Sunday, January 12, 2014

Yahoo snapping Canberra with low-flying plane

A Cessna-206 aircraft seen flying around Canberra over the last week is doing 3D-mapping work for Yahoo, according to police. 

ACT Policing received a number of calls over the weekend, from people who reported seeing the low-flying light plane cruising around the city.

Police released a tweet addressing residents concerns early on Sunday, based on information they'd gained from aircraft control towers:

Monash resident Richard Tuffin said he was at home on Monday morning when he heard the buzzing overhead.

"At first I thought it was like a dash eight just flying over-head, from Qantas or Virgin, but then I heard it pass three or four times," he said.

Mr Tuffin managed to snap a picture as the plane flew overhead.

"There’s obviously a bit of paranoia around at the moment about spy-planes and the NSA," he said. "So there was a little bit of interest about it."


Police say the Cessna seen flying over Canberra is doing 3D-mapping work for Yahoo.
 Photo: Richard Tuffin

Air India year-old Dreamliners aging prematurely?

NEW DELHI: Is Boeing's brand new B-787 Dreamliner showing signs of "premature aging"? On Saturday, an Air India Dreamliner had to be grounded in Hong Kong after the actuator of its wing spoilers broke. A spoiler acts as a speed breaker on an aircraft and its actuators make it go up or down on wing tips during takeoff to alter drag and during landing to increase rate of descent. Without this important device perfectly functional, an airplane simply can't be allowed to get airborne.

An AI spokesman confirmed the latest B-787 trouble. "The aircraft was grounded and has since been rectified. It will be operational soon from Hong Kong. Boeing has informed us that that they will not just replace but modify this part (spoiler-actuator for all Dreamliners)," he said.

Boeing's decision to modify a particularly snag-prone part comes as the brand new or less than a year-old B-787s are showing signs that only aircraft that have been in service for five to seven years show. Spoiler actuators of a brand new plane breaking are unheard off, said a source. In fact, pilots say that this particular snag has become a regular feature for the Dreamliner.

Another senior AI official recalled that a few weeks back, a B-787 landed in Delhi and the crew left the cockpit after a near perfect flight. When engineers came to check this aircraft for the next flight, they discovered that the cockpit windshield had cracked. "The plane was just parked there and the windshield cracked just like that! On its own! We have never seen or heard anything like that," said the official. AI's mint fresh Dreamliners have seen two windshield cracks so far.

These signs of "premature aging" have now led airlines using the Dreamliner, like AI, if Boeing has had serious quality issues with the plane. "The plane was delayed by years and Boeing was required to pay penalty to airlines for that. They have hurried up and outsourced a lot of jobs to China for cost control. The effect on quality is showing," said a pilot.

Aviation minister Ajit Singh had last month said that AI's Dreamliner fleet had suffered 136 'minor' technical problems between their delivery since September, 2012, and November, 2013.

However, both Boeing and airlines say the issues with the B-787 have no bearing on safety. "The aircraft is perfectly safe. Constant snags on it mean that no one knows when a Dreamliner will be grounded and that has put a question mark on ontime performance and led to delays and cancellations that rightly irk passengers. We were banking on it majorly to improve our punctuality record which some other airlines have made their USP," said an official. 

Story and Comments/Reaction:

Trouble call grounds Caribbean Airlines flight

A Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft had to return to Piarco International Airport 45 minutes after take-off, when an indicator light came on in the cockpit. 

Flight 524 left Piarco at 9 am yesterday, headed non-stop to John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, when 45 minutes into the flight, the light came on, prompting the airplane to turn back for maintenance evaluation.

Head of corporate communications for the airline Clint Williams said passengers transferred to another aircraft, and left Piarco at 3.20 pm, headed to their original destination. He said the initial aircraft was being checked by maintenance engineers in Piarco.


Indian Air Force wants to build Swiss trainer aircraft

Concerned over dip in the intake of pilots, a worried Indian Air Force (IAF) now wants to produce Swiss Pilatus PC-7 basic trainers at its own facilities. Sources said it was quiet a paradox that IAF was buying more aircraft and training fewer pilots.

The IAF, which remains skeptical about homegrown attempts to develop a new trainer aircraft, needs to train around 250 cadets in every course to meet the shortfall of around 472 pilots. The strength of last basic flying course at the IAF academy in Hyderabad was only 87. The course starting January would train a little over 100 cadets.

