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Army Called In To Deal With 'Drone Situation' At Gatwick Airport



From Zero Hedge

drone_killer1218

By Tyler Durden

Update 2: All flights out of Gatwick (Europe's eighth largest airport) remain grounded as the army is helping local police hunt for the anonymous drone pilot (or pilot) who has disrupted the holiday travel plans of tens of thousands of people, according to AFP.

British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to take action, and said she sympathized with those affected.

"We will continue to work with the Gatwick authorities and police will be working...in order to bring this to a close," she said at a press conference in London.

It's still unclear when flights might resume.

Update (11:20 am ET): The military has arrived, and the 'dronekillers' are coming out.

According to the latest reports, the Royal Army is deploying 'specialty equipment' to take down the troublesome drones that have ground traffic at the airport to a halt by lingering over the airport's runway.

* OPERATION AT GATWICK IS TO `ASSIST' POLICE: DEFENCE MINISTRY
* U.K. MILITARY IS `DEPLOYING SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT' AT AIRPORT
* UK POLICE CONFIRM REQUEST FOR MOD HELP WITH GATWICK DRONES

 It's also possible that the military could deploy new technology to 'jam' the drone signals and take control of the aircraft, as one official told the House of Lords, according to the Telegraph.

On Thursday morning, Lord West of Spithead, a retired senior officer of the Royal Navy, told the House of Lords on Thursday that the Army and GCHQ have developed the capability to both jam drones and over-ride their control systems enabling them to land the aircraft safely.

Talking to Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, he said: "Our military and GCHQ have developed the ability to be able to identify the frequency very rapidly to actually be able to jam it or take control of the drone and land it.

In any case, the headache from the drone incident will linger for longer than the drones are in the air. Airport authorities have said it could take days for the holiday disruptions to be resolved.

* * *

Update (10:50 am ET): The Royal Army has been called in to try and help neutralize the drones that have brought traffic at London's second largest airport to a standstill, according to the Telegraph.

The Army has been called in to help deal with the mayhem at Gatwick caused by drones flying near the airport.

Sussex Police have formally requested the help of the military and a source told The Telegraph assistance could come in the form of helicopters, vans or soldiers on the ground.

Ministry of Defence officials currently in a meeting to discuss whether or not they need to deploy, and how to do so.

An MOD spokesman said: "There are ongoing discussions with the police about any military capability that could be provided to assist with their operation."

The culprits responsible for piloting the drones have continued to evade capture.

While Sussex police have said they can't shoot down the drones with conventional bullets for fear of unspecified collateral damage, we imagine they wish they were in possession of some experimental weapons designed by Lockheed Martin that could probably come in handy in London today.

 

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Aussies Investigate Rare Dual Flameout on Virgin Plane

From Airline Ratings

virgin_121918By Steve Creedy

Australian air safety investigators are looking into a rare double flame-out on a twin-engine commuter plane descending into the nation’s capital.

Both engines on a Virgin ATR-72-600 turboprop, registration VH-FVN, experienced problems near Canberra Airport on December 13.

Although the disruptions were momentary and the aircraft landed safely, the probability of both engines shutting down during a flight is low and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is treating the incident as serious.

Turboprops use gas turbine engines to power the propeller and a flameout occurs when the flame in the combustion chamber is extinguished. A flameout is believed to occur once in every 100,000 non-military flights, according to Air & Space Magazine.

“While the aircraft was descending through 11,000 ft in heavy rain, the right engine’s power rolled back (decreased) and the engine flamed out,’’ The ATSB said. “The engine automatically re-started within five seconds.

“The descent continued and, while passing through 10,000 ft, the left engine’s power also rolled back and that engine flamed out before automatically relighting.

“The crew selected manual engine ignition for the remainder of the flight and the landing.”

Although engines are designed to cope with extremely heavy rain, experts say it is normal to switch to continuous ignition as a precaution when heading into storms.

This allows an engine to quickly relight in the case of a flameout, as was the case with the Virgin ATR.

The aircraft spent three days on the ground before being returned to service. Virgin said the incident had not impacted customers and it was assisting the ATSB with its inquiries.

The ATSB has downloaded the flight data recorder and is gathering additional information that will be included in a final report.

“Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate action can be taken,’’ it said.

There have been a number of instances of jet engines flaming out in bad weather, not all of them with the happy ending in Canberra.

In 1977, a Southern Airways DC-9 was forced to land on a highway in the US state of Georgia after suffering hail damage in a thunderstorm and losing thrust in both engines. Sixty-three people died.

In 1988, A Salvadoran Boeing 737 operated by TACA flew through thunderstorms around New Orleans when both engines quit.

The crew managed to relight them but they would not accelerate from idle speed and dangerously rising tailpipe temperatures forced the pilots to shut them down again.

The captain dead-sticked the aircraft into a levee embankment and ditched the plane without loss of life.

In 2002, a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737 flight encountered severe thunderstorm activity on approach to Yogyakarta and suffered a flameout in both engines.

The pilots tried several times to restart the engines but were forced to ditch in a shallow river with the loss of one life.

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Fly Jamaica’s Dramatic Runway Accident Turns Fatal

From Airline Ratings

flyjamaica_111918

By Steve Creedy

The list of 2018 fatal jet airliner accidents continues to grow after an 86-year-old Canadian passenger died after a Fly Jamaica Airways Boeing 757 veered off the runway in Georgetown, Guyana.

Authorities initially reported six passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries after the plane left the runway and was severely damaged November 9.

That changed when it was revealed on November 18 that an 86-year-old Canadian woman died.

The Aviation Herald reported the crew declared an emergency and returned to Georgetown after experiencing a hydraulic failure and attempted to land on Georgetown’s runway 06.

It was initially reported the plane, with 120 passengers and eight crew, veered right off the runway.

