Richard N. Aarons

Richard N. Aarons
Convair’s Failed Engine-out Return 

This month we are looking at another recent approach stall accident involving a large airplane with a highly experienced pilot serving as PIC. The NTSB says the FAA’s oversight of the operating company — Fresh Air Inc. — was lax, the operation of the airplane was sloppy and the crew coordination was poor. Training records were haphazard and de facto SOPs did not comply with the aircraft flight manual (AFM).

NTSB to FAA: Take Another Look at Part 125 Effectiveness 

Pilots operating under Part 125 are not required to receive any specific training as defined by the FARs. However, per 14 CFR 125.287(b), captains are required to meet certain experience requirements, and both pilots are required to receive an annual competency check. In addition, per 14 CFR 125.291(a), each pilot-in-command (PIC) must receive an instrument proficiency check every six months. The instrument proficiency check is generally a more comprehensive check, so Part 125 allows the pilot to substitute an instrument proficiency check for the competency check. 

Water Injection and Autofeather – Accident Factors 

Many of today’s pilots never had the opportunity to operate aircraft with big, radial, piston engines. These powerplants are beefy and complex and have systems to extract extra energy from heat and to deal with high heat and pressures. A water injection system, also known as anti-detonation injection, or simply ADI, is one of them. Another is an auto feathering system, designed to accelerate the feathering of a failing engine while preventing the manual feathering of the running engine. Choosing to use either or both systems creates takeoff weight restrictions.

CFIT at the South Pole 

Investigators from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board often do their on-scene investigations under difficult circumstances, but working in Antarctica can be just about as difficult as it gets. This month, we’ll look at the loss of a de Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter and its crew of three in a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accident on Mount Elizabeth, Antarctica. The airplane belonged to Kenn Borek Air Ltd. (KBAL).

Oklahoma MU-2B Accident – A Mishandled Engine Out

N856JT, a Mitsubishi MU-2B-25, crashed into wooded terrain near Owasso, Oklahoma, on Nov. 10, 2013, about 1546 CST.

Investigators collaborated on a meticulous analysis of this accident.

Fatal Balked Landing 

Five passengers were killed and two pilots suffered serious injuries when Beech Premier 390 — N777VG —crashed during a balked landing at Thomson, Georgia on Feb. 20, 2013. NTSB has completed its investigation with a finding that the probable cause was “the pilot’s failure to follow airplane flight manual procedures for an antiskid failure in flight, and his failure to immediately retract the lift dump after he elected to attempt a go-around on the runway.

Inattention and Sloppy Comms – a Deadly Combination  1

This month we’re looking at the loss of a Beech 1900C that crashed while setting up for an approach at Dillingham, Alaska, Airport (DLG). Both pilots were killed when the airplane crashed into rising terrain about 10 mi. east of Aleknagik, Alaska.

Accidents in Brief 

The following information is derived from the NTSB’s preliminary report on the fatal accident involving a Gulfstream GIV at Hanscom Field (BED), Bedford, Massachusetts, on May 31, 2014.

Lessons Learned — Asiana Flight 214 

The NTSB has completed its investigation into the loss of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 — a Boeing 777 that crashed into a seawall then cartwheeled on Runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on July 6, 2013 — with a widely anticipated probable cause finding that the crew let the airplane get low and slow during an unstabilized visual approach.

Weather-Related Loss of Control
Immature cells can present significant upset potential
So What's a Controller to Do? 

The National Transportation Safety Board said in its determination of probable cause for the loss of Beech E90, N987GM, that “Contributing to the accident was the failure of air traffic control personnel to use available radar information to provide the pilot with a timely warning that he was about to encounter extreme precipitation and weather along his route of flight or to provide alternative routing to the pilot.”

The Strange Case of N987GM 

The 52-year-old pilot of Beech King Air N987GM, an E90 model, was certainly experienced — the FAA's airman records showed he reported 5,300 hr. total time at his most recent second-class physical examination even though, inexplicably, his personal logbooks showed over 9,000 hr., 6,500 hr. of that in multiengine airplanes. The logbooks also indicated the pilot had accumulated 718 actual instrument flight hours. Whatever the case, he had spent a good amount of time in the cockpit.

DC-6 Operator Tells Its Side to NTSB 

According to the DC-6 emergency checklist, the proper procedure for an engine fire is to ensure the engine is feathered first before pulling the fire-extinguishing handle. The checklist notes the effectiveness of the fire extinguisher system is greater after engine rotation has stopped. A letter submitted to the NTSB by the operator, says, in part:


“Engine rotation may be the source of the engine fire. Feathering and stopping engine rotation may remove that source.”


Inflight Fire – The Worst Threat 

This month, we'll look at two NTSB investigations —one recent, one many years past — both involving inflight fire. One tells of the importance of maintenance follow-up; the other demonstrates how a small deviation from checklist procedures can lead to disaster.

Cessna 401 (N9DM) was lost on May 11, 2012 in Chanute, Kan. Four persons died and one was seriously injured.

Enerjet Flight Operations Manual — Stabilized Approach Criteria 

During the final approach and landing phase, it is essential that the activities of the Pilot Flying be closely monitored. The approach shall be stabilized no later than 1,000 ft. above field elevation. Boeing defines a stabilized approach as follows:

Aircraft in the final landing configuration

Power setting appropriate for aircraft configuration

Airspeed no greater than target +20 kt. and trending toward target

On glidepath or assumed 3-deg. glidepath

Note: Descent rates above 1,000 fpm should be avoided.

Feb 27, 2015

NavWeek: Running With the Pac

The general feeling among many of China’s naval neighbors and in U.S. military circles is that China has been turning into a bit of a bully in (re)staking territorial claims in the seas off its coasts....More
Feb 27, 2015

A400M Faces Production Challenges in 2015

Initially, Airbus was supposed to deliver 22 aircraft to at least four customers this year....More
Feb 27, 2015

Pilot Report: Flying The Embraer 170 (2003)

Former Editor-in-Chief Dave North wrote pilot reports on more than 120 aircraft during his career at Aviation Week. His visits to Embraer began in 1978, long before the Brazilian company’s privatization and emergence as a powerhouse in regional jets. Here, he recalls his Embraer experiences, culminating in a test flight of the E170....More
Feb 26, 2015

France's Defense Procurement Agency Saved By Rafale Sale

French exports were up in 2014, but the year ahead brings uncertainty....More
Feb 25, 2015

Inside The Roc's Lair 14

A rare glimpse of the world's largest aircraft under assembly in Mojave, California...More
Feb 25, 2015

Pilot Report: Aviation Week Flies The Lockheed Martin U-2 (1999)

In 1999 Aviation Week's former Editor-in-Chief reached the highest altitude he had ever flown, in a U-2. Read his pilot report....More
Feb 24, 2015

Should the FAA Bar ODA Expansion? 2

Do you agree with the transportation unions that the FAA should prohibit expansion of the ODA program until oversight guarantees are proven?...More
Feb 23, 2015

AAR To Sell Cargo Group to TransDigm for $725 Million

MRO and airlift/mobility become focal points at AAR as it plans to tell its cargo division....More

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