FAA – UPS Crash, as Usual the Pilots are To Blame.

FAA accident investigators determined that a series of pilot’s errors and violations of safety procedures as the primary cause of the UPS Airbus A300-600 crash at Birmingham, AL (USA) on Aug 14th 2013. Both pilots died in the pre-dawn accident when the aircraft crashed a short distance from the Birmingham runway.

“Yes, the pilots flew the airplane into the ground, there’s no question,” said National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt, a former airline pilot.
Although the NTSB did not blame UPS on its report, Sumwalt said the cargo operator also failed to take actions that could have prevented the crash.

The NTSB mentioned a series of pilot’s errors on its report:
– The captain failed to correctly program an aircraft computer, failed to monitor the plane’s altitude, didn’t relay important information to his co-pilot, and failed to abort the landing when it became apparent the plane was in trouble.
– The captain did not have a stabilized approach — meaning the plane’s speed, direction and descent were not within established standards
– The first officer, meanwhile, failed to communicate altitudes to the pilot as the plane approached Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. In a conversation captured on the plane’s cockpit voice recorder, the co-pilot also confessed to being fatigued, evidently after failing to use her off-duty time to get appropriate rest.

Sumwalt also blamed the global cargo operator for not updating a software on a ground proximity warning system, which could have given the crew an earlier indication they were too close to the ground, he said.
“Based on the rate of descent of this particular aircraft, it would be impossible to determine whether a software upgrade would have made a difference,” Capt. Houston Mills, UPS director of airline safety, noted that the NTSB does not cite the software in its official finding.

Sumwalt said the cargo carrier also did not provide all of the available weather information to the pilots. As a result, the pilots likely expected to see the airport after descending below clouds at 1,000 feet, but didn’t clear the clouds until 350 feet.

“Everything UPS does is about efficiency. They have guys running around with clipboards and stopwatches to make sure if an airplane is a minute late, someone will be held accountable for it. But the sad thing here — this (technology) could have possibly prevented this accident.”
“If you’re interested in efficiency, I can guarantee you on August 14 of last year, those packages on the airplanes did not get delivered by 10:30 in the morning,” Sumwalt said.
UPS’ Mills acknowleged that known information about the cloud ceiling was not relayed to the pilots. But, he said, the pilots had been given a forecast that included a variable cloud ceiling, giving the pilots enough to plan and execute their approach.

The U.S. aviation industry has closely watched the UPS crash investigation largely because it highlights different FAA standards for commercial and cargo aircraft. In January of this year, the FAA required additional rest hours for commercial pilots, but it exempted cargo pilots.

Cargo pilots say rest rules should be uniform, regardless of the type of aircraft flown.
Wednesday, the NTSB concluded the pilots of Flight 1354 had been given an adequate opportunity to rest, even under the rule that applies to commercial pilots. The rule did not make a difference in this case, the board said.
UPS pilots complained of fatigue before fatal crash

Asked if the UPS culture encourages pilots to call in fatigued when they are tired, 91% “strongly disagreed” or “somewhat disagreed,” according to a survey conducted in March by the Independent Pilots Association, a union that represents UPS pilots.

“You probably have some bias in here as it was issued by a (union),” Sumwalt said. “But when you have 2,202 people responding to that, they are trying to tell you something.”
UPS spokesman Malcolm Berkley said the union was “politicizing” the investigation in an effort to change pilot work hours. UPS pilots typically work 70 hours a month — 30 in the air, Berkley said, less than the 55 hours the typical commercial pilot flies.

The safety board approved more than 20 recommendations, including one that board member Mark Rosekind called “ground-breaking” that would require warnings about flying fatigued during pre-flight briefings on overnight flights.

Capt. Ivan

Elvis Aircrafts for Sale

Elvis Presley’s aircrafts are for sale. This week the broker website Controller offered for purchase the Convair 880 – N880EP “Lisa Marie” and the Lockheed Jetstar 6 N777EP Hound Dog II.

Convair_880_Lisa_Marie_Graceland_Memphis_TN_2013-04-01_002The CV-880 and Jetstar have been fixtures in Memphis since 1985, greeting tourists as they park at and enter Graceland’s visitor center across the street from Elvis’ former home. But to many aviation enthusiasts, the aircraft are special not only because they once belonged to the famous music star, but the CV-880 is one of three known to exist in the world today and the only one on display to the public. While long-term plans for the aircraft aren’t known, Elvis fans and aviation enthusiasts around the world will no doubt be watching closely.

The owner of the aircraft, K. G. Coker bought the Jets in 1977 after the death of the king of rock. Coker kept an agreement with Elvis Presley Entertainment stating that a percentage of the profits of visitors will correspond to it. The contract between the two parties ends next year and not having reached an agreement the owner decided to get rid of the planes.

Jetstar 6

 

 

 

 

 

Capt. Ivan

Final Report Lion Air Flight 904 – Pilot Error

The final report into the crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737-800 aircraft on short finals to land at Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai International airport on 13 April 2013 has identified several safety issues around the skill of the pilots and the carrier’s emergency response procedures.