The Aviation Herald subsequently quoted a ground observer who reported the aircraft overran the end of the runway and hit a concrete barrier that caused the right main gear to collapse and the aircraft veer off the runway.

“The aircraft subsequently slid sidewards for about 275 meters coming to a stop abeam the upcoming new threshold as part of the ongoing runway extension,” it said.

The Herald also noted it had been able to verify that the runway had already been lengthened by approximately 390 to 400 meters, the runway markings were already completed, the extension is still marked closed with crosses.

“However, none of the official documents in the AIP or NOTAMs released by Guyana’s Civil Aviation Authority makes any reference to the runway extension although crucial to make pilots aware of the possible confusion over thresholds.”

Commercial aviation recorded its safest year on record in 2017 with no jet airliner crashes and just 10 fatal commercial aircraft accidents.

The International Air Transport Association calculated a passenger on a commercial airliner in 2017 would have needed to fly every day for 6,033 years before experiencing an accident in which at least one person was killed.

Fatal jet crashes this year included a Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148 in Russia in February that killed 71 people, a Cubana de Aviacion Boeing 737 crash in May with 112 fatalities and October’s Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash involving 189 deaths.

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Pilots Not Told About 737 MAX Auto Trim System

From AvWeb

lionair737max8_111318

By Paul Bertorelli

Boeing kept airlines and pilots in the dark about an automated background trim system on the 737 MAX that may be implicated in the first crash of the new model in Indonesia last month. The trim system, which is meant to improve pitch characteristics and stall protection, wasn’t even described in any of the documentation provided to pilots transitioning to the new aircraft.

Lion Air JT610, a new MAX8 with only about 800 hours on the airframe, plunged into the Java Sea off Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people aboard. Prior to the crash, the aircraft flew through repeated pitch, airspeed and vertical speed excursions before diving almost directly into the water about 12 minutes after takeoff.

According to sources at two airlines operating the MAX series, the system in question is called Maneuvering Characteristic Augmentation (MCAS) and is intended to improve pitch response at high angles of attack. It was added to the MAX models partly because the aircraft has heavier engines than the previous 737 NG models and the airplane's center of gravity is biased more forward.

MCAS is activated without pilot input and would typically come alive in steep turns with high load factors, but only when the airplane is being flown manually. According to a minimal description provided to AVweb, MCAS operates only in flaps-up flight and is inhibited in any other configuration. MCAS intervenes at a threshold angle of attack and automatically trims nose down at a rate of 0.27 degrees per second to a maximum of 2.5 degrees. Stabilizer input is lower at high Mach numbers, but more aggressive at low Mach. The Wall Street Journal said Boeing didn't disclose MCAS details to cockpit crews because it was worried about overwhelming them with more technical detail than needed or could digest. Boeing also said pilots were unlikely to encounter MCAS intervention during their normal flying.

Pilots trained on the MAX weren’t given even minimal briefings on MCAS, according to an interview with Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association published in the Seattle Times early Tuesday. “We do not like the fact that a new system was put on the aircraft and wasn’t disclosed to anyone or put in the manuals,” Weaks told the Times. And both Boeing and the FAA have warned that the system may not be performing as it's supposed to.

American Airlines, which also operates the MAX8, also provided its pilots with new documentation on MCAS hurriedly provided by Boeing after the Lion Air crash. Because MCAS relies on angle of attack data from the aircraft’s vane-type sensor, one focus of the Lion Air investigation is on the AoA sensor itself, which appears to have been replaced as faulty prior to the accident. The aircraft also reportedly had a history of unreliable airspeed indications. It's unclear if the two are related to the accident or how they affect MCAS operation.

On the Pilots of America online forum, an American Airlines pilot posted an informational bulletin from a pilot’s association and added this: “We had NO idea that this MCAS even existed. It was not mentioned in our manuals anywhere (until today). Everyone on the 737 had to go through differences training for the MAX and it was never mentioned there either.”

Boeing said Monday that it’s working closely with investigators and taking every measure “to fully understand all aspects of this incident.” Meanwhile, Indonesian investigators say they expect to release an initial report by the end of November.

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Rolls-Royce engine cleaning procedures blamed for Qantas A380 engine explosion

From Airline Ratings

Qantas A380_102018

By Geoffrey Thomas

Australia’s crash investigator has found that faulty cleaning of fan blades by Rolls-Royce resulted in an engine failure on a Qantas A380 on route to Melbourne.

The incident happened on May 20 last year about two hours after take-off as the crew initiated a climb to a higher flight level.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said that as the aircraft passed 32,500ft (FL 325), “the crew on the flight deck heard a loud bang and felt a sudden and unusual vibration of the aircraft.”

Flight data showed that as the A380 passed FL 325, the No. 4 engine intermediate pressure turbine experienced an over speed and its N2 (Intermediate pressure shaft speed) increased from 92 percent to the red line limit of 98.5 percent over the next 2 seconds.

The crew were presented with various warnings and reduced the thrust on engine No. 4 to idle.

Then the engine fire warning message was displayed, which confirmed reports from the cabin.

The flight crew shut the engine down and pushed the engine No. 4 fire button and discharged one fire retardant agent.

The A380 was turned back to LA and landed without further incident.

Initial engineering inspection of the No. 4 engine following the incident found damage to the low-pressure turbine blades.

There was also minor damage to the right flap and flap fairing from debris exiting the rear of the engine.

Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the aircraft’s Trent 900 engine, conducted an investigation into the engine failure that caused the shutdown and found that the cleaning process caused corrosion to the low-pressure turbine stage 2 blades.

Rolls-oyce also maintains the engines for Qantas.

The ATSB said that “the corrosion led to fatigue cracking and subsequent release of blade shroud debris, resulting in significant downstream engine damage.”

“The corrosion resulted from chemical residue in the hollow blades from cleaning operations at the last service in July 2015.”

