ARFF (Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting)

Today is Tuesday the 19th of September, 2017

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 08:23

Well yesterday was one hell of a day! Thanks to all that have stopped and congratulated me on being selected as an ARFF Working Group “Legend”, I am thankful and honored!

Congratulations also to my friend Bill Hutfilz on his ARFF Working Group “Honorary Member” Award, love ya Brother!

Now on with the news…

Here are the stories for today;

Be safe out there!

Tom

 

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Small plane lands on Sand Key beach

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:23

CLEARWATER (FOX 13) – A small kit-built plane made an emergency landing along the white sands of Clearwater Beach this afternoon.

The Czech Sport Aircraft Zenith STOL CH 701 single-engine plane, described as “experimental” by police, experienced mechanical problems and was forced to land on the beach along Sand Key.

Two people were on board.  Neither were hurt.

Police said the FAA had been notified.

“Not every day you see a plane on the beach at Sand Key,” Clearwater police tweeted.

The FAA database shows the plane is registered to a company called Pragway U.S., based out of Delaware.

http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/small-plane-lands-on-sand-key-beach

 

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Plane crashes into catering truck on Manchester Airport tarmac leaving its wing embedded in the trailer

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:15

The aircraft was being towed in preparation for take-off when it struck the truck 

PASSENGERS were jolted in their seats when the aircraft they were in crashed into a catering truck at Manchester Airport this morning.

The wing of the Aurigny flight GR673, bound for Guernsey, became embedded in the vehicle’s side as it was towed through Terminal 1 at around 9.50am.

Pictures from the scene show airport crews working to free the tip of the plane’s wing, which was lodged into the rear of the truck.

All 60 passengers and crew on board the ATR 72 Twin Turboprop were unharmed by the impact, which happened when the aircraft was pulled back from its stand.

A replacement aircraft was arranged to take holidaymakers to Guernsey and they were made to wait back inside the terminal building.

Airport officials said engineers were deployed to investigate the incident.

Passenger Scott Grayson, 49, snapped pictures of the stuck plane as he disembarked.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, the property developer from Marple, Cheshire, said: “As we pushed back we heard a thud. I just thought, ‘What’s that?’ ”

“We looked out and saw the wing embedded into the side of the truck. The captain came on and confirmed what had happened.

“The pilot and the two girls working on board were very switched on. There were quite a few old people on board, and they were just putting their minds at rest. 

“It was nothing to do with the airline. It was just one of those things. It was just a bad day at the office for the guy who was pushing us back from the stand. He must have been holding his head his hands.

“The airport fire service were there within about 60 seconds. They were very quick.”

Malcolm Coupar, Aurigny’s commercial director, said: “There is an investigation following an incident involving one of our aircraft and a catering truck.

“Whilst an investigation is under way, there’s nothing to add. The main thing is that nobody was hurt.

“We are sending a team of engineers to look into the damage caused to the aircraft.”

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We can confirm that an aircraft has come into contact with a vehicle on push back.

“The incident is minor with no injuries, and we are investigating with our third-party partners involved.

“The incident has caused no impact to flights, and anyone with specific queries should contact the airline directly.”

Plane crashes into catering truck on Manchester Airport tarmac leaving its wing embedded in the trailer

 

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FAA using outdated information on aircraft evacuations, report says

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:11

by Robert Curley

Tests on whether passengers can safely exit an aircraft in an emergency have failed to account for the ever-shrinking size of airline seat space, posing a potential safety risk, according to a report by the Daily Beast.

According to an investigation by Daily Beast reporters, the tests conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are outdated and do not account for either the smaller seating configuration in coach (economy) or the larger size of the average airline passenger in the US.

The report adds that modern coach seating also does not meet FAA standards for safe seating of flight attendants in emergency situations.

Reporters based their conclusions on a review of more than 900 pages of federal airline documents and regulations.

The FAA and aircraft manufacturer Boeing have conducted emergency-egress testing using tighter seating configurations, but refused to make their data public, the Daily Beast reported.

Some of the findings reflect charges made in a lawsuit filed by the airline passenger group Flyers Rights, which has asked the federal courts to compel the FAA to review and update its safety protocols involving seating.

