Buckle Up | 1 Killed After Bombardier Jet Encounters Severe Turbulence
A Bombardier Challenger 300 carrying five people was hit by severe turbulence over New England, causing the death of one passenger and forcing an emergency landing at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
The jet was owned by Conexon, a company based in Kansas City, Missouri, that brings high-speed internet to rural communities. The aircraft sustained damage, and the extent of the damage is not yet clear.
NTSB investigators were interviewing the two crew members and surviving passengers as part of a probe into the deadly encounter with turbulence, and the cockpit voice and data recorders were sent to NTSB headquarters for analysis.
Turbulence remains a cause for injury for airline passengers despite safety improvements over the years. However, deaths are extremely rare.
It’s not just busienss aircraft operators. “Earlier in the week, seven people were hurt and taken to hospitals after a Lufthansa Airbus A330 experienced turbulence while flying from Texas to Germany. The plane was diverted to Virginia’s Washington Dulles International Airport.”
“I can’t remember the last fatality due to turbulence,” said Robert Sumwalt, a former NTSB chair and executive director of the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Turbulence accounted for more than a third of accidents on larger commercial airlines between 2009 and 2018, according to the NTSB.
“Call to Action” | FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 23002
FAA has issued Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFO) 23002 due to recent near-collisions of aircraft operating in the airport environment.
The SAFO states that there is a need for "continued vigilance and attention to mitigation of safety risks" and mentions that six serious runway incursions have occurred since January, including an incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport and a landing aircraft coming within 100 feet of a departing aircraft at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
The SAFO does not mention the February 28 close call at Boston Logan International Airport when an airliner on approach had to make a sudden go-around while a Learjet 60 was taking off allegedly without clearance.
A Safety Summit was held on March 15, and senior leaders from the FAA, other agencies, and commercial and general aviation operators attended to discuss incidents and ways to enhance aviation safety.
The SAFO includes a list of nine recommended actions. Download a copy below!
ForeFlight Acquisition | CloudAhoy to Strengthen Data Analytics Tools and Improve Aviation Safety
ForeFlight, a subsidiary of Boeing, has acquired CloudAhoy, a company specializing in post-flight debriefing, analytics, and flight operations quality assurance software products.
The acquisition will strengthen ForeFlight's data analytics tools and services, providing pilots with even richer flight data for a more informative analysis, and will help improve aviation safety.
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the acquisition will benefit pilots and operators in business, general, and military aviation, as well as flight training.
Chuck Shavit, founder and CEO of CloudAhoy, expressed his excitement at becoming part of ForeFlight and Boeing and for the opportunity to have a growing impact on aviation safety.
ForeFlight's digital portfolio includes flight planning, weather, airport information, charts, and data analytics tools, and CloudAhoy's advanced capabilities and products will complement and integrate nicely into their existing digital portfolio.
Tim Schuetze, ForeFlight CEO, stated that they are excited for CloudAhoy and its employees to join their team.
Alumni Rejoice! | Boeing Donates $5.1M for ERAU Safety Research Center
Boeing has donated $5.1 million to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to establish the Boeing Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at its Daytona Beach, Florida campus.
The center will be used for research involving operational safety risk, encompassing topics such as data analytics to predict and potentially prevent safety incidents, runway safety, safety management systems, risk management, and the integration of new entrants into the global airspace system.
The 13,000-sq-ft building will be equipped with both office and lab space, as well as dedicated classrooms, and is slated to open in January 2024.
The center is designed to foster collaboration across academia, industry, and government entities and establish research partnerships.
Findings will be shared with the broader aviation community to advance safety.
Robert Sumwalt, former NTSB chairman and executive director of the center, said, "By forging partnerships with industry and government, the center will leverage Embry-Riddle's faculty of more than 1,300 aviation and aerospace experts to address urgent safety challenges."
Vigilance | FAA Safety Summit Panelists Highlight Need For Training, Technology
A safety summit was held in Washington to address recent incidents that have captured public attention in the past few weeks. Acting FAA head Billy Nolen brought together a panel including leaders from airlines, air traffic control, airports, and labor unions. The summit is the first in a series of events to address emerging hazards in the national airspace.
While US aviation remains an exceptionally safe mode of travel, “more mistakes than usual are happening, across the system, on runways, at gates when planes are pushing back, in control towers, and on flight decks,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The FAA's safety review team will ask what is present in safety data, what is missing from the data, and what is working well that needs to be maintained, continued, and reinforced.
A newer and less experienced workforce is an emerging hazard, according to Faye Malarkey Black, head of the Regional Airline Association (RAA), and Captain Jason Ambrosi, president of the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA). Airlines are picking up the slack in training and providing extra classroom training, simulator training, and initial operating experience.
Consistent funding for technological improvements was also discussed. Rich Santa, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, stated that some airports don’t have serviceable Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE-X) and the industry needs new systems, new funding, and new technologies.
There are concerns about how training and operational changes are rolled out, including the complexity of the landing environment due to interference from 5G transmitters and other distractions.
Acting Administrator Nolen said, “There is no question that aviation is amazingly safe, but vigilance can never take a day off.”