Aviation Safety News Roundup | February 2021

Aviation Safety News Roundup | February 2021
Claire Ealding
Mar 2, 2021

NTSB Determines Probable Cause In The Helicopter Crash That Killed Basketball Star, Kobe Bryant

  • The probable cause of the January 26th, 2020, crash of a Sikorsky S-76B that killed nine people, including basketball star Kobe Bryant, was the pilot’s decision to continue visual flight rules (VFR) into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).
  • The NTSB stated that continuing the flight into IMC while operating under visual flight rules “resulted in the pilot’s spatial disorientation and loss of control.” According to the report, “the pilot’s likely self-induced pressure and plan continuation bias" adversely affected his decision making.
  • Shortly after the pilot told ATC they were climbing to 4000 feet, eyewitnesses observed the helicopter descending out of the clouds in a left banking turn seconds before impacting terrain. The descent rate reached 4000 feet per minute.
  • A contributing factor identified by the NTSB was the operator’s “inadequate review and oversight” of its safety management process.
  • Robert Sumwalt had the following to say: “We continue to see these same issues influence poor decision-making among otherwise experienced pilots in aviation crashes. Had this pilot not succumbed to the pressures he placed on himself to continue the flight into adverse weather, it is likely this accident would not have happened.”
  • The aircraft was not equipped with a flight data recorded or cockpit voice recorder. A full report is expected in several weeks.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

Fatal Global Express Crash | Wrong Engine Shut Down, Findings A Year Later

  • The probable cause for the fatal 2020 crash of a Bombardier Global Express in Afghanistan was the flight crew's error in identifying the failed engine, and their decision to shut down the remaining (functional) engine.
  • The aircraft, operated by the US Air Force (USAF), suffered an in-flight fan blade separation in the left engine, causing it to shut down.
  • “Approximately 24 seconds after the initial incident, the crew shut down the right, and only operable, engine, resulting in a dual-engine-out emergency,” the USAF stated. “The aircraft was approximately 230 nm from Kandahar Airfield when the dual engine out occurred, and neither engine air-started to provide any usable thrust.”
  • A contributing factor to the crash was the crew's decision to continue over 200 nautical miles back to Kandahar Airport. Simulations determined that the aircraft was within gliding distance from several other usable airports for a period of time after the emergency began.
  • The crew subsequently attempted to glide toward Forward Operating Base Sharana but landed in a field approximately 21 nautical miles short of the base. Both pilots were killed and the aircraft was destroyed.

Business Jet Traveler (or read the published report from the USAF AAIB here.)

Annual Safety Report | Discrepancies Between Flight Plan and Clearance Still Biggest Cause of North Atlantic GNE’s

  • Based on traffic from 2019, an ICAO report measured 12 Safety Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for North Atlantic safety.
  • There were less large height deviations (LHD’s) compared to 2018. Of the LHD's that did occur, they were more prevalent in aircraft equipped with datalink than aircraft without datalink.
  • Lateral deviations and Gross Navigational Errors (GNEs) were still a trouble spot. Overall there were 118 lateral deviations in 2019 (over 2 per week). 44 were prevented from developing into full GNE’s by air traffic control intervention.
  • The report highlighted how datalink allows controllers to see a GNE developing ahead of time and take pre-emptive action to prevent a loss of separation or GNE.
  • The most significant contributor for lateral deviations was when the clearance differed from the filed flight plan, followed by weather conditions and pilots not adhering to ATC communications.

OpsGroup (or read the published report from ICAO here.)

The North Atlantic Datalink Mandate Returns. Equipment Compliant Aircraft Only From Feb 25th

  • The North Atlantic (NAT) Datalink Mandate (DLM), which was temporarily suspended in 2020 to provide relief of non-datalink compliant aircraft, will be reinstated on February 25th, 2021.
  • After this date, all operators flying across the North Atlantic within RVSM airspace will be required to have datalink installed and functioning with CPDLC and ADS-C.
  • Due to decreased operations due to COVID-19 in 2020, it did not seem necessary to continue the mandate. While traffic has not returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, the FAA and the North Atlantic Systems Planning Group recently voted to reinstate the DLM for 2021.

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

Your Personal
Safety Department

Don't waste valuable time!

get help now