There has been a constant decline in the recruitment of IAF pilots since 2009, when HPT-32 trainer at the academy was grounded after it was rendered unsafe for flying. The entire flying training course was left in the lurch following the grounding of HPT-32 trainers. The IAF shifted to an interim, though risky, measure of making rookies learn their first flying skills on complex jets instead of basic aircraft.

The arrangement fraught with danger continued until IAF started receiving Swiss PC-7 mark II trainers last year. Seventy five of these trainers were bought for over 3,000 crore and the IAF academy has already received around 30, in which young cadets have started their lessons. The IAF needs 106 more trainers to smoothly run its pilot training program.

The defence ministry had allowed aircraft-maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to develop a new basic trainer, but IAF sees it's a futile exercise and had requested the government to go for 106 more Swiss aircraft instead. With HAL unable to make significant progress in the development of new aircraft, nor is it willing to produce PC-7s, the IAF has now proposed to make the Swiss aircraft on its own.

Sources said IAF's base repair depot-5 in Sulur can be entrusted with the task of producing Pilatus under license. A team of the Swiss aircraft-maker has already inspected the facility and is confident that it will be able to produce the aircraft. The cost of producing the aircraft at Sulur will be comparable with the price paid for the 75 aircraft purchased earlier. The South African Air Force is already producing Pilatus trainer on its own and the IAF's facility is considered to be even better, said sources.

The production can start as early as next year by when all the 75 PC 7 trainers would have been delivered. The requirement of additional 106 can be met by producing the aircraft at Sulur. As per the proposal, first 10 aircraft in the new lot of 106 can be bought directly off the shelf, 28 in semi knocked down kits and 68 in completely knocked down kits. The move is aimed at ending IAF's training woes. The IAF has already conveyed to the defence ministry that it would not be prudent to have two different trainers in the academy.

The HAL is determined to go ahead with its program to build HTT-40 trainer expressing confidence that it would be a cheaper option for the IAF in the long run. The HAL says IAF will not be dependent on erratic foreign vendors and can rely on support from the local manufacturers at its own convenience. IAF's training problems had come up at a recent meeting of parliamentary panel which has sought its early resolution. The panel will review functioning of HAL during its next meeting on January 24.


Wrong Runway Pilots Say Bright Runway Lights, Orientation Led to Confusion: NTSB Update


The National Transportation Safety Board released preliminary information in its investigation into the recent landing of a Southwest Airlines 737 on the wrong runway in Missouri.  

 In interviews the pilots indicated the bright lights and runway orientation led to confusion on January 13.

The captain, who has been with Southwest since 1999, told investigators it was his first flight to Branson Airport. The first officer has been with Southwest since 2001 and told investigators he had flown to Branson Airport once during daylight hours.

During NTSB interviews, the pilots told investigators that the approach had been programmed into their flight management system, but that when they saw the airport beacon and the runway lights of M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Hollister, Mo., they mistakenly identified it as Branson Airport.

The pilots explained to NTSB investigators the bright runway lights and the fact that the runway was oriented in a similar direction led them to believe they were landing at Branson Airport.

They told investigators they flew a visual approach into what they believed to be Branson Airport and that they did not realize they were at the wrong airport until they landed.

The pilots say they had to brake heavy to bring the aircraft to a stop and then advised the Branson Airport tower that they had landed at the wrong airport.

The NTSB says it has analyzed data from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. According to the cockpit voice recorder the Southwest crew was informed by air traffic control that that they were 15 miles from their intended target, which was Branson Airport.

The crew responded that they had the airfield in sight and the control tower cleared Southwest Flight 4013 for a visual approach and landing on runway 14 at Branson Airport.

According to the cockpit voice recorder, the landing was uneventful and it was not until shortly after landing that the crew realized they had landed at the wrong airport.

No one was injured in the landing at a small airport built for light jets and private planes, but passengers smelled burning rubber as the pilots braked hard to stop near the end of the runway, which gives way to a steep drop-off.

The manager of the Taney County Airport, which opened in 1970 and doesn't have a control tower, said no 737 had ever landed there.

The two pilots, each with at least 12 years at Southwest, were placed on paid leave after the incident. A dispatcher who was authorized to sit behind the captain and first officer on the flight was also placed on paid leave.

By: Press Release

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) released the following statement today regarding reports that an airplane landed at the wrong airport in Missouri last evening. Blunt serves as Ranking Member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over the safety, security and infrastructure of the country’s freight and passenger transportation networks.

