Briefing: June 2020



A video distributed by Russian government investigators showed passengers escaping a burning Aeroflot Superjet 100 leaving the aircraft with carry-on luggage, laptops and even items heavy enough that they struggled to lug them across the ramp. The surveillance video also shows that it took 11 seconds for the cabin crew to open the right-side emergency exit and more than 20 seconds to get the slide deployed on the left side as a fuel fire shot 50-foot flames from the rear of the plane. The aircraft took off from Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport on May 5, 2019 headed for Murmansk and was struck by lightning. The crew returned and the aircraft suffered a landing hard enough to collapse the mains and breach the full fuel tanks. Only 41 of the 78 people on board survived.


Baseball great Roy Halladay had an impairing level of a variety of drugs, some of them disqualifying for pilots, in his blood when he crashed his Icon A5 into the Gulf of Mexico in November of 2017, according to a factual report released by the NTSB. The Hall of Famer died as a result of the crash, which was documented in somber detail by the aircraft’s suite of flight data sensors. It recorded a series of steep banking turns and descents to within 20 feet of the surface before the 358-foot plunge into four feet of water with wings level and a nose-down angle of about 45 degrees. “Multiple witnesses in the area stated that they saw the airplane flying very low, between 5 and 300 feet over the water as the airplane maneuvered south close to the shoreline,” the report said.


The NTSB says the airline industry continues to burnish an enviable safety record with a 65 percent drop in the number of fatal accidents involving Part 121 carriers from 2000 to 2017. In the previous 17 years, about 12.5 percent of airline accidents killed at least one person. That dropped to 4.5 percent for the first 17 years of this century. “Both the overall accident rate and the fatal accident rate per 100,000 flight hours decreased substantially between the two periods. The fatal accident rate during the period 2001 through 2017—0.006 per 100,000 flight hours—is equivalent to about one fatal Part 121 accident for every 16.3 million flight hours,” the board said in its report.


The FAA is codifying the potential for a return to civilian supersonic flight with a modest first step toward accommodating the aircraft. In a notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency sets relaxed standards for takeoff and landing noise standards to take into account the design requirements of Mach 1.8 designs. The aircraft need more engine power for takeoff and landing because of their aerodynamics and they also can’t accommodate the bulky high bypass turbofans that have made most new jets so much quieter. New supersonic planes will have to achieve noise levels between Stage 4 and Stage 5.


The FAA has denied the Collings Foundation’s bid to continue carrying paying passengers in its 10 vintage aircraft after its investigation of the fatal crash of its B-17 Nine-O-Nine in Connecticut last October. The agency turned down the foundation’s application when it found lapses in the training and safety management system of the group. Nine-O-Nine crashed while returning to Windsor Locks after the pilot reported a rough running engine. Seven of the 13 people aboard were killed. The FAA also found serious maintenance discrepancies with two of the four engines.


Airbus conducted a wet test of an automated air-to-air refueling boom … During the height of the COVID-19 lull in air operations, New Jersey pilot Jon Weiswasser flew an RV-8 to Newark, La Guardia and JFK … Pilots using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine must wait 48 hours after their last dose before flying … Officials say that civilian passenger who accidentally ejected from a French Rafale was improperly prepared for the flight … See for breaking news in general aviation.


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