Showing posts with label crash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crash. Show all posts

19 May, 2024

Iran President Helicopter crash latest -

The helicopter carrying Iran's president has been involved in a crash or heavy landing during a flight in foggy weather. 

There had been some the helicopter had been found, by some rescuers, which has since been denied by the local Red Crescent office. 

This news follows on from unconfirmed reports indicating that telephone contact may have been made with a passenger and a crew member of the downed helicopter.

President Ebrahim Raisi was travelling over far northwest of Iran following a visit to Azerbaijan in a convoy of three helicopters.  According to local news channels, the incident happened between Uzi and Jolfa, approximately 378 miles away from Tehran, although no wreckage has thus far been located or the helicopters sited. 

Interior minister Ahmed Vahidi said "The esteemed president and company were on their way back aboard some helicopters and one of the helicopters was forced to make a hard landing due to the bad weather and fog. - Various rescue teams are on their way to the region but because of the poor weather and fogginess it might take time for them to reach the helicopter."

A spokesperson for the emergency services told state media that a rescue helicopter had tried to reach the site but couldn't land due to the fog in the area. Local media are now also reporting the incident as a crash, leading some to speculate the helicopter was willfully brought down. 

President Raisi had been in Azerbaijan for the inauguration of a dam with the country's president, Ilham Aliyev. Following news of the incident, the President of Azerbaijan said he was 'seriously worried'  hearing about Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash. "Today, after meeting with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ibrahim Raisi we were seriously worried by the news that the helicopter carrying the high delegation made an emergency landing in Iran.  - Our prayers to almighty God are with President Ibrahim Raisi and his accompanying delegation." 

He also said that his nation, Azerbaijan was ready to provide any necessary support to Iran.

10 May, 2024

2018 Leicester City Football Club helicopter disaster inquest resumes

H.M. Senior Coroner for Leicester City & South Leicestershire has resumed the inquests into the deaths of five people who were killed in a helicopter crash at King Power Stadium on 27 October 2018.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (Chairman of Leicester City Football Club), Eric Swaffer, Izabela Lechowicz, Nusara Suknami and Kaveporn Punpara all lost their lives in this major aviation accident, now five and a half years ago.

UK law firm Stewarts’ aviation team, partners Sarah Stewart and Peter Neenan, are instructed by the families of Khun Vichai, Eric and Izabela and have instructed Philip Shepherd KC and Bajal Shah as counsel for the family of Khun Vichai.

Professor Catherine Mason held a pre-inquest hearing today in Leicester Town Hall in order to hear submissions on a number of procedural issues.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) carried out an investigation into the accident and these inquests have been on hold pending the investigation’s final report which was published on 6 September 2023. The court heard arguments over the status of the AAIB investigation and whether it was in any way “incomplete, flawed or deficient” such as to warrant the Senior Coroner carrying out her own further investigation or whether she could and should adopt and accept the findings therein.

Concerns were raised on behalf of three of the bereaved families represented by Stewarts over the length of time taken by the AAIB to produce their final report, and the cause of that delay, which has in turn impacted the progress of the inquests and prolonged their suffering.

A further PIRH will be listed towards the end of 2024 with the final inquest hearing likely to take place over 2-3 weeks in early 2025.


20 March, 2024

Boeing Finally Settles Lawsuit of Deadly Spanair Crash After 15 Years of Legal Battles

Photo Stromare
Boeing has finally settled for an undisclosed amount in the lawsuit that resulted from the deaths of 154 passengers and crewmembers in Spain over 15 years ago. The case was brought against Boeing as the manufacturer of the ill-fated plane through their acquisition of McDonald Douglas. BCA argued that Boeing was aware of a mechanical defect that increased the risk of error during takeoff but failed to apply a known fix to all of their planes. While there were initially several law firms involved in the litigation, only Brent Coon & Associates held out and fought for a trial for their clients. After all of the legal wrangling, the Civil Courts in Spain finally allowed litigation to move forward to trial, 15 years after Spanair flight JK5022 crashed, killing 154 people.  

Brent Coon, whose firm undertook representation early on in the initial lawsuit in California, finally feels like his clients have been vindicated.  “We have been fighting the good fight for these victims and their families for well over a decade. It has been extraordinarily frustrating to see Boeing dodging accountability for so long, and to succeed in convincing our own judiciary that the victims would get a swift and fair trial in Spain. They knew that wasn’t going to be the case, and showed their true colours once they obtained the rulings throwing everything back into the laps of the Spanish courts, which rarely deal with this type of complex litigation. We weren’t surprised to see them undertake multiple protracted appeals of the trial court rulings to further delay the matter and wear down these families, who were already devastated by the loss of their loved ones and impatient to ride out appeal after appeal. But we have weathered all the storms and got a definitive trial date. This positioned us to negotiate a fair settlement of our claims and these families can finally have closure.   Spanish government oversight of the airline industry is frankly pretty weak or this would likely not have been allowed to happen in the first place,” says Mr. Coon.  

