Sunday, September 17, 2017

Cessna 310L, N3344X: Incident occurred September 17, 2017 at Centennial Airport (KAPA), Englewood, Colorado

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aircraft landed and the gear collapsed.

http://registry.faa.gov/N3344X

Date: 17-SEP-17
Time: 18:45:00Z
Regis#: N3344X
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C310
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: ENGLEWOOD
State: COLORADO


CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – A plane went off the runway Sunday afternoon while landing at Centennial Airport.

South Metro Fire Rescue firefighters responded, but there were no reported injuries.

Story and photo gallery: http://denver.cbslocal.com

Accident occurred September 17, 2017 in Pleasant Township, Clark County, Ohio

A Springfield man is recovering after the ultralight plane he was flying crashed in the yard of Pleasant Twp. home Sunday afternoon.

James Lewis, 46, was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries after crews arrived to the scene in the 6200 block of Pleasant Chapel Road around 2:35 p.m. 

Lewis crashed the homemade plane while flying over the property for an attempted landing, according to a release from Springfield troopers. 

Troopers said Lewis missed his landing area and struck a fence before crews arrived. 

The Clark County Sheriff's Office as well as Pleasant Twp. Fire and EMS assisted Springfield troopers at the scene.

Original article ➤ http://www.springfieldnewssun.com

Van's RV-8, N232TB: Accident occurred September 16, 2017 at Nehalem Bay State Airport (3S7), Manzanita, Tillamook County, Oregon

Additional participating entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


http://registry.faa.gov/N232TB


Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The airplane's collision with two elks during landing.

Findings

Environmental issues
Animal(s)/bird(s) - Ability to respond/compensate (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll
Wildlife encounter (non-bird) (Defining event)
Loss of control on ground
Landing gear collapse



Location: Manzanita, OR
Accident Number: GAA17CA541
Date & Time: 09/16/2017, 1710 PDT
Registration: N232TB
Aircraft: RUDBERG TODD W VANS ACFT RV8
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Wildlife encounter (non-bird)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot, reported that he landed on the runway and noticed an elk running toward the nose of the airplane. He applied full throttle and climbed to avoid impact, but the propeller struck the elk.

The pilot shut off the engine and the airplane descended to the runway. When the airplane touched down on the runway, a second elk collided with the airplane's left wing. The airplane veered to the left and the right main landing gear collapsed. The airplane then veered to the right and came to rest on the right wing.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The Airport Facility Directory for the accident airport, states that there is wildlife in the vicinity of the runway.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/17/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/19/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1800 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1800 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Manufacturer: RUDBERG TODD W
Registration: N232TB
Model/Series: VANS ACFT RV8 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental; Aerobatic
Serial Number: 81315
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/24/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1355.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO390
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 210 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 




Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAST, 22 ft msl
Observation Time: 1201 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 28 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 4°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 200 ft agl
Visibility:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - Mist
Departure Point: EVERETT, WA (PAE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Manzanita, OR (3S7)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Airport: NEHALEM BAY STATE (3S7)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 30 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2350 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 45.698056, -123.929722 (est) Additional participating entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


http://registry.faa.gov/N232TB


Location: Manzanita, OR
Accident Number: GAA17CA541
Date & Time: 09/16/2017, 1710 PDT
Registration: N232TB
Aircraft: RUDBERG TODD W VANS ACFT RV8
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Wildlife encounter (non-bird)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot, reported that he landed on the runway and noticed an elk running toward the nose of the airplane. He applied full throttle and climbed to avoid impact, but the propeller struck the elk.

The pilot shut off the engine and the airplane descended to the runway. When the airplane touched down on the runway, a second elk collided with the airplane's left wing. The airplane veered to the left and the right main landing gear collapsed. The airplane then veered to the right and came to rest on the right wing.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The Airport Facility Directory for the accident airport, states that there is wildlife in the vicinity of the runway.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information


Certificate: Private
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/17/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/19/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1800 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1800 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information


Aircraft Manufacturer: RUDBERG TODD W
Registration: N232TB
Model/Series: VANS ACFT RV8 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental; Aerobatic
Serial Number: 81315
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/24/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1355.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO390
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 210 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan


Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAST, 22 ft msl
Observation Time: 1201 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 28 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 4°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 200 ft agl
Visibility:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - Mist
Departure Point: EVERETT, WA (PAE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Manzanita, OR (3S7)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Airport: NEHALEM BAY STATE (3S7)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 30 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2350 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 45.698056, -123.929722 (est)

A bumpy landing on the airstrip at Nehalem Bay State Park led to two casualties: a pair of elk.