The National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) report retains the same chronology as the preliminary report issued in May 2013. As with the earlier report, it highlights the failure of the captain and first officer to communicate effectively prior to impacting the water. The final report also refers to CCTV footage, which shows the extent of the rainy weather immediately prior to the crash, which prevented the flight crew from seeing the runway.

The first officer, who was flying, mentioned that the runway was not in sight as the aircraft descended through 900ft on final approach after an uneventful flight from Bandung. Although the aircraft’s automated systems issued a “minimum” warning at 550ft, the crew disengaged the autopilot and autothrottle, and continued the descent flying manually.

At 300ft, the report reveals that the cockpit voice recorder picked up a sound consistent with rain hitting the windshield, although there was no sound of windshield wipers. When the 737 had descended to just 150ft, the captain took control of the aircraft, while the first officer again said that he could not see the runway.
During interviews, the captain maintained that he was confident the runway would appear at any moment. It was only when the enhanced ground proximity warning system called a 20ft height alert that the pilot commanded a go-around but, just 1s later, the aircraft impacted the water. Though there were no fatalaties among the 101 passenges and seven crew, four passengers suffered serious injuries. The aircraft, bearing registration PK-LKS, was a complete hull loss.

“The (pilot in command’s) expectation that he would be able to see the runway after the rain can be considered as inability to accurately perceive what was going on in the flight deck and outside the aircraft, including the thunderstorm formation that was observed at an aircraft altitude below 900ft. This might be due to unutilised resources available in the flight deck and the limited visibility due to the hazy conditions which made the pilot unable to see the thunderstorm formation properly.”

The report makes it clear that the captain’s go around decision came far too late. It notes that the bare minimum altitude for a 737 go around is 50 feet, as 30 feet of altitude are lost when executing the manoeuvre. The manoeuvre also demands three seconds to executive effectively.

After the aircraft came to rest in the water, the report shows that the crew handled the evacuation poorly. The first officer initally attempted to evacuate passengers through the right cockpit window. When this proved unviable, he conducted the evacuation through the right-hand service door.
Meanwhile, a flight attendant on the left side of the aircraft was unable to detach a life raft from the aircraft, as her only training for this exercise consisted of watching a video.

The report lists 13 recommendations for five parties including Lion Air, airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I, and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
The key recommendations, however, focus on ensuring the pilots employ effective crew resource management skills, hand flying skills, and emergency procedures.

Cirrus With Unconscious Pilot Goes into Ocean

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) — A Cirrus pilot lost consciousness and the plane drifted into restricted airspace over the nation’s capital, scrambling fighter jets that stayed with the small aircraft until it ran out of fuel and crashed Saturday into the Atlantic Ocean, the Coast Guard said.

Cirrus Route of FlightCrews searched the waters for the single-engine Cirrus plane, which crashed about 50 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island along the Virginia coast, Coast Guard Petty Officer Nate Littlejohn said. The plane took off from Waukesha, Wisconsin, and was headed to Manassas, Virginia, which is about 30 miles southwest of Washington, National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said.

The Coast Guard was notified about 2:40 p.m. Saturday that the plane failed to land in Manassas and flew into restricted airspace. Two Air Force F16s took to the air and confirmed the pilot was unconscious. They stayed with the plane until it crashed.

No one else was on board.

The plane was registered to Ronald Hutchinson, of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Relatives reached at a phone listing for him didn’t want to comment Saturday night.

A Coast Guard helicopter found no sign of the plane before heading back for refueling. A C130 airplane based out of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and an 87-foot cutter from Virginia Beach also were responding, Littlejohn said.

Source:  AP

Thai Lion Air First Officer Faints in Flight and Later Dies

A Thai Lion Air B737-900 performing flight SL8537, from Hat Yai (Thailand) to Bangkok Don Mueang Intl. Airport, with 152 passengers on board, was forced to return to Hat Yai after the First Officer lost consciousness 20 minutes after takeoff.

The flight had departed from Hat Yai at 12:15PM and was 20 minutes into the flight when First Officer Peter Esberte collapsed. Director of Operations of the airline, Capt. Worawut Kongkositkul confirmed that the 47-year-old Dutch pilot died while he was being taken from the airport to a hospital.

Mr Worawut said Peter joined the low-cost airline at its launch last year and was healthy with no record of health problems. His latest medical check-up in February and March showed no signs of problems.

After Peter collapsed, the Captain declared an emergency and turned back towards Hat Yai airport, landing safely at 1:21PM.

Aeronautical Radio of Thailand confirmed that Peter died of a heart attack on the airplane.

 

Capt. Ivan

FAA Bans US Based Carriers to Stop Flying over Syria

The FAA – Federal Aviation Administration, has ordered airlines based in the United States to stop flying over Syria, citing a “serious potential threat” to civil planes.

The FAA ordered last Monday to all airlines based in the United States to stop flying over Syria, citing a “serious potential threat” to civil planes, including armed groups with anti-aircraft weapons.

“Based on an updated assessment of the risk associated with such operations and the lack of any requests from operators wishing to fly in this airspace, we believe it prudent to prohibit US operators from flying into, out of and over Syria,” the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement. The FAA’s previous so-called Notice to Airmen had strongly advised US operators against flying over Syria.