Ivan De Miguel Perez, Spanish counsel to the plaintiffs, had this to say: “These recent developments allowed us to see that justice is now finally available for the people we have represented for such a long time in a tragic accident that happened as a result of negligence on a massive scale. While the terms of the settlements are confidential, we believe that our clients are receiving the maximum amount they would have been awarded by the court under the laws applicable to these types of claims in Spanish law.   It has been a pleasure working with Brent Coon & Associates as their Spanish local counsel and look forward to working again with such a dedicated team of lawyers and staff. They just don’t give up”.

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05 March, 2024

No technical faults found in preliminary investigation of S-76 Norway crash.

No technical faults have been found on the Bristow Helicopters Sikorsky S-92  that was involved in a crash in Norway at the end of last month, investigators report.

The bulk of the helicopter was recovered on 1st March along with the flight recorders which were sent to the UK's Civil Aviation Authority. They have since been downloaded successfully according to the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (NSIA) which confirmed the investigation is continuing.  

The NSIA warned the investigation was still at an early stage, advising it was “too early to draw any conclusions” however, thus far it “has not observed any technical fault which contributed to the accident”. The NSIA added, “We have downloaded data and it is currently being analysed. We have had interviews with some of the crew from the helicopter,”.

The accident happened during a training search and rescue flight, approximately 15 nautical miles west of Bergen, Norway.  The helicopter, registration LN-OIJ, was operating with six crew members onboard at the time of the incident. One fatality was confirmed on the day of the crash and the other five crew members have suffered varying levels of injuries. 

Bristow Helicopters stated "Our thoughts are with all those affected during this incredibly difficult period. At this time, the full resources of Bristow’s incident response team are being mobilized. The company is in the process of contacting and providing assistance to family members of those onboard and fully cooperating with authorities responding to the incident. Our highest priority is to take care of our crew and their family members and provide them with any assistance needed."

Flight Global reports that images of the wreckage indicate the main rotor and tail rotor were spinning at the time of impact. The S-92 was fitted with automatic floats which should deploy in events of this kind, however, images of LN-OIJ show these floats had not deployed.

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04 March, 2024

American Airlines has placed an order for 85 Boeing 737 MAX jets.

American Airlines orders Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets
Boeing is celebrating a new order from American Airlines for its troubled 737 MAX jets, just at a time when the manufacturer needs some good news. 

It was confirmed today, that the U.S. mega-carrier is amending a previous order for 737 MAX 8 planes to the bigger version of the type the MAX 10. Plus it is further ordering 85 aircraft, with an option for another 75 MAX 10 jets.  

"Over the past decade, we have invested heavily to modernize and simplify our fleet, which is the largest and youngest among U.S. network carriers," said American's CEO Robert Isom. "These orders will continue to fuel our fleet with newer, more efficient aircraft so we can continue to deliver the best network and record-setting operational reliability for our customers."

The Boeing 737 MAX 10 can carry up to 230 passengers and is said to offer a range of up to 3,100 nautical miles with a full load. 

The whole MAX programme has been beset with problems since its inception and maiden flight back on 29th January 2016. Two fatal crashes of this type - Lion Air Flight 610 in late 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in early 2019, took the lives of 346 leading to a worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX jets.  More recently, loose and missing bolts on door plugs have been found after urgent inspections were carried out after an Alaska Airlines' jet suffered a major blowout mid-flight. The programme has also suffered from issues relating to fuel tank debris, wing spur cracks, misaligned holes, fuselage quality issues and supply chain delays are all taking their toll. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday that an audit into Boeing and supplier Spirit AeroSystems regarding the 737 MAX programme found multiple instances where the companies allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements. There were "non-compliance issues in Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control."

Last week, the FAA ordered Boeing to develop and present a comprehensive plan to address "systemic quality-control issues within 90 days.  

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08 January, 2024

United Airlines finds loose bolts during inspections of 737 MAX 9 planes....

United Airlines says it has found bolts in need of "additional tightening" during inspections of Boeing 737 MAX 9 which had been removed from service following the blowout of a doorplug on an Alaska Airlines aircraft last week. 