A judge in that case agreed that there was “a plausible life-and-death safety concern” and ordered the FAA to respond to the group’s petition. The judge also rejected the agency’s contention that seat dimensions were unimportant to testing emergency evacuations.

FAA using outdated information on aircraft evacuations, report says

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 07:09

28 Years ago today: On 19 September 1989 a UTA DC-10-30 crashed in the Ténéré desert, Niger after a bomb exploded in the cargo hold, all 171 on board were killed.

Date: Tuesday 19 September 1989 Time: 13:59 Type: McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 Operator: Union de Transports Aériens – UTA Registration: N54629 C/n / msn: 46852/125 First flight: 1973 Total airframe hrs: 60276 Cycles: 14777 Engines:General Electric CF6-50C2R Crew: Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 14 Passengers: Fatalities: 156 / Occupants: 156 Total: Fatalities: 170 / Occupants: 170 Airplane damage: Destroyed Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: Ténéré desert (   Niger) Phase: En route (ENR) Nature: International Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: N’Djamena Airport (NDJ/FTTJ), Chad Destination airport: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG), France Flightnumber: UT772

Narrative:
The DC-10 was operating as UTA Flight 772 on the Brazzaville-N’Djamena-Paris route. The aircraft took off from N’Djamena at 13:13 and climbed to a cruising altitude of FL350. At 13:59 an explosion on board caused the aircraft to crash into the desert. The explosive device was located at location 13R in the cargo hold. The device was most probably hidden in baggage, placed aboard at Brazzaville. Possible groups responsible for the explosion are the Islamic Jihad group (demanding the freedom of a Shi’ite Muslim in Israel) or the Secret Chadian Resistance. Co-incidental on March 10, 1984 another UTA aircraft was destroyed when a bomb exploded; in this case the bomb exploded during embarkation at N’Djamena.

Probable Cause:

CONCLUSIONS: ”
– DC-10 flight UTA 772, Brazzaville N’Djamena – Paris, was destroyed by an explosion on 19 September 1989, forty-six minutes after take-off from N’Djamena, while cruising at flight level 350 in totally normal conditions.
– That destruction was due to an explosive charge placed in a container in location 13-R in the forward cargo hold.
– The Investigation Commission assert that the most plausible hypothesis is that the explosive charge was inside baggage loaded at Brazzaville Airport.
– Observations made shortly after the accident on Brazzaville Airport made it clear that, at that time, the airport security measures in force were not in accordance with the ICAO standards and recommended practices (Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and Civil Aviation Security
Manual (DOC 8973)).”

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Today is Monday the 18th of September, 2017 – Day 1 of the ARFFWG 28th Annual Conference

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 09:07

Day one of the greatest gathering of ARFF professionals in the world… 

Great to see old friends here in Louisville, looking forward to a great conference!

Here are the stories from over the weekend.

If you’re at the conference and want to say hello, stop by Booth 36, I’ll be here all week…

Be safe out there!

Tom

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Small plane crashes in El Cajon, no injuries reported

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:58

EL CAJON (CNS) – A small plane lost power and crashed in northern El Cajon Sunday, but the two people onboard apparently were not injured. 

A small plane was reported to have come down near the intersection of North 2nd Street and El Rey Avenue at about 2 p.m., said Mark Casey of Heartland Fire and Rescue, which serves El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove.

The plane lost power while in a traffic pattern near Gillespie Field, according to multiple reports.

Two people were in the plane at the time of the crash, but neither were seriously injured, and both refused medical treatment, Casey said.

The plane was leaking fuel after the crash, initially a cause for concern, but firefighters managed to put a stop to the leak, Casey said.

No one on the ground was injured in the crash.

http://www.cbs8.com/story/36386795/crews-responding-to-scene-of-plane-crash-in-el-cajon

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Man Dies in Plane Crash at El Mirage Lake

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:55

By Vivian Chow

A man was killed in a plane crash Saturday morning on El Mirage Lake, a dry lake bed located in Victor Valley.

Deputies and fire officials discovered a Gyrocopter, a single engine, experimental aircraft at the scene, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Victor Valley station.

