Sunday 28 February 2021

Three killed as plane crashes shortly after take-off

Three adults on board a Florida-bound plane have died after it crashed in a wooded ravine after taking off from Georgia.

A Cessna 182 travelling from Gainesville-Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport, GA (GVL/KGVL) to Daytona Beach International Airport, FL (DAB/KDAB) had just taken off from north Georgia early Friday evening when it crashed into a wooded ravine, shortly after 6 p.m. (along Memorial Park Drive and Atlanta Highway near Gainesville) killing all three adults on board.
A family had just sat down for dinner when one of the plane's wings landed on their mobile home.
The four adults and one child inside the home were uninjured but had to leave due to the extensive damage caused to their home. According to US media, the pilot was trying to turn the plane around and head back to the airport when the crash near Gainesville occurred.

"The plane did leave from Gainesville and we confirmed they were en route to Daytona Beach authorities said, "And its only speculation at this point, but the pilot turned around for some reason and tried to get back to the airport," said Gainesville Fire Department.

Investigators have identified the victims as 44-year old Dan Delnoce of Gainesville, 45-year old Courtney Flanders of Gainesville and 39-year old Matthew Delnoce of Ohio.

Aircraft Information
Owner: Private
Aircraft: Cessna 182 Skylane RG
Registration: N3652C
Serial Number: R18200296
Engine: Lycoming 540 Series
Built: 1978


Saturday 27 February 2021

Two years since Budgam Mi-17 shootdown,

At around 10 am on the 27th February 2019, a Mi-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force crashed in the Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. The incident took place the same day that Indian and Pakistani fighter jets engaged in fierce aerial combat in Nowshera, a day after the IAF's surgical strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot.
The Mi-17 V-5 chopper belonging to the 154 Helicopter Unit crashed within ten minutes of taking off from Srinagar after it was hit by the Air Force’s own Spyder air defence missile. Later, a Court of Inquiry confirmed that the crash was the result of "friendly fire", called "blue on blue" in military parlance. Six IAF personnel onboard, as well as a civilian on the ground, were killed in the crash, a rare incident in the IAF's history. The helicopter was flown by Squadron Leader Siddharth Vashisht with other members—Squadron Leader Ninad Mandvgane, Kumar Pandey, Sergeant Vikrant Sehrawat, Corporals Deepak Pandey and Pankaj Kumar.

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria, while admitting the crash was a "big mistake" on part of the air force, has assured that the IAF would "ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the future". With strict compliance of laid down Standard Operating Procedures along with stringent punishments for their violation, air force headquarters has taken measures to avert such accidents in future. Besides, the helicopter fleet is also undergoing major upgrades to its early warning suits.

It is learnt that the ill-fated chopper was mistaken as a possible drone, though even the IAF’s Barnala-based Integrated Air Command & Control System could not designate the helicopter as ‘red’—the classification for enemy aircraft. The Integrated Air Command and Control System are tasked to locate any hostile aircraft from the Pakistan side.

It was found that the helicopter's Identification of Friend or Foe’ (IFF) system, a transponder-based identification system, was switched off during the flight, which led to vital gaps in communication and coordination between the ground staff and the crew of the chopper. IFF is installed in all military aircraft and it communicates with radars to establish whether an aircraft is friendly or from the enemy. During a combat situation, air traffic controllers give a path to all aircraft and helicopters to fly in a green corridor.

Air Headquarters, has adopted a zero-tolerance approach for any deviation from laid down SoP. "In case of deviation of SoP, strict disciplinary action will be taken against the involved officer. Besides, integration of weapon with platform is also being done to prevent such mishaps," an official said while adding that it is being done if both (missile and helicopter) platforms are compatible with each other. The Mi-17 was a Russian chopper while the Spyder air defence missile was from Israel. Moreover, the Mi-17 helicopter fleet is also going for major upgrades including radar warning receiver, missile approach warning systems and countermeasure dispensing system.

Currently, IAF operates around 150 Mi-17 V5 helicopters, procured from Russia since 2008. While disciplinary action was initiated against the chief operations officer and senior air traffic control officer at the Srinagar base after both were found guilty by the COI, both pilots of the ill-fated chopper were posthumously awarded the Vayu Sena medal for gallantry along with Mention-in-Despatches posthumously awarded to four other IAF personnel.

