TransAsia ATR-72 Crash in Taiwan

TransAsia ATR-72

TAIPEI – A domestic TransAsia Airways plane crashed on landing on an island off the west coast of typhoon-hit Taiwan on Wednesday, killing 47 people, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said.

The plane, a 70-seat turboprop ATR 72, crashed near the runway with 54 passengers and four crew on board, it said.
Eleven injured people had been taken to hospital, the government said.
The accident happened on one of the Penghu islands, also known as the Pescadores. No more details were immediately available.

Typhoon Matmo slammed into Taiwan on Wednesday with heavy rains and strong winds, shutting financial markets and schools.

TransAsia Airways is a Taiwan-based airline with a fleet of around 23 Airbus and ATR aircraft, flying chiefly on domestic routes, but with some flights to Japan, Thailand and Cambodia among its Asian destinations.
Apart from Wednesday’s event, Taiwan’s aviation safety council says Transasia has had a total of 8 incidents since 2002, including 6 involving the ATR 72.

Source: Reuters
Reporting by Faith Hung and Michael Gold.

Malaysia Airlines B777-200 Crash in Ukraine

A Malaysia Airlines B777-200, flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 280 passengers and 15 crew was enroute at FL330 50 NM northwest of Donetsk (Ukraine) when suddenly dissapeared from the air traffic control radar.

Latest reports indicate that the burning wreckage was discovered near the Ukrainian – Russian border. There were no survivors. A government agency declared that the aircraft has been shoot down. The investigation continues.

Malaysia Airlines has confirmed the accident.Malaysia Airlines have confirmed an incident, the aircraft did not enter Russian Airspace so far, about two hours after the estimated entry into the airspace. At 15:40Z Malaysia Airlines tweeted: “Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.

Capt. Ivan

Air NZ Captain Locks Himself in the Cockpit

Two Air New Zealand pilots hav been suspended after a mid-air drama developed when the Captain locked the First Officer out of the cockpit.

image

The incident occurred on a B777-200, flight NZ176 from Perth to Auckland on May 21, the aircraft was carrying 303 passengers plus crew.

The captain locked himself inside of the cockpit and did not respond to requests to open the locked door during a period of two minutes, alarming crew.

Apparently an argument developed between the pilots because of a departure delay originated when the First Officer was called for a random drug and alcohol test.

“This departure delay frustrated the captain who prides himself on operational efficiency,” Air New Zealand’s manager of operational integrity and safety, Errol Burtenshaw, told AFP in a statement Sunday.

This incident has sparked calls for a third crew member to be added to flight decks so no one is ever alone in the cockpit.

Air NZ spokeswoman Marie Hosking said the first officer and crew became concerned after the captain did not respond to three requests over two minutes from a cabin crew member to open the cockpit door.

The first officer eventually used an alternative method to access the cockpit. For security reasons, the airline would not say how.

“Naturally, cabin crew operating the flight were concerned about the inability to contact the captain and became quite anxious,” said the national carrier’s operational integrity and safety manager Errol Burtenshaw.

They were offered the support of the company’s employee assistance programme after the flight.

Both pilots were stood down — the captain for two weeks and the first officer for a week, and given counselling and additional training.

“Both pilots have learned a valuable lesson around the need to communicate better with peers.”

He said the captain did not respond or open the door because he was approaching a navigational waypoint and in his cockpit monitor saw a cabin crew member rather than the first officer ringing.

The airline provided a report on the incident to the Civil Aviation Authority. Spokesman Mike Richards said it was satisfied with Air NZ’s actions.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark said the incident showed it was time all airlines put a third crew member in the cockpit. “After [the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight] MH370 there’s definitely questions being asked about whether there should be more than two people on the flight deck.”

Clark said there was no excuse for the Air NZ captain to not immediately respond to calls, given the MH370 mystery and the fate of other flights, including an Ethiopian Airlines flight hijacked by its asylum-seeking co-pilot this year.

“You can push a button and say ‘I’m busy’ … two minutes is an eternity when people reflect on MH370. The transponder can be turned off, the flight co-ordinates changed, the plane depressurised.

“It shouldn’t have happened.”