Rolls-Royce advised the ATSB that it found another 12 engines with blades potentially affected by the cleaning process.

As a result, the European Aviation Safety Agency released an Airworthiness Directive (AD), effective in June relating to the potential for blade corrosion due to residual cleaning contaminants.

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Hit Job for Boeing: Devious US Sanctions Strategically Target Russia's Nascent Civil Aviation

From Russia Insider

mc-21_100218

By Arkady Savitski

The US Department of Commerce has imposed restrictions on 12 Russian corporations that are “acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US.” The notice has been published in the Federal Register. US corporations are banned from exporting dual-use goods to the sanctioned companies.

A closer look at the list makes one wonder. The companies under fire have no relation to defense production and have no ties at all with the Russian Ministry of Defense. None of them have signed any contracts with the military.

AeroComposite, part of Russia’s state-run United Aircraft Corporation, produces wings for the civilian MC-21 airliner, Aviadvigatel produces engines for military aviation, it has neither technology nor experience to get involved in defense projects, Divetechnoservice is a civilian diving equipment producer, Nilco Group deals in grain, oil products, steel, wood, port services, paper, electronic parts and cement.

It’s not the military the US aims at this time. The real target is Russian civil aviation, which is on the rise. It’s enough to remember that as soon as Aeroflot Company announced its plans to acquire 100 Superjet SSJ-100 airliners instead of American Boeings, the US Treasury said it was considering the possibility of introducing sanctions against the Russian company Sukhoi, allegedly because its combat planes may have been used in Syrian chemical attacks.

A closer look at the blacklist shows the US has sanctioned those who are involved in the production of civilian airliner Irkut MC-21. Aviadvigatel is to supply PD-14 and PD-35 engines, which cannot power combat planes. AeroComposite, a producer of composites, is responsible for the development and creation of the composite wing for the aircraft. The MC-21 will be the world’s first airliner with a capacity of more than 130 passengers to have composite-based wings. The estimated share of composites in the overall design is 40%. So far, the company has produced composite parts only for MC-21 and no other aircraft.

True, the share of Russia-produced components is growing. Russia belongs to the club of the chosen. There are few aviation engines and composite wings producers in the world. The US wants no competitors. The way to deal with the problem is a sanctions war waged under the pretext of fending off imaginary threats to national security instead of fair competition.

The US aims to strike the soft underbelly. Russia does buy some components for the MC-21’s black wing abroad. Black wing is specific revolutionary knowhow to radically enhance the aircraft’s performance and make the new plane attractive for foreign customers. The vacuum infusion technology used for mass production is a breakthrough achievement. The Irkut is the only aircraft in the world to combine a composite wing with a narrow-body. Today, only wide-body aircraft boast composite wings.

Russia-produced composite materials make the aircraft lighter and consequently cheaper. Carbon fiber and binders may be a problem if sanctions are in place. The US Commerce Department knows where to hit.

Engines are also a problem. Until now MC-21s have been powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. The PD-14 – the first new engine built in Russia since the Soviet Union’s break-up ­– is ready to take their place. It is 100 percent Russia-made. The PD-14 is going through tests with serial production expected to start this year. With PD-14 operational, MC-21 will have an advantage over the competitors – A320 and Boeing-737.

Avionics is where Russia is lagging behind. Progress is there but it’s still a weak point. The aircraft’s production depends on Rockwell Collins. Honeywell, UTC Aerospace Systems, Goodrich Corporation, Hamilton Sundstrand, Eaton, French Thales, British Meggitt, Swedish CTT System and Israeli Elbit - each of them exports components for the new Russian airliner.

It’s impossible to substitute all the imported parts in one fell swoop. The production of all the needed equipment in Russia will take time and effort. At the same time it would greatly spur the Russian airspace industry. Some components could be purchased in other countries, such as China, to give the industry time to meet the challenge. The worst outcome is a two-year delay in mass production of MC-21. It’s sad but Russia can live with that.

The other consequence – the US sanctions in place can scare customers away. That’s the main goal the US is pursuing. The message is “Don’t buy Russian even if it’s civilian products, be on the safe side.” With no demand on the world market, the project may not survive. This is the way to nip the Russian competitor in the bud.

The sanctions will also negatively impact the plans to build a Russia-Chinese wide-body airliner. Aviadvigatel is developing new engine specifically for this plane. Its PD-35 will have no analogues in the world. The project is the first and only challenge to the monopoly of Boeing and Airbus. Russia is the only competitor with experience of its own. The Soviet Union has built the Il-96, a four-engined long-haul wide-body airliner designed by Ilyushin. That’s why China joined Russia in the effort – it needs its expertise. The last thing the US wants is to see this project come into life. It praises free market until its monopoly is preserved. The emergence of competitors makes America forget its principles and shift to protectionist policy. International agreements and the rules of WTO become immediately forgotten. The Russia’s technological progress is met with punitive measures.

Forget about Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, the Skripal poisoning story and other things not even mentioned by President Trump in his address to the UN Security Council on September 27. The US uses pressure to eliminate competitors and do away with any hope for fair competition. Washington protects Boeing by resorting to the policy of twisting arms. On September 24, the EU, Russia, China and Iran met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to agree on introducing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to counter US sanctions against Iran.

That’s the first and a very significant step to repel the US attacks. The EU, Russia, China and other nations face a common threat. They can unite and on their own rules while creating their own markets protected from American pressure with fair competition as the basic principle. If the US wants to be isolated, let it. It’s free to choose its fate but so are others. The time has come to teach the bully a lesson.