United Airlines said it believed these to be "installation issues" relating to door plugs and these will be "remedied" before the aircraft type can return to operational use. 

"Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug - for example, bolts that needed additional tightening." the statement said. 

The grounding of the 737 MAX 9 jets has caused United to cancel over 200 flights as of Monday and the U.S. mega-carrier expects a significant number of cancellations on Tuesday.  "We have been able to operate some planned flights by switching to other aircraft types, avoiding about 30 cancellations each on Monday and Tuesday,". 

Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 had three previous pressure warnings before blowout flight.

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said today that the Boeing 737 MAX 9 that suffered a blowout had been restricted by the carrier, Alaska Airlines from doing long flights over water because of three previous warnings of potential pressurization problems

According to Homendy, the warning light illuminated on three different occasions - 7 December, 3 January and 4 January leading the airline to restrict it from operating flights to Hawaii or other long flights over water so the 737 MAX 9 “could return very quickly to an airport” if the warning light reappeared

Whilst it is unclear if the previous warnings were connected with the incident on Friday when a plug covering an unused emergency exit door blew off the plane as it flew over Oregon.  The door plug is 26 by 48 inches and weighs 63 pounds / 28.5 kilograms. The NTSB confirmed the lost door plug had been found in the garden of a teacher from Portland and would soon be examined by investigators.

Homendy also said that the depressurization and rush of air damaged a number of seats, pulled insulation from the walls, and caused the cockpit door to flew open. She said the force of air also ripped the headset off the co-pilot and the captain lost part of her headset. A quick reference checklist flew out of the open cockpit. The cockpit doors are supposed to be incredibly strong and locked at all times during a flight following the 9/11 hijackings, so shouldn't have been able to be opened by the wind. 

 Aviation services provider AAR Corp confirmed that it had worked on the aircraft for Alaska Airlines, but had not worked on that area of the aircraft.  "AAR was contracted by Alaska Airlines to perform a 2KU Modification (WiFi modification) on the aircraft that was performed from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7, 2023," AAR said in a statement on Monday. 

Airlines have now been cleared to carry out urgent checks on the 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets that are in service after Boeing issued detailed instructions on Monday, which were approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. These checks, rapidly introduced before the cause of the plug blowing out is known are said to take between 4 and 8 hours could be an indication of the pressure being brought by the manufacturer to stem the damage to the reputation of the MAX series of aircraft. 


Cockpit voice recorder data on the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet which lost a panel mid-flight on Friday was overwritten.....

The cockpit voice recorder data on the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet which lost a panel mid-flight on Friday was overwritten, U.S. authorities said, renewing attention on an industry call for longer in-flight recordings. By Valerie Insinna, David Shepardson and Lisa Barrington for Reuters. 

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Jennifer Homendy said on Sunday no data was available on the cockpit voice recorder because it was not retrieved within two hours - when recording restarts, erasing previous data.

The U.S. requires cockpit voice recorders to log two hours of data versus 25 hours in Europe for planes made after 2021.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has since 2016 called for 25-hour recording on planes manufactured from 2021.

"There was a lot going on, on the flight deck and on the plane. It's a very chaotic event. The circuit breaker for the CVR (cockpit voice recorder) was not pulled. The maintenance team went out to get it, but it was right at about the two-hour mark," Homendy said.

The plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were sent to NTSB labs on Sunday to be read but no voice data was available, she said.

04 January, 2024

The UK's AAIB has sent an investigation team to Tokyo

A team of inspectors has been sent to Tokyo to join the investigation into the fatal aircraft accident at Haneda Airport, 2 January 2024

The AAIB has sent a team of inspectors to Tokyo to assist the Japan Transport Safety Board investigation into the tragic aircraft accident which occurred on 2 January at Haneda Airport, Tokyo. The investigation is being led by the Japan Transport Safety Board, and the AAIB as State of Manufacture of the Rolls-Royce engines fitted to the Airbus A350 has appointed an accredited representative.

Japan Airlines A350 crash latest....

Local authorities in Japan issued confirmation that the Japan Airlines A350 had been cleared to land at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo. Seconds later it collided with a Coast Guard  Bombardier Dash-8 and erupted in flames, which should not have been on the runway, having been instructed to taxi to the holding point C5 and not cleared to enter the runway area. 