Story sourced from here

Wednesday 24 February 2021

United 811 disaster 32 yrs ago today

UNITED B747-422 N194UA (MSN 26982)

On the 24th February 1989 a United Airlines Boeing 747, Flight 811, departed Honolulu International Airport, HI (HNL/PHNL), United States of America at 01:33 local time, bound for Sydney, Australia (SYD/YSSY), with an intermediate stop at Auckland, New Zealand (AKL/NZAA). The initial climb passed through an area of thunderstorms, so the captain elected to keep the seat belt sign on. As the aircraft was climbing, between 22,000 and 23,000 feet, an explosive decompression was experienced. An emergency was declared at approximately 02:20 HST. The captain initiated a 180-degree left turn to avoid a thunderstorm and proceeded toward HNL. The forward lower lobe cargo door had opened in flight, taking with it a large portion of the forward right side of the cabin fuselage. The starboard side engines (no.3 and 4) were damaged and had to be shut down. Parts of the leading and trailing edge flaps where also damaged resulting in the crew electing to use only 10-degrees trailing edge flaps for landing (a non-normal configuration). This resulted in the aircraft having to land at a higher speed than it would under normal conditions. The aircraft was cleared to land at HNL runway 08L. At 02:34 HST, Honolulu tower was notified by the flight crew that the airplane was stopped and an emergency evacuation had commenced on the runway. During the decompression, nine passengers had been ejected from the airplane and lost at sea.

Probable Cause:
The sudden opening of the forward lower lobe cargo door in flight and the subsequent explosive decompression. The door opening was attributed to a faulty switch or wiring in the door control system which permitted electrical actuation of the door latches toward the unlatched position after initial door closure and before takeoff. Contributing to the cause of the accident was a deficiency in the design of the cargo door locking mechanisms, which made them susceptible to deformation, allowing the door to become unlatched after being properly latched and locked. Also contributing to the accident was a lack of timely corrective actions by Boeing and the FAA following a 1987 cargo door opening incident on a Pan Am B-747.

About the Aircraft
The aircraft involved was a Boeing 747-122 registration number N4713U - Serial Number 19875/89
It was delivered to United Airlines on November 3, 1970.  At the time of the accident, the Boeing had accumulated 58,814 total flight hours, 15,028 flight 'pressurization' cycles, and had not been involved in any previous accident.

On the 24th February 1989, the aircraft was scheduled by United Airlines to operate as Flight 811 from Los Angeles International Airport to Sydney Airport in Mascot, New South Wales, Australia, with intermediate stops at Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii and Auckland Airport in 
New Zealand. Flight 811 operated without incident on the first leg of its scheduled flight, from Los Angeles to Honolulu, and there were no difficulties reported by the flight crew upon arriving at Honolulu, where a crew change occurred.

After the accident, the aircraft was repaired and put back into service with United, but was re-registered N4724U. In 1997, the aircraft was taken out of service and passed onto Air Dabia as C5-FBS. Air Dabia ceased operations in 1998, and the aircraft was abandoned at Plattsburgh International Airport, where it was scrapped in 2004.

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage - Alice Springs

Last August I flew out to Alice Springs to view the aircraft at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility (APAS) and back then there were around 65 aircraft.


Last Friday I once again flew out to Alice Springs especially to view the aircraft parked there. This time there were 140 aircraft and it really is a sight that needs to be seen.


Like last time, I hired a helicopter from Alice Springs Helicopters Alice Springs Helicopters – Sightseeing Flights ALice Springs for a twenty minute hover around the air park. Kat, the pilot, is amazing seriously and will go and do what ever you want. Higher, lower, closer, further out, no issues. I strongly recommend hiring a helicopter as seeing these aircraft from the ground doesn't do it justice, as you can see by the below photos.

The world's newest "airliner boneyard" was completed in 2013; it began operations in June of 2014.
The storage facility is operated by Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) Ltd. which chose Alice Springs because its dry, arid climate is ideal for aircraft storage and preservation. It caters to Asia-Pacific carriers as well as other airlines from around the world. It is capable of handling all aircraft types, including the Airbus A380, Boeing 747 and Boeing 777. APAS represents the first commercial aircraft storage and recycling facility in the Asia Pacific region. The facility was ultimately selected due to its climatic suitability, significant existing infrastructure and capacity for major expansion. Alice Springs offers the perfect environment for the preservation of aircraft and their inherent capital value. The facility benefits from an arid desert environment characterized by an average year round humidity of approximately 25%, outside Australia’s cyclone zone, low rainfall, and with low lying vegetation providing additional dust suppression qualities.