“I’ve landed at this airport and it’s tough to navigate in small planes – let alone in an aircraft this size. People have every right to assume that they will arrive at their correct destination. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I will insist that federal regulators do a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened in Southwest Missouri.”

Blunt also serves as a member of the Commerce Subcommittees on:

Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security

Communications, Technology, and the Internet

Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion

Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance

Boeing 737-700, N272WN, Southwest Airlines, M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK), Branson, Missouri  

BRANSON, Mo. – A Southwest Airlines flight that was scheduled to arrive Sunday night at Branson Airport in southwest Missouri instead landed at an airport 7 miles north -- with a runway half the size of the intended destination. 

 Southwest Airlines Flight 4013, carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was scheduled to go from Chicago's Midway International Airport to Branson Airport, airline spokesman Brad Hawkins said in a statement late Sunday. But the Boeing 737-700 landed about 7 miles northeast at Taney County Airport, which is also known as M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport.

Hawkins did not have information on why the plane went to the wrong airport. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro says the agency is investigating the incident.

"The landing was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe," Hawkins said.

It's the second time in less than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong airport. In November, a Boeing 747 that was supposed to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., landed 9 miles north at Col. James Jabara Airport. That plane was flown by a two-person crew and had no passengers.

The website for M. Graham Clark Airport says its longest runway is 3,738 feet. Branson Airport's website says its runway is 7,140 feet long.

Flight tracking website said the Southwest flight landed at 6:11 p.m. Sunday. It was partly cloudy and in the high 50s in Branson at that time.

"Our ground crew from the Branson airport arrived at the airport to take care of our customers and their baggage," Hawkins said.

Flight 4013 had been scheduled to go from Branson to Dallas' Love Field. Hawkins said a plane was flown in specifically to Branson Airport around 10 p.m. to take the passengers and crew to Dallas, which showed landed at 11:42 p.m.

Hawkins said the aircraft at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport is able to take off on the smaller runway, and Southwest expects to fly it out "as early as tomorrow morning."

The Taney County Sheriff's Office referred all calls to M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport. Messages left for comment from M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport were not immediately returned.


Stage 2 jets not expected to return to Naples during Marco Island Executive Airport shutdown

A decade ago there was an outcry in Naples about the noise from Stage 2 jets and they were banned in Naples from landing at the airport; they were OK to land at Marco Island. Now, will they be coming back to Naples or going where? 

Read more here:

An incoming jet prepares to land at the Marco Island Executive Airport on Wednesday Jan. 8, 2013. The airport will be closing on Jan. 13 for 90 days to have its runway repaved.

Harbour Air Seaplanes: Aircraft makes emergency landing off Point Grey

A minor mechanical failure forced a Harbour Air float plane to make an emergency landing today on the waters off Point Grey.

The single engine de Havilland Beaver aircraft was carrying one passenger from Maple Bay on Vancouver Island to downtown Vancouver Sunday afternoon at around 3:30 p.m. when the plane began losing power at cruising altitude.

“We had a very experienced pilot and if he decided to land there it was for the safety of the passenger,” said Meredith Moll, vice-president of marketing for Harbour Air Seaplanes.

Neither the pilot nor the passenger were injured.

The plane was towed to the company’s dock by boat where it will be pulled from service and assessed to find out what went wrong.


 A float plane is towed in by boat Sunday evening after making an emergency landing off Point Grey. (CTV)

Embraer extends coverage in China's aircraft market

While soybean and minerals are attracting wide attention in trade between China and Brazil, Brazilian aircraft are enlarging the country's share in the Chinese market.

By the end of April 2013, Brazil's leading aircraft manufacturing company Embraer Commercial Aviation had delivered 136 planes to China, extending its coverage of the regional aircraft market to 80 percent.

"Second only to the US, China operates the largest fleet of Embraer commercial aircraft in the world," Paulo Cesar Silva, president of Embraer, said during the China Regional Aviation Forum 2013, held in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The International Air Transport Association predicted that China would become the world's second largest aviation market in 2017, which is regarded as a great opportunity by some of the world's major aircraft companies, including the Boeing Co and Airbus.

As the world's third-largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, Brazil entered the Chinese aviation market in 2000, when China's Sichuan Airlines signed an agreement to purchase five ERJ145 jet planes from Embraer.

