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Monday, January 5, 2009

Safety Watch

AE Plane, Others Hit by Winds
A 90 degree turn caused by 60-knot winds on the ramp delayed the boarding of a Detroit-La Guardia American Eagle flight. The ERJ 135 was one of four aircraft battered by winds at Detroit between 5:30 and 6:05 a.m. on Sunday morning when the North Terminal also briefly lost power, according to the Aviation Herald.
In addition, a Fed Ex Caravan was blown off the runway at Rock Springs a day earlier, sustaining substantial damage but no injuries to the crew, although the pilot went to a local hospital as a precaution. The Corporate Air flight was preparing for departure at the time. Federal authorities are investigating.
The wind storm at Detroit also rocked a Northwest 757 and a Continental 737 during the December 28 storm, both of which sustained damage to wings. The 757 was swung around until its wing lodged under a jet-bridge. The Northwest flight, scheduled to depart for Phoenix was delayed 90 minutes as the airline assigned a replacement aircraft although Continental was forced to cancel its flight which was destined for Houston. In addition, a Northwest A320 also sustained minor damage. The American Eagle Embraer ERJ 135 sustained no damage and was able to depart after a 90-minute delay.

Comair Employee Injured on Ramp
A Comair employee was injured Friday morning in an accident involving a jet bridge, according to the airline, which is investigating. The accident occurred at McGhee-Tyson Airport at Knoxville but the airline disclosed no further details.

SkyWest Incidents
Just a week after a SkyWest CRJ 200 skidded off a Peoria runway another CRJ 200 was forced to return to Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport on Monday with smoke filtering into the cockpit, according to Spokeperson Marissa Snow who added that the crew and 40 passengers were uninjured. The aircraft took off at 6:06 pm but returned 10 minutes later.
The week before, a SkyWest CRJ 200, landing at Peoria, skidded off the runway December 23, ending in a snow bank just before 9:25 a.m. En route from Chicago, Flight 6259, carried 26 passengers but there were no injuries either to passengers or crew. Damage was minimal since the aircraft was moving at very slow speed. It was repaired and returned to service the following day.
The incident is under investigation but an airport official indicated runway conditions were not a problem despite a heavy storm with snow and icy conditions when the aircraft was exiting the runway and slid off. The aircraft was removed by tow truck and taken to a hangar in mid-afternoon.

ASA Flights Make Emergency Landings
Two Atlantic Southeast Airlines Bombardier CRJ 100 flights made emergency landings at Moline with possible flap problems, which came just a few days after FAA issued another airworthiness directive on the stubborn flap issue. Related Story
Both incidents – Flight 5322 from Atlanta to Quad Cities and the return Flight 5381 to Atlanta – landed without incident. The latter flight took off at 4:30 and returned to the airport an hour later, according to the airline. Both pilots received a warning light concerning possible wing flap problems.
Firefighters called to the scene said there could have been possible ice problems. Passenger reported that shortly after takeoff of Flight 5381 the pilot reported the flaps would not lower at which time the aircraft circled to burn off fuel.

FAA Issues New BBD CRJ 200 AD
The Federal Aviation Administration continues to struggle with flap problem impacting more than 680 older Bombardier CRJ 200 as airworthiness directives issued in 2007 failed to fix a growing number of flap failures. The earlier ADs called for operating restrictions in cold weather to eliminate flap failures but FAA recently issued a further AD calling for further inspections, parts replacement and new simulator training to cope with the impact of flap failures. The agency also clarified flight restrictions including speed for flap failures. There are nearly 1,000 such jets in operation worldwide.