It takes a team of a dozen people up to five days to induct a plane for storage. Two of those are spent entirely on taping and covering everything to protect the engines and systems, a process that can take between 40 and 50 rolls of tape. Every plane has different requirements, depending on the manual. Airbus, for example, requires all passenger windows be covered and taped as well, while Boeing does not. Once inducted, sealed and towed to a parking bay, each plane is on a rolling system of 7, 30 and 90-day checks. During this time, bags of desiccant* in the engine bays are examined, tyres are rotated, and brake systems are maintained. Storing a plane is certainly not simply a matter of parking it and walking away. When will these aircraft return to their owners remains an open question. For now, these planes sit silently in the Australian outback, a surreal monument to a different time.

*The primary purpose of desiccant bags is to absorb moisture in small areas. The packets help prevent the development of moisture and, from there, mould forming on the surface.

Alice Springs Airport (IATA: ASP, ICAO: YBAS) is a regional airport 13 km (8.1 miles) south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. The airport has two runways, the principal one (12/30) at 2,438m in length and 45m in width, the second (and rarely used) is 17/35 and is 1,133m in length. The only scheduled flights using the airport are domestic, although international charters do use the airport at times. The airport is open 24/7 and there are no restricted flight paths for noise abatement procedures.

Monday 22 February 2021

Nigerian Air Force plane crashes near Abuja airport

A Nigerian military aircraft travelling from Abuja International Airport (ABV/DNAA), Nigeria to Minna Airport (MXJ/DNMN), Nigeria has crashed near the runway of Abuja Airport, killing 7 people. The aircraft involved was a NAF Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft, operated by the 209th Executive Airlift Group (209th EAG), had just taken off from Abuja Airport. The aircraft crashed on the final approach path of Abuja Airport runway 22. Emergency services were immediately deployed to the scene, however, all onboard the aircraft were killed. A military spokesman for the Nigerian Air Force stated that engine failure is thought to have caused the crash. An investigation into the crash has now been ordered by The Chief of the Air Staff. The air force has not provided the names of those killed in the crash. Photos from the area show a charred and broken fuselage laying in a field. A witness described the moments leading up to the crash. "As he (the plane's pilot) was going down, he struggled to go back to the airport, at the end he just crashed," Alaba Lawal told reporters. "I just saw the whole thing explode, fire and smoke together. When I got there I saw dead bodies on the ground." Another witness, Olugbenga Alaade, said, "Everybody there was screaming full of disbelief." A government employee who said he has worked at the airport for nine years and who saw the crash said that it had been at least a decade since a plane has crashed at that airport.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Nigerian Air Force
Aircraft: Beechcraft King Air B350i
Registration: NAF 201
Serial Number: FL-585


Part of this story was sourced from here
7 Dead In Nigerian Air Force Crash : NPR

Another engine failure - this time on a 747

It was only yesterday I posted a story about a United 777 that declared a mayday after an engine exploded and caught fire on take off, well now I found another story of an other engine failure. A Longtail Aviation flight from Maastricht/Aachen Airport (MST/EHBK) to New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK/KJFK suffered an uncontained engine failure of the no.1 engine. Blade fragments were ejected from the engine, coming down in the village of Meerssen, 2 km past the end of the runway. At that point the aircraft was climbing through 1,400 feet. Like the United 777 pilots, the flight crew also declared a Mayday and subsequently requested vectors for a holding pattern at FL100 to dump fuel. The flight then diverted to Liège Airport, Belgium, LGG/EBLG) as this airport had a longer runway. A safe landing was made at 17:10 local time, one hour after takeoff from Maastricht Airport. A fire department spokesman said a piece of debris fell on an elderly woman, who suffered minor injuries as a result. "A lot of people are shocked in Meerssen because they saw the plane flying over with a burning engine," the fire department spokesman said. Longtail Aviation is sending a replacement aircraft engine to Liège to replace the broken engine. Once the plane is released by Dutch authorities, the cargo plane will be allowed to resume travel to New York as soon as possible, according to the airline's spokesman. The engine blades may have sucked in something during take-off, the spokesman said. "What caused it is now speculating. It can also have another cause such as a collision with a bird. It's up to the authorities to investigate. We fully cooperate with this." The spokesman says that the four-engine aircraft with the three remaining engines landed in Liège in a normal way and that the crew is doing well. "They have done exactly what the safety regulations require and followed the correct procedures." Regarding the damage in Meerssen, a Longtail aviation spokesman says they have seen images of metal parts that ended up on the street there. The airline is in close contact with its insurer about this. He stresses that both the aircraft and the engines are well maintained.


Aircraft Information:
Airline: Longtail Aviation
Code: LGT
Aircraft: B747-412 BCF
Registration: VQ-BWT
Serial Number: 24975
Engines: 4 x PW PW4056
First Flew: 05/02/1991
Age: 30 Yrs

Sunday 21 February 2021

United 328 declares "Mayday Mayday Mayday"

UNITED B