Since then, several major deals were completed between China and Brazil, including the purchase of 30 jets worth of $1.2 billion in 2011 by CLC Corporation, the leasing arm of the China Development Bank.

These airplanes were provided to China Southern Airlines for operation in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to complete air travel routes in Northwest China.

Also in 2011, Hebei Airlines agreed to purchase 10 jets from Embraer as a way to strengthen its airlines in Hebei province.

"Brazilian aircraft are high quality, like those from Boeing and Airbus. The plane model suits the characteristics of the Chinese aviation market," said Wang Li, manager of the Hebei Airlines Planning and Development Department.

Wang said that China has a large market in air routes in second-tier and third-tier cities. These routes are relatively shorter with less passengers than routes connecting large cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

"Embraer's main plane models contain 70 to 122 seats, which are suitable for these regional air routes. This is the major reason we chose Embraer aircraft," he added.

Wang said Brazil enjoys a large potential in China's air travel market especially in air routes covering areas in China's Northwest where road and railway systems are less developed.

"Several airlines companies have already benefited from the cooperation," he said.

China and Brazil signed a series of commercial agreements during the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012, opening a broader market for Brazilian airplane exports to the country as well as allowing Brazil to produce commercial planes in China.

As a result, Embraer and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China jointly established the Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co, which completed assembling a Legacy 650 large executive jet this August.

However, the cooperation between China and Brazil in the aviation industry met a challenge in 2010 when an E190 jet crashed while landing in Yichun, Heilongjiang province, causing 42 deaths and 54 injuries.

Although the accident was caused by improper operation, shares in the company on the New York Stock Exchange fell nearly 4 percent.

"It is very important for aircraft manufacturers to provide continuous support to airline companies, including technical assistance, pilot training and condition maintenance, as a way to avoid such tragedies from happening again," said Wang.

"Both Boeing and Airbus aircraft have had accidents in the past. It will not influence our confidence in the E190, because it is still a mature plane model in the world," he added.

Brazil's aircraft exportation to China is regarded as the key to enhancing Brazil's export structure, which is mainly conducted by primary commodities such as soybean and minerals.

Aircraft trade is still a "beautiful exception" in the trade between China and Brazil, according to Brazilian Ambassador to China Valdemar Carneiro Leao.


Psychiatric counseling: Help for those on Singapore Airlines flight that made emergency landing

Psychiatric counseling offered to assist them in dealing with incident.    

Passengers and crew of the Singapore Airlines flight which made an emergency landing at Baku in Azerbaijan a week ago have been offered psychiatric counseling to help them deal with the incident. 
SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides confirmed this and said: "It is the right thing to do."

Those who need assistance can contact the airline, which will make the necessary arrangements, he added.

The 467 travelers and 27 cabin crew were flying from London to Singapore when SQ flight 317 lost cabin pressure, prompting the automatic deployment of oxygen masks, which terrified many of those on board. It is believed there was a leak in one of the Airbus 380 aircraft doors.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800,  9V-SKE,  Flight SQ-317

Marco Island Executive Airport (KMKY), Marco Island, Florida

Marco Island airport 3-month shutdown won't cost employees their jobs

MARCO ISLAND — The three-month closure of the Marco Island Executive Airport for a $6.2 million runway improvement project won’t result in any lost jobs for airport employees or connected businesses. 

But it will displace both charter plane businesses that operate at the airport.

The runway rehabilitation project, paid for by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Florida Department of Transportation, is slated to begin Monday.

The project is taking place during the height of tourist season because of the airport’s low elevation, which makes water drainage difficult in the summer rainy season. Also, the airport is near federally protected wetlands and a stipulation of the federal grant money won’t allow work during crocodile nesting season, which begins March 1 and runs until September.

Airport Manager Robert Tweedie said the airport’s five full-time employees would be kept busy during the shutdown.

“Nobody’s going to be furloughed,” he said. “There’s plenty of work for them to do — a lot of general-maintenance projects that need attention. Not just here, but at Immokalee Regional Airport and Everglades Airpark, too. At times, we may assign them to other locations, as well.”

All three airports are operated by the Collier County Airport Authority.

Rental-car agencies that service the Marco airport operate on an as-needed basis so those employees aren’t affected, Tweedie said.

“We have three rental service providers: Enterprise, Avis and Hertz,” he said. “They don’t have any employees based here. They deliver vehicles as needed. If someone here needs a car, they make arrangements ahead of time — or we make arrangements ahead of time — and the agency brings them out. It’s not like (Southwest Florida International Airport), where the vehicles are kept on the premises.”