go! Pilot Often Napped
The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the go! pilot fired for falling asleep en route from Honolulu to Hilo in February 2008, admitted often taking naps as long as 20 minutes. The report on Flight 1002, carrying 40 passengers, was issued last week. The aircraft overshot its destination for nearly 30 miles. After taking off at 9:36, the report indicated there was an 18-minute gap when controllers and other pilots were unable to raise the slumbering go! pilots.
The two completed their FAA-imposed suspensions on September 9. Captain Scott Oltman, 53, later diagnosed with sleep apnea which prevents restful sleep, and First Officer Dillon Shepley had twice the required rest before embarking on the flight last February, clearing Mesa of any wrongdoing. Related Story
The first officer checked the fuel after waking up and before waking the captain, said the report quoting the captain responding to ATC queries by saying "No, we must have missed a hand-off or
missed a call or something." He later told controllers he had selected the wrong radio frequency. The crew removed themselves from duty after returning to Honolulu. The captain filed a report several hours later.
While tests were negative for drugs, they were taken the next day because news of the incident did not reach the head of flight operations until that evening. The captain told investigators he drank no alcohol the night before but the first officer reported having a beer at 5 pm the previous evening.
In addition to other stress factors, the report indicated the captain said he was trying to make up for a 30-minute departure delay on the first flight of the day when crew scheduling caused a flight attendant to arrive late.
"Working as hard as we had, we tend to relax," the 53-year-old captain told investigators after swearing he never inadvertently slept in flight and later admitting that he often did. "We had gotten back on schedule, it was comfortable in cockpit, the pressure was behind us. The warm Hawaiian sun was blaring in as we went eastbound. I just kind of closed my eyes for a minute, enjoying the sunshine, and dozed off."
First Officer Shepley, 23, said he had never fallen asleep before but was in a sleeplike state hearing “what was going on but could not comprehend or make it click."

The NTSB released a time line of the incident beginning Feb. 12.

The captain woke up at 4 a.m. and bought a fast-food breakfast. He reported for work at 5:40 a.m. The first officer said he woke between 4:50 and 5 a.m.; he reported for duty at 5:40 a.m. Their flight together was delayed because a flight attendant was late. They flew eight flights together and got off duty at 2:47 p.m.

The captain said he went to bed between 8 and 9 a.m., after having arranged for the first officer to pick him up the next morning. He described his sleep as "pretty good."

The first officer said he went to bed at 9:30 p.m. and described his sleep as "good."

Feb. 13

The captain woke up at 4 a.m. but did not eat breakfast because the first officer was late in picking him up. The first officer woke between 4:50 and 5 a.m. and ate a pastry. They both reported for work at 5:40 a.m.

Due to a flight attendant scheduling error, their first flight departed 30 minutes late. They shared a package of cookies on that flight.

9:16 a.m. - Flight 1002 departed Honolulu Airport.

9:30 a.m. - Captain informed the FAA's Honolulu Control Facility (HCF) that Flight 1002 was climbing through 11,700 feet to its cruise altitude. HCF confirmed communication and cleared flight to designated area near the Big Island.

9:33 a.m. - HCF confirmed previous instruction. Captain acknowledged transmission.

9:40 a.m. - As Flight 1002 crossed Maui, HCF instructed pilots to change radio frequencies. There was no response.

For the next 18 minutes HCF attempted to contact Flight 1002 but got no response.

9:51 a.m. - An HCF controller asked another controller to try contacting the plane using a different frequency. The controller did so, with no response.

9:55 a.m. - Flight 1002 passed Hilo and headed out over the ocean. HCF asked another go! flight to contact Flight 1002 on a company radio frequency. The other flight crew tried but got no response.

A Continental Airlines flight tried to contact Flight 1002 on an emergency frequency but also got no response.

The first officer then awoke, checked the fuel gauge and woke up the captain, telling him that air traffic controllers were trying to contact him.

9:58 a.m. - Flight 1002 captain contacted air controllers, but the transmission was unintelligible. HCF asked whether there was an emergency. The captain said no. HCF then issued instructions to return to Hilo.

10:15 a.m. - Flight 1002 landed at Hilo Airport.

Shortly thereafter the captain told the FAA via telephone that they had lost communication because they had selected the wrong radio frequency. FAA personnel said the incident would be reported to Mesa Airlines, the parent company of go!

Pilots discussed whether they should fly the next flight back to Honolulu. They decided it would be "safe to do so because they were feeling very alert as a result of the incident."

10:29 a.m. - Flight 1044 departed Hilo for Honolulu.

During the flight to Oahu, the pilots decided to remove themselves from duty upon arrival in Honolulu.

11:18 a.m. - Flight 1044 landed at Honolulu Airport.

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