“It was a real surprise to see them, I was not sure what might have spooked them but I knew we were going to hit the cow,” said Todd Rudberg. “At first I didn’t even see the bull, but it was all happening very fast.”

Rudberg was piloting a 2003 Vans RV8, single engine, fixed wing plane. An aircraft he decided to build in 2003 as an homage to his father, who first introduced him to flying. He wanted to take the plane out for the day from Washington and decided to invite a friend, Valerie Villacin along for a day in the air to Manzanita and back.

According to Rudberg they had already touched the aircraft’s wheels down to the runway and were going pretty fast when, for reasons still unknown, a pair of Roosevelt Elk ran in front of the plane as it was still going at approximately 50 miles per hour.

“Once I saw her and knew we were going to hit I pinned it and pulled nose-up,” said Rudberg. “The prop struck her first and she hit the rear landing gear, at that point I saw the bull hit my left wing, which spun me into a ground-loop.”

The two elk were killed upon impact, however both pilot and passenger made it through the ordeal unscathed.

“Of course my immediate concern was for my passenger,” Rudberg said. “But once we both figured out we were okay my thoughts went to the plane.”

Perhaps by a stroke of luck, Rudberg decided to insure the aircraft this year for this type of event and according to him the damage looks pretty extensive. Citing visible wreckage to the aircraft, Rudberg figures the engine would need a complete overhaul and the airframe is likely totaled. However, Rudberg mentioned he had not heard back from his insurance company yet about the damages.

Rudberg, who got his pilot’s license in 2001, has put more than 2,000 hours in the air. Building the airplane with his father, they both started the custom project in 2003. After his father passed away in 2006 it became a passion of Rudberg’s to finish the plane.

“I had just re-done a great deal of it this last winter,” said Rudberg. “I had just worked 100 percent of the bugs out of it and got the plane up and running perfectly, I’m not thrilled with what’s happened but we both walked away from it.”

Rudberg said he’s not going to allow this incident dissuade him from getting back into the air but he admitted it may be some time before he finds out what he’s going to fly.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has temporarily closed the airstrip at Nehalem Bay State Park while the incident is under investigation. Numerous law enforcement and state agencies took part in the response including the Oregon State Police, Manzanita Police Department, Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue as well as Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation from Nehalem Bay State Park. It is reported that a large quantity of elk meat was salvaged from the incident by the responding Fish and Wildlife State Troopers.


https://www.tillamookheadlightherald.com



On September 16, 2017 OSP responded to a report of a small aircraft collision on the Nehalem Bay State Park airstrip.

Preliminary investigation revealed that at approximately 5:14pm, a crash involving an aircraft occurred on the airstrip at Nehalem Bay State Park.

The involved pilot was identified as Todd William Rudberg, age 49, from Shoreline, Washington. 

There was one additional passenger in the plane identified as Valerie Anne Villacin, age 43, from Seattle, Washington.

The aircraft was a 2003 Vans Aircraft Model RV8, single engine, fixed wing plane belonging to Mr. Rudberg. 

The crash occurred when Mr. Rudberg attempted to land the plane. He had fully touched down on the airstrip and was slowing down when an elk ran in front of the plane. He attempted to speed up and relaunch the plane in order to fly over the elk without hitting it. The propeller and right side landing gear struck the elk and killed it. Another elk ran in front of the plane and was struck by the left wing. The second elk was also killed. The plane spun around and came to a stop on the airstrip. 

The plane was totaled as a result of the crash and none of the occupants were injured. 

The FAA has temporarily closed the Nehalem Bay State Park Airstrip and will be conducting an investigation of the incident.

Troopers from the Oregon State Police,  Tillamook Worksite responded and investigated the incident.

Assisting the Oregon State Police were Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue, the Manzanita Department of Public Safety, and employees of Nehalem Bay State Park. 

A large quantity of elk meat was salvaged by the responding Fish and Wildlife troopers.