Five of the six crew members on the Coast Guard aircraft were killed in the crash, and the sixth,  the pilot escaped with some injuries.  The aircraft had been due to transport aid to regions hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on Monday. 
The Ministry of Transport in Japan released a transcript that confirmed the A350 crew had been cleared to land:

JAL516:              17:43:02   "Tokyo Tower, JAL516 Spot 18"

Control Tower:    17:43:02    "JAL516 Tokyo Tower, good evening, Runway 34R, continue approach, wind 320/7, we have departure"

JAL516:              17:43:12    "JAL516 continue approach 34R"

Control Tower:    17:44:56    "JAL516 Runway 34R cleared to land, wind 310/8

JAL516:              17:45:01    "Cleared to land, runway 34R, JAL516"

JA722A:              17:45:11    "Tower, JA722A, C"

Control Tower:    17:45:11    "JA722A, Tokyo tower, good evening, No:1 taxi to holding point C5"

JA722A:              17:45:19    "Taxi to holding point C5, JA722A No:1, thank you" 

Japan Airlines flight details: 

Date and Time: January 2, 2024 (Tuesday) around 17:47 (JST)
Location: Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), Runway C
Flight Number: JL516
Departure: New Chitose Airport - Scheduled departure time: 15:50 - Actual departure time: 16:15
Arrival: Haneda Airport - Scheduled arrival time: 17:35 - Actual arrival time: 17:47
Number of Passengers: 359 adults + 8 infants = 367 in total
Number of Crew: 3 cockpit crew members + 9 cabin crew members = 12 in total
Passenger Situation: 1 person with bruising, 13 people requested medical consultation due to physical 
Aircraft Type and Registration: Airbus A350-900, Registration Number JA13XJ
Aircraft Condition: Total loss

The carrier released the following summary:
After departing from New Chitose Airport at 16:15 on January 2, the aircraft flew smoothly (*1), and after landing at Haneda Airport Runway C at 17:47 (*2), the aircraft collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft and caught fire. All passengers and crew members on our flight successfully performed an emergency evacuation (*3). Support is being provided to each passenger in terms of their condition and assistance for their return home.

02 January, 2024

Japan Airlines A350 collides with DHC-8 whilst landing in Tokyo.

Japan Airlines A350 in flames following landing incident with coastguard plane.
The crew of a Japan Airlines aircraft are being hailed as heroes after all 367 passengers and 12 crew evacuated their Airbus A350 aircraft that burst into flames following a collision with another aircraft at the point of landing at  Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, earlier today.

Dramatic pictures and videos are flooding social media following the incident that clearly shows the aircraft erupting into flames as it travels down the runway. The initial fear from those on the ground, witnessing the disaster unfold from various points all over the airport would have been the certain death of all those onboard. However, whilst the videos and images show how the aircraft seemed to lose its nose gear, the plane came to a halt and all passengers and crew managed to escape the burning craft. 

Video from inside the A350 shows the orange glow of flames lighting up the windows and the cabin start to fill with light smoke as the stricken aeroplane continues down the runway.  Passengers seemed on the whole to be calm initially and then the evacuation took place. According to officials, nobody suffered serious injury during the crash or the evacuation.

The A350-900 operated by Japan Airlines was operating flight JAL516 from Sapporo New Chitose Airport to Haneda International Airport when it collided with a Coastguard DHC-8 aircraft whilst landing in Haneda.  The incident occurred shortly after 17:47 local time on 02 January 2024 and all 367 passengers and 12 crew members on board evacuated the A350,  whilst Japanese authorities have now confirmed five of the six people on board the DHC-8 did not survive.

The A350 aircraft involved in the accident, registered under the number JA13XJ, was MSN 538, and delivered to Japan Airlines from the production line on 10 November 2021. It was powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

Airport fire service arrives at the crash of a Japan Airlines A350.
Japan Airlines issued the following statement:  "We regret to inform you that on the evening of January 2nd, JL516 was involved in a collision with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft during its landing at Haneda Airport, resulting in a fire on the runway. Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased members of the Japan Coast Guard. We want to assure you that all passengers and crew on our flight were safely evacuated.

We would like to extend our sincerest apologies for the distress and inconvenience caused to our passengers, their families, and all those affected by this incident. We would like to assure you that we will provide our full cooperation in the investigation of this unfortunate event."

Plane maker Airbus issued the following statement "In line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 recommendations, Airbus will provide technical assistance to the Bureau d’Enquรชtes et d’Analyses (BEA) of France and to the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) in charge of the investigation. For this purpose, Airbus is presently dispatching a team of specialists to assist the Authorities.

Further updates will be provided as soon as consolidated information is available and Airbus is authorised to release them.