Local representatives for Enterprise, Avis and Hertz declined to comment.

Both charter plane services based at the Marco Island airport plan to relocate to Naples Municipal Airport during the shutdown.

“(The shutdown’s) probably going to have a negative effect on business,” said Robert Dellaert, owner of Air Expeditions Seaplanes Adventures. “I have a customer base on Marco Island that’s pretty significant during (tourism) season, and a lot of people drive here from Naples, but it’s going to be an inconvenience for people on Marco Island to drive to Naples.”

Dellaert said he and his two employees would relocate his business to Naples Municipal Airport this weekend.

“I employ a chief pilot and a helper, but they’re not going to be furloughed, and I’m not going to raise rates,” he said.

A pilot for 35 years, Dellaert said the bulk of his business comes from chartered flights to Key West.

“We fly a Cessna 310 and we can make it there in about 35 minutes,” he said. “During season, we take a trip just about every day.”

Dave Odom, owner of Island Hoppers Aerial Adventures, said he and his three employees also would relocate to Naples Municipal Airport this weekend.

“At this point, it’s a huge unknown (how the airport closure will affect business),” Odom said. “The bulk of our business is here on Marco Island. Like everybody else ... we realize that they picked the worst time of year to do this from an economic standpoint: during the heart of season. This is the time of year that pays the bills for the rest of the year.”

Odom, who recently moved his primary business operations from Marathon to Marco Island, said his company’s charter helicopter service is a tangible victim of the airport closure.

“We were going to move our helicopter here this winter, but canceled that plan after finding out about the closure,” he said. “Nixed it altogether for the season.” 


Brian Calloway, right, a pilot with Cooper Tire and Rubber puts the fuel cap back on the plane he'll be flying after Curtis Richardson refueled at the Marco Island Executive Airport on Wednesday Jan. 8, 2013. The airport will be closing on Jan. 13 for 90 days to have its runway repaved.

No Delhi operations for airlines without trained pilots

Identifying airlines' alleged reluctance in deploying trained pilots during fog as a problem, aviation regulator Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has warned that carriers will be stopped from operating to and from Delhi during the fog season.

The DGCA has insisted on deployment of pilots trained in Category III Instrument Landing System (CAT III ILS) and told the airlines that only trained crew would be allowed to operate flights in and out of the capital in case CAT III weather predictions are made by the met department.

Pilots trained in CATIII ILS can land planes even when the runway visibility range is as low as 75 metres.

Over 300 flights have been cancelled due to fog in Delhi since December 17 last year, including 119 flights on a single day late last week.

DGCA officials said if the airlines are reluctant to do it, defaulting operators would be stopped from operating flights to and from Delhi during low-visibility conditions.

The central Industrial Security Force, which provides security at airports, has told the aviation regulator that airlines are “not informing passengers adequately about flight delays” caused during the fog season, and this is creating trouble at the Delhi airport in managing passengers, who often get into arguments with airline staff.

The Airports Authority of India has also been asked to open up more alternate airports where flights could be diverted during dense fog conditions.

Taking into account problems faced during the fog season, the DGCA has now set up a committee to take steps to ensure that there are no diversions from Delhi airport due to low visibility.

The technical committee, headed by DGCA's Joint Director General Lalit Gupta, was set up after DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar's meeting with representatives of airlines, airport operators and other stakeholders two days ago. The 10-member panel has been asked to make Delhi a "zero diversionary" airport without compromising on safety of aircraft operations.

The committee has been asked to submit its report by March 31.

The DGCA has also decided to set up a cell comprising its own officials and those of all Indian carriers to deal with the fog situation.

Hilton Head Airport (KHXD), Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

After delay, hangar fees to rise at Hilton Head Airport in March

Beaufort County will raise hangar rents at the Hilton Head Island Airport in March, after a delay of several months because of miscommunication, according to county administrator Gary Kubic.

Rates will increase by 5 percent, which means most renters will be charged about $20 more each month to store their planes, Kubic said.

The county's Airports Board recommended the increases last summer, but they weren't implemented because of miscommunication between County Council and staff, Kubic said.

Although Kubic has the authority to increase the rates without County Council approval, he said he wanted the council's opinion on whether the amount of the increase was appropriate. On Jan. 6, Kubic and airports director Jon Rembold posed the increase to the council's Finance Committee, which approved it.

