Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Piper L-18C Super Cub, N968SW: Accident occurred March 07, 2022 in Nampa , Canyon County, Idaho

National Transportation Safety Board accident number: WPR22LA120

A Black Box From China Eastern Airlines Plane Crash Is Found

Authorities say the device appears to be a cockpit voice recorder and sent it to Beijing for analysis




The Wall Street Journal 
By Elaine Yu and Andrew Tangel
Updated March 23, 2022 2:36 pm ET


HONG KONG —  Rescuers have recovered one of the black boxes from the Boeing 737 that crashed into a mountainous rural area of southern China, the country’s air-safety regulator said Wednesday.

The discovery of what officials said they believe is the cockpit voice recorder may provide vital evidence for investigators probing why the plane, operated by China Eastern Airlines and carrying 132 people, plunged to the ground on Monday. All on board are feared dead in what would be China’s worst airplane disaster since 1994.

Heavy rain hampered the efforts of rescuers who, armed with shovels and flashlights, combed the crash site, finding fragments of human remains, according to one fire-department official. Footage from China’s official Xinhua News Agency showed officials on a muddy, forested hillside placing the black box—actually an orange, cylinder-shaped device—into a plastic bag with their gloved hands.

The black box’s exterior was severely damaged but its storage unit remained “relatively intact,” Zhu Tao, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said late Wednesday. An early assessment showed it was a cockpit voice recorder, and the device has been sent to a facility in Beijing for analysis, Mr. Zhu said.

Air safety officials in China and the U.S. are sharing information but it still isn’t clear if U.S. government aviation experts will travel to the country for the accident investigation. Crash investigations are complex and often take months to unfold. Accidents in remote locations, like the forested, mountainous region in Guangxi where flight 5735 crashed, can be even more challenging. Getting to the bottom of Monday’s crash will likely also require cooperation between China and the U.S., two countries that have frequently been at odds, including over aviation issues.

The National Transportation Safety Board, a U.S. agency that investigates aviation and other accidents, was still trying to secure Chinese approval early Wednesday to expedite their entry into the country, U.S. officials said.

China has invited American participation, but a group of U.S. safety experts would need expedited visas and waivers from Covid-19 restrictions, one of these officials said. Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing also were preparing to send personnel to the accident site in addition to the NTSB, which would serve as the lead U.S. representative for the accident investigation. The FAA has said it is ready to assist in the investigation.

Boeing technical experts would typically assist U.S. efforts to support international crash investigations involving the company’s aircraft. On Monday, Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun visited the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to pay the company’s respects and offer assistance, according to one of the U.S. officials and people familiar with the meeting.

The Chinese Embassy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Boeing has been working with China Eastern and in contact with the NTSB, the company has said.

A big hurdle to expedited travel: People entering China from overseas must undergo a quarantine of at least two weeks, with many cities adopting an additional period of a week or longer of further isolation at home or at government facilities.

Quarantine exceptions have been made for some people, including senior officials visiting from overseas to meet their Chinese counterparts, such as Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who visited Tianjin last July to meet her Chinese counterpart, or athletes attending the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. But they must remain in a bubblelike environment—often dubbed a “closed loop” in China—and cannot leave that designated area to enter the public.

While the U.S. and Chinese governments sort out the complications of getting U.S. representatives to China, American and Chinese officials have been communicating about the accident, according to people familiar with the matter

The plane, a Boeing 737-800, was suitable for flying and reported no technical issues before takeoff and its aircrew were in good health and met flying requirements, Chinese officials said Tuesday.

A plane’s two black boxes—a flight-data recorder and cockpit voice recorder—store vital information and typically provide accident investigations the best information about what caused a plane to go down. The devices are hardened to withstand significant impact and their data can often be useful to investigators even if the boxes are damaged.

It takes time to download and decode the recorded data, but the process can take longer if its internal units are impaired, Mr. Zhu said. The hunt for the second black box is continuing, he said. Both devices are made by Honeywell International Inc., an aerospace and industrial conglomerate based in Charlotte, N.C., according to Chinese officials.

At an earlier briefing, Mao Yanfeng, a CAAC official, said the weather wasn’t dangerous at the time of the crash, and that air-traffic controllers and aircrew members had maintained normal communication up until the sudden drop in the jet’s altitude.

The air-safety regulator has said the plane was at a cruise altitude of 8,900 meters, or about 29,000 feet, at 2:17 p.m. local time and that a controller noticed a sharp drop at 2:20 p.m. At 2:23 p.m., the radar signal of the aircraft disappeared.