Our concerns and sympathy go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident."

The remarkable evacuation of all passengers and crew from the A350 is amazing and is a testament to the way the A350 is constructed.  With its carbon fibre composites and different manufacturing, the plane seems to have held up very well following the collision and subsequent fire which undoubtedly gave those on board more time to escape down the evacuation chutes.  According to local news outlets, only 17 people sustained minor injuries during the evacuation. 

Whilst the exact cause is not yet known and an investigation has been started, preliminary reports indicate the pilots of the Japan Airlines flight did not spot any other aircraft on the runway prior to landing.  Tadayuki Tsutsumi, Japan Airlines senior vice president of corporate safety and security commented the plane “entered the runway as normal and began landing as normal and that there was an impact, which led to the accident, but we are still investigating further details.”

Senior Vice President of Japan Airlines Noriyuki Aoki appeared to blame the flight crew for the disaster at a press conference on Tuesday evening, saying “However, I can't say at this time if they [Japan Airlines crew] were cleared to land, or if they communicated with ATC, because that is a fundamental factor in the cause of the accident, and we are still trying to confirm that,” 

Video content from BBC News

Airbus to send specialists to Japan in wake of A350 crash

The European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus has confirmed it will be sending specialists to Japan after one of its A350 jets burst into flames on the runway following a collision with another aircraft.

The A350-900 operated by Japan Airlines was operating flight JAL516 from Sapporo New Chitose Airport to Haneda International Airport when it collided with a DHC-8 aircraft whilst landing in Haneda.  All 367 passengers and 12 crew members on board evacuated the A350,  whilst Japanese authorities have now confirmed five of the six people on board the DHC-8 did not survive.

The aircraft involved in the accident, registered under the number JA13XJ, was MSN 538, delivered to Japan Airlines from the production line on 10 November 2021. It was powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

Airbus said in a statement "In line with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 recommendations, Airbus will provide technical assistance to the Bureau d’Enquรชtes et d’Analyses (BEA) of France and to the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) in charge of the investigation. For this purpose, Airbus is presently dispatching a team of specialists to assist the Authorities."
Adding "Our concerns and sympathy go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident."

14 December, 2023

Why is one of the deadliest crashes in aviation history yet to be resolved after 15 years?

Courts in Spain are finally allowing a trial to move forward next month on Spanair flight JK5022 which crashed on takeoff, killing 154 passengers, with a miraculous handful of survivors. After 15 years of stalling and stonewalling by Boeing with multiple appeals and other interruptions, both sides are at last preparing for the courtroom showdown in January of 2024. The gruelling delays outlasted many of the plaintiff's willingness to continue the battle, with the families of less than a dozen passengers aboard the ill-fated flight left to stand trial. The Texas-anchored law firm Brent Coon & Associates pressed on with most of their clients to make sure that they would eventually receive the justice they deserved and be able to tell the full story of why this happened in the first place and how easy it would have been for Boeing to have added an inexpensive safety feature to the electronics on the jet to avoid takeoff when the wing flaps are not in the correct configuration. 

The saga of Spanair flight JK5022 continues

On the 20th of August 2008, a Spanish airliner taking off from Madrid stalled and crashed just moments after liftoff, careening off the runway and exploding in flames as hundreds looked on in horror. By the time firefighters reached the crash site beside runway 36L, the plane lay ruined and burning, surrounded by the charred remains of 154 passengers and crew, who just moments earlier had been bound for the sunny beaches of the Canary Islands. Amid the wreckage, rescuers managed to find just 18 survivors, all badly injured, who had been spared by the flames.

At first, no one could say why Spanair flight 5022 was unable to climb, but the truth was soon revealed in the wreckage itself. Somehow, the pilots had sent their plane hurtling down the runway without extending the flaps and slats for takeoff, then failed to detect their error in time to avoid a catastrophic crash. It was the same mistake which had caused tragedy after tragedy, from America to Indonesia, and now it had happened again in the heart of Spain’s capital city.  And just as in accidents past, a crucial alarm that should have warned of the danger failed to sound. How could it have happened again? Had the lessons of the past gone unheeded? A comprehensive investigation would eventually reveal how regulatory failures prevented the detection of the faulty warning, and how a series of delays, interruptions, and stressors when mixed with poor procedural design, led a normally competent crew to attempt a takeoff without performing one of the most basic steps to prepare their aeroplane for flight. Moreover, and even worse, was the fact that Boeing had a fix for this situation that would have prevented the aeroplane from taking off in the first place but had decided not to install it, or advise owners of the aeroplanes to have it installed as an easy and inexpensive retrofit. 

