Richard N. Aarons

Richard N. Aarons
Articles
Shifting Cargo, Exceeding Cargo Limit Lead to Crash

The first fatal general aviation accident investigation in which I participated involved load shift. It was summer 1968. A low-time pilot was earning “free time” from an FBO by running an errand to a neighboring airport. There he picked up two cases of oil, stacked them behind the pilots’ seats in the Cessna 150 and returned to his home airport. Turning base to final, the airplane stalled.

Drug Use May Have Contributed to 2013 Premier I Accident  16
Toxicology testing detected methylone, a synthetic illicit stimulant with similar effects to cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, in the pilot’s blood. Given the level of methylone, it is likely the pilot was impaired at the time of the accident.
Piper Malibu in 2013 Accident Broke up in Flight 2
The NTSB determined the probable cause of a December 2013 Piper Malibu accident was “the pilot’s inflight loss of airplane control due to spatial disorientation while operating in dark night instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the exceedance of the airplane’s design stress limitations and a subsequent inflight breakup."
Spatial Disorientation Resources
Once again the NTSB urges pilots to do homework on spatial disorientation — especially those sources listed below. Full details can be found in the Agency’s AC library at https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars.
Cause & Circumstance: Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness 5
For helicopter pilots, operating in crosswinds near the ground with high power can be problematic. Mistakes in handling either situation can be fatal.
Spatial Disorientation Cited in Cessna 310R Accident Near Jacksonville Executive
Believing aircraft instruments when they are at odds with our bodily sensations is difficult. After all, the brain is taking in thousands of inputs a second from the body’s sensors, but information from the aircraft instruments only enters the computations when we attend to them.
Spatial Disorientation In the Cockpit – A Quick Killer 10
Night flying is very different from day flying and demands more attention of the pilot.
Cause & Circumstance: Negative Torque Sensing vs. Autofeather 5
Several factors could have led to the Bearskin Lake Air Service Flight 311 accident in 2013, including crew confusion over the engines’ negative torque sensing systems.
Power Loss Recognition 

On twin-engine propeller-driven aircraft where both engines turn counter-clockwise, such as the Fairchild Metro SA227, the right engine is considered critical. (In twins with clockwise-turning props, the left engine is critical.) The down-going propeller blade has a larger angle of attack than the up-going blade and produces more thrust. For engines that turn counter-clockwise, the down-going blade is farther from the aircraft centerline for the left engine than for the right engine.

Asymmetrical Thrust 

On twin-engine propeller-driven aircraft where both engines turn counter-clockwise, such as the Fairchild Metro SA227, the right engine is considered critical. (In twins with clockwise-turning props, the left engine is critical.) The down-going propeller blade has a larger angle of attack than the up-going blade and produces more thrust. For engines that turn counter-clockwise, the down-going blade is farther from the aircraft centerline for the left engine than for the right engine.

Helicopter Night Obstacle-Avoidance Accident
Investigating a major helicopter accident is rarely easy. Helicopters go where no other aircraft can.
Accidents in Brief (July 2015) 

Selected Accidents and Incidents in June and May 2015. The following NTSB information is preliminary. 

Update: Gulfstream IV Accident at BED
Lessons that have come to light during the ongoing investigation of the May 31, 2014, crash of a Gulfstream IV departing Laurence G. Hanscom Field (BED), Bedford, Mass., center on the importance of checklists, completing all checklist items according to manufacturer guidance and understanding that safety systems can fail, silently leaving the crew unprotected from casual neglect.
Gulfstream Flight Ops Information

On Aug. 18, 2014, Gulfstream issued a reminder to all Gulfstream flight crews of the importance of proper preflight checks of the flight control systems. This letter circulated as the company and NTSB investigators explored the potential failure modes of the GIV gust lock system. The notice — in part — follows:

AFM and Investigators’ Comments

The information below includes items from the GIV Airplane Flight Manual and the NTSB investigators’ comments.

Gust Lock

The Before Starting Engines checklist contained within the AFM, Section 2 — Normal Procedures included the item:

(70) Gust Lock — AS REQUIRED

The Starting Engines checklist included the item:

(4) Gust Lock — OFF

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