Story and photo gallery  ➤ http://www.northcoastcitizen.com






Two people in a small airplane emerged from a freak accident Saturday evening unscathed -- after two elk ran into their plane just as it was landing on an Oregon Coast airstrip.

Pilot Todd Rudberg, 49, had just touched down at the Nehalem Bay State Park airstrip on the southern edge of Manzanita at 5:14 p.m. Saturday.

That's when an elk suddenly ran in front of the plane, Oregon State Police said. Rudberg tried to speed up and relaunch the plane in an attempt to fly over it, but the plane’s landing gear and propeller ended up striking the elk. The elk was killed.

An instant later, a second elk ran in front of the plane and was struck by the left wing, police said. That second elk also died.

The plane spun to a stop on the airstrip. It was totaled, police said.

But Rudberg and passenger Valerie Villacin were uninjured, according to police. Rudberg is from Shoreline, Wash. Villacin, 43, is from Seattle. Rudberg owns the plane, which is a 2003 Vans Aircraft Model RV8, single engine, fixed wing model.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, and has closed the airstrip.

According to a 26-year study of animal strikes by U.S. aircraft, birds accounted for 95 percent of animal strikes. Land mammals -- including dogs, cats, horses and skunks -- accounted for 1.6 percent. More than 1,100 deer were struck by aircraft during the study period, from 1990-2015.

Eleven elk were struck, causing $7.6 million in damage, the study found.

Fish and Wildlife troopers were able to salvage a large quantity of elk meat from Saturday's crash, police said. The meat was donated to charity.

Story, photo gallery and comments ➤ http://www.oregonlive.com

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II, N2587X: Accident occurred September 17, 2017 near Gillespie Field Airport (KSEE), El Cajon, San Diego County, California

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Diego, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

http://registry.faa.gov/N2587X

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA208
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 17, 2017 in El Cajon, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-161, registration: N2587X
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 17, 2017, about 1345 Pacific daylight time, a Piper 28-161, N2587X, experienced a partial loss of engine power while on downwind for runway 27L at Gillespie Field Airport (SEE), El Cajon, California. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and pilot rated passenger sustained minor injuries; the airplane's left wing was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from SEE at about 1250. 

The pilot reported that after flying around the area they returned to the airport to practice a few touch-and-go landings. The first two left traffic touch-and-goes were uneventful; after the third takeoff, the tower informed them to make right traffic. While on a longer downwind than normal they were cleared to land; the pilot reduced power and started to descend. When he increased power, the engine did not respond and remained at idle; there was no change in engine noise and the engine was not running rough. Both pilots manipulated the throttle several times, but the engine did not respond; they also manipulated the primer, but to no avail. The pilot elected to land the airplane onto a nearby road. During the descent, the airplane struck powerlines and a tree before impacting the roadway and sliding to a stop. 

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.



A small plane crash landed on an El Cajon street in front of a church in a neighborhood with a mix of homes and businesses Sunday afternoon, according to authorities.

Initial reports indicated that the aircraft’s two occupants were not seriously injured. The plane landed on North Second Street near El Rey Avenue shortly after 1:45 p.m., according to California Highway Patrol.

People gathered to look at the plane, which ended up tilted on its side — one wing broken and mangled — in front of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The 32-year-old Piper fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft is registered to a Ramona man, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Story and video ➤  http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com






EL CAJON (KGTV) -- Authorities are working to clear a fuel spill Sunday morning after a small plane crashed landed onto a quiet El Cajon neighborhood

The plane crashed sometime around 2 p.m. at 2nd Street and El Rey in El Cajon.

The pilot was en route to Gillespie Field Airport, a little more than a mile from where it crashed.

Authorities say two people were on board the aircraft but suffered no injuries.

There was a small fuel leak following the crash and the plane knocked down some wires when it crash landed.  Police are asking the public to avoid the area until about 4 p.m. Sunday.

Story and video ➤ http://www.10news.com

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N9924Q: Aircraft broke loose from the tiedowns during Hurricane Irma - blown across ramp upside down








































AIRCRAFT: 1975 CESSNA C172M N9924Q, s/n: 17265868 
TTAF 7007.6 at the last annual inspection on 05/24/17
Current Tach 7017.2; Hobbs 1752.0

ENGINE: Lycoming O-320-D2J, s/n: RL-15878-39A
TSMOH 110.7 at the last annual inspection on 05/24/17
Overhauled 03/08/16 by JB Aircraft Engines.  TTSN 2150.  Tach 6896.4

EQUIPMENT: Removed and stored separately.  Condition not known or warranted.