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Close Call for Falcon with DEF-contaminated Fuel

From AIN Online

falcon900ex

By Curt Epstein

Another mishap involving jet-A contaminated by diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) occurred on August 14 when a Fair Wind Air Charter-operated Dassault Falcon 900EX was forced to make an emergency return to Miami Opa-Locka Airport after suffering failure of two of its three engines. DEF, a urea-based solution that lowers nitrogen oxide pollutants in diesel exhaust, is not approved for use in jet fuel. When the two are accidentally mixed, crystals form, causing potentially catastrophic clogs throughout aircraft fuel systems.

According to Alexander Beringer, COO of Fair Wind, the problem manifested itself soon after takeoff, as the aircraft indicated a clog in its number-two engine fuel filter, followed quickly by the same indication in the number-three powerplant. The crew decided to return to base and then declared an emergency when the number-two engine failed. At 8,000 feet on approach, the number-three engine became unresponsive to throttle input, yet the crew landed safely on just the number-one engine, which also reported a filter clog. "We got lucky," he said, noting the entire incident occurred in less than 12 minutes from start to finish.

While the damage is still being tallied, Beringer noted that all three engines will have to be removed and undergo hot-section inspections; the APU will have to be removed, inspected and repaired; fuel pumps, filters, and control units will require replacement, and all the aircraft’s fuel tanks will have to be opened up and thoroughly cleaned. Estimates call for at least a month of downtime and more than $1 million in cost.

Beringer said the FBO, which he declined to identify, has claimed full responsibility for the incident. "Their safety controls were good. It fell apart on one issue and that could have happened anywhere.” He said his company performed an on-site investigation and it is believed that a refueler-mounted Prist tank, which was removed for repair, was accidentally filled with DEF in a leak test before it was reinstalled.

The FAA is investigating the situation and is expected to issue a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin similar to the one it issued last December, after an incident at a Nebraska airport.

Last November, seven turbine-powered aircraft at Omaha’s Eppley Air Field were serviced with jet fuel that had accidentally been treated with DEF instead of fuel system icing inhibitor, while a further six aircraft were serviced using equipment that had been exposed to DEF.

Beringer believes that this mistake can happen again unless all airport service vehicles are exempted from any DEF-usage requirements. “That gets the fluid off airport properties and fixes it for good,” he told AIN. "The industry needs to petition, as a group with one voice, federal and state regulators to come up with a permanent fix to this risk."

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Royal Air Maroc Dreamliner Hits Turkish B777

From AeronauticsOnline

opps_818

By Kaan Dincer

Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport has had multiple collisions on the ramp in recent months.

Earlier today, a Royal Air Maroc B787 Dreamliner, taxiing to runway 35L for its flight to Casablanca, hit a Turkish Airlines B777-300ER, which had just arrived from New York JFK. After the collision, TK B777 had severe damage to its APU, while the RAM B787 has damage in its right wing tip.

According to an ground employe, RAM B787 was being escorted by a “follow me” car during its taxi.

The RAM Dreamliner, registration CN-RGT, and Turkish B777, registration TC-JJZ, were towed away to Turkish Technic for further investigation.

After this accident, Turkish Airlines probably lost its one of the B777s for a long time which will make things difficult in this super busy summer schedule.

In May, an Asiana A330 sheared the tail off of a parked Turkish A321 while taxiing at Ataturk. More recently, another Asiana A330 barely avoided colliding with a Turkish Airlines plane.

 

 

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Air Vanuatu ATR 72 skids off runway at Port Vila

From Vanuatu Daily Post

av1_718

By Dan McGarry

Shortly before 11:00 this morning, an Air Vanuatu ATR-72 made an emergency landing in Port Vila. The aircraft, which had 39 passengers and 4 crew aboard, landed in a gentle tail wind. According to a statement issued by Air Vanuatu Ltd, the aircraft "was involved in a runway excursion. The incident occurred at the end of the runway on landing."

Neither the pilots nor the passengers on board sustained any injuries. Civil Aviation Authority Vanuatu is investigating the incident.

The aircraft was inbound to Port Vila from Tanna. It apparently suffered loss of power to one engine as it overflew the island of Erromango, about 20 minutes away from Bauerfield airport in Port Vila. Multiple sources told the Daily Post that there was smoke in the cabin when the aircraft landed.

Subsequent to the publication of this article, passenger Tanika Pratten insisted that "smoke was everywhere in the cabin for 20mins prior to us landing".

Passenger Janis Steele added some details on a Daily Post social media discussion board:

"The cabin was filled with smoke from a fire below and they cut off the starboard engine mid flight. No oxygen masks dropped and visibility in the cabin was only a couple of meters and breathing was difficult. The plane went off the runway during the emergency landing and cut through the front half of a [Unity Airlines] plane before we stopped. We then (elderly included) had to jump down from the cabin with about a meter and a half drop. So relieved that everyone appears to be physically OK."

An aviation expert told the Daily Post that ATR 72 aircraft don't have drop-down oxygen masks, because they are not designed to fly over 25,000 feet. At such altitudes, he explained, a person can continue to breathe for a few minutes. In these conditions, the pilot has ample time to reach a safer altitude, where masks are not necessary. Oxygen feeds exist for individuals, but a mask has to be attached manually.

All passengers were given an emergency medical assessment by first responders. ProMedical staff report no injuries, but confirmed that 13 people reported discomfort due to the smoke, and requested further medical assessment.

The plane landed and after it had run a significant distance, it veered to the left, into an area in which several small charter aircraft were parked. One plane belonging to Unity Airlines was a 'write off' according to its owner. The nose section of the plane was obliterated, and there is a visible dent in one engine enclosure.

Another aircraft, operated by Air Taxi, suffered significant damage to its tail section. The owner of the aircraft told the Daily Post that she had not been allowed to approach her aircraft to assess damage.

In an update received by the Daily Post shortly after 1:00 p.m. today, Air Vanuatu offered additional detail:

"Air Vanuatu has advised all domestic and international services are continuing after the re-opening of Bauerfield airport.