Tracking data from Flightradar24 shows that the jet plummeted from the sky, reaching vertical speeds of 31,000 feet a minute, or more than 350 miles an hour. It initially fell to an altitude of 7,425 feet when it briefly managed to gain about 1,200 feet in altitude before again diving toward the mountain—a trajectory some air-safety experts said was very unusual.

The plane was operated by a captain and two co-pilots who were qualified and had performed well, Sun Shiying, chairman of China Eastern’s subsidiary branch based in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, said Wednesday. The chief pilot was hired as a Boeing 737 captain in January 2018, with flight experiences totaling 6,709 hours, Mr. Sun said, while the co-pilots respectively had 31,769 and 556 hours under their belts. They weren’t named.

The wreckage of the plane was strewn across a hilly, forested area. An army of rescuers—including soldiers and firefighters—and excavators dug into the land where the crash’s impact wiped out trees and a terraced field, video from state broadcaster China Central Television showed.

The rain soaked the crash site, forcing rescuers to suspend their effort, CCTV reported, adding that the smell of fuel still lingered at the scene. The broadcaster said rescuers warned the rain could cause small-scale landslides.

The plane was carrying nine crew members and 123 passengers. With no survivors found, it could be China’s worst plane crash in almost three decades.

Ou Ling, a fire department official in Wuzhou, a city in the Guangxi region near the crash site, told CCTV on Tuesday that human remains have been found. Details about any recovery of bodies remained scarce in Chinese media.

Mr. Ou said the narrow paths to the crash site have prevented larger rescue equipment from entering, adding that the lack of lighting facilities in the mountains—especially at night—has complicated their mission, according to state media.

The plane, a Boeing 737-800, was suitable for flying and reported no technical issues before takeoff and its aircrew were in good health and met flying requirements, Chinese officials said Tuesday.

Boeing has said it was working with the airline and its experts are prepared to assist with the investigation.


China Eastern Airlines, Boeing 737-800, B-1791 performing flight MU-5735

China Eastern Plane Crash Complicates Boeing’s China Relationship

Crash probe could take months, comes as Boeing works to resume MAX deliveries to China




The Wall Street Journal 
By Benjamin Katz and Trefor Moss
March 22, 2022 1:08 pm ET


The crash of a China Eastern Airlines Corp. 737-800 comes at a precarious time for Boeing Co. in China, with the plane maker working to revive its standing in the key aviation market after years navigating the fallout of the MAX crisis and a China-U. S. trade war.

On Monday, a Boeing aircraft carrying 132 people suddenly fell from the sky, and rescuers on scene have yet to find any survivors among the plane’s debris. China Eastern Airlines grounded its entire fleet of 737-800 aircraft in response affecting some 224 in-service aircraft across the airline group, according to aviation consulting firm Cirium.

For Boeing, the crash comes as it was closing in on the return to service in China of the 737 MAX—a different model to the aircraft in Monday’s crash. The aircraft’s fixes had been approved by China’s regulator with Boeing saying in January it was prepared to resume deliveries of the aircraft as early as the first quarter of this year.

Boeing shares rose 2.6% Tuesday to $190.66 after falling 3.6% Monday following news of the crash.

China has been an increasingly important market for Boeing as the country rapidly built up its aviation industry over the past three decades. The company has delivered 1,736 jets to China, according to Boeing’s own data, with 143 more on order. Boeing believes there is far more to come. It forecasts that China will buy 8,700 new jetliners—from all suppliers, but chiefly from Boeing and Airbus SE—over the next two decades, accounting for nearly a fifth of global demand.

The key to realizing that potential, however, will likely be Boeing’s ability to restore Chinese confidence in its aircraft.

Boeing canceled a senior executive meeting due to take place this week in Miami in response to the crash, according to a person familiar with the matter, while representatives from the company will serve as technical advisers to the investigation being led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, its safety regulator.

It can typically take months or more for investigators to determine the cause of an air crash. The reasons for the crash will likely play a large role in determining the length of China Eastern’s 737-800 grounding and any delay in the MAX’s return to flying, analysts said.

Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun last year said the company needed new orders from China’s airlines, the biggest buyer of aircraft in the world, to compete as air travel recovers quickly from the pandemic. The U.S. plane maker hasn’t secured a new jetliner order from China in over four years.

