary was called but no-one was arrested for the incident.

Mr McLeod has criticized the teens, who he said could have caused a serious accident.

He said: “I was coming in to land from the east and I could see a couple of people on the runway.

“I went round the airfield to try to see who it was. There were two people there and four others joined them.

“They stood in the middle of the runway and waved at me. I went round again and I managed to land at the western end of the runway.

“Once I’d landed the group ran off. No-one was hurt but if I’d hit them they would have been seriously injured or killed.

“Sometimes people get onto the airfield but they don’t go onto the runway very often. It’s not a regular occurrence.

“There could have been a problem if a pilot saw them at the last minute as they came into land. It could have caused a serious problem and may have destabilized the plane.”

Mr McLeod was with his colleague Mel Clarke at the time of the incident and they were returning from the TT races on the Isle of Man.

The plane was carrying aerial photography equipment but no pictures were taken of the youths.

Dave Morgan, the airfield’s owner, said: “No-one was injured and the police were called but they didn’t find anyone. It could have caused an accident.”

A police spokesman said: “We received a report that six youths had run into the path of an aircraft.

“There are obviously safety concerns in relation to incidents like this. It’s believed they ran off towards Fishburn.” 

Source:   http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

FISHBURN AIRFIELD is an unlicensed grass flying strip close to the town of Sedgefield in the north east of England, UK: http://fishburnaeroclub.btck.co.uk/FISHBURNAIRFIELD

Tanzania: Women learn slow, make the best pilots, says Captain Mkumbwa

Published on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 01:15



With 12 aircrafts, 40 pilots and daily flights, Coastal Travels is probably the largest airline in the country in terms of equipment.

At a tender age of 35 years, the airline’s Chief Instructor for Pilots, Captain Maynard Mkumbwa, with accumulated 12,300 flying hours, has been tasked to oversee the pilots’ adherence to professional standards. Business Standard Staff Writer ABDUEL ELINAZA had an opportunity to interview the young and highly experienced Tanzanian pilot…

QN: Does Tanzania have any commercial pilot training school that meets international standard?

A: Tanzania has only pilot schools in Dar es Salaam that train for Private Pilot Licenses (PPL) for private uses—there is no commercial school. The PPL doesn’t allow one to fly a commercial aircraft—for the PPL holder can only fly friends and relatives, without charging them.

If the PPL holder wants to fly commercial airplanes, one has to go back to the training outside the country to get a commercial licence. There is no way the PPL holder can be recruited as commercial pilot without commercial training no matter how long one flies private aircrafts. Coming back to your question, there is no training school in Tanzania that trains commercial pilots. It’s costly and currently, the training of one commercial pilot costs as high as 80m/-.

QN: From where then do airlines source pilots?

A: Recruitment of new pilots depends on airlines own set standards. But, in Tanzania, basically most pilots come from America, South Africa and Uganda, with some holding commercial licenses with about 200 hours of flying. The airlines then mend the newly recruited pilots according to the internally set standards, which correspond to international standards.

At Coastal Aviation, for instance, we train our new pilots to handle Pilatus (PC 12), Cessna Caravan and Cessna 206. Our standard is that a pilot can self-fly after attaining 1,000 hours—before attaining the standard hours, the trainee has to sit on the left-hand side (with an experienced pilot on the right-hand side) to take over in case of any emergency.

QN: What is fleet size does Coastal Aviation hold?

A: In total, Coastal has a fleet of 21 aircrafts of mostly 14-seater capacity. And, to maintain the current fleet, the airline needs at least 40 pilots.

QN: As chief instructor of Coastal Travels, what is your daily itinerary?

A: As instructor, I train new pilots who join the airline to meet the set standards while at the same time ensuring that the existing ones are type-rated accordingly along the set and required standards to conform with international, aviation authority and airline set standards.

Actually, my calendar is full all year long as the airline is busy. I’m supposed to take a one month annual leave but sometimes I forfeit that right due to busy schedule. A type rating is an allowance to fly a certain type of aircraft that requires additional training beyond the scope of initial license and aircraft class training. In some countries pilots flying an aircraft under a certain maximum takeoff weight of 5,700 kilogrammes do not require the type rating for each model. But in Tanzania, it’s required to have type rating for every model of aircraft. QN: What does it take to become a pilot instructor? A: First, a pilot instructor serves to evaluate the knowledge and skill level of an aviator in pursuit of a higher pilot’s license, certificate or rating. Apart from the number of hours flown—experience, one can become the instructor because of trust, responsibility and integrity. After flying for 15 years, I have accumulated over 12,300 flying hours, the first 7,000 hours with Coastal Aviation. I left Coastal and joined Air Tanzania for four years, flying Boeing 737s and Dash 8 as captain. I trained to fly Boeing in South Africa and Dash 8 in Spain.

