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Aviation Archives

Turbulence A Hazard For Passengers And Crew

An associate professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University referred to turbulence as "the last of the unanticipated threats," regarding air travel. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 63 people have been seriously injured by turbulence in flights over the United States since 2007. Many of those injured are flight attendants and other crew members who were unbuckled at the time of injury.

New Safety Recommendations Concerning Large Plane Taxiing

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended the installation of anti-ground collision aids on large airplanes. Three ground collision accidents involving large planes hitting other aircraft during taxiing are currently under investigation by the NTSB. The recommendations, which were made to the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency, involved on-board external-mounted cameras which would allow pilots to see the wingtips of the plane while taxiing. Currently, pilots of larger planes would have to open a window in the cockpit and extend their heads outside the plane to view the wingtips.

FAA To Investigate Miscommunication Among Washington D.C. Controllers

Federal rules dictate how close together aircraft are allowed to fly. An incident involving three aircraft around Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. has prompted an FAA investigation, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Early reports indicated that the planes were on a head-to-head course, but Mr. LaHood and FAA administrator Michael Huerta indicated that while "there was a loss of separation" among the aircraft, they were never on a collision course.

Pilot Who Reported Safety Concerns Ordered Reinstated

A pilot working for Ameriflight PR Incorporated repeatedly raised concerns about the way fuel calculations were made for planes flown out of the airline's Puerto Rico base. Fearing a potential plane crash, he took further steps including refusing to pilot a flight, emailing management and fellow pilots, and finally raising the issue with the Federal Aviation Administration. According to an investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the pilot's termination from the company was in retaliation for those activities.

Boeing Faces Second Largest FAA Fine In History

In 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded killing more than 200 people. The aviation accident was the result of a fuel tank explosion that occurred shortly after the Boeing 747 took from John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens. In response to the tragedy, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board developed regulations that required airlines to retrofit the fuel tanks of many older planes. Boeing was tasked with providing the airlines with instructions on what needed to be done to avoid another fuel tank explosion. Boeing's failure to deliver those instructions according to the timeline set forth in the regulations has led the FAA to propose a $13.5 million fine. The fine is the second largest proposed in the history of the FAA.

License of Nigerian Airline Suspended After Deadly Crash

Dana Air, based in Lagos, Nigeria, first began operating in 2008. On June 3, Dana Air flight 0992 crashed, killing 153 passengers and crew as well as at least 10 individuals on the ground. In response, Nigerian aviation officials have suspended the airline's operating license. A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority in Nigeria indicated that the license will be reinstated if the airline is capable of completing the recertification process.

NTSB Releases Tour Helicopter Crash Information

On December 8, we blogged about a tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of four passengers and the pilot who were on route to the Hoover Dam. The National Transportation Safety Board has now opened the public docket concerning this tragic aviation accident. While the docket does not contain the NTSB analysis of the crash, it does contain numerous photographs and documents that shed further light on the events surrounding the deadly incident.

Homemade Aircraft Pose Greater Safety Risk

The National Transportation Safety Board made recommendations this week based on its findings concerning aviation accidents. The recommendations are directed toward the group with the highest rate of aviation accidents and fatalities in the flying community-the pilots of small, homemade aircraft. These pilots suffer an accident rate that is twice the general aviation average, and suffer three times as many fatalities as other flyers. The data concerning homemade aircraft prompted the NTSB to make recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the Experimental Aircraft Association. The goal is to improve safety while maintaining the benefits enjoyed by the flying enthusiast.

General Aviation Accidents Increased in 2011, According to NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report regarding aviation accidents in 2011. The report showed a mild increase in the total number of general aviation accidents when compared to 2010. Due to an increase in the total flight hours, however, the rate of accidents actually decreased last year. In addition to showing fewer accidents per flight hour, the report showed that, for the second year in a row, there were zero fatal accidents involving U.S. airlines or commuter air traffic.

The Future of the Aviation Industry in the United States

The Federal Aviation Administration is expecting substantial changes in the industry over the next 20 years. The task of preventing aviation accidents is likely to get more complicated if the FAA projections about air travel are accurate. The FAA projects that air traffic will nearly double by 2032. This increase in traffic will put additional pressure on the air traffic controllers. To combat this, the FAA is pushing its new, satellite based air traffic control system known as NextGen. This system would replace the land based radar system currently used by air traffic controllers.

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