A man died at the scene and has not yet been identified.

Sheriff’s Aviation 40K and the National Transportation and Safety board were investigating the crash.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/El-Mirage-Lake-plane-crash-444892693.html

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NASCAR driver killed in North Branford plane crash

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:53

NORTH BRANFORD, CT (WFSB) –

The racing community is mourning the loss of a veteran modified NASCAR driver, Ted Christopher, who was one of the victims in a plane crash on Saturday. 

Police said two people on board a Mooney M20C aircraft were killed when it crashed in North Branford on Saturday. The second person was identified on Sunday as 81-year-old Charles Dundas, from New York and Florida.

The crash happened in the area of West Street, around 1:53 p.m. on Saturday. Police said they do not yet know where the plane took off, or to where it was headed.

“It was really strange,” described neighbor Carrie Carignan. “It almost sounded like a dump truck opening the back and gravel falling out.”

Carignan said she assumed the noise was a tree falling in the woods, but it wasn’t until an hour later, when she said she learned of the crash while on a hike.

“All of a sudden, he called me frantic, you got to call 911, you got to call 911,” said Carignan “There’s been a plane crash and I’m like ‘Oh my God.'”

The FAA is investigating the crash.

News of the crash spread quickly to the racing community when it was learned that veteran NASCAR Whelen Modified driver, 59-year-old Ted “Teddy” Christopher was one of the victims killed in the crash.

Before a race Saturday at Waterford Speedbowl, General Manager, George Whitney said a driver drove Christopher’s #13 car around the track twice in remembrance of the driver killed in the crash. Whitney said Christopher often raced at speed ways in Waterford and Thompson.

NASCAR CEO Brian France made a statement of the driver’s passing.

“We are all saddened to learn of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft’s pilot. As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR’s roots. He was a tough racer’s racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country. He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans. NASCAR has his family and friends in its thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Guilford Police and Fire, and North Branford units also responded. The remains of the plane will be removed in the coming days.

http://www.wfsb.com/story/36382555/troopers-guilford-pd-respond-to-reports-of-plane-crash

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2 injured when small plane crashes in Beaver County

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:50

Two men were injured when a two-seat airplane crashed Saturday afternoon in Beaver County.

The crash occurred about 4:50 p.m. in the 200 block of McKenzie Road in Hanover, county emergency officials said.

A 23-year-old Hookstown man and a 24-year-old man from Arlington, Va., were on board when the Piper J3C-65 crashed into a tree on private property, Pennsylvania State Police said.

Both men were taken to Allegheny General Hospital with moderate but non-life threatening injures, according to police.

At the crash site, the small, yellow aircraft was positioned nose-down in the ground, and its tail was held up by tree limbs.

State police and the Federal Aviation Administration were investigating, officials said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/west/2017/09/16/Small-plane-crashes-in-Beaver-County/stories/201709160103

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Small plane crash in Garfield County kills family of four

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:48

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — A small plane carrying a family of four from the Front Range crashed in Garfield County. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said two adults and two children on board died.

The plane was flying from Fort Collins to Utah when radar contact was lost with it according to a Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

The plane’s last reported location was north of Glenwood Springs near Baxter Peak.

The plane apparently lost radar contact around 10:00 PM on Friday.

The Civil Air Patrol and Garfield County Search and Rescue teams launched a search Saturday morning. A helicopter crew found the wreckage a little after 11:30 a.m. That crew landed and was able to determine there were no survivors.

Efforts then started to get ground crews to the site.

It was not clear exactly when the plane crashed. The sheriff’s office said it was notified about it early Saturday morning.

Small plane crash in Garfield County kills family of four

 

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Update to yesterday’s airplane crash at Nehalem Bay State Park

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:46

On September 16, 2017 OSP responded to a report of a small aircraft collision on the Nehalem Bay State Park airstrip. 

Preliminary investigation revealed that at approximately 5:14pm, a crash involving an aircraft occurred on the airstrip at Nehalem Bay State Park.

The involved pilot was identified as Todd William Rudberg, age 49, from Shoreline, Washington. There was one additional passenger in the plane identified as Valerie Anne Villacin, age 43, from Seattle, Washington.