“The ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment in Syria poses a serious potential threat to civil aviation,” the new notice said. “Armed extremist groups in Syria are known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons which have the capability to threaten civilian aircraft.” It noted that opposition groups have already shot down Syrian military aircraft over the conflict that began nearly three and a half years ago.

The ban affects all US companies and commercial operators. The FAA has also imposed a ban on US planes over Iraq, effective Aug 8.

Syria, like Iraq, is on a path that carriers can take when traveling between Europe and the Middle East or Asia.

Source:  AFP

The Stabilized Approach.

For several years the highest percentage of incidents and accidents has occurred during the approach and landing phases. According to a Flight Safety Foundation study, 46 percent of the 250 worldwide accidents of the period 2002-2011 happened during approach, landing or go-around.

Although operators can specify different minimums criteria for deciding to continue the approach or execute a go-around, on their Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) Briefing Note 7-1, the FSF suggests that the approach must be stabilized 1000ft. AGL on IMC and 500ft AGL on VMC. An approach is considered stabilized when:

• The aircraft is on the correct flight path.
• Only small changes on heading and pitch are necessary to maintain the correct flight path.
• The airspeed is not more than VREF + 20 IAS and not less than VREF.
• The aircraft is on the landing configuration.
• Sink rate is not more than 1000ft/min. If an approach requires a sink rate of more than 1000ft/min, should be noted on the approach briefing.
• Power/Thrust is appropriate for the actual aircraft configuration and not below the minimum required for the approach according to the AOM.
• Approach briefing and all necessary checklists have been conducted.
• Specific type of approaches are stabilized if they also fulfill the following
• ILS approaches should be flown within one dot of the localizer and glide slope.
• A category II or III approach must be flown within the expanded localizer band.
• During a Circling Approach wings should be level on final when the aircraft reaches 300ft above airport elevation.
• Unique approach conditions or abnormal conditions requiring a deviation from the above elements of a stabilized approach require a special briefing.

Stabilised Approach Gates

Stabilized Approach “Gates”

If anyone of these elements are not met by 1000ft above airport elevation on IMC or 500ft above airport elevation on VMC, requires and immediate GO-AROUND.

Contributing factors to create an unstabilised approach can be adverse weather, being placed by ATC in an uncomfortable position for the approach, runway illusions during a night approach with no vertical guidance, being high or too close to the runway during a circling maneuver.

Continuation of an unstabilized approach can lead to several situations like; cross the runway threshold too fast and/or too high, not be aligned with the runway centerline, leading to land long on the existing runway, or a runway excursion.

Build your own defenses; adhere strictly to SOP’s and if for some reason not listed here you don’t feel comfortable with the approach execute a go-around, prepare for a new approach and start again. Don’t allow anyone to rush you.
Happy Landings!!

 

Capt. Ivan

Recommended Reading:

A350 XWB route proving: Visiting 5 Southern Hemisphere airports

Airbus’ MSN005 developmental A350 XWB jetliner continues on the third trip of its global route-proving tour to demonstrate the aircraft’s readiness for airline operations. In this phase, the aircraft received warm welcomes in Johannesburg, South Africa; Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; Santiago, Chile then flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil before returning to Toulouse, France.

Boeing Forecasts a Rising Demand of Pilots and Technicians

Boeing predicts a continued strong growth in demand for commercial aviation pilots and maintenance technicians as the global fleet expands over the next 20 years.

Boeing’s 2014 Pilot and Technician Outlook, released today at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, projects that between 2014 and 2033, the world’s aviation system will require:

• 533,000 new commercial airline pilots
• 584,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians

“The challenge of meeting the global demand for airline professionals cannot be solved by one company or in one region of the world,” said Sherry Carbary, vice president, Boeing Flight Services. “This is a global issue that can only be solved by all of the parties involved—airlines, aircraft and training equipment manufacturers, training delivery organizations, regulatory agencies and educational institutions around the world.”

The 2014 outlook projects continued increases in pilot demand, which is up approximately 7 percent compared to 2013; and in maintenance training, which increased just over 5 percent. Pilot demand in the Asia Pacific region now comprises 41 percent of the world’s need, and the Middle East region saw significant growth since last year’s outlook due to increased airline capacity and orders for wide-body models which require more crew members.
Overall, the global demand is driven by steadily increasing airplane deliveries, particularly wide-body airplanes, and represents a global requirement for about 27,000 new pilots and 29,000 new technicians annually.
Projected demand for new pilots and technicians by global region:

• Asia Pacific – 216,000 pilots and 224,000 technicians
• Europe – 94,000 pilots and 102,000 technicians
• North America – 88,000 pilots and 109,000 technicians
• Latin America – 45,000 pilots and 44,000 technicians
• Middle East – 55,000 pilots and 62,000 technicians
• Africa – 17,000 pilots and 19,000 technicians
• Russia and CIS – 18,000 pilots and 24,000 technicians

 

Boeing Media Room

  •   GDL 39