"Passengers booked to travel on domestic services are advised to reconfirm their flights with Air Vanuatu by calling 22000.

"Air Vanuatu management is working closely with authorities to investigate the runway excursion of one of their ATR-72 aircraft.

"Chief Executive Officer Derek Nice has spoken with passengers and the operating crew of the flight and praised the crew for their professionalism and skill which contributed to no injuries from the incident."

The Daily Post visited the emergency operations centre established by Airports Vanuatu Ltd, which operates Bauerfield airport. Staff refused to comment, except to confirm that an incident had occurred. They declined to confirm the number of aircraft involved or, curiously, whether airport operations were resuming. They referred the newspaper to Air Vanuatu for this last piece of information.

Air Vanuatu Ltd later confirmed that the airport had reopened, and the confirmed that one flight, from Port Vila to Nadi, was cancelled. All other flights were going ahead according to schedule, they said.

First responders spoke glowingly of the professionalism of the AVL fire crew. One person with professional firefighting experience told the Daily Post that the ground personnel acted with professionalism and at the highest standard.

The identity of the pilots on board the aircraft has not yet been released.

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Malaysia Airlines In spotlight Over Pitot Tube Incident

From Airline Ratings

malaysia_a330

By Steve Creedy

Less than a week before the release of the final report into the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the Malaysian carrier is again in the limelight over a potentially serious incident.

An Airbus A330 heading from Brisbane to Kula Lumpur on July 18 declared a PAN alert and was forced to return to the airport after its pilots reported its airspeed indicators failed.

The aircraft returned the runway after dumping fuel but landed hard and had to be towed from the runway. It is understood problems with nosewheel steering and the main landing gear doors meant it took 90 minutes to remove the plane.

It has been widely reported, initially by Seven News Brisbane, that the airspeed indicators were not working because covers on the pitot tubes were not removed.

Pitot tubes measure static and kinetic air pressure in a moving aircraft to determine the indicated airspeed.

They are considered critical to an aircraft’s safety and there have been several incidents and accidents related to pitot tube failures, including the crash of Air France Flight 447, also an A330, in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.

The pitot covers have red tags attached and pilots say they should have been detected during a walk-around by one of the flight crew or by ground crew during the aircraft pushback.

The Malaysia Airlines pilots should also have seen a discrepancy during the takeoff roll.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the incident and is expected to issue a preliminary report in coming weeks.

“As part of the investigation, the ATSB will examine the aircraft, collect recorders, and interview maintenance and flight crew,’’ the ATSB said on its website.

Pitot tubes on aircraft staying in Brisbane are covered because of the presence of wasps that can build a nest in the devices.

The pilots of an Etihad A330 aborted a take-off in November, 2013, after the captain observed an airspeed indication failure in his primary flight display.

The aircraft took off again after an inspection and the pilots again became aware during the takeoff roll of an airspeed discrepancy that resulted in the autothrust system and flight directors disengaging automatically.

The Etihad crew declared a MAYDAY and returned to Brisbane for an overweight landing.

A subsequent inspection found the captain’s pitot tube was almost totally obstructed by a nest identified as belonging to an Australian Mud Dauber wasp.

“Operators can minimize the risk of pitot probe obstruction by consistently using pitot covers even during short transit periods,’’ the ATSB’s investigation into the Etihad incident concluded.

“Standard operating procedures include the cross-checking of airspeed during the take-off roll. These checks are an important last line of defence in preventing an aircraft from becoming airborne with airspeed indication problems.”

The residue blocking the pitot tube was built up while the aircraft was on the ground for two hours but Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority says it has anecdotal evidence the wasps can build a significant nest capable of blocking a pitot tube, vent or drain within 20 minutes.

In May of 2018, CASA also issued a warning about Key Hole wasps in Brisbane, a species that has been around the airport since 2010.

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Watch: Drone Flies Dangerously "Feet Away" From An Airbus A380

From Zero Hedge

200FOOT_DRONESHOT

Fresh off the internet, an incredible video shows the moment an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flies into the path of the world’s largest passenger airliner.

Video of the incident was first reported by HelicoMicro, which has since circulated many drone and photography forums. The video shows just how stupid someone can be while operating a recreational drone near an airport.

According to Oliver Kmia, a photo analyst for Fstoppers, he confirms the A380 airliner belongs to the Dubai-based company Emirates, which took off from runway 14 at Plaine Magnien Airport located on the Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean. As the jumbo jet gains altitude, “the pre-positioned drone films the plane passing dangerously close at about 200 feet from the tip of the left wing,” Kmia said.

 

The A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by Airbus. It is the world’s largest passenger airliner, and can carry more than 500 passengers in a typical three-class seat configuration and up to 850 passengers in a densified all-economy cabin version.

Kmia mentions that there is no information about the identity of the pilot. However, he did indicate the video was initially posted on Facebook by Thierry Paris who describes himself as an A380 captain for Air France.

Paris wrote in the video caption: “That’s what a little crazy guy managed to do with a drone in Mauritius. Hello flight safety!!!”

The Airbus A380 of Emirates flight EK702 gaining altitude after takeoff from runway 14 in Mauritius Island. (Source: Facebook video)

Watch video here - https://www.facebook.com/anthonyyoutubevlog/videos/2270055023223165/

Please read more at - https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-20/watch-drone-flies-dangerously-feet-away-airbus-a380

 

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Airbus Rebrands CSeries, JetBlue Orders 60

From AirWise

A220

Airbus announced the rebranding of the CSeries of aircraft it took control of last week from Bombardier, as JetBlue ordered 60 of the A220-300 jet.

The CSeries’ CS100 and CS300 are now the Airbus A220-100 and A220-300, covering the 100 to 150 seat range, aimed at thinner routes than the company’s larger single-aisle aircraft.