The aircraft was a 2003 Vans Aircraft Model RV8, single engine, fixed wing plane belonging to Mr. Rudberg. The crash occurred when Mr. Rudberg attempted to land the plane. He had fully touched down on the airstrip and was slowing down when an elk ran in front of the plane. He attempted to speed up and relaunch the plane in order to fly over the elk without hitting it. The propeller and right side landing gear struck the elk and killed it. Another elk ran in front of the plane and was struck by the left wing. The second elk was also killed. The plane spun around and came to a stop on the airstrip. The plane was totaled as a result of the crash and none of the occupants were injured. The FAA has temporarily closed the Nehalem Bay State Park Airstrip and will be conducting an investigation of the incident.

Troopers from the Oregon State Police- Tillamook Worksite responded and investigated the incident. Assisting the Oregon State Police were Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue, the Manzanita Department of Public Safety, and employees of Nehalem Bay State Park. A large quantity of elk meat was salvaged by the responding Fish and Wildlife troopers.

http://www.northcoastcitizen.com/2017/09/update-yesterdays-airplane-crash-nehalem-bay-state-park/

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Plane crashes in field south of McAlester airport

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:42

By Adrian O’Hanlon III

A single-engine aircraft crashed in a field south of McAlester Regional Airport on Friday evening. 

Witnesses say the plane was attempting to land at the airport, but instead came down in a field south of the landing strip.

Scott Burke, principal at Frink-Chambers Public Schools, said he was working in the field at the time of the incident.

“We were just working on the tractor getting ready to bale some hay,” Burke said. “The plane was flying pretty low, but to be honest with you, I didn’t even hear him whenever he hit down.”

Burke said he spoke with the pilot, who he said was coming in to land at the airport. The pilot survived the crash and did not suffer any major injuries, according to multiple witnesses.

The plane will sit in the field until Monday so National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials can further investigate the crash.

The aircraft registration number, N18403, says the 1977 BEECH A36 fixed-wing aircraft is registered to Travel Air LLC, of Oklahoma City.

http://www.mcalesternews.com/news/plane-crashes-in-field-south-of-mcalester-airport/article_2576f3f4-9a7f-11e7-980a-d37fe7bb5f6a.html

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Malfunction forces emergency landing

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:40

No injuries reported

Buster Thompson

A plane had to make an emergency landing Friday afternoon at the Crystal River Airport after its power and landing gear malfunctioned.

The single-engine Mooney aircraft, along with its four passengers — including its 19-year-old pilot — made a belly landing shortly after 2 p.m. at the airstrip on the corner of West Venable Street and U.S. 19, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and airport officials.

According to airport Capt. Tom Davis and Chief Flight Instructor Gudi Davis, the plane reported power and communication loss before coming in.

Tom Davis said airport crews knew the plane was having problems with its landing gear and kept it circling around the airport until first responders could arrive.

“He had no radio and couldn’t transmit, but we knew he didn’t have a gear indication,” Davis said.

The plane was able to land, but its nose collapsed soon afterward before coming to a stop on a grass median.

No fire or smoke was seen coming from the aircraft after it landed. Its passengers, who were on their way to Tallahassee, were not injured, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the M20F Mooney is registered out of the city of Stuart in Martin County, Florida.

http://www.chronicleonline.com/news/local/malfunction-forces-emergency-landing/article_b49506e2-9a71-11e7-913e-a77fb4a64bd7.html

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Ryanair plane makes emergency landing at East Midlands Airport

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:37

A flight from Stansted airport to Copenhagen had to perform an emergency landing after the plane lost one of its wheels after take-off.

Ryanair confirmed its Boeing 737 landed safely at East Midlands Airport and passengers had boarded a new flight.

Traffic was held on the M1 motorway while the plane landed and a number of other flights were delayed.

Investigators from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch have been sent to the airport.

Updates on this story and more from the East Midlands

The plane, which set off from Stansted at 08:07 BST, landed at East Midlands at about 10:15 BST.

It was towed off the runway and the area was cleared by 11:15 BST, the airport said.

