Press Release - Page 8 Aviation Articles

NTSB Determines Fatal Missouri Helicopter Accident Was Caused By Fuel Exhaustion, Poor Decision Making And Inability To Perform Critical Flight Maneuver

WASHINGTON -- A pilot’s decision to depart on a mission despite a critically low fuel level as well as his inability to perform a crucial flight maneuver following the engine flameout from fuel exhaustion was the probable cause of an emergency medical services helicopter accident that killed four in Missouri, the National Transportation Safety Board said today.

“This accident, like so many others we’ve investigated, comes down to one of the most crucial and time-honored aspects of safe flight: good decision making,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

On August 26, 2011, at about 6:41 pm CDT, a Eurocopter AS350 B2 helicopter operated by Air Methods on an EMS mission crashed following a loss of engine power as a result of fuel exhaustion a mile from an airport in Mosby, Missouri. The pilot, flight nurse, flight paramedic and patient were killed, and the helicopter was substantially damaged.

At about 5:20 pm, the EMS operator, located in St. Joseph, Mo., accepted a mission to transport a patient from a hospital in Bethany, Mo., to a hospital 62 miles away in Liberty, Mo. The helicopter departed its base less than 10 minutes later to pick up the patient at the first hospital. Shortly after departing, the pilot reported back to the company that he had two hours’ worth of fuel onboard.

After reaching the first hospital, the pilot called the company’s communication center and indicated that he actually had only about half the amount of fuel (Jet-A) that he had reported earlier, and that he would need to obtain fuel in order to complete the next flight leg to the destination hospital.

Even though the helicopter had only about 30 minutes of fuel remaining and the closest fueling station along the route of flight was at an airport about 30 minutes away, the pilot elected to continue the mission. He departed the first hospital with crew members and a patient in an attempt to reach the airport to refuel.

The helicopter ran out of fuel and the engine lost power within sight of the airport. The helicopter crashed after the pilot failed to make the flight control inputs necessary to enter an autorotation, an emergency flight maneuver that must be performed within about two seconds of the loss of engine power in order to execute a safe emergency landing. The investigation found that the autorotation training the pilot received was not representative of an actual engine failure at cruise speed, which likely contributed to his failure to successfully execute the maneuver.

Further, a review of helicopter training resources suggested that the accident pilot may not have been aware of the specific control inputs needed to successfully enter an autorotation at cruise speed. The NTSB concluded that because of a lack of specific guidance in Federal Aviation Administration training materials, many other helicopter pilots may also be unaware of the specific actions required within seconds of losing engine power and recommended that FAA revise its training materials to convey this information.

An examination of cell phone records showed that the pilot had made and received multiple personal calls and text messages throughout the afternoon while the helicopter was being inspected and prepared for flight, during the flight to the first hospital, while he was on the helipad at the hospital making mission-critical decisions about continuing or delaying the flight due to the fuel situation, and during the accident flight.

While there was no evidence that the pilot was using his cell phone when the flameout occurred, the NTSB said that the texting and calls, including those that occurred before and between flights, were a source of distraction that likely contributed to errors and poor decision-making.

“This investigation highlighted what is a growing concern across transportation – distraction and the myth of multi-tasking,” said Hersman. “When operating heavy machinery, whether it’s a personal vehicle or an emergency medical services helicopter, the focus must be on the task at hand: safe transportation.”

The NTSB cited four factors as contributing to the accident: distracted attention due to texting, fatigue, the operator’s lack of policy requiring that a flight operations specialist be notified of abnormal fuel situations, and the lack of realistic training for entering an autorotation at cruise airspeed.

The NTSB made a nine safety recommendations to the FAA and Air Methods Corporation and reiterated three previously issued recommendations to the FAA.

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings and a complete list of the safety recommendations, is available at https://go.usa.gov/TxYT. The full report will be available on the website in several weeks.