Source: The New Zealand Herald

Photos: Air NZ

 

 

First A320neo Reaches Completion

A320_NEO_REVEAL_04

The assembly of Airbus’ first A320neo has been completed following painting of the aircraft and the mounting of Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. MSN6101, which will be the first A320neo to fly, will soon start its ground tests to prepare for first flight.

The flight test campaign for the A320neo will start in September 2014, paving the way for entry into service on the first quarter of 2015.

The A320neo “new engine option” incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. Airbus has received a total of nearly 2,700 orders from more than 50 customers since its launch in 2010.

A320_NEO_REVEAL_02

11fd2f9579

11fd2f9579

Airbus Media Room

Photos:  Airbus

A350 XWB Test Fleet Completed with Milestone First Flight

A350_XWB_MSN005_take_off_2(1)

The fifth and final A350 XWB flight test aircraft – which is designated MSN005 – took to the skies for the first time on 20 June 2014. This milestone maiden flight confirmed that the A350 XWB development programme is operating at full speed and on track for certification during the third quarter of 2014. As the second passenger cabin-equipped A350 XWB, MSN005 will be tasked with route proving and ETOPS validation.

Airbus Media Room

Free Aircraft Tracking Service Launched After MH370 Tragedy

Inmarsat said its new service would be offered to all 11,000 commercial passenger aircraft that are already equipped with Inmarsat satellite connections, comprising virtually 100 per cent of the world's long-haul commercial fleet. (Tomasz Bartkowiak/Reuters)

Inmarsat said its new service would be offered to all 11,000 commercial passenger aircraft that are already equipped with Inmarsat satellite connections, comprising virtually 100 per cent of the world’s long-haul commercial fleet. (Tomasz Bartkowiak/Reuters)

The British satellite communications company that pointed the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 to the Indian Ocean is offering a free and basic tracking service to its customers, which include most of the world’s airlines.

Inmarsat said the service would be offered to all 11,000 commercial passenger aircraft that are already equipped with Inmarsat satellite connections, comprising virtually 100 per cent of the world’s long-haul commercial fleet.

“This offer responsibly, quickly and at little or no cost to the industry, addresses in part the problem brought to light by the recent tragic events around MH370,” Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce told the Associated Press.

The company made the announcement before United Nations aviation officials gathered in Montreal on Monday to discuss better tracking of aircraft in the highest-level response yet to safety concerns raised by the disappearance of Flight MH370.

The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 when it disappeared. The plane automatically sent signals to a satellite belonging to Inmarsat after the plane’s transponder and its communication systems had shut down — but researchers were unable to find the plane before the batteries in the black box flight recorder shut down.

Inmarsat said it anticipated the adoption of further safety measures following the loss of MH370.

The company said it would also offer both an enhanced position reporting facility and a ‘black box in the cloud’ service that would stream historic and real-time flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder information when a plane deviates from its course. These would not be free.

The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is hosting this week’s talks in Montreal to discuss what can be done with current technology and what standards need to be set for new technology as globalization brings a steady increase in intercontinental air traffic.

The May 12-13 meeting at ICAO headquarters brings together 40 nations and representatives of aviation regulators, airports, airlines, air traffic controllers, pilots and radio experts.

“For the general public it has become unthinkable that a flight can simply disappear,” the European Union said in a paper presented in advance of the two-day talks.

“An aircraft should be permanently tracked, even beyond radar coverage, and in case of an accident it should be immediately located,” the paper said.

The EU paper also warned that some existing satellite-based cockpit systems could also be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents nearly all long-haul airlines, said in April that it would set up a special task force on the issue of tracking.

Officials say that jets can be tracked with hardware available for less than $100,000 and updates can be transmitted using existing technology, though the cost depends on the frequency of updates.

Other more simple options include embedding GPS tracking devices in aircraft, but these could require safety certification and there are no common safety standards.
Plane-tracking discussed since 2010

Regulators have been discussing since 2010 how to improve communications with passenger jets over oceans and remote areas after an Air France plane crashed into the Atlantic a year earlier, but they have so far failed to agree on a co-ordinated international approach to the problem.