(1) GPS - Apollo 2001 NMS
(2) NAV/COM TKM MX17DC
(1) Transponder Narco AT 165 TSO
(1) Audio Selector Panel PMA 6000
(1) DME King KN 62
(1) ADF 300 ADF R-546E

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  N9924Q broke loose from the tiedowns during Hurricane Irma, and was blown across the ramp upside down at Homestead, Florida

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:    Damage includes but may not be limited to the following:       
- Tail was broken in half and is separated from the fuselage
- Tail, horizontal stabilizer and elevators damaged
- Wings and fuselage are also damaged      

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:  Florida Air Recovery, Fort Pierce, Florida

REMARKS: INSPECTION OF SALVAGE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Salvage is sold AS IS/WHERE IS. 

Logbooks are NOT complete - no airframe logs prior to 2003. 
                     
03/08/16 - Ram STC SA2375SW-D dated November 1, 1976, amended August 28, 1987, reissuance Aug 25, 2008 and Ram Drawing No R17201-H dated December 10, 1986

Wings were removed for retrieval.

Read more here:  http://www.avclaims.com/N9924Q.html


Jeff Bennett, a Florida Keys resident and pilot with ties to Lee County, is ferrying needed supplies to the Keys. His own house, the last house on the left in the second row from the bottom in the above photo, on Big Pine Key, sustained damage from Hurricane Irma.


Jeff Bennett believes in neighbor helping neighbor rather than relying on government help.

That's why Bennett, a Florida Keys resident, and pilot, is ferrying much-needed supplies from Lee County to the place where Hurricane Irma first hit land in the United States.

"Everybody is chipping in to see what we can do," he said. "This is what neighbors used to do. I love that. Neighbors that I hardly knew, now we have a bond."

Bennett and his wife, Heather Joy, evacuated their Big Pine Key home in advance of Irma and came to Cape Coral, where they have several rental properties.

Ater ascertaining that the older, wood home they had lived in for the past 27 years was still standing, Bennett knew he had to do something to help.


He posted on Facebook — "I'm being told that the people down there are getting desperate for personal hygiene materials (diapers, tampons, toilet paper etc) as well as cleaning materials. Dog food and tarps are also on the list" — and then packed his Cirrus SR22 plane and headed on down Saturday, landing in Key West.

"I didn't expect things to be as bad as they were," he said.

He saw homes and trailers that were pancaked, large cabin cruiser-style boats sitting along streets, businesses he knew existed before Irma that looked as if the buildings were no longer there, and a need for supplies.

Bennett said he was surprised there were not more casualties. "There should have been more," he said. "Too many people stayed."

He said a "cry wolf" attitude prompted people to stay to ride out Irma.

"We've been there for so many storms," he said. "They always said 'storm surge, storm surge' but we never saw it."

He said the first time they ever saw any type of storm surge was about 18 inches from Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

"We laugh at Category 1 storms," the retired Navy veteran and businessman said. "We call them 'friendly hurricanes'."

But Irma, at Category 4 when it ripped through, was anything but friendly to the Keys, he said.

"It will be at least a month before power is back," he said.

In the meantime, Bennett said there are large and small needs.

Generators and chainsaws are the big needs.

Flying out of Page Field, Bennett will be making more trips with his plane and, since the Keys were reopened to residents Sunday, a cargo van to take as much as he can get.

His wife, who works for  the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, headed back earlier.

"I'll be going back and forth for the next couple weeks," he said. "I have no idea how this will go."

Bennett said he will also need to attend to the damage done to his own home and several rental properties he owns on Big Pine Key. Damage includes siding stripped off, water damage, trees snapped in two and debris everywhere.

"I had just redone some of the properties," he said. "We will have to redo them."

The water got so high in one unit that a sink that had been plugged had seawater inside the bowl.

"I consider myself lucky," he said. "All my properties are still standing."

Bennett, who ferries dogs around as part of his involvement in Pilots for Pets, said he has a cadre of other pilots and donors to help.

"There are a bunch of pilots who have contacted me," he said, coming from Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and beyond.

He has set up a van at the Key West airport where supplies that are flown in can be stored.

