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Aviation Human Factors Industry News

April 03, 2006

Vol. II, Issue 13.

Skymark ignored Boeing`s safety instruction on five planes


Skymark Airlines operated five Boeing 767s for four months without conducting an equipment check within 90 days as required by Boeing. Skymark needed to check a heater surrounding the model`s water duct within 90 days, but the airline failed to instruct maintenance workers to do the work. The inspection was done in July 2005, four months after the deadline. The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport found the irregularity when it inspected the carrier after it was revealed earlier this month that it had operated a Boeing 767-300 without conducting a required check. (Kyodo, UPI)

Delta jet avoids collision at PBIA

A Delta Airlines passenger jet within seconds of landing at Palm Beach International Airport pulled up sharply to avoid an aircraft on its runway Sunday.

The sudden maneuver startled the 96 passengers, but Flight 1206 from Atlanta to West Palm Beach made a second approach and landed safely at 3:39 p.m. No one was injured, Delta spokeswoman Pat Kennedy said.

"It doesn't happen very often. The pilot was cleared to land and he elected to do the missed approach and go back up and around," Kennedy said.

The pilot made an announcement to the passengers explaining what happened.

Kennedy said an air traffic controller had directed the plane to land even though another one was taking off at the same time.

No one was available for comment at the air traffic control tower on Sunday night. A supervisor for the Department of Airports had no details. However, he said that the Federal Aviation Administration, which runs the tower, reviews every missed approach.

US fines BA for flying 'unfit' jet

The US airline safety authority is proposing to impose its maximum fine of $25,000 (£14,000) on British Airways for flying a jumbo jet from Los Angeles to Britain despite the fact that one of its engines had broken down shortly after take-off.

In an embarrassing chastisement, the US Federal Aviation Administration has accused BA of operating an aircraft in an "unairworthy condition" by failing to cut short the 5,500-mile flight when the fault arose.

Air traffic controllers at Los Angeles airport spotted sparks coming from one of the Boeing 747's four engines a few seconds after it took off in February last year. After contacting BA's operations base in London for advice, the captain opted to continue with the 11-hour flight on only three serviceable engines.

However, the fault meant the plane had to fly at a lower altitude and it burnt far more fuel than usual. By the time it reached British airspace, its tanks were so low that the pilot declared an emergency and landed at Manchester.

By pressing ahead with the flight, the aircraft avoided an estimated £100,000 bill for delay compensation to the 351 people on board.

The FAA has filed a complaint against BA which points out that the plane bypassed "numerous suitable alternative airfields" for a diversion in the US and Canada.

BA is to appeal, vowing to vigorously assert its innocence. The incident has prompted a transatlantic rift. The airline is unapologetic, insisting that nobody was put at risk and that its actions were perfectly within the rules and that it has the support of Britain's Civil Aviation Authority.

NASA Appoints Board To Investigate Fatality At Kennedy Space Center

NASA formed an investigation board at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to review the circumstances surrounding the death of a construction worker who fell off a building at the center.

The functions of the five-member investigation board include examining the facts surrounding the incident, gathering evidence, determining probable cause and recommending corrective actions. A final report is expected in about one month.

Chairing the board is John Casper, manager of the Space Shuttle Management Integration and Planning Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Casper is a veteran astronaut who flew on four space shuttle missions. He has also served as director of Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance at Johnson. In addition to the five voting members, the board is also supported by a number of NASA advisers and administrative support staff.

In the early afternoon of March 17, Steven Owens, a 46-year-old employee of Oneida Construction, was performing roof repairs at a warehouse when he fell about 16 feet. Emergency personnel were called to the site, and he was airlifted to a hospital in Orlando, Fla., where he died that same day. Owens was part of a roofing crew working on a warehouse located behind the Kennedy headquarters building in the center's industrial area. Oneida Construction is a subcontractor to Space Gateway Services, Kennedy's base operations contractor.

General manager killed by helicopter blades

A company general manager died on the spot after he was hit by a helicopterís rotor blades at Batu Kawan near here yesterday afternoon.