In analyzing the basic sequence of events that led to the crash, the federal investigative agency, the CIAIAC, noted pilot error due to a combination of psychological stress from pressure to take off in a timely manner and a poorly implemented checklist system. And the international press predominantly ran with this simple narrative of “pilot error”. But was that the end of the story…. hardly.  

09 December, 2023

US grounds V-22 Osprey

Reluctantly the United States Armed Forces has grounded all of its V-22 Osprey aircraft following a crash off the coast of Yakushima Island coast of Japan on 29th November.  

In the hours after the Japanese crash, which cost the lives of all eight service personnel onboard, the authorities of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture requested that all Ospreys on the island chain be grounded. 

The Pentagon claims not to have had an official request to ground the strange-looking tilt-rotor craft but has finally confirmed the suspension of all operational activities until the cause of the crash is known.  The U.S. Navy's Naval Air Systems Command confirmed the grounding applies to all Navy’s variants of the aircraft, including the Marine Corps MV-22B, the Navy’s CMV-22B, V-22 and the CMV-22.

NAVAIR issued a statement which said:  “Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time.  While the mishap remains under investigation, we are implementing additional risk mitigation controls to ensure the safety of our service members. - The Joint Program Office continues to communicate and collaborate with all V-22 stakeholders and customers, including allied partners.”

Despite having a remarkable appearance and being seen around the world as part of the airborne entourage that accompanies the U.S. President on various trips, the  V-22 Osprey has had a rather troubled past. There have been somewhere in the region of 15 crashes of the type which caused the deaths of more than 60 service personnel. A particularly concerning record when you consider the U.S. Armed Forces have a fleet of less than 500 Osprey aircraft and the programme has cost many billions of dollars, some estimates are as high as $70 billion.   

However,  will the Osprey survive this latest grounding, will it soar to new heights in the months to come or has it become time to put these birds to bed for the final time?    I guess that's really just a question for after the current investigations are completed, or how much more money Boeing will pump into the programme to keep the authorities on side?  

21 October, 2023

Leeds Bradford Airport reopens after runway excursion by Tui holiday jet

Leeds Bradford Airport has reopened after a Tui jet landing at the airport yesterday overshot the runway yesterday whilst landing during storm Babet.

The flight was bringing 195 passengers and crew back from Corfu and suffered a runway excursion after it was believed to have aquaplaned during heavy rain. All on board disembarked the aircraft and there were no injuries reported. 

More than twenty other flights have either been cancelled, delayed or diverted, with some aircraft going to Manchester, Liverpool and Teesside.  Whilst the airport said there would continue to be some disruption to services, many later flights will operate as normal. 

In a statement, the airport said: "We want to express our sincere gratitude to everyone involved in supporting the effort dealing with the incident, disruption and recovery of the aircraft in exceptionally difficult conditions.

"Once again, we would like to thank our passengers for their cooperation and understanding during this challenging period"

An investigation into the incident is now underway according to the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the Boeing 737 jet has been towed away from its temporary resting place with some damage reported to the left undercarriage and engine cowlings. 

20 October, 2023

Tui jet skids off runway at Leeds Bradford

Leeds Bradford Airport had been forced to close on Friday after a Tui jet skidded off the runway after landing due to stormy weather.

The TUI flight TOM3551 from Corfu landed at the airport during storm Babet and came off the runway, sliding onto the grass and getting stuck.  A spokesperson for the airport said:  "We can confirm there are no reported injuries from this incident and that all passengers have now safely disembarked the aircraft. The airport is now closed.  We are working with the airline, relevant operations teams and emergency authorities to resolve this situation and return services safely as quickly as possible."

The airport has been closed and incoming flights were diverted to various other airports, including Birmingham, Luton and Manchester. The airport has advised passengers due to depart the airport today and tomorrow to contact their airlines to check on the status of their flights. 

According to some eyewitnesses, the aircraft performed a hard landing and started to skid or aquaplane almost immediately before coming to a rest on the grass.  

The airport's emergency services responded and surrounded the stricken jet within minutes and checked the safety of the situation before passengers were taken off the jet approximately 50 minutes after landing. 

Earlier a TUI UK&I spokesperson commented: "We are aware of an incident at Leeds Bradford Airport this afternoon during the landing of flight TOM3551."There are no reported injuries, and our ground team are on hand to support passengers as they disembark."