And I was called back by my former employee as an instructor. I got my commercial license at the Flight Training College in South Africa and obtained my highest pilots licence at an institution called Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) flying school in USA.

QN: Between male and female trainee pilots who are easiest and fastest learning ones?

A: Normally males are quicker in learning than their female counterparts. But, my experience shows that though women are slow learners, after catching up, women turn out to become the best pilots.

QN: How about technological advancements in flying?
A: True, technology has simplified the way we fly airplanes nowadays. In today’s world, even a two-seater flying gadgets are computerized. Pilots have therefore to be ahead of technologies before the technology gets ahead of them and turn their work a nightmare. The major challenge I see ahead is for pilots to update themselves on daily basis to cope with the computerization of the cockpit gadgets.

QN: Coastal Aviation flies to remote areas where it’s sometimes difficult even to spot the airstrip. What are the challenges encountered in instructing the pilot in such areas

A: The nature of Coastal Travel is to fly tourists to many of our classic tourism destinations, where sometimes the infrastructure is not aircraft friendly. But, the true challenges are not on landing and taking off, rather on meeting with wild animals at the runways. At one time after landing I was stuck at the aircraft for hours waiting for lions to clear off. Other challenges are normal—like maintaining sufficient number of pilots to enable the airline stays on air.

QN: What are personal challenges you have encountered in your 15 years of flying? What are your future ambitions?

A: I remember I was flying to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, piloting 14 passengers. The weather was rainy. Somewhere in the middle of the journey I ran into a thunderstorm. The cloud seemed innocent to fool my eyes and the aircraft radar weather. But alas! All of sudden, I was at the middle of the cloudburst like hitting an air pocket. The craft engine sounded as if it was losing thrust. It was real rough.

But thanks God. It passed suddenly as it came, just like a lighting. But almost all my passengers vomited. Normally, the Dar-Zanzibar route is safe from such turbulences. As the pilot, my ambition is to fly a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. B787 as it is called is really a dream to fly such a beautiful craft.

I am a Boeing pilot and I enjoyed a lot to fly B737 and piloting the latest version would be a real pleasure. On long term goal, I plan to open a pilot training school in future not only for PPL but also to offer commercial licenses.

Source:  http://dailynews.co.tz

Australian Transport Safety Bureau eases pilot reporting pressure

Australia's transport safety watchdog has moved to ease the worry for wayward pilots who fail to report airborne impacts for fear of retribution.

Research by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has found on more than 40 percent of occasions when aircraft hit powerlines, pilots ignore their obligation to inform authorities.

"I can appreciate that some operators may be reluctant to report an accident or incident to us because they're concerned about the consequences of doing so," ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan wrote on the bureau's blog on Tuesday.

But the agency boss insisted: "We don't investigate to lay blame".

The bureau used data from electricity and telecommunication companies to find between July 2003 and June 2011, at least 40 per cent of wire strike occurrences in Australia had not been reported as required.

To allay operator fears Mr Dolan on Tuesday announced the signing of an agreement between his bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) which will limit how information shared by the two regulators can be used.

"Our information-sharing arrangement with CASA is part of a healthy and mature system of safety with the ultimate aim of improving transport safety rather than blaming individuals," Mr Dolan said.

Mr Dolan said most importantly, operators should always report incidents.

"We can use the information from reports to discover and prevent broader, systemic safety problems," he said.

Source:  http://news.ninemsn.com.au

40 selected for South African Airways' pilot program

Johannesburg - A group of 40 young South African men and women are set to start the exciting journey towards earning their wings.

This follows an announcement by South African Airways that it has completed the selection process of candidates who will be part of SAA's Cadet Pilot Development Programme.

Their training to become qualified commercial pilots started on Monday. with 14 months of theoretical and practical training which will enable them to get a ‘frozen' ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License). This will be followed by approximately three years of internship.

The Cadet Pilot Development Programme caused controversy last year when it was reported that they were not accepting applications from white males. The ban was lifted shortly after and applications extended to give those originally excluded a chance to apply. 

SAA explained in a press release that the final 40 candidates fall under the category of previously disadvantaged individuals (African, Coloured, Indian, White female) as defined in the Employment Equity Act.

It is important to note this in the context of the current reality and measures that need to be taken.

The cadet programme is the airline's effort to transform not only its own but also the country's flight deck community which is nowhere close to reflecting the country's demographics.

"As a state-owned company, SAA is pleased to make this announcement during the Youth Month when the airline reflects on initiatives that focus on the country's youth in order to empower them to acquire scarce and critical skills required in aviation. The Cadet Pilot Development Programme is but one of these initiatives," said SAA spokesperson Mr. Tlali Tlali.

For its 2012 intake, SAA received 5 278 applications of which 271 were shortlisted and moved on to the next phase of the selection process resulting in the selection of 40 young South Africans to participate in SAA's Cadet Pilot Development Programme.