The victim, Joseph Chan Sum Foo, 41, who was attached to Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd, was assigned to take a group of journalists and photographers for an aerial view ride.

The incident happened at 1.20pm when the helicopter was about to take a group of schoolchildren for a joy ride after several trips were made for journalists.

In the incident, Chan rushed to check whether the left door of the helicopter was closed after the children boarded the aircraft.

At that time, the pilot, identified as Kapt Mohd Lukman Abdul Rahman, 45, was checking the right side of the helicopter.

The rotor blades were idling slowly as Chan walked away from the helicopter.

Before he could clear the area, the helicopterís blades struck the back of his head.

Chan was thrown out and collapsed as he sustained serious head injuries.

The A365 Dauphin helicopter belongs to KL-based Weststar Aviation Services and was chartered by Equine Capital Bhd to fly its chief executive officer Datuk Patrick Lim from Kuala Lumpur to here.

Lim had arrived here to attend a Press briefing on a housing project undertaken by Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd, an associate company of Equine Capital.

Journalists who attended the Press conference were later taken on a helicopter ride to have an aerial view of the project.

When the helicopter landed, several curious villagers and school children approached the aircraft for a closer look.

South Seberang Prai district police chief Superintendent Khaw Kok Chin said witnesses saw Chan rushing to the left side of the helicopter from the front in a bid to secure the doors of the aircraft.

After checking the door, Chan walked away from the helicopter before its rotor blades struck the back of his head.

Pilot Killed In Accident Was Talking On Cell Phone

Hit Power Lines At Night

The pilot of a Cessna 182D that went down after striking power lines the night of February 23 was talking on a cell phone when the accident occurred, according to the NTSB Preliminary Report released Thursday.

Benjamin R. Hickin, 30, was talking with a friend on his cell phone while maneuvering approximately two miles from Eagle's Nest Airport (W13) in Waynesboro, VA when "the airplane struck power lines, and subsequently impacted the ground," the report states.

Hickin's friend, co-owner of the accident aircraft, was driving a semi truck on I-81 at the time. Hickin was attempting to fly within sight of the semi, according to Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Jeff Pearson.

The Waynesboro News-Virginian says a witness told police the plane circled at treetop level three times before going down.

Hickin, a 4,000-hour pilot, was the only person onboard the Cessna. He had taken off from Eagles Nest Airport, and was apparently on his way back to the airport when the accident occurred.

The NTSB has not determined a definite cause or contributing factors in the accident. FAA investigators found no evidence of any pre-impact malfunctions.

The FAA prohibits use of a cellular phone only during IFR flight. Skies were clear at the time of accident, and Hickin was flying VFR.

Four pieces of Calif-bound Federal Express jet fall in New Jersey

NUTLEY, N.J. (AP) -- Pieces of an engine covering from a Federal Express jet flying from Newark to California fell here early Tuesday, authorities said.

No one was injured and the plane was able to land at its destination safely.

Federal Express flight 1020, a DC-10 model aircraft, departed Newark Liberty International Airport at 1:59 a.m., said Arlene Murray, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Just after 2 a.m., four pieces of an engine cover tore off and dropped to the ground, she said.

The biggest piece ó about 8-feet by 5-feet ó fell on a street in this residential community, Murray said. The other pieces were 5-by-3 feet and a narrower, 3-foot-long piece; the fourth has yet to be examined by the federal agency, she said.

Murray said the fourth piece was smaller than the others.

The plane landed safely in Oakland, Calif., she said.

The FAA and the company are investigating, federal and company officials said.

"We're grateful obviously that there was no damage and that the pieces fell harmlessly to the ground," said Sally Davenport, a Federal Express spokeswoman. "We certainly want to get to the bottom of this."

Ryanair pilot left red-faced by error in landing

30 March 2006

The pilot who flew a Ryanair flight into an Army base was "very embarrassed" by his mistake, the Manager of Derry Airport said today.