18 September, 2023

US Marine Corps seek help finding F-35 Lightning II jet

The AP news agency is reporting that the search is on for the wreckage of a missing F-35 jet after a Marine Corps pilot ejected from the plane over North Charleston on Sunday afternoon.

The search for the missing multi-million dollar aircraft was being focused on two lakes north of North Charleston, according to officials. The search for the F-35 Lightning II jet was focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, north of North Charleston based on its speed and trajectory.

Military officials said that a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division helicopter has helped search for the aircraft after some localised bad weather and were seeking assistance from locals to locate the downed jet. This is the latest in a series of incidents involving F-35 jets that have crashed or suffered serious mechanical issues. 

The pilot was taken to a local hospital and was said to be in 'a stable' condition after he ejected from the aircraft and parachuted safely down around 14:00 local time. 

06 September, 2023

Leicester City Football Club helicopter disaster...... an accident just waiting to happen. AAIB Report published.

It was nearly 7:40 in the evening of 27th October 2018 when a Leonardo AW169 helicopter lifted off from the pitch at the King Power Stadium, the home of Leicester City Football Club. The helicopter, registration G-VSKP was made in July 2016 and was carrying five people.  The helicopter moved forward and started to climb up and out of the football stadium on a rearward flight path.

As the helicopter passed around 250 feet, the 53-year-old experienced pilot transitioned to forward flight, pitching the nose down and the landing gear retracted.  The helicopter started to turn right and then more so, despite the pilot applying immediate corrective inputs.  The blue and white helicopter reached a height of around 430 feet ft before descending with a high rotation rate and the pilot tried to recover normal flight. 

The helicopter struck the ground on a stepped concrete surface, coming to rest on its left side. The impact with the ground damaged the lower fuselage and the helicopter’s fuel tanks which caused a big fuel leak. This fuel ignited shortly after the helicopter came to rest and an intense post-impact fire rapidly engulfed the fuselage.  All five people in the helicopter perished in the disaster.  

The full Air Accidents Investigation Branch report into the accident has now been published and makes stark reading for the helicopter manufacturer. The report indicates that those onboard experienced a deceleration force exceeding 30 g when the helicopter hit the ground and all the occupants suffered significant impact injuries; for one person, these were likely to have been fatal.

First responders arrived at the accident site within one minute of the helicopter striking the ground and they attempted to gain access to the cockpit and cabin. However, as the helicopter was on its side, the strength of the cockpit windscreen combined with the rapid increase in the power of the fire, they were unable to get in.  The helicopter was rapidly engulfed by fire and the occupants who survived the initial impact, the AAIB report says, died from inhaling the products of combustion.

One of the conclusions of the investigation found that in simulator trials confirmed to the investigation that the loss of yaw control was irrecoverable.

This crash tragically took the lives of all five on board: the then Leicester City owner and Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz, as well as Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai. 

The AAIB was able to identify the source of the catastrophic failure and crash which was that a critical duplex bearing, which connected the control shaft running along the length of the tail to the rotor blades, seized. This seizure of the bearing was the result of fatigue, cracking, pitting, shearing, friction, grease degradation and heat generation. 

The AAIB report lists a number of causal factors for this crash, including:

Seizure of the tail rotor duplex bearing initiated a sequence of failures in the tail rotor pitch control mechanism which culminated in the unrecoverable loss of control of the tail rotor blade pitch angle and the blades moving to their physical limit of travel.

The unopposed main rotor torque couple and negative tail rotor blade pitch angle resulted in an increasing rate of rotation of the helicopter in yaw, which induced pitch and roll deviations and made effective control of the helicopter’s flightpath impossible.

The tail rotor duplex bearing likely experienced a combination of dynamic axial and bending moment loads which generated internal contact pressures sufficient to result in lubrication breakdown and the balls sliding across the race surface. This caused premature, surface initiated rolling contact fatigue damage to accumulate until the bearing seized.

There are a number of issues arising from the report involving the manufacturer Leonardo, including the inactions listed below, leading to the bearing seizure and tragic crash: 

Not sharing critical flight test results with the company which made the duplex bearing, in order to confirm that the bearing that they had chosen was actually suitable for use in the tail rotor. Had Leonardo shared the results, the bearing may not have been chosen. 

Not requiring the routine inspection of critical parts removed from service (such as the duplex bearing) to confirm that they were in the condition that they expected them to be in based on their design. Had Leonardo done so, they would have found that the bearings were more damaged than expected and ought to have concluded that they needed to change their original design. 