"It was something we probably should have addressed sooner," Kubic said.

County Councilman Rick Caporale of Hilton Head Island pushed several times to get the issue before the Finance Committee in November and December, but it was delayed more than once when the committee ran out of time, Caporale said.

"It's just the idea of it -- what were people waiting for?" Caporale said. "We worked so hard to get a good Airports Board, but we tend to ignore them from time to time, and this is a prime example of that."

Airports Board director Pete Buchanan agreed. He said the board was persistent about prodding the county to action, bringing up the issue at several Airports Board meetings in the fall.

"If you're on the board and you have to answer some of the questions we get from people, obviously (a delay) is frustrating," he said.

Kubic apologized for the delay: "I wouldn't blame council; I'd blame this on me and the administration."

The airport has 22 basic T-shaped hangars, which currently lease for $400 per month, according to county data. It also has three box hangars, which currently cost $1,185 per month, and one large bulk hangar, for $2,431 per month.

Those fees currently raise about $177,000 a year, about $26,000 of which goes to hangar contractor Signature Flight Support, according to the data. The rate increases are expected to bring in an additional $2,400 in revenue each year.

The county is worried higher fees might drive some renters away, Kubic said. But even with the increase, the Hilton Head Island Airport fees are still competitive with similar $400 monthly costs at the Savannah airport, and it's much closer to home for Hilton Head pilots, he said.

In June, the council's Finance Committee approved hangar lease-rate increases at the Lady's Island Airport, following a recommendation by Joel Phillips, the airport's supervisor, Rembold said. That airport has 34 hangars.

The increase included a 5 percent hike and including each hangar's property taxes in monthly payments, according to county documents. The tax change will save the county more than $7,200, and the increase will add $5,400 in revenue annually, according to the documents.

Lease rates have not risen since 2011 at the Hilton Head Airport. The increase will help the county maintain the hangars and pay down debt for airport improvements, Rembold told County Council members Jan. 6. All of the hangars at each airport are being leased, he added.

The county is required to send renters a 30-day notice of the increases, which will be mailed Feb. 1 for the Hilton Head Airport, Kubic said.


Cessna 172L, 9M-RFC, Royal Selangor Flying Club: Accident occurred January 10, 2014 near Batu Dam, Klang Valley, Selangor, Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Investigators probing into the Royal Selangor Flying Club Cessna that crashed in Ulu Yam on Friday are wondering why the emergency locater transmitter (ELT) in the aircraft was not triggered upon impact.  

The New Straits Times was made to understand that neither the air-traffic controllers nor search-and-rescue crew were able to obtain any radio signal from the ELT when they were trying to locate the crash site.

Also, investigators had said the Cessna had diverted from its flight path, which was to go over Batu Caves and return to the club at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Sungai Besi.

Officials are looking at several explanations as to why the ELT failed to function.

"Apart from a technical malfunction, the thick foliage of the dense forest could have prevented the signal from being transmitted out of the crash site," said the official, who declined to be identified.

The ELT is usually fixed to the tail section of the aircraft to minimise damage upon impact.

He recalled the club's Cessna 26 aircraft crash involving (former home and foreign minister) Tun Ghazali Shafie (he was the sole survivor and had co-piloted the aircraft) in Kampung Som Som hill near Janda Baik in Genting Higlands on Jan 10, 1982.

"In that incident, the ELT functioned well and it helped the rescue team to zero in to the crash site quickly," said the official, who was then part of the search-and-rescue team.

The bodies of the pilot and Ghazali's aide-de-camp, who died, were also recovered promptly.

The NST was informed that investigators of Friday's incident might rule out technical problems as cause of the crash as the pilot did not transmit the "Mayday" emergency radio call to air-traffic controllers prior to the crash.

The aircraft is believed to have undergone periodical scheduled maintenance at the club's hangar and was fit to fly.

On the recovery of the wreckage, the DCA is being assisted by the club's engineering and maintenance crew to remove it in parts in easing efforts to extract it from the dense jungle.

The officer, who is part of the investigating team, said due credit should be given to farmer Darmawan Kamaruzaman, 33, who had expeditiously helped locate the crash site.

SELAYANG:   Syed Haidir Syed Zulkiflee is determined to continue flying despite the accident which almost took his alive.

