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EASA withdraws conflict zone warning for Kenya
27 September 2018

EASA withdraws conflict zone warning for Kenya

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) withdrew its Conflict Zone Information Bulletin (CZIB) for Kenya on 26 September 2018.

The agency first published a conflict zone alert on Kenya on 9 September 2016, referring to U.K. (CAA) and U.S. (FAA) warnings that stated “to exercise caution when flying into, out of, within, or over the territory and airspace of Kenya at altitudes below FL260 due to the possibility of extremist/militant activity.”

The CZIB’s validity was extended several times. The most recent extension was published on September 3, 2018. In that edition, EASA explicitly added a new warning:  “The presence of terrorist groups with the military capabilities (including anti-aircraft weaponry) is assessed to pose a HIGH risk to operations within Kenyan airspace and territory FIRs at altitudes below FL 250.

EASA stated that their reason for the withdrawal of the alert, was that “the latest EU Risk Assessment indicated that airspace security threat has reduced over time […] (the situation has become more stable in this region), namely there is no longer a HIGH risk for Medium or High altitude overflight.”

While EASA withdrew their alert, the CAA and FAA warnings for Kenya were still valid (on September 26).

FAA warns for potential takeoff data errors due to runway number transposition

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is alerting pilots on the risk of a potential takeoff data error due to runway number transposition.

The FAA reports that in 2017 an airline identified a runway event which saw an aircraft utilize the carrier-provided Takeoff Performance System (TPS) data for runway 10L, while actual departure was off of runway 01L. This resulted in an actual takeoff runway length (for 01L) that was 4,220 feet less than what was calculated by the TPS (for 10L). The data provided for runway 10L offered three flap settings (1, 5, 15) and three thrust settings (22K, 24K, 26K) for takeoff. A setting of Flaps 1 and thrust 22K was selected. This resulted in a rotation at standard speed, and a takeoff with 400 feet of usable takeoff distance remaining.

Although an FAA analysis identified several other U.S. airports with the potential of a transposition error involving runways of significantly different lengths, the majority of the runway transpositions occurred at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

More information:

SFO aerodrome chart

FAA issues advisory to pilots about risks associated with operating in Iranian airspace

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an advisory, warning pilots about risks associated with operating in Iranian airspace within the Tehran Flight Information Region (FIR).

The FAA states that, due to concerns about deconfliction between military activities and civil flight operations, there is continued risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in the Tehran FIR. For this reason, the FAA published Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0016/18, advising U.S. civil aviation to exercise caution when operating into, out of, within, or over the Tehran FIR (OIIX). The NOTAM also advised U.S. civil operators and airmen operating in or adjacent to the Tehran FIR (OIIX) to carefully review current NOTAMs and other sources of aeronautical information and be familiar with current conditions in the Middle East.

The FAA among others cites military activities emanating from or transiting through the Tehran FIR (OIIX) that are associated with the conflict in Syria. These activities include, but are not limited to, Russian air-launched cruise missile attacks launched from over Iran toward targets in Syria and Russian maritime-launched land-attack cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea. There is the potential for Iranian surface-to-surface missile fire from western Iran, targeting Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) positions located in the region. Iran has also conducted multiple missile test launches in the Tehran FIR (OIIX). These activities present a military-civil deconfliction challenge in the region. Additionally, there is an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Tehran FIR (OIIX) from Iranian-fielded GPS jammers.

 

EASA extends validity of conflict zone warnings for Kenya and Yemen to 28 February 2019

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) extended the validity of its Conflict Zone Information Bulletins for Kenya and Yemen to 28 February 2019.

As for Kenya, EASA now explicitly warns:  “The presence of terrorist groups with the military capabilities (including anti-aircraft weaponry) is assessed to pose a HIGH risk to operations within Kenyan airspace and territory FIRs at altitudes below FL 250.

Flight recorders and wreckage recovered of 2017 Learjet crash off Venezuela

Authorities in Venezuela reported that flight recorders were recovered from the seabed, almost a year after the crash of a Learjet 25.

A Learjet 25 corporate jet impacted the waters off the coast of Naiguatá, Venezuela on 19 August 2017. All five on board were killed. It lasted until August 2018 before parts of the wreckage were recovered from the seabed. Authorities also reported that both flight recorders were recovered.