Not fully considering possible risk reduction and mitigation measures for the duplex bearing – which had been identified as a critical component by Leonardo during the design phase. It was recognised by Leonardo, the report notes, that if the bearing failed it could lead to the death of multiple occupants onboard. Had they included one of those mitigation measures, simply changing the thread direction of a key component, it is likely that the severity of the accident would have been reduced.  

Former Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha purchased what he believed to be a state-of-the-art helicopter. Leonardo’s non-performance of key measures, raises serious questions about the safety of the company’s aircraft. 

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who lost his father, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, commented: "I am deeply saddened by the course of events. Almost five years after my father’s passing, this report provides concerning evidence against Leonardo. My father trusted that he had bought a safe helicopter from a world-renowned manufacturer. Had he known what we know now he would never have risked his life in this machine. The pain this causes me and my family is immeasurable and as a family, we continue to struggle every day with our grief at the loss of my father. He was a great inspiration to me personally and we all loved him very much.” 

The families of three of those lost in the crash – Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Eric Swaffer, and Izabela Lechowicz – have retained leading litigation specialists’ Stewarts. The family of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha are now considering their legal recourse against Leonardo. Litigation has already been commenced in Italy on behalf of the families of Eric and Izabela.   

Eric and Izabela were life partners and soulmates. Both were recognised and highly respected throughout the global aviation industry for their exemplary piloting skills. Both were also qualified instructors and examiners on a range of aircraft. Eric spent most of his career lobbying and advising on matters of safety in the rotary wing industry.  

The report confirmed there was nothing either Eric or Izabela could have done to prevent this disaster, it stresses that effective control of the aircraft was impossible following the loss of the tail rotor. For the families, it has been important for the memories of Izabela and particularly Eric, who was piloting the helicopter, to have been cleared of any possible implication in the accident. 

Deborah Sutton, mother of Eric Swaffer said:  "This of course is every mother’s worst nightmare and time is not healing. Eric and Izabela were an inseparable couple, devoted to each other and to their flying. Without them there is an enormous hole in our lives. I think of them daily and miss them more than I can say.” 

Peter Neenan, a partner in the aviation team at Stewarts, said:   “This report is a frightening tale of missed opportunities.  

The report confirms that the helicopter manufacturer, Leonardo, did not accurately model the forces affecting the helicopter during their design, did not provide the right information to the bearing manufacturer, did not then measure the forces actually affecting the helicopter, did not involve the bearing manufacturer to validate their assumptions despite not having the software needed to model the forces on the bearing, did not implement a routine inspection requirement for these bearings to identify and replace them during their degeneration prior to any risk of seizure and did not require discarded bearings to be examined to see whether their design assumptions were valid.  

This was all done in circumstances where Leonardo had recognised that the duplex bearing was a critical component and that the failure of this component could be catastrophic for the helicopter and likely to result in the death of those onboard. 

Nevertheless, and despite that concerning warning, they then also did not implement sufficient mitigation measures within the wider tail rotor control system to avoid a catastrophic loss of control of the helicopter from such a failure. Some of those measures would have been as simple as changing the thread direction on component parts, a measure that they had already implemented for an earlier variant of this helicopter, the AW139."  


27 July, 2023

Pilot dies in light aircraft crash in Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a field serious incident in fields east of Darlton Airfield, near Retford, Nottinghamshire at 12:23 on Wednesday after reports of a plane crashing.

The single-engine light aircraft came down shortly after midday and was being flown by a single pilot said to be in his 70s who the local police confirm had died at the scene. Nottinghamshire Police said the pilot's family was being supported by specially trained police officers.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch - AAIB  said it has launched an investigation into a fatal accident involving a single-engine light aircraft which occurred on 26 July 2023. "A team of inspectors arrived on site early in the evening of that day to gather evidence and begin an investigation." they advised.

25 July, 2023

Firefighting aircraft crashes in Greece.

A firefighting aircraft operating in Greece trying to combat the wildfires that have decimated swathes of the holiday islands of Corfu and Rhodes has crashed with two pilots onboard.

The state broadcaster ERT reported that the aircraft was near the town of Karystos on the island of Evia when the crash happened. The aircraft was among at least three other planes along with just over 100 firefighters tackling the wildfires on Evia.

TV reports have shown the Canadair aircraft flying low to drop water on a blazing hillside and as it was pulling up one of its wing tips seemed to strike a tree before control was lost and the aircraft plunged into the ground and burst into flames.

Defence Minister Nikos Dendias confirmed the two pilots had died "in the line of duty... while attempting to protect the lives and property of citizens, as well as the environment of our country".