East Midlands Airport said disruption to other services was “minimal”, with one incoming flight forced to divert to Birmingham Airport to refuel before it arrived at East Midlands.

Ryanair said: “This flight from Stansted to Copenhagen diverted to East Midlands because of the loss of one of its two nose wheels after take-off.

“The aircraft landed safely in East Midlands, customers disembarked and will board a replacement aircraft shortly.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leicestershire-41282382

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Today is Friday the 15th of September, 2017

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 09/15/2017 - 06:27

We end the week with the following stories…

Hope to see many of you at the ARFF Working Group gathering in Louisville next week. For those attending, safe travels.

Everyone have a great weekend, be safe out there!

Tom

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NTSB: Pilot cut off helicopter, ignored radio traffic before deadly Fishers crash

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 09/15/2017 - 06:24

Katie Cox

FISHERS, Ind. — An airplane that crashed last month at an airport in Fishers had taken while a helicopter was trying to land, according to the latest federal report on the accident. 

New details about the crash were released in the preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board this week.

In it, an unidentified flight instructor describes the moments before he and his student came up on the crash while trying to land at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport in Fishers.

The flight instructor said the pilot, later identified as Norman Levine, 78, announced over the radio that he was taking off from the same runway they were landing on just moments before the crash.

“At this point, it was clear we would have to initiate a go around in order to avoid a collision,” the instructor told investigators. “Instead of proceeding upwind and risking a collision while he was taking off, I opted to do a right 360 off of the southwest side of the approach… to ensure we would remain clear of his departure path.”

He said the pilot never responded to any of his radio calls and when they rounded back to land he noticed “a fire in the grass off of the departure end of the runway.”

“At this point, I realized it was pretty clear that the fire was likely the departing plane,” the instructor told investigators. He then called for help.

According to the NTSB report, Levine had accrued 1,200 hours of reported flight time since his last medical exam in 2012.

The report also states that the plane impacted the ground about 225 feet southeast of the departure end of the runway and sections of the airplane were scattered along the runway.

The crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and a final report could take over a year to complete.

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/fishers/ntsb-pilot-cut-off-helicopter-ignored-radio-traffic-before-deadly-fishers-crash

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1 injured when small plane crashes into Mississippi River

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 09/15/2017 - 06:22

EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. (KCRG-TV9) – A man crashed his small plane into the Mississippi River near the Frentress Lake Marina in East Dubuque, Illinois Thursday.

The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s office said authorities responded to the area around 6 p.m. and found the plane upside down in shallow water, stuck in the mud.

A witness told KCRG-TV9 she saw the plane coming down and wing skim the water before the plane crashed.

Deputies said only the pilot was onboard the plane, and someone who knows him took him to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Crews worked to free the plane unstuck from the mud and flipped upright. No word yet on what caused the crash.
_______________
PREVIOUS STORY:

A man crashed his small plane into the Mississippi River near the Frentress Lake Marina on Thursday.

Authorities responded to the area around 6 p.m.

The crash happened in shallow water and the aircraft became stuck in the mud. Crews worked to remove it from the water.

Witnesses say one man was in the plane and he appeared to be okay.

http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Small-plane-crashes-into-Mississippi-River-444549683.html

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Fluid Contaminant Spill Led To May 2016 In-Flight Avionics Compartment Fire

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 09/15/2017 - 06:21

Transportation Safety Board Of Canada Releases Investigation Final Report

In the release of its investigation report (A16O0066) into a May 2016 in-flight avionics compartment fire, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada found that a fluid contaminant caused the fire that disabled electrical power distribution to several systems of the aircraft.

On 25 May 2016, an Air Canada Embraer ERJ 190-100 was operating as flight ACA361 from Boston/General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Massachusetts, to Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario. While en route, warning lights illuminated and associated alarms sounded, alerting the crew that the aircraft was in an electrical emergency condition, and that the main sources of electrical power were offline. The flight crew followed the electrical emergency checklist and after a period of ten minutes, most electrical systems were restored. With main power restored, the aircraft continued to destination and landed uneventfully. No emergency was declared, and no injuries were reported. Air Canada maintenance personnel inspected the aircraft following arrival and noticed extensive fire and smoke damage to the right integrated control center.