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Contact Information:
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Peter Knudson
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NBAA's Bolen Responds to FAA Decision to Close ATC Towers

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, [email protected]

Washington, DC, March 22, 2013 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen released the following statement in response to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) decision to proceed with the closure of 149 contract air traffic control towers and other facilities across the United States, to comply with "sequestration," or mandatory budget curtailments required of federal agencies:

"From the time it was determined that government agencies would be required to adhere to the sequestration order, NBAA has recognized the difficulties of this unique and complex situation. Our desire has been to work with the FAA to limit the impact from sequestration, and keep as many control towers and facilities open as possible.

"To that end, NBAA representatives have had numerous face-to-face meetings with top FAA officials to provide options for meeting the challenges faced by the agency. Our suggestions were codified in my March 12 letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle, outlining the Association's position on the proposed closures, which also offered suggestions to help mitigate the impact on operations, in the event that tower closures became a reality.

"While it appears FAA officials took some of our concerns into account – 40 towers originally slated for closure will now remain open – we are frustrated that the FAA has nevertheless chosen to move ahead with the closure of 149 facilities targeted in its original sequester-response plan. At the same time, we recognize it's critically important that we continue to cooperate with agency officials to ensure the closures that will happen are as workable as possible for our Member Companies. We will continue working with the FAA with that objective in view.

"As we have repeatedly said, air traffic control towers play an integral role in ensuring America's aviation system remains the safest, largest and most efficient in the world. There are few services more important to all citizens, companies, and communities than aviation, so our work with the FAA will focus on containing, to the greatest degree possible, any negative effects of the agency's decision."

Review the FAA's list of contract air traffic control towers slated for closure.

Review the FAA's list of contract air traffic control towers that will remain open.

NBAA will continually update its Members on major developments about the sequester's impact on aviation; for answers to questions as needed, NBAA Members can contact the Association's Operations Service Group at (202) 783-9250, or [email protected].

# # #

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 9,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

Members of the media may receive NBAA Press Releases immediately via email. To subscribe to the NBAA Press Release email list, submit the online form
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It's Twice As Good: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 Adds Second Night Air Show!

OSH-2013-8
For more information, contact:
Dick Knapinski, EAA Communications
(920) 426-6523
[email protected]

Evening performances on Wednesday and Saturday in 2013

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (March 21, 2013) — The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh night air show, one of the most popular additions to “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” lineup over the past quarter-century, will be even bigger in 2013 with the addition of a second night show scheduled for Wednesday, July 31.

“The additional night show is being scheduled this year in response to those EAA members and AirVenture attendees who said they missed this phenomenal event because they came to Oshkosh earlier in the week,” said Jim DiMatteo, EAA’s vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. “We talked with the participating performers and they’re just as excited to have an additional opportunity to fly the twilight show here as the thousands who have enjoyed it each year.”

The inaugural EAA AirVenture night air show was in 2010 and was an instant hit, drawing tens of thousands of people to the flight line for an unmatched display of piloting skill and dazzling light in the twilight over Oshkosh. All the afternoon and night air shows at EAA AirVenture are presented by Rockwell Collins.

Among the performers already committed to both night shows at Oshkosh are:

AeroShell Aerobatic Team (T-6s)
Bob Carlton (jet sailplane)
Matt Younkin (Beech 18)
Gene Soucy (Showcat)
Steve Oliver (Super Chipmunk)
Roger Buis (Otto the Helicopter)
Rich’s Incredible Pyro (pyrotechnics)

Each of the night air shows will conclude with a thunderous fireworks display that has been termed as one of the best in the entire Midwest.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 Welcomes Back Commemorative Air Force ‘Ghost Squadron’ B-29 And B-24

 
Historic World War II aircraft to participate throughout week at Oshkosh

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (March 19, 2013) — Two of World War II’s most iconic aircraft, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, will be back at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2013 as part of the Commemorative Air Force’s “Ghost Squadron” at The World Greatest Aviation Celebration.

The airplanes will be among the two most noteworthy of the hundreds of warbird aircraft at Oshkosh in 2013, as they will participate in AirVenture air shows during the week. In addition, the B-29 will be available for flights during AirVenture week, based at Outagamie Regional Airport in Appleton (20 miles north).