“Everyone at Airbus has been looking forward to this historic moment. Today, we are thrilled to welcome the A220 to the Airbus family and are honoured to see it wearing its new Airbus colours for the first time,” Airbus president of commercial aircraft Guillaume Faury said at the launch.

New York-based JetBlue is the first customer for the rebranded A220, signing an MoU for 60 firm orders for the larger 130-seat A220-300. The agreement includes options on a further 60 A220s.

Airbus said deliveries of JetBlue’s A220s will start in 2020, and if the options are taken up, the second batch would be delivered from 2025. All JetBlue’s A220s will be assembled at the Airbus Mobile, Alabama plant.

“We expect the A220 to be an important long-term building block in our goal to deliver superior margins and create long-term shareholder value,” JetBlue EVP Steve Priest said.

“We are confident the A220 will perform well in every aspect, including network, cost, maintenance, or customer experience. Simply put – our crewmembers, customers and owners are going to love this aircraft.”

JetBlue will use the A220s to replace its fleet of 100-seat Embraer E190s.

Speaking of the move to the A220, Priest said “We expect a seamless transition, and we’ve worked with Airbus and Bombardier to build in maximum flexibility to the order book as market conditions shift over time.”

JetBlue will take delivery of the first five aircraft in 2020, and expects to start phasing out its E190s shortly after.

As part of the agreement, JetBlue also converted part of its A320neo-family order. It will now take 25 of the larger A321neos instead of A320neos and adjust the timing of deliveries.

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777 Main Gear "Axle" Breaks

From AvWeb

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777 Main Gear Breaks

By Russ Niles

Operators of Boeing 777s will likely be taking a close look at the landing gear on their aircraft after an unusual incident at Narita Airport in Japan on Friday. A Korean Air 777-300 was taxiing to the gate when the axle holding the rear set of wheels on the main gear broke. The wheels folded up onto themselves and the aircraft ground to a halt. The rear set of wheels touch first on landing because the gear is articulated at the strut and angles rearward in the air. There were no injuries but the passengers and crew had to leave via airstairs.

There was no indication the landing was particularly hard although newsinflight.com quoted a passenger as saying “the right side was tilted down when landing.” The Japanese transport ministry classified it as a “serious incident” and is doing a full investigation.

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Hijack Alert Accidentally Triggered by Plane at JFK Airport

From Travel Pulse

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By Donald Wood

Travelers coming through a busy New York City airport had a security scare Tuesday night after a pilot accidentally entered a hijack alert.

According to FoxNews.com, JetBlue Flight 1623 was scheduled to take off for a journey to Los Angeles from John F. Kennedy International Airport at 7:30 p.m. ET when the plane stopped responding to air traffic control communications.

The loss of response to the tower was caused by the pilot entering a hijack alert by mistake, which caused the Port Authority Police Emergency Services to send heavily armed officers to board the plane and investigate the terror notice.

Several of the passengers on the JetBlue flight believed they were experiencing a terrorist attack.

“I hate guns. They were pointing them, like, at us. It was traumatizing,” passenger Alexa Curtis told CBS Los Angeles. “People were, like, crying. Everyone’s texting their family, and we were on ground, so usually this would happen in the air if it was going to happen. People were ready to die.”

The Federal Aviation Administration also released a statement about the accidental hijack alert:

“JetBlue 1623, an Airbus A320, experienced a radio equipment problem while taxing for departure at John F. Kennedy International Airport tonight at 8 p.m. The crew requested to return to the ramp. The FAA will investigate.”

Port Authority spokeswoman Lenis Rodrigues said the JetBlue aircraft was inspected and authorities cleared it before deeming there was no security threat.

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To Anyone Applying To Delta - Don't Bother

From Mark

delta_618

Thank you for your interest in a career with Delta Air Lines.

We received an overwhelming response to the Aviation Maintenance Tech II position (271831) in Raleigh/Durham which makes us feel both humble and proud that so many talented individuals like you want to join our team. This volume of response makes for an extremely competitive selection process. Although your background is impressive, we regret to inform you that we have decided to pursue other candidates for this position at this time.

We value our job candidates and invite you to review other job openings. We hope you see another job that you are qualified for and that sparks your interest!

Thanks again for your interest in a career with Delta Air Lines!

Sincerely,

The Delta Air Lines Talent Acquisition Team

To say that Delta's Human Resource computers are impenetrable, would be the understatement of the century.

I've applied for at least a dozen mechanic positions at different locations. With each application..... I'm sent the message above. Sometimes I'll send one in on a Saturday and get a negative reply on Sunday. Does anyone actually look at these things?? No!!

So Delta...... I won't be bothering you anymore. Edit: Actually this can be kinda fun. I'm going to keep applying. I'll see if I can note the apply date and time along when the refusal letter comes in.

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Rolls-Royce To Cut 4,600 Jobs

From AVweb

Rolls Royce Trent-1000By Kate O'Connor

Rolls-Royce announced on Thursday that it will be eliminating 4,600 jobs—nearly 10 percent of the positions at the company—over the next 24 months as part of a company-wide restructuring plan. The UK-based engineering firm says that after an initial cost of £500 million ($665 million), it expects the restructuring to reduce annual costs by £400 million ($532 million) by 2020. The first third of the job cuts are expected to be made by the end of 2018.

In the same statement in which it announced the job cuts, Rolls-Royce reiterated that it intends to focus on civil aerospace going forward. The company says it currently has orders for over 2,700 engines for wide-body aircraft and business jets and plans to increase engine production “targeting over 600 wide-body engines a year by the end of this decade.” According to the company, it has launched six new engines for the civilian market including the Trent XWB and the Pearl 15.