However, worldwide alarm at the failure to find MH370 in more than two months since it vanished en route to Beijing has pushed the issue to the top of the aviation agenda.

Regular flight-tracking was one of the key recommendations of French investigators after the loss of Air France 447.

Aviation experts say previous attempts to reach agreement on tracking and other reforms in the aftermath of Air France 447 have been delayed by uncertainties over the cost and control of infrastructure and reluctance to rely on “monopoly” providers.

Recent EU decision-making has also had to overcome wrangling among manufacturers, regulators and pilots.

But officials are now more optimistic that the aviation industry will take the lead with the help of a common strategy between regulators.

Source:  Reuters

 

NASA – Alternative Jet Fuel Flight Tests Begin

The flight tests took place last Wednesday 7, over Palmdale, California, called Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions II (ACCESS II), include NASA’s DC-8 and HU-25C Guardian, DLR’s Falcon 20-E5, and NRC’s CT-133 research aircraft.

NASA and a group of international partners, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and National Research Council of Canada (NRC) – started with a series of flight tests to gather critical data that may aid in the development of cleaner aircraft fuels.

NASA’s DC-8 leads the flight formation as the “guinea pig” of this experiment. Its engines will burn various fuel blends, while the Falcon and CT-133 measure emissions and observe contrail formation from the DC-8.

Flying as high as 40,000 feet, the DC-8’s four CFM56 engines burn either traditional jet fuel JP-8 or a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and renewable alternative fuel of hydro processed esters and fatty acids produced from camelina plant oil.
“This is a great example of how NASA works with partners around the globe to solve the challenges common to the international aviation community such as understanding emission characteristics from the use of alternative fuels which presents a great potential for significant reductions in harmful emissions,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics research.

Measurements taken during ACCESS I in 2013, showed soot levels were 40 to 60 percent lower in the emissions from burning blended fuels than those of JP-8, according to Bruce Anderson, NASA’s principal investigator for the ACCESS program.

“We saw big changes in soot emissions from the DC-8, but we weren’t able to make clear ties between the type of fuel burned and formation of contrails,” said Anderson. “So for ACCESS II we really want to dig into that.”

NASA – Press Release.

dlr_falconct-133_dsc_1190_0

DLR’s Falcon 20-E5, with NRC’s CT-133 in the background. Image Credit: NASA / Peter Merlin

dc-8_dsc_1150_0

NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft, once in flight, provides the emissions and contrails for the other aircraft to “sniff” and store data. Image Credit: NASA / Peter Merlin

ct-133_dsc_1165_2

NRC’s CT-133 research aircraft exits the hangar for a morning of final prep and fueling for flights later in the day. Image Credit: NASA / Peter Merlin

hu-25_crew_dsc_1215_0

Flight crew boards the HU-25C Guardian in preparation for ACCESS II tests. Image Credit: NASA / Peter Merlin

Photos:  NASA

 

Why the Official Explanation of MH370’s Demise Doesn’t Hold Up

From  Ari N. Schulman Executive Editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society

A map showing satellite communications company Inmarsat's global subscriptions. (Reuters)

A map showing satellite communications company Inmarsat’s global subscriptions. (Reuters)

Investigators searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight were ebullient when they detected what sounded like signals from the plane’s black boxes. This was a month ago, and it seemed just a matter of time before the plane was finally discovered.

But now the search of 154 square miles of ocean floor around the signals has concluded with no trace of wreckage found. Pessimism is growing as to whether those signals actually had anything to do with Flight 370. If they didn’t, the search area would return to a size of tens of thousands of square miles.

Even before the black-box search turned up empty, observers had begun to raise doubts about whether searchers were looking in the right place. Authorities have treated the conclusion that the plane crashed in the ocean west of Australia as definitive, owing to a much-vaunted mathematical analysis of satellite signals sent by the plane. But scientists and engineers outside of the investigation have been working to verify that analysis, and many say that it just doesn’t hold up.