“These two aircraft are always popular, not only because of their historical importance from the World War II era, but because flying examples of them are so rare,” said Jim DiMatteo, EAA’s vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. “Since Oshkosh is the world’s largest annual gathering of warbird aircraft, the audiences here truly appreciate the airplanes’ roles during the war as well as the tremendous dedication needed to keep ‘em flying.”

The Boeing B-29 FIFI operated by the CAF is the only one still flying in the world. It was discovered at a Navy weapons center near China Lake, Calif., in 1971 and brought to Texas. It was first flown at air shows in 1974 and has been continually restored and upgraded, most recently this past winter with the replacement of the one of the Curtiss-Wright 3350 engines. The airplane was christened FIFI in 1974 in honor of the wife of Col. Victor N. Agather, who had been on the wartime development team for the aircraft and had been personally committed and involved with the airplane’s restoration in the early 1970s.

The Consolidated B-24 Diamond Lil came to the CAF in 1969 after a long history of military and civilian service since the bomber was built in 1941. It was originally restored in the colors of the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force. In 2006, a major restoration project renewed the original B-24A bomber configuration.

The two aircraft make numerous appearances throughout the country during the year, but will be part of the massive annual gathering of former military aircraft that come to Oshkosh. The two airplanes are scheduled to be at EAA AirVenture throughout the week. Flight opportunities aboard the aircraft will be announced in the near future through the https://www.airpowersquadron.org website.

In anticipation of the B-29’s return to Oshkosh, EAA will host a free webinar on March 27 about the history and operation of FIFI. CAF officials will talk about saving and restoring the aircraft, as well as its current operations.

Advance EAA AirVenture tickets at discounted rates, along with camping, parking, flight experiences, and merchandise are available at www.airventure.org/tickets.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

Eclipse 550 Jet 'Powered Up' on Its Way to First Delivery

 

Eclipse Aerospace, Inc. celebrates a major production milestone - the first power up of the new production Eclipse 550 Twin-Engine Jet. The first production Eclipse 550 aircraft successfully powered up its two Pratt & Whitney PW610F engines, and the aircraft systems came on line today at the company’s facility in Albuquerque, N.M.

Eclipse Aerospace officially restarted the Eclipse Jet aircraft production line last June and continues to track for delivery of the first new Eclipse 550 series aircraft in the third quarter of this year. Built upon the same proven airframe as the Eclipse 500 aircraft, the new Eclipse 550 series is enhanced by additional technologies including a dual and redundant integrated flight management system and independent standby displays all powered by advanced microprocessors.

“What a great accomplishment by our entire team at Eclipse,” said Mason Holland, CEO of Eclipse Aerospace. “This event is another key signal to the world that we continue on our methodical and well executed plan to reintroduce production and delivery of the Eclipse 550 Jet this year.”

The operation of the current fleet of over 260 Eclipse twin-engine jets have already garnered a reputation as one of the most technologically advanced, safe, and fuel-efficient jets in general aviation. The Eclipse 550 will be powered by the same PW610F turbofan engines as are used in the EA-500, which collectively produce 1,800 lbs. of thrust. This gives the 6,000 lb. Eclipse Jet a maximum cruise speed of 375 knots and a maximum IFR range of 1,300 nm with a 45-minute fuel reserve. Like the EA-500, the Eclipse 550 will have a maximum service ceiling of 41,000 ft. and a cruise fuel flow of only 59 gal/hr.

“The global markets are improving, sales activity and orders continue to grow, and the Eclipse Jet is priced extremely competitively as the only jet available in the world for less than three million US dollars”, stated Holland. “This attractive acquisition price coupled with our industry leading operating costs of only $1.69 per nautical mile makes the Eclipse Jet a great value for our owner flown customers as well as Corporations and Governments alike.”

Eclipse 550 customers will also be able to customize their aircraft with new features including auto-throttles, synthetic vision, enhanced vision, satellite phones, custom interiors, and anti-skid brakes.

FMI: www.eclipse.aero

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