The investigation determined that a fluid contaminant had come into contact with the integrated control center and caused arcing, which led to the fire. The fire eventually disabled the main electrical system. As a result of the electrical failure, the smoke detector in the recirculation bay remained unpowered during the period of time when smoke was likely detectable. Due to the lack of smoke or fire warning, the flight crew was unaware of the severity of the situation when it elected to continue to destination. If flight crews are not fully aware of the severity of an emergency situation and exercise their discretion not to land at the nearest suitable airport, then there is an increased risk that a flight may be continued to destination when safer options exist.

Following this occurrence, the manufacturer has proposed changes to its electrical emergency procedure and checklist.

(Source: TSB Canada news release. Image from file. Not incident airplane)

FMI: www.tsb.gc.ca

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Industry panel recommends roll back of aviation safety rules

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 09/15/2017 - 06:20

By JOAN LOWY

An influential industry committee recommended Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration eliminate or scale back dozens of safety rules, including one on airline pilot qualifications.

The FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee said the recommendations are a response to an effort by the agency to comply with President Donald Trump‘s directives to cut government regulations. The committee approved a report containing the recommendations by a vote of 14 to 4 with one abstention.

Pilots unions and safety groups oppose the recommendation on pilot qualifications, saying it would undermine safety. Regional airlines have been trying to roll back the pilot qualifications rule since it was adopted by the FAA in response to a sweeping aviation safety law passed by Congress after the last fatal crash of a U.S. passenger airliner.

Lawmakers said at the time that they were concerned about reports in the wake of the crash of Colgan Flight 3407 in February 2009 near Buffalo, New York, that some rapidly growing regional airlines were hiring first officers with far less experience than pilots at major airlines. All 49 people on board and a man on the ground were killed after the captain responded incorrectly to safety systems, causing the plane to stall.

After the crash, lawmakers increased the minimum number of flight hours first officers must have in order to obtain a license to fly commercial passenger airliners to 1,500 hours, the same as captains, leading to more experienced first officers.

Before that, airlines were allowed to hire first officers with as few as 250 hours of flying experience. Some airlines would move first officers into a captain’s seat as soon as they had the minimum 1,500 hours of flying experience.

The report recommends permitting pilots with less than 1,500 hours to qualify for an “air transport” license if they receive academic training from their airline.

Airlines say the current rule is acerbating a pilot shortage that has caused some regional carriers to cancel flights. The problem, they say, is that it can cost prospective pilots as much as they might pay for a four-year college education to acquire the greater flying hours they now need to qualify for an air transport license. As a result, fewer people are willing to pursue careers as pilots.

Faye Malarkey Black, president of the regional airline association, said the proposed changes would incorporate more meaningful education into pilot training than mere flight hours.

“Far from weakening safety, it’s one of the most important things we can do right now to advance pilot training,” she said.

Airline pilot unions and safety advocates say the problem is regional airlines don’t pay high enough entry-level salaries to attract as many pilots as they need.

“UPS and FedEx have good pay and benefits and thousands of highly qualified pilot applicants,” the National Air Disaster Foundation, a safety advocacy group, said in a dissenting opinion to the committee’s report. “There is only a pilot shortage of pilots able to work for $25,000 a year.”

The Air Line Pilots Association International also opposed opposes the change, saying in its dissenting opinion that the pilot supply in the United States remains strong. Chad Balentine, an ALPA representative and member of the committee, said reducing the required entry-level flight hours would “jeopardize safety.”

A group representing the families of victims of the Colgan crash said in a statement last week that regional airlines have taken their case to the advisory panel “to bypass the legislative process where they have run into considerable resistance.”

In June, the Senate Commerce committee passed a bill that included a provision allowing prospective airline pilots to substitute academic training for flying hours. Opposition to the provision from Democrats has prevented Republicans from bringing the bill to the floor for a vote.

The report also recommends 53 other changes to safety rules, include regulations governing the strength of hinges, emergency exit markings and whether ashtrays should be required in restrooms since smoking isn’t allowed on planes.

http://www.latimes.com/sns-bc-us–aviation-safety-rules-20170914-story.html

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