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_RICHARD N. AARONS

_RICHARD N. AARONS
Articles
Night Freighter Down in Lubbock 

What are you supposed to do when you are over the final approach fix with an iced-up airplane, have an unknown failure in the flight control system, there’s freezing drizzle above you, a slippery runway below, and the descent is unstabilized?

Rules for Handling Engine Failure in Turboprops 

Editor's Note: Several years ago, airframe and turbine engine manufacturers, along with pilot groups and regulators from the United States and Great Britain, joined together to investigate the causes of pilots reacting inappropriately to engine malfunctions. The phenomenon is called Propulsion System Malfunction Plus Inappropriate Crew Response, or PSM+ICR.

Out of the Blue: LOC in Severe Clear 

What you don't know about the airplane you are flying can kill you real fast. Such may have been the case in the June 10, 2001, crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B-20 near Cerrillos, N.M., that took the lives of a private pilot and his wife, the sole passenger. At first the accident puzzled investigators. By all accounts, the airplane was operating perfectly normally in severe clear conditions well above stalling speed when it suddenly entered a spin.

German Midair: TCAS Worked, ATC Didn't 

Honeywell TCAS (Change 7) installed on both aircraft functioned properly in the minutes leading up to the July 1, 2002, midair near Uberlingen, Germany, but failures at the Zurich ATC system seem to have set up the Tupolev TU-154M and the Boeing 757-200 for disaster.

Two Piston-Twin Accidents 

It was Nov. 13, 2001, at Santa Monica Municipal Airport shortly after 2000 hours -- night VMC conditions prevailed. As a flight instructor and his student taxied to the run-up area for Runway 21, they were momentarily dazzled by the lights of a Cessna 340 sitting in the parking area for the Typhoon restaurant. All of the lights on the 340 -- even the strobes -- were on. The instructor commented to his student that pilots should be careful of their lights on the ground as a matter of courtesy to other pilots. He added that the 340 pilot ``must be in a rush.''

Low Approach Hazards 

Six people were killed on December 9, 1999, when a Cessna Citation (CE-525) owned by the College of the Ozarks crashed in Branson, Mo., while attempting a night non-precision approach to its home base at M. Graham Clark Airport in nearby Point Lookout. The accident occurred, said the NTSB, because the pilot allowed the aircraft (N525KL) to descend below a segment minimum altitude of the GPS approach some four miles from touchdown.

Sticking to the Basics 

Regular Cause&Circumstance readers know that we look for lessons in the accident investigation reports that come our way -- lessons that you can apply immediately to improve the safety of your operation. Often, perhaps even most of the time, these lessons are uncomplicated -- simple reminders that using checklists, following SOPs, and knowing your airplane and its systems are critical to safe operations.

Avjet's Aspen Accident: Difficult IAP and Tough Decisions 

The collected wisdom of airmanship, like that of seamanship, is passed on from generation to generation largely in aphorisms -- literally hundreds of them. I have come to believe that strict adherence to just four of them can keep crews out of harm's way in all but the most unusual circumstances. You are familiar with them, of course, but let me repeat them here for the record:

(1) Always leave yourself an out.

(2) Trust your instincts.

(3) Expect tolerances to line up unidirectionally -- in the wrong direction.

Risk Awareness and the Montana Ice Machine 

A vital element of airmanship -- one that gets far too little time and attention in most formal flight training programs -- is risk awareness and evaluation. While there are numerous definitions of risk awareness, the concept boils down to simply knowing when you are venturing into harm's way.

Flying Helicopter EGPWS 

Helicopters do their best work in tight, tough situations. And often those tight, tough operational situations are made more difficult by darkness, marginal weather and urgency -- the latter almost always the case with emergency medical services and law enforcement.

CFIT in the Northland 

Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is concerned controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents are on the rise -- especially in remote areas where weather reporting and sophisticated approach aids are sparse. Most of these accidents occur, according to the TSB, when pilots ignore the regulations and sound SOPs while attempting nonprecision approaches in marginal conditions. Here's a sample of what TSB investigators have turned up recently:

Navajo Chieftain

Diagnosing Turbine 

RULE 1:

When the engine breaks, fly the airplane!

RULE 2:

Keep flying the airplane!

More than any other actions, these two will help keep you out of major trouble when your turbojet or turbofan engine sheds parts without notice, or goes bang, or spools down, or does any one of a number of scary things that can and do distract pilots from their primary job of -- need we say it? -- flying the airplane.

Finessing Ground-Side Automation 

Landing and rollout maneuvers seem to present the most challenges to business- and corporate-turbine aircraft crews -- at least that's what the insurance and accident statistics show year after year.

The SOP/ 

The facts of the accident are pretty straightforward. On the night of March 5, 2000, after an uneventful hop from Las Vegas in VMC conditions, Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 landed on Runway 8 at California's Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport and overran the departure end. The Boeing 737-300 traveled through a blast fence and came to rest on Hollywood Way, a four-lane highway outside the airport perimeter.

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