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DHC-6 Twin Otter suffers runway excursion accident at Wobagen Airstrip, PNG
3 December 2020

DHC-6 Twin Otter suffers runway excursion accident at Wobagen Airstrip, PNG

Air Djibouti Boeing 737-500 suffers gear collapse on landing at Garowe, Somalia

FAA extends conflict zone warning on Syrian airspace

Damascus FIR (Syrian airspace)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration extended the Conflict Zone warning on Syrian airspace for three years until December 30, 2023.

It remains prohibited to conduct flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR by all U.S. air carriers.

Explaining the extension, the FAA noted some recent events, among others:

  • In late February 2020, Syrian air defense activities forced a commercial Cham Wings Airbus A320 passenger flight on final approach to Damascus International Airport to divert to an alternate airfield in Syria. The lack of de-confliction of Syrian air defense activity with civil air traffic is just one of the risks to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Damascus FIR (OSTT) emanating from third-party involvement in Syria.
  • In March 2020, Russian, Turkish and Syrian forces clashed in Idlib Province. During these clashes, fighter aircraft and possible SAMs shot down several manned and unmanned aircraft.

More information

Volga-Dnepr grounds An-124 fleet pending accident investigation

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has announced the temporary suspension of its Antonov An-124 commercial operations as of November 25, 2020 until the investigation into the recent accident at Novosibirsk has been completed.
On November 13, 2020, one of Volga-Dnepr An-124 cargo planes suffered an uncontained engine fan disk failure of the no.3 D-18T engine. This resulted in engine failure and the loss of control systems. Carrying 84 tons of cargo with full fuel tanks, the crew made an emergency landing.

The airline has twelve An-124’s, of which three were already in storage.

ANAC Brazil follows FAA and lifts grounding of 737 MAX

The Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) decided to unground the Boeing 737 MAX on November 25, 2020.
The decision followed long independent work to reauthorize the operation of the aircraft in Brazil. ANAC withdrew the Emergency Airworthiness Directive that had restricted the operation of the 737 MAX in Brazil after agreeing with theFAA evaluation for all necessary technical and regulatory elements that were carried out to address the safety issues. The FAA Directive of Airworthiness, released on November 20, was adopted by ANAC and has automatic force in Brazil.
GOL Linhas Aéreas, the only 737 MAX operator in Brazil, will now implement, under supervision, the necessary requirements to return the operations of their Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft.

EASA expects to clear Boeing 737 MAX in January 2021

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published a Proposed Airworthiness Directive (PAD) concerning the Boeing 737 MAX for public consultation.

The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded by EASA on March 12, 2019, following two accidents with total loss of aircraft in which 346 people died.
EASA conducted an own objective and independent assessment of the 737 MAX, working closely with the FAA and Boeing.

The EASA Proposed Airworthiness Directive is now open for a 28-day consultation period. Once that ends, EASA will take time to review the comments made, before publishing its final Airworthiness Directive. That final publication is expected from mid-January 2021 and will constitute the formal ungrounding decision of the plane for all 737 MAX aircraft operated by operators from EASA Member States. After the return to service, EASA has committed to monitor the plane closely in-service, to allow for early detection of any problems that may arise. 

In summary, the EASA Proposed Airworthiness Directive mandates the following main actions:

  • Software updates for the flight control computer, including the MCAS
  • Software updates to display an alert in case of disagreement between the two AoA sensors
  • Physical separation of wires routed from the cockpit to the stabiliser trim motor
  • Updates to flight manuals: operational limitations and improved procedures to equip pilots to understand and manage all relevant failure scenarios
  • Mandatory training for all 737 MAX pilots before they fly the plane again, and updates of the initial and recurrent training of pilots on the MAX
  • Tests of systems including the AoA sensor system
  • An operational readiness flight, without passengers, before commercial usage of each aircraft to ensure that all design changes have been correctly implemented and the aircraft successfully and safely brought out of its long period of storage.

Europe, Canada, Brazil have additional requirements to unground 737 MAX

The U.S. FAA lifted the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX on November 18. In the days that followed, other regulators stated that they will not fully follow the FAA requirements.

EASA stated that “sufficient reason exists to require certain additional actions, deemed necessary to ensure safe operation of the affected aeroplanes, including pilot training.”
A proposed AD will be published for public consultation.

Transport Canada stated: “These differences will include additional procedures on the flight deck and pre-flight, as well as differences in training.”

Brazilian regulator ANAC reported: “ANAC recognizes the decision of the FAA and works on final adjustments of the validation process for returning the model to the country.”

Report: Boeing 747-400F engine pod strike during crosswind landing, Hong Kong

Lack of risk anticipation by controller leads to serious airprox at Strasbourg, France

FAA lifts grounding of Boeing 737 MAX

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson today signed an order (PDF) that paves the way for the Boeing 737 MAX to return to commercial service.

The Boeing 737 MAX had been grounded following two fatal accidents (Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302) .

In addition to rescinding the order that grounded the aircraft, the FAA published an Airworthiness Directive (PDF) specifying design changes that must be made before the aircraft returns to service, issued a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC), and published the MAX training requirements. (PDF) These actions do not allow the MAX to return immediately to the skies. The FAA must approve 737 MAX pilot training program revisions for each U.S. airline operating the MAX and will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness for all new 737 MAX aircraft manufactured since the FAA issued the grounding order. Furthermore, airlines that have parked their MAX aircraft must take required maintenance steps to prepare them to fly again.

More information:

List of global aircraft groundings in history