Mr. Calhoun, in a message to staff on Monday evening, said the company is closely communicating with China Eastern and regulatory authorities following the crash. “Trust that we will be doing everything we can to support our customer and the accident investigation during this difficult time,” he said.

China Eastern’s rapid reaction to Monday’s disaster calls back China’s response in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy in March 2019, which led to the world-wide grounding of the 737 MAX, a later generation model to the 737-800 involved in Monday’s crash. China’s aviation authority was the first to ground the MAX, with Western safety officials initially expressing concern that it had acted prematurely and without sufficient evidence before ultimately following suit.

Boeing’s business in China has been buffeted over the past few years by the souring of U.S.-China relations, the grounding of the 737 MAX and the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to depress Chinese travel demand and with it demand for new jetliners.

“We would now expect further delays to Chinese reinstatement of the 737 MAX while this accident is investigated, at least until a likely cause is identified,” Robert Spingarn, an equity analyst with Melius Research said in a note to clients. He added that investors are watching to see if the cause is attributed to an aircraft fault, pilot error, a maintenance issue, or to an external event—such as weather.

A rupture with Boeing would have severe costs for China, too, given its reliance on the company’s aircraft.

Boeing’s importance was illustrated by Beijing’s response to President Trump’s tariffs. As the U.S.’s biggest exporter, Boeing was an obvious target for Chinese reprisals. Instead, Beijing in 2018 slapped a 5% levy on small U.S.-built aircraft, while leaving the larger jets which Boeing produces unscathed—a sign, analysts said, that China had decided against disrupting the supply of Boeing airplanes to protect the growth of its aviation sector.

China is also a major customer for Boeing’s rival Airbus, but Airbus’s huge order backlog makes it hard for Beijing to shift orders to the European company and expect an uptick in Airbus deliveries.

The state-run Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, or Comac, has been developing a 737 rival, which, after years of delays, will be ready to enter service in 2022, the company has said. China Eastern will be the first customer for the new C919 jet.

In China’s centrally planned system, Beijing can force China Eastern and other state-owned airlines to buy the C919, potentially depriving Boeing of some new orders. Yet while some analysts believe that Comac will eventually become a serious rival for Airbus and Boeing, most downplay the homegrown plane’s chances of challenging the established duo any time soon.

Boeing opened its first production facility outside the U.S. near Shanghai in 2018. However, the so-called finishing center only fits and paints 737 jets built at Boeing’s factories in Renton, Wash., and—unlike Airbus, which manufactures jets in Tianjin—the company has said it has no plans to make aircraft in China or anywhere else outside the U.S.


China Eastern Airlines, Boeing 737-800, B-1791 performing flight MU-5735

Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer, N959DF: Incident occurred March 21, 2022 in Heber Springs, Cleburne County, Arkansas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

Aircraft departed, experienced engine issues and made an emergency landing on Magness Lake. 

Sizemore Equipment Sales LLC


Date: 21-MAR-22
Time: 23:30:00Z
Regis#: N959DF
Aircraft Make: LAKE
Aircraft Model: LA4
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: HEBER SPRINGS
State: ARKANSAS

Cessna 525C CitationJet Cj4, N606MC: Incident occurred March 21, 2022 at Music City Executive Airport (KXNX), Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Aircraft struck a bird with left wing leaving a dent in the outboard leading edge. 

WRMD Investment LLC


Date: 21-MAR-22
Time: 19:25:00Z
Regis#: N606MC
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 525
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: CORPORATE
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91
City: GALLATIN
State: TENNESSEE

Maule M-5-180C Lunar Rocket, N413JS: Incident occurred March 21, 2022 at Ogden-Hinckley Airport (KOGD), Weber County, Utah

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

Aircraft ground looped during landing. 

Clearwake Inc


Date: 21-MAR-22
Time: 22:54:00Z
Regis#: N413JS
Aircraft Make: MAULE
Aircraft Model: M5
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: OGDEN
State: UTAH

Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign, N323QS: Incident occurred March 21, 2022 at Teterboro Airport (KTEB), Bergen County, New Jersey

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Teterboro, New Jersey

Aircraft struck a bird on final approach and after landing post flight inspection revealed a dent in the left wing. 

NetJets Sales Inc


Date: 21-MAR-22
Time: 18:38:00Z
Regis#: N323QS
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 680
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: ON DEMAND
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 135
Aircraft Operator: NETJETS
Flight Number: EJA323
City: TETERBORO
State: NEW JERSEY