The ASN Safety Database has just four known cases in which it took over a year before flight recorders were recovered. The longest known period is over 11 years, when the Flight Data Recorder of Itavia flight 870 was retrieved from the seabed of the Tyrrhenian Sea in 1991.

List of aircraft crashes involving non-pilots stealing an aircraft

On August 10, 2018, a DHC-8-400 aircraft crashed after being stolen from Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, Washington, USA, by an airline ground-service agent. The ASN Safety Database shows there have been several cases in which aircraft crashed after being taken on an illegal flight. The following is a list of specific cases involving non-pilots stealing an aircraft*:

13 July 1994
A Russian Air Force engineer stole an Antonov An-26 transport plane at the Kubinka AFB to commit suicide. The aircraft crashed when there was no more fuel left.  (ASN Accident Description)

12 November 1982
A Cessna Citation was stolen by a non-pilot mechanic. The aircraft climbed steeply, flew downwind and collided with the ground during a low base turn Wichita-Mid-Continent Airport, Kansas, USA. The mechanic survived. (ASN Accident Description)

22 August 1979
An HS-748 of SATENA was stolen by a mechanic who had been fired. He took off from Bogotá-Eldorado Airport, Colombia and crashed. The mechanic and three persons on the ground were killed. (ASN Accident Description)

23 May 1969
A USAF crew chief at Mildenhall RAF Station, England, took a Lockheed C-130E Hercules on an illegal flight. He flew over the Thames estuary and headed south toward Brighton and the English Channel. The aircraft crashed into the sea. (ASN Accident Description)

23 January 1965
Two drunk mechanics boarded a Lockheed SP-2H Neptune of the Dutch navy at night and attempted to take off from Valkenburg NAS, the Netherlands, for a joy flight. The airplane crashed at sea, killing both men. (ASN Accident Description)

29 November 1958
The C-47 was reportedly taken on an illegal flight and crashed by an RAAF aircraftsman who was not a trained pilot. (ASN Accident Description)

5 April 1956
A C-47 passenger plane of REAL Transportes Aéreos was stolen by a drunk mechanic who had been dismissed from the company. The aircraft crashed on takeoff from São Paulo-Congonhas Airport, Brazil. The mechanic survived. (ASN Accident Description)

26 April 1955
A Vickers Varsity plane of the Royal Air Force was taken on an unauthorised flight by a mechanic from Thorney Island RAF Station. The airplane flew towards the London area, circling the city and continuing across The Channel to France. The airplane crashed into a farmhouse at Onnaing. Four occupants of the house were killed, along with the pilot. (ASN Accident Description)

22 August 1953
An Aeroflot Lisunov Li-2, was stolen by a mechanic at Moscow’s Bykovo Airport. He took off, but the aircraft attained a high angle of attack, stalled and crashed from a height of 5-10 metres. The mechanic survived. (ASN Accident Description)

13 May 1945
The Union Airways Lockheed Lodestar aircraft was stolen by a 19 year old apprentice aircraft engineer who had been turned down for pilot training by the RNZAF. On takeoff he mistook the throttle for the undercarriage lever and the aircraft veered into a line of trees and caught fire. He survived. (ASN Accident Description)

* airliners (12+ passengers), corporate jets and military aircraft (12+ crew/passengers)

AIB Saudi Arabia says Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 attempted takeoff from taxiway at Riyadh

Netherlands starts Joint Sector Integral Safety Management System for Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport

In response to recommendations made by the Dutch Safety Board, Dutch authorities and relevant parties in the Netherlands agreed to start a Joint Sector Integral Safety Management System for Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport.

Following a series of incidents (some of which occurred more than once), the Dutch Safety Board carried out an investigation to identify any vulnerabilities in the safety system around Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands. The final report, published in April 2017, stated that the Board found no evidence to suggest that safety at Schiphol was inadequate. However, the investigation did reveal a number of safety risks that needed to be tackled integrally and systematically in order to guarantee safety.
The Board among others recommended to set up an Integrated Safety Management System at the airport.

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment reported that a covenant has now been signed by relevant parties to start a Joint Sector Integral Safety Management System for Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport. The covenant among others states that parties have to develop an ISMS and prepare a ‘roadmap safety improvement Schiphol’, containing joint safety measures that will lead to demonstrable safety improvements.