Seamus Devine said he sympathised with the Eirjet pilot who is now at the centre of an investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority into how the Eirjet flight from Liverpool (flown on behalf of Ryanair) ended up at Ballykelly airfield six miles away.

Concerns were also raised today about the lack of fire cover at Ballykelly, a legal requirement at all commercial airports.

Flight FR9884 landed at 14.40 yesterday (almost on time) with 39 passengers and 6 crew onboard.

According to a statement from Ryanair, the Eirjet pilot mistakenly believed he was on a visual approach to City of Derry. No emergency landing was required.

Helicopters and light aircraft are the only air traffic at the Army base. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said today that it was "probably the first time since the Second World War that a fixed wing plane of that size has touched down in Ballykelly".

Aircraft steps had to be transported from City of Derry airport to Ballykelly to get the passengers off the plane and into a coach to take them to their intended destination.

The scheduled return flight to Liverpool was cancelled. It is understood that the plane remained at Ballykelly overnight pending the completion of an investigation.

Seamus Devine, Manager of Derry airport and a former air traffic controller and pilot, said this morning that pilot error in this sort of situation was unusual but not unheard of.

"A pilot is just a human being after all. His instruments may be saying one thing but if he has a visual of the airstrip he may think his instruments are wrong and land it. I spoke to him yesterday and he was very embarrassed".

Newspaper headline writers had a field day this morning with 'Ryanwhere?' and 'Errorjet' amongst the best offerings.

As the runway at Ballykelly is not needed for large aircraft the tarmac and other trappings are not kept to large aircraft standards.

Daylight Savings Time Warning: Accidents increase with time change

In our chronically sleep deprived society, losing another hour to "spring forward" for daylight savings time seems trivial. However, studies have shown that itís not. For example, there is a significant increase in the number of fatal car accidents on the Monday following the spring time change, compared to the rest of the year. Why? According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, people find it generally easier to adjust to a longer day than a shorter day. At the start of daylight savings time in the spring, we actually have one longer "25 hour" day (compared to the end of daylight savings time in the fall, when we experience one shorter "23 hour" day). In addition:

Losing an extra hour of sleep could affect our ability to focus.

Our spring time change forward is analogous to jet lag when you travel eastward to another time zone.

It is just harder to wake up, so people are often running late and rushing to work.

7 ways to spring forward safely

The following tips may help reduce the effects of shifting to daylight savings time:

1. Change your clocks early in the day on Saturday so that you can start to adjust to the time shift mentally and physically.

2. Get plenty of rest over the weekend so that waking up "earlier" isnít overly difficult, but do stick to your usual bedtime on Saturday night and your usual wake up time on Sunday morning.

3. Avoid napping on Sunday and set your alarm for your usual wake-up time on Monday.

4. Keep your schedule as light as possible on Monday; try to minimize driving and any activities that require strenuous mental effort or difficult judgment calls.

5. Donít rely on caffeine to wake you up or alcohol to put you to sleep.

Eat properly, stay well hydrated, and remain physically active.

6. Keep reminding yourself that youíll adjust to the time change soon.

Importance of sleep

7. Discussing daylight savings time is a good reminder about how important sleep is to good health. The National Sleep Foundation and other health organizations point out that we donít get as much sleep as we should ó and weíre paying the price in drowsiness and fatigue that affect our physical and mental health and threaten public safety. For example, poor or inadequate sleep contributes to memory lapses, trouble learning, mood problems, and medical troubles such as reduced immunity and heart disease.

A sleepless night or two or a short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic partial sleep loss ó that is, failing to get enough sleep night after night. That can happen because you have a medical condition that interferes with sleep or your hectic lifestyle simply means less time for sleep. Researchers have found that after two weeks, people sleeping four to six hours a night are as cognitively impaired as those who have been awake for two or three days.

Some people have a very rigid internal clock and have trouble adjusting to daylight savings time. If after a few days you find that you havenít adjusted to your new sleep schedule, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist.

END - Thanks jetBlue