A Global Game of Marco Polo
Malaysia Airlines flights are equipped with in-flight communications services provided by the British company Inmarsat. From early on, the lynchpin of the investigation has been signals sent by Flight 370 to one of Inmarsat’s satellites. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this lonely little batch of “pings.” They’re the sole evidence of what happened to the plane after it slipped out of radar contact. Without them, investigators knew only that the plane had enough fuel to travel anywhere within 3,300 miles of the last radar contact—a seventh of the entire globe.

Inmarsat concluded that the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean, and its analysis has become the canonical text of the Flight 370 search. It’s the bit of data from which all other judgments flow—from the conclusive announcement by Malaysia’s prime minister that the plane has been lost with no survivors, to the black-box search area, to the high confidence in the acoustic signals, to the dismissal by Australian authorities of a survey company’s new claim to have detected plane wreckage.

Although Inmarsat officials have described the mathematical analysis as “groundbreaking,” it’s actually based on some relatively straightforward geometry. Here’s how it works: Every so often (usually about once an hour), Inmarsat’s satellite sends a message to the plane’s communication system, asking for a simple response to show that it’s still switched on. This response doesn’t specify the plane’s location or the direction it’s heading, but it does have some useful information that narrows down the possibilities.

You can think of the ping math like a game of Marco Polo played over 22,000 miles of outer space. You can’t see the plane. But you shout Marco, and the plane shouts back Polo. Based on how long the plane takes to respond, you know how far away it is. And from the pitch of its voice, you can tell whether it’s moving toward you or away from you—like the sound of a car on the highway—and about how fast.

This information is far from perfect. You know how far the plane was for each ping, but the ping could be coming from any direction. And you how fast the plane is moving toward or away from you. It could also be moving right or left, up or down, and the speeds would sound the same. The task of the Inmarsat engineers has been to take these pieces and put them together, working backwards to reconstruct possible flight paths that would fit the data.

Continue Reading at – The New Atlantis:  A Journal of Technology and Society

Photo Credits:  The Atlantis.

Behind MH370 Black Boxes Signal

Searchers looking for the wreckage of missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 have detected signals consistent with transmissions from black boxes.

In what is described as a  “promising lead” some airplanes and ships looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner on the Indian Ocean moved on Monday toward waters where a Chinese vessel have picked up “ping” signals  during the weekend, raising hopes of finding the airliner’s black box recorders.

“The towed pinger locator  deployed from the Australian vessel Ocean Shield has detected signals consistent with those of black-boxes” – Said Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, who is leading the joint search and rescue operation.  He called the development “very encouraging” but said it may it may take days to confirm if the signals come from the flight recorders on flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 and which is believed to have crashed on the Indian Ocean.

The sounds were detected on two occasions over a period totalling more than two and a half hours.

“Clearly this is a most promising lead, and probably in the search so far, it’s the probably the best information that we have had,’’ Air Chief Marshal Houston told reporters.

“Once the position of the noise was determined, an underwater autonomous vehicle could be sent in to investigate’.

“It could take some days before the information is available to establish whether these detections can be confirmed as being from MH370. In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast.’’

The development came as a sea and air fleet scoured the vast Indian Ocean for further underwater signals in the hunt for the Malaysia Airlines flight before its black box batteries run out.

It also comes after the earlier detection of three separate signals, which at the weekend raised hopes of solving the mystery of the missing Boeing 777.

The Ocean Shield had since picked up signals on two separate occasions in the northern part of the search zone, Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

The first signal held for two hours and 20 minutes before contact was lost.

Two distinct “pinger’’ returns, consistent with the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, were then audible for 13 minutes, he said.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said the depth in the area was approximately 4500 meters and he cautioned that it was too early to say the transmissions were coming from the black boxes on the missing passenger jet.

“I would want more confirmation before we say this is it,’’ he said. “Without wreckage, we can’t say it’s definitely here. We’ve got to go down and have a look and hopefully we’ll find it somewhere in the area that we narrowed to.’’

Up to nine military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships were taking part in today’s operation, Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said.

Over the weekend, the Chinese vessel Haixun 01 twice picked up an underwater signal on a frequency used for the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders — once for 90 seconds on Saturday and another more fleeting “ping’’ on Friday a short distance away.

