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Aviation Archives

Airline Personnel And Sleep Disorder Testing

Sleep apnea is a condition that often leads to fatigue and is associated with several health problems. The Federal Aviation Administration has released an order that will lead to sleep apnea testing among many pilots and air traffic control personnel. The measure was likely taken in response to several incidents involving pilots and air traffic controllers sleeping on the job. The policy calls for sleep apnea testing for workers who have a body mass index of 40 or higher and a neck circumference of at least 17 inches. According to the FAA federal air surgeon, sleep apnea is extremely common among people who meet those criteria.

Accident Investigations Await Government Restart

The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal body with a number of safety-related responsibilities. It is charged with investigating all civil aviation accidents, as well as significant accidents in railroad, marine and highway transportation situations. It also conducts safety studies, puts forth safety recommendations and assists the victims of transportation accidents and their families. During the partial government shutdown, the majority of NTSB employees have been furloughed. As a result, a number of investigations are currently on hold. The head of the NTSB has asked the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to take the necessary steps to allow the group to resume its safety mission.

NTSB Releases Personal Electronic Device Safety Guidelines

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued new recommendations regarding the use of personal electronic devices. The new guidelines were, in part, the result of the NTSB investigation into the August 2011 crash of Eurocopter AS350 B2 in Missouri. That crash claimed four lives. The NTSB issued nine new recommendations, including seven sent to the Federal Aviation Administration and two more sent to Air Methods, the company operating the crashed medical helicopter. The crash was the first aviation accident in which text messaging by the pilot was cited as a factor contributing to the accident.

Collision In Newark Raises Runway Incursion Question

The Federal Aviation Administration lists the reduction of runway incursions among its top priorities. The FAA defines a runway incursion as an "unauthorized presence on a runway, regardless of whether or not an aircraft, vehicle or pedestrian presents a potential conflict to an aircraft authorized to land, take off, or taxi on a runway." Runway incursions range from two planes colliding while taxiing, taking off or landing, to lesser incidents where a vehicle, person or object is in an area where it should not be but is removed before any safety consequences arise.

NTSB Questions FAA, Boeing Over 787 Battery Testing

The National Transportation Safety Board recently concluded a two-day hearing into the problems with the lithium ion battery system used in Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. After several incidents involving the system, all 787s were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year. The hearing did not reach a conclusion as to the cause of the overheating batteries. The investigation into the overheating, including at least one situation where the batteries started a fire, is expected to continue for several months.

NTSB: Helicopter Pilot Was Texting Before Deadly Crash

Federal investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have indicated that text messaging by the pilot in a fatal 2011 medical helicopter crash contributed to the accident. Texting and flying was not the only contributing factor to the aviation incident listed by the NTSB, but it did mark the first time that text messaging was cited as a contributing factor in a commercial aviation accident. The crash claimed the lives of four people, including the pilot, a nurse, a paramedic and the patient the helicopter had picked up

General Aviation Accidents Concern Safety Organization

The National Transportation Safety Board has listed general aviation safety on its Most Wanted List of safety improvements for three consecutive years. Following last month's fatal plane crash in South Bend, Indiana, the NTSB issued five safety alerts intended to make general aviation safer. The NTSB cited the fact that more than 1,500 GA accidents occur per year in the United States and that the majority of those accidents are preventable. The safety alerts offer practical remedies to problems that are commonly associated with general aviation accidents.

NTSB And Boeing Differ Over 787 Dreamliner Investigation

Boeing executives gave a media briefing in Tokyo on March 15 regarding the 787 Dreamliner and the investigations into the problems with the lithium ion batteries. The National Transportation Safety Board is taking issue with that briefing and the company's discussion of the NTSB investigation into the January 7 fire involving the plane and additional problems related to the battery and electrical systems in the Dreamliner. The NTSB is concerned that Boeing provided its own, unauthorized analysis of the ongoing NTSB investigation. An attorney for the NTSB made it clear that the organization expected Boeing to inform investigators of the content of its remarks before making them during an investigation still under way.

FAA Approval Process Draws Scrutiny

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to carry passengers in accordance with its normal standards and procedures. Those standards are now being called into question by the National Transportation Safety Board due to the problems that have been encountered since the 787 began flying. Several incidents, including an emergency landing and a battery fire last month, forced the FAA to ground the 787 and launch a full investigation into the aircraft.

Battery Issues Have Plagued Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Safety regulators have grounded all Boeing 787 Dreamliners until issues concerning the lithium-ion batteries and chargers have been addressed. Battery problems forced an emergency landing of a Dreamliner in Japan earlier this month. That incident followed a battery fire after a 787 landed in Boston. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is broadening the scope of its investigation into the electrical problems of the Boeing aircraft.

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