His father Syed Zulkiflee Syed Masron, 50 said his son remained optimistic about pursuing his dream to be a pilot.

"In fact, he can wait to be discharged and start his training again," he said, adding that he would warded for at least three more days.

He added that the family was relieved to know that Syed Haidir was safe after traumatizing incident.

"We will definitely continue to standby our son to achieve his dream of being a pilot.

"Whatever gives him satisfaction, will give us utmost happiness," he told reporters at Selayang Hospital.

He added that death could happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere.

"And this risk should not be the reason why he did not pursue his dream," he said.

According to Syed Zulkiflee, the pilot was trying to avoid two eagles when the accident occurred.

Syed Haidir, the eldest of four siblings, was the co-pilot.

He has remaining 14 hours to complete his private pilot license.

The club lost communication with the Cessna at 5.15pm and started rescue operation then.

The family was informed of the incident by the Royal Selangor Club at around 8.30pm the flights whereabouts was not known then. 

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Jan (Bernama) -- The pilot of an ill-fated Cessna 172 that crashed into a bamboo grove near Batu Dam in Ulu Yam near here on Friday said he had to make a split-second decision to avoid a pair of eagles from disabling the plane before it went out of control.

"I had no choice but to swerve to avoid the eagles from being sucked into the engine.

"Had the eagles struck the engine, it could have caught fire and we could have crashed into the reservoir of the dam. This will be even more dangerous.

"Ironically, the plane went out of control due to strong winds, causing it to dive and crashed into a bamboo grove at about 5pm on Friday," pilot Saiful Farid Amri Amrizal told reporters at the Selayang Hospital here Sunday.

Apart from Saiful Farid Amri the others on board the four-seater plane were co-pilot Syed Haidhar Syed Zulkiflee, 25, and passenger Mohd Shaiful Zafeq Razali, 24.

Saiful Farid Amri sustained a facial injury while Syed Haidhar and Mohd Shaiful Zafeq suffered facial and leg injuries. They were transferred from the emergency unit to the general ward today.

Saiful Farid Amri said he crawled out of the wreckage before puling out Syed Haidhar and Mohd Shaiful before setting a bonfire at the crash site at nightfall to enable rescuers to locate them.

"I was thankful that fire-fighters managed to locate us," he said.

Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said fire-fighters managed to rescue the victims within 14 hours in the dark and steep hilly forest.

"I would like to thank Batu Dam residents for providing information on the crash that enabled us launch our operation at 12.15am. They told us that the direction they heard a loud bang," he told reporters after visiting the three victims.

Fire officer Ismail Abdul Ghani, 46, said the trio were exhausted and traumatised when they were found at about 5am.

"The first thing we did was to ensure that their injuries would not get worse," he said.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Department director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said a team of investigators from the Royal Selangor Flying Club were conducting a study on the wreckage at the crash site.

"The wreckage will be left there for the time while we are probe into the cause of the crash as efforts to retrieve it will take time," he added.

Cessna 501 Citation I/SP, N452TS: Accident occurred January 12, 2014 near Trier-Föhren Airport - Germany

 Media reports said the aircraft burned for 90 minutes before firemen extinguished the flames

BERLIN — A small jet crashed in thick fog near an airfield in western Germany on Sunday, killing four people, police said.

The Cessna Citation plane had taken off from southern England. It was approaching the Foehren airfield, near the city of Trier, when it clipped an electricity mast on the Koblenz-Trier railway line.

The aircraft crashed shortly afterward near a landfill site and burst into flames.

Police in Trier said all four people aboard were killed — a 61-year-old businessman from the region and his 60-year-old wife, along with the pilot and co-pilot, who weren’t immediately identified.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash.


Turkish Airlines plane makes emergency landing after bomb scare

A Turkish Airlines plane enroute to Sao Paolo in Brazil Jan. 12 has made an emergency landing after an unclaimed computer was found in the passenger cabin, triggering a bomb threat procedure.

The plane landed at halfway route in Morocco’s Casablanca airport, and not Algeria as Doğan News Agency has initially reported.

Bomb-dismantling experts are inspecting the plane for explosives, the report said. Turkish Airlines officials said the landing was a standard procedure for such cases, according to private broadcaster NTV.

The plane effectuating the TK-15 coded flight took off at 9:30 a.m. local time from Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport with 229 passengers on the board, the report said.

Istanbul-Sao Paolo is one of Turkish Airlines’ longest flight routes.