"It is important to ensure that there is transformation across all disciplines in the company. At the moment, SAA's flight deck crew is not reflective of South Africa's race and gender demographics. It is thus evident that SAA and other local aviation operators need to take steps that will redress the demographically skewed work force and to ensure the advancement of the previously disadvantaged," Tlali elaborated.

SAA's transformation strategy is informed by the BBBEE Aviation Sector Charter. In the case of this particular programme, when assessing all applications, SAA is obliged to give preference to previously disadvantaged groups.

"SAA is always guided by the South African Constitution and constantly endeavours to operate within the framework of the law," added Tlali.

Story and Comments/Reaction:  http://www.news24.com

SAA's cadet programme kicks off
Forty South Africans have been selected for training in South African Airways’ (SAA) Cadet Pilot Development Program.

The 40 men and women have started their training to become qualified commercial pilots.

The final 40 candidates -- who were selected following a selection process-- fall under the category of previously disadvantaged individuals as defined in the Employment Equity Act.

The cadet program seeks to transform the flight deck community.

“It is important to ensure that there is transformation across all disciplines in the company. At the moment, SAA’s flight deck crew is not reflective of South Africa’s race and gender demographics.

It is thus evident that SAA and other local aviation operators need to take steps that will redress the demographically skewed work force and to ensure the advancement of the previously disadvantaged,” SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said.

The selection comes in the month where South Africa commemorates its youth. “As a state-owned company, SAA is pleased to make this announcement during the Youth Month when the airline reflects on initiatives that focus on the country’s youth in order to empower them to acquire scarce and critical skills required in aviation. The Cadet Pilot Development Program is but one of these initiatives,” explained Tlali.

The 14 month training period comprises of theoretical and practical training which will enable trainees to get a ‘frozen’ ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License) which will be followed by approximately three years of internship.

For its 2012 intake, a total 5 278 applications of which 271 were shortlisted and moved on to the next phase of the selection process were received by the national carrier. From the 271 applications, 40 South Africans were selected to participate in the program.

SAA’s transformation strategy is informed by the BBBEE Aviation Sector Charter. In the case of this particular program, when assessing all applications, SAA is obliged to give preference to previously disadvantaged groups.

The program has selected 10 African men; 4 African women; 9 colored men; 1 Colored woman; 7 Indian men; 2 Indian women as well as 7 White women.

“The pool of future pilots who will be developed through this program will not be of service to SAA alone but to other domestic airlines as well. Notwithstanding, enrollment into this program does not guarantee future employment for the candidates by SAA,” said Tlali.

For the 2013/14 the Cadet Pilot Development Program intake will begin soon with the selection process likely to commence in August 2013.

Source:  http://www.skillsportal.co.za

Mooney M20J, VH-CYK: Aircraft hit bird and bull - Accident occurred March 24, 2013 at Hedlow Airport (ALA) in Mulara, Queensland, Australia

June 11, 2013    6:16pm
A scenic flight over the Queensland coastline turned sour for passengers when a light aircraft speared off course after hitting a bird and then crashed into a bull in a nearby paddock.

The unlikely course of events was outlined in a crash investigation report released on Tuesday by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

On March 24, the Mooney M20J aircraft with a pilot and two passengers aboard was being prepared to land at Hedlow airport near Rockhampton.

When it was about three metres above ground a bird flew out of long grass beside the runway, hitting the plane's left wing.

The impact sent the aircraft off course into a paddock, where the same wing was almost ripped off after striking a bull.

The ATSB report said one passenger had minor injuries, not further described.

The bull had to be put down.

The bureau said wildlife strikes presented a "significant hazard" for aircraft.

"This accident highlights the need to be aware of the hazards that may potentially exist within the vicinity of the runway and the benefits of overflying to alarm wildlife," report authors wrote.

Source:  http://news.ninemsn.com.au

Aviation safety investigation & report: http://www.atsb.gov.au

Wildlife strike involving Mooney M20J, VH-CYK, at Hedlow (ALA), Qld on 24 March 2013

The pilot commenced the landing flare at about 10 ft above the runway, during which time a bird struck the left wing. The aircraft yawed slightly left and the left wing dropped; the pilot applied opposite aileron to maintain wings level. The aircraft then drifted to the right of the runway into an adjacent paddock and the left wing struck a bull. The aircraft landed in the paddock. The aircraft sustained substantial damage from the bull strike and one passenger received minor injuries. The bull was put down as a result of the injuries sustained from the strike.

While the risk of wildlife strikes represents an ongoing challenge, and will always be present, this accident highlights the need to be aware of the hazards that may potentially exist within the vicinity of the runway and the benefits of overflying to alarm wildlife.

Investigation number: AO-2013-058