Additionally, the Aviation Occurrence Analysis Bureau, part of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, will enhance their occurrence trend analysis.

 

 

Brussels Airlines postpones planned service to Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt over security concerns

Belgian media reported that Brussels Airlines decided to postpone it’s planned service to Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt over security concerns.

Brussels Airlines planned to commence flights to Sharm-el-Sheikh Airport on June 29, but decided to postpone its service until at least October 26, 2018.
Sharm-el-Sheikh Airport lies on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula. This area is of concern to aviation authorities, especially since the crash of a MetroJet Airbus A321 in October 2015. The aircraft crashed in the desert when a bomb exploded after departure from Sharm-el-Sheikh. All 224 occupants were killed.

The United States’ FAA, for example, states that routes “over the Sinai Peninsula and aircraft operating to and from Sinai airports are at risk from potential extremist attacks involving antiaircraft weapons, to include Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), small arms fire, and indirect fire from mortars and rockets targeting Sinai airports.”
In a recently extended Notam, the FAA  advises U.S. airlines and operators to avoid flying below FL260 in this area.
Similarly, EASA issued a Conflict Zone Information Bulletin of which the current version is valid until 25 November 2018. This bulletin draws the attention of operators to warnings issued by several aviation authorities. The United Kingdom warns: “Operators are strongly advised to avoid operating at less than 25,000 ft agl in this [Sinai peninsula] airspace.”
Germany states: “Entire Sinai Peninsula presents a risk below FL260, as do landings at HEAR/El Arish, HEGR/El Gora, HETB/Taba, HESC/St. Catherine, HESH/Sharm-el-Sheikh.”

A review by ASN of shows several airlines operating into Sharm-el-Sheikh Airport in the past week. Most countries do not prohibit these flights and allow airlines to do their own risk assessments. Judging by the routes flown, some airlines decided to operate into and out of Sharm-el-Sheikh by avoiding overflying the Sinai peninsula. Airlines that did overfly parts of the Sinai peninsula below FL260 are marked * in the list below.

EASA Member States:

  • Danish Air Transport (Denmark)
  • Enter Air (Poland) *
  • Germania Flug (Switzerland)
  • Neos (Italy) *
  • Small Planet Airlines Polska (Poland)
  • TUI fly (Belgium) *

Egypt:

  • Air Cairo *
  • AlMasria Universal Airlines *
  • AMC Airlines
  • EgyptAir *
  • Egyptair Express
  • Nile Air *

Other countries:

  • Azur Air Ukraine (Ukraine)
  • Belavia (Belarus) *
  • Jordan Aviation (Jordan)
  • Kuwait Airways (Kuwait)
  • Pegasus (Turkey) *
  • Royal Jordanian (Jordan)
  • SkyUp Airlines (Ukraine)
  • THY (Turkey) *
  • Ukraine International Air (Ukraine)
  • Windrose (Ukraine)

Example flights routing into Sharm-el-Sheikh over (left) and past Sinai (right)

 

ATSB: Procedures and training leads to safe landing for unexpected engine failure by birdstrike on A330

A birdstrike and engine failure occurrence on an Airbus A330 in Australia demonstrated that preparation, training and proper procedures help flight crews respond to rare and unexpected situations, according to an ATSB investigation report.

On the night of 3 July 2017, AirAsia X flight D7207, an Airbus 330 aircraft, departed Gold Coast Airport, Australia, for a scheduled passenger transport flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On board the aircraft were 14 crew members and 345 passengers.
Shortly after take-off, the flight crew were alerted to an engine stall in the number two engine. At the same time a loud banging noise was heard. In response, the flight crew commenced their engine stall procedures and made a PAN PAN call.

The crew were then alerted to an engine failure and fire in the same engine. The crew commenced their engine failure procedures and upgraded the distress phase to a MAYDAY and requested a diversion to Brisbane Airport. The aircraft was diverted and landed safely. There were no injuries.

The ATSB investigation found the engine failure was the result of a birdstrike by a masked lapwing that had fractured a small piece from the tip of one of the engine’s fan blades. A lapwing is a medium sized bird—weighing between 0.23–0.40 kg.