A third “ping’’ was also being scrutinised, 300 nautical miles away, by the Australian vessel Ocean Shield.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence confirmed overnight that the HMS Echo, equipped to detect a black box, had arrived in the area where the Chinese had reported a ping.

The search area was expected to be approximately 234,000 square kilometres today, the JACC said in a statement, predicting good weather throughout the day.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard vanished on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

No debris has yet been found despite extensive aerial and sea searches, prompting authorities to switch to undersea acoustic surveillance in hopes of finding the aircraft.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said yesterday the Chinese finding was more promising.

“I think the fact that we’ve had two detections, two acoustic events in that location, provides some promise which requires a full investigation,’’ he said.

The hunt for the jet was refocused on the southern end of the search zone yesterday after corrected satellite data showed it was more likely the plane entered the water there.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said the Haixun 01 was already operating in that more southerly zone.

Some analysts greeted the acoustic detections with optimism, saying a 37.5kHz signal can only be transmitted by an emergency beacon. But others were sceptical and said it was vital to find supporting evidence.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said Haixun 01 was in waters about 4.5 kilometres deep, meaning “any recovery operation is going to be incredibly challenging and very demanding and will take a long period of time’’ if the plane is found there.

He said time was critical.

“This is day 30 of the search and the advertised time for the life of the batteries in the beacon is 30 days,’’ he said.

“Sometimes they last for several days beyond that — say eight to 10 days beyond that but we’re running out of time in terms of the battery life of the emergency locator beacons.’’

Air Chief Marshal Houston insisted that China was “sharing everything that’s relevant to this search’’ with the lead authority, and sidestepped questions over the Haixun 01’s location far from the other lead vessels in the search.

Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of Flightglobal, based in Singapore, said he was sceptical that the Chinese ship had picked up a pulse.

“There have been a lot of false leads in this story and we need to be extremely cautious with any information that comes,’’ he told AFP.

Ravi Madavaram, an aviation analyst with Frost & Sullivan in Kuala Lumpur, said most beacons used in the industry had the same frequency and the ping could “likely’’ be from flight MH370.

“But the Chinese have not said exactly where the ‘ping’ is originating and where they detected it,’’ he said.

Malaysian authorities believe satellite readings indicate MH370 crashed in the Indian Ocean after veering dramatically off course for reasons that remain unknown.

A criminal probe has focused on hijacking, sabotage or psychological problems among passengers or crew, but there is no evidence yet to support any of the theories.

Source:  The Australian

Photo:  Reuters

 

 

Amazing Livery! – Boeing Rolls Out of Paint Shop First B787-9 for Air NZ

Today rolled out of the paint hangar the first 787-9 Dreamliner to be delivered to launch customer Air New Zealand, revealing the carrier’s new-look livery.

image

The airplane, painted in a distinctive black color scheme, features the iconic official New Zealand Fern Mark.
“It’s great to see the Koru and the beautiful New Zealand fern emblazoned on this aircraft. This will soon be the first 787-9 aircraft anywhere in the world to operate commercially and I think it will instill a sense of pride in Kiwis and turn heads when it touches down at airports throughout Asia and the Pacific,” said Capt. David Morgan, Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer.

image

This 787-9 is the first airplane to feature the distinctive black version of Air New Zealand’s new-look livery design, with the white version having been gradually rolled out across the airline’s domestic fleet in recent months.

While the majority of Air New Zealand’s fleet will eventually feature the white version, a limited number will feature the signature black version. “With the unveiling of this beautiful airplane and our continued progress in flight test, this is an exciting time for the entire 787-9 team,” said Mark Jenks, vice president, 787 Airplane Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We look forward to delivering the first 787-9 to Air New Zealand.”

image

Air New Zealand plans to have the airplane begin service on its Auckland-Perth route later this year. Air New Zealand has 10 787-9s on order.

The 787-9 will complement and extend the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 m) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 km) with the same exceptional environmental performance — 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes.

image

The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passengers features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

image

Twenty-six customers from around the world have ordered 405 787-9s, accounting for approximately 39 percent of all 787 orders.

image

 

Source:  Boeing Media Room

Photos:  Boeing Co.

  •   GDL 39