Aviation Safety News Roundup | July 2021

Aviation Safety News Roundup | July 2021
Claire Ealding
Aug 1, 2021

Challenger 605 Crash | Why You Shouldn't Skim Over The Notes In An Abnormal or Emergency Checklist

  • In 2020, a Challenger 605 landing in Calgary, Canada, sustained significant damage after striking its tail on the runway before the stick pusher forcefully slammed the nose-gear down during a no-flaps landing. There were no injuries to the crew or passengers.
  • The final report was recently issued, citing that the pilot monitoring did not relay a vital note in the emergency checklist about the landing characteristics to the  pilot flying.
  • The investigation states "The crew responded appropriately to a "FLAPS FAIL" warning during approach, but failed to note the corresponding cautions in the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) recommending nose-down control pressure prior to use of reverse thrust."
  • After landing 3000ft down the runway, the pilot flying applied maximum reverse thrust. The nose gear lifted back off the runway, and the aircraft pitched almost 17 degrees nose up - well above that required for landing or takeoff - striking the tail. The stick pusher then activated, forcing the nose gear to contact the runway and damaging the nose wheel.
  • A contributing factor was, "The pilot monitoring did not read the cautions included on the FLAPS FAIL checklist out loud to the pilot flying during the completion of the QRH procedure. As a result, information critical to the safe operation of the aircraft was not brought to the pilot flying's attention."
  • The investigation also discovered that the Challenger 605 flight simulator used did not accurately represent the zero-flap handling characteristics of the aircraft.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Use It Or Lose It | Aviation Language Experts Warn Of Reduced Language Proficiency When Operating In Non-Native English Speaking Countries

  • Since March 2020, many pilots and controllers have not been at work, particularly in Europe, where aviation has been slower to recover from COVID. Many of these workers may not have been speaking English regularly, and, according to experts, there is a real threat of miscommunication due to language attrition.
  • "Loss of proficiency, known as 'language attrition,' can occur in a number of circumstances, one of which is the loss of a second language when in an environment in which the speaker's native language is spoken.
  • An International Air Transport Association (IATA) bulletin points out that air traffic controllers or flight crew may have diminished familiarity with phraseology and highlights the importance of "checking, confirming, and clarifying to achieve mutual understanding, especially around clearances… While this may lead to frequency congestion, the congestion is expected to be temporary as personnel settle back into normal operations."
  • However, the bulletin falls short of mentioning the use of "everyday language," which goes beyond the standard phraseology that pilots and controllers use to clarify unclear instructions.
  • Language experts urge proficient English speakers to maintain a heightened awareness of the potential of miscommunication with non-native English speakers.

Flight Safety Foundation

Bezos Joins The Commercial Space Race With A Former NTSB Investigator By His Side, As The FAA Tightens Their Oversight Of The 3 Billionaire Space Ventures

  • Jeff Bezos became the second billionaire to visit space this month, after Richard Branson. Both flew in crafts designed by their self-funded ventures, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. Onboard with Bezos was the first female NTSB investigator, Wally Funk.
  • Blue Origin, started by Bezos, has not yet announced how much it would charge the public for future flights, but demand is there with people prepared to pay in the order of tens of millions of dollars for a chance to dip their toe into space.
  • Bezos does see other commercial value and a future in space travel. He has partnered with Lockheed Martin to develop a spacecraft capable of ferrying astronauts to and from the moon's surface and is competing for a contract to shuttle astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
  • The new market of space travel has not gone unnoticed by the authorities. In a press release this week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that they had opened a new field office in Houston, TX, to oversee the new space venture firms more closely.
  • "FAA inspectors will be able to more effectively and efficiently monitor the ongoing testing programs and commercial space tourism operations of SpaceX and Blue Origin in Texas, and Virgin Galactic in New Mexico, along with others in the region."
  • "Keeping the public safe as the pace of commercial space operations increases requires the FAA to adapt, be agile, and remain vigilant," said Wayne Monteith, the FAA's associate administrator of commercial space transportation.

Washington Post
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Two French Pilots Eventually Acquitted Of Drug Smuggling, 8 Years After Cocaine Was Found In Their Passengers' Suitcases

  • In March 2013, the two pilots of a Falcon 50 business jet were arrested before takeoff in Punta Cana. Local authorities searched the plane and found 1500 lbs of cocaine belonging to the plane's passenger.
  • The plane had been bound from Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, to France. Both the Dominican Republic and French courts found the two pilots guilty for their "connection to commit international drug smuggling."
  • The pilots, both former naval and air force fighter pilots in the French Armed Forces, repeatedly claimed that they had no idea the cocaine was on board. After facing a 20-year prison sentence, both pilots were acquitted this month by French courts when evidence proved that the pilots knew nothing about the drugs and had been "scammed."
  • The directors of the charter operation both retain their guilty sentences.

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