Rolls-Royce has been struggling with its Trent 1000 engine—primarily used on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—since issues involving excessive wear were discovered in 2016. Due to the durability problem, an AD was issued in April 2018 limiting extended single-engine operations to within 140 minutes of an airport for some 787s equipped with Trent 1000s. The company has also recently had trouble with parts shortages for the engines. It has been reported that Rolls-Royce has spent almost £1 billion ($1.3 billion) to address the issue so far.

 

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Oops!!

From AVweb

tail_shear0518

By AVweb Staff

Authorities in Turkey are investigating why an Asiana Airlines Airbus 330-300 sheared off the vertical stabilizer of a parked Turkish A321 in Istanbul over the weekend. Video taken of the incident reveals that the Asiana flight was taxiing for a flight to Seoul when it struck the other airplane parked in an alleyway. No one was hurt in the incident.

The Turkish aircraft’s vertical stabilizer collapsed and folded over the fuselage, although the base of it appeared to remain attached. According to Flightradar 24, the damaged A321 was manufactured in 2006 and acquired by Turkish Airlines in 2014. The Korea Times said Asiana confirmed that its aircraft struck the Turkish airplane and this caused a fire in the stub of the stabilizer that’s just visible in the video.

 

 

 

 

 

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Southwest Airlines Flight 1380: an Uncontained Engine Failure?

From Engineering,Com

CFM56_418

By Andrew Wheeler

It's every passenger's nightmare: flying miles above the Earth and an explosion occurs. You might check the loudness of it relative to your position on the plane. Air rushes, objects are flying around the cabin means there’s a hole somewhere…Oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, confirming your fears.

On Tuesday April 17th, 2018, this nightmare became real. A Boeing 737-700 flown by Southwest Airlines, with 144 passengers inside, two jet engines underneath, took off from LaGuardia (NY) for Dallas. About 20 minutes after takeoff, the flight reached cruising altitude of 32,000 ft and the captain turned off the seat belt sign. But, encountering turbulence, the crew requested seat belts back on, according to a passenger. Right after, the left engine seemed to explode and debris broke a window. A passenger was sucked into the window and was struck, half in and half out. Passengers tried to pull her back into the cabin, succeeding only after the plane performed a rapid descent and an emergency landing, but the damage was done. The passenger died from blunt force trauma to the head, neck and torso.

The Victim

Several rows back from the fan blades, in the window seat sat Albuquerque resident and mother of two Jennifer Riordan. There had been an announcement of turbulence, according to a passenger on the aisle seat of the same row, and both the middle seat and the aisle seat passengers had secured their seat belts. Riordan had secured her seat belt, too, say NTSB inspectors.

Cabin Pressure

The pilot, in this case former US Navy Pilot Tammy Jo Shults, set the cruise altitude on a cabin pressure controller during pre-flight procedures. After the wheels come off the ground during takeoff, the outflow valve began to close, which initiates pressurization of the cabin.

The 737-700 would take about 20 minutes to ascend to a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet. That is when flight SWA 1380 lost its blade. The cabin air pressure is about 10 pounds per square inch, which is equal to the air pressure at about 6000 feet above sea level.

The stronger the structure of an airplane, the more differential pressure it can tolerate. The average is 8 lbs. per square inch. When the cabin window of flight SWA 1380 was shattered, the pressurized air blew outward.

According to Federal Aviation Regulations, pilots begin to need oxygen when they fly above 12,500 feet for over 30 minutes without cabin pressurization. Passengers however, need to use oxygen continuously anywhere above 15,000 feet in altitude without cabin pressurization.

After the engine failure, Shults and her co-pilot descended to 10,000 feet in just five minutes, high enough to not hit anything, but low enough so that everyone aboard can breathe safely.

Engine Failures

Commercial airplanes have a variety of safeguards to protect the passengers during engine failures—the use of multiple engines, for example. Pilots are trained to cut off fuel to a failing engine and land a plane on the remaining engine.

A modern jet engine assembly has thousands of moving parts, many of them rotating at very high speeds. The fan blades, visible from the front, are the biggest. The largest of jet engines spin the fan blades at about 4,000 RPMs generating forces of up to 7,000g. Parts can exit the cowling at speeds of 1,000 ft/s, about the speed of a handgun bullet, but with considerably more mass.

A turbofan blade’s tendency to break off is well documented and has caused a number of tragic mishaps. A turbine blade part will destroy the engine, but the plane will most likely land. Passengers will have a very bad day, but will be able to walk out to kiss the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) calls this a category 3 event. Category 4, the dreaded uncontained engine failure, occurs when the blade or debris exits the engine and fatally damages flight systems, rips into the aircraft cabin and/or causes a crash landing—or worse

Uncontained Engine Failure

A jet engine under development must show that it can withstand an uncontained engine failure. In the video below is what may be the first such test available to the public, test engineers hold their breath as a Rolls-Royce engine destined for the Airbus A380 spins up. An explosive device shoots a fan blade off its mounting, reducing the engine to a smoking ruin. In a protected facility, the engineers exhale and congratulate each other. Nothing shot out of the engine where it should not have.

 



The number of uncontained “gas turbine engine rotor failures” has been on a steady decline over the years, as reported by the FAA in a 1997 report, even though the number of miles flown has increased.

Protection rings surround the fan blades to contain them should they come off. In this and the previous Southwest failure, the containment rings seem to appear intact. However, in both cases, the inlet cowl was torn away and is completely missing. It is likely that pieces of the inlet cowl formed a cone of debris, with at least one piece striking the window of the airplane.

The fuselage is protected by a Kevlar band wrapped around it. It's wrapped in the same position aft on the plane as the fan blades. That’s why there’s no windows there [row 11], according to John Baker, PE, in EngTips, our online engineers forum.

In light of damage occurring from debris blown back from the engine in flight, it would seem the Kevlar bands, in line with the fan blades would only offer protection while the aircraft is on the ground, which is not when the blades are spinning their fastest and would be encountering their highest forces.