Bennett had a bit of advice for those planning on heading to the Keys to help.

"If you're going south of Seven Mile Bridge you'll need plenty of water, a generator, and a chainsaw," he said. "There are a lot of trees down. Make sure you fuel up as well."

Read more here ➤ http://www.news-press.com

Federal Aviation Administration Panel Delivers Sweeping Recommendations on Deregulation: Report calls for revised structural tests, new alternatives for co-pilot experience



The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor
Updated Sept. 17, 2017 4:06 p.m. ET


A federal advisory committee’s sweeping deregulation proposals are roiling the world of airplane safety.

As part of President Donald Trump’s governmentwide drive targeting what he and aides call outdated or unnecessary restrictions, the panel of industry and labor representatives has delivered a report urging the Federal Aviation Administration to eliminate or roll back more than 50 longstanding air-safety rules.

Completed last week but not yet publicly released, the document recommends loosening controls over everything from pilot training to structural testing of new models. Several of the specifics are prompting opposition from some union groups, outside safety advocates and families of crash victims.

The panel, called the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, in a prior report identified hundreds of other regulations it said were ripe for repeal or modification, according to one person familiar with the details.

The agency’s initial response was noncommittal, stressing that the recommendations “do not mean any action will be taken to modify or eliminate existing rules.” A statement from a spokeswoman over the weekend also said the agency intends to carefully review each item and determine next steps by applying “the FAA’s prevailing criteria to maintain today’s historic level of aviation safety.”

The recommendations set the stage for debates in coming years over loosening or entirely doing away with some rules that are integral parts of the FAA’s safety program but haven’t been amended or, in many cases reassessed, for decades.

Some of the proposals involve obscure or relatively minor irritants, such as redundant paperwork, duplicate regulations and outdated requirements for ashtrays outside lavatories dating back to an era when smoking was allowed on airliners. But others focus on big-ticket regulatory mandates that entail major costs for industry, including the way plane makers and the FAA determine the structural integrity and fatigue tolerance of large airplane parts or sections.

The panel, among other things, urged more flexibility by substituting computer simulations and inspections of older aircraft for more-expensive ground tests. The savings “could be hundreds of millions of dollars” versus full-scale testing, according to the report.

Two other recommendations urge relying on engineering analysis, rather than primarily flight tests, to determine vibration characteristics or strength of certain parts.

Critics contend neither FAA nor industry experts are familiar enough yet with the long-term structural strength of certain composite structures to ensure the validity of such computer-based analysis.

The committee also is seeking to revise certain reporting rules, echoing unsuccessful efforts in the past by industry officials. One rule submitted for modification deals with data collection about engine reliability, in-flight shutdowns, oil loss and uncommanded power changes for twin-engine airliners authorized to fly extended routes over water or polar regions. The changes appears designed to reduce certain FAA reporting requirements for this category of aircraft -- as long as the problematic events occur during trips over land or shorter overwater flights.

In addition, the panel reiterated calls by other FAA-chartered committees and industry-backed studies to find new alternatives to requiring most co-pilots to have 1,500 hours of flight time before they can be hired to fly passengers. A Senate bill extending the FAA’s overall authority, which expires at the end of the month, includes a similar provision.

According to the report, reducing the 1,500-hour minimum is essential to prevent pilot shortages from reducing commercial service commuter carriers are able to provide rural communities. Pilot unions and other groups strongly oppose dropping the 1,500 hour threshold, contending it would erode safety. The report notes that alternate “pathways” to hiring new co-pilots “would only be approved if they were proven to enhance safety.”

Commercial accident rates across the U.S. have been at record low levels for years, with the last deadly crash involving a scheduled domestic carrier occurring in 2009.

Yet by challenging certain traditional safeguards—and advocating changes tied to potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in industry savings over the years—the report primarily reflects the desires of manufacturers, equipment suppliers, airlines and private aviation groups.

After months of internal deliberations with mixed results, FAA officials in April asked the panel to identify regulations that are outmoded, unnecessary or ineffective, “Inhibit job creation,” or “impose costs that exceed benefits.”

The Association of Flight Attendants, a union with more than 40,000 members, officially dissented from the latest report. It argued that the package of recommendations amounted to “a grab bag of unfiltered wish lists submitted by individual” interest groups participating in the process.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.wsj.com