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators at Philadelphia airport found that the No. 13 fan titanium alloy blade broke off near the disk hub. The disk hub was examined, and evidence of fatigue cracking was discovered.

According to NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt, the fan blade separated in two places, and that it appears the secondary failure of the turbofan engine was caused by this fatigue fracture. Sumwalt described the damage to the leading edge of the left wing, saying it “was banged up pretty good,” and that they could “see paint transfer.” The NTSB found no acrylic shards from the windows inside the airplane around row 14, where the victim was seated, and the window was broken.

Sumwalt spoke highly of the CFM56 engines and the entire Boeing 737 fleet, but indicated awareness about the similarity of the uncontained engine failure of the August 27thSouthwest Airlines flight of 2016.

Southwest

An August 2016 Southwest Airlines flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando also suffered an uncontained engine failure, also from a from a fan blade breaking off and also destroying the front cowling. It also made a foot-long tear in the wing. However, flight 3472 landed with all 104 passengers and crew intact.

After the 2016 incident, engine manufacturer CFM issued guidance protocol for ultrasonic inspection of specific high-time fan blades and the FAA released a proposed Airworthiness Directive to require engines that logged more than 15,000 cycles-in-service to undergo ultrasonic inspection in June of 2017.

According to Reuters, Southwest, along with other airlines, pushed back on CFM’s protocol, saying the engine manufacturer had “vastly understated” the cost and number of engines in operation and inspecting all engines in 12 months was not enough. Southwest also requested not all fan blades be inspected. The FAA proposed the testing be done in 18 months, to which the airlines agreed. However, there is little to indicate that the tests were done as proposed. Former NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker said, “There did not seem to be an urgency” at the FAA to complete the inspections.

MRO-Networks.com reports that Southwest was looking to cut maintenance costs by using parts from old engines in a 2012 report. It is not known if the fan blades were taken from old August 2016 engines.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the engine had logged only 10,000 cycles since being overhauled. A cycle is one takeoff and one landing. The plane had been inspected Sunday. NTSB inspector Sumwalt said in him preliminary report that a crack appeared towards the inside of the fan blade and would not have been visible in a visual inspection.
The Engine

In August 2016, Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 suffered a similar failure, an uncontained engine failure with a CFM56 turbofan engine -- the same engine as last week's Flight 1380.

The CFM56 engine is the world’s bestselling jet engine, according to CFM, with over 30,000 delivered and powering both Boeing and Airbus planes. CFM is a joint venture composed of equal parts GE (US) and Safran (France).

Southwest announced in 2012 that it is phasing out the 737 "Classic" with the CFM56-3 engines starting in 2012 and finishing by 2017. Several parts on the CFM56-3 engines are interchangeable with the CFM56-7 which is used on Boeing 737-700. It is not knows if the turbine blades in either incident were from the older engines.

What Happens Next?

In the next two weeks, the FAA will issue an airworthiness directive requiring inspections of specified CFM56-7B turbofan engines. According to a statement released by the FAA on April 18th, “The directive will require an ultrasonic inspection of fan blades when they reach a certain number of takeoffs and landings. Any blades that fail the inspection will have to be replaced.”

In response to the recent tragedy, Southwest released a statement saying they would be accelerating ultrasonic inspections of CFM56 engine fan blades, which they said would take about 30 days. Southwest Airlines reported operating 693 737-700/800s as of December 31st, 2017.

 

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TSA Gives Up On GA Security Plan

From AvWeb

CorporateJets_318

By Mary Grady

The Transportation Security Administration has withdrawn its proposal to establish a security program that would have affected private and corporate aircraft operators, the agency said on Friday. The agency had proposed the “Large Aircraft Security Program” in 2008, suggesting operators of GA aircraft that weigh more than 12,500 pounds should be required to implement security programs, vet their crews and check passengers against federal watch lists. The TSA held a series of public meetings and reviewed more than 7,000 comments from the public that were submitted in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. On Friday, the TSA said that based on all of the information they received, and “a re-evaluation of the proposal in light of risk-based principles,” they have decided to abandon the effort.

Nobuyo Sakata, AOPA’s director of aviation security, said the GA community’s active opposition to the plan was key to the TSA’s decision to withdraw the proposal. AOPA said in a statement they will continue to actively participate in the Aviation Security Advisory Committee and work cooperatively with the TSA to address security concerns and improve other security programs such as the DCA Access Standard Security Program for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Alien Flight Student Program. NBAA, GAMA and EAA also lobbied against the proposal.

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ATC Privatization Derailed

From AvWeb

atctower_218

By Russ Niles

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., has announced he is no longer pursuing the separation of air traffic control from the FAA. After a couple of attempts and massive opposition from hundreds of groups with a stake in aviation, Shuster, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, conceded Tuesday his bill doesn’t have the support to pass. “Despite an unprecedented level of support for this legislation – from bipartisan lawmakers, industry, and conservative groups and labor groups alike – some of my own colleagues refused to support shrinking the federal government by 35,000 employees, cutting taxes, and stopping wasteful spending,” Shuster wrote in a statement. Instead, he said he’ll work toward long-term funding for the FAA in a proper reauthorization bill.

Shuster proposed moving air traffic control to a nonprofit corporation run by a board of directors that most in general aviation believed would be dominated by airline interests. The initiative also had the support of President Donald Trump but Shuster could not muster enough congressional support. AOPA was the first to react and while President Mark Baker acknowledged the massive lobbying effort that helped kill Shuster’s bill, he also pledged support for Shuster’s call for stable funding for the FAA. “We look forward to working with Chairman Shuster and other leaders in Congress on a bill that improves aviation for every American and ensures our skies remain the safest in the world,” Baker said.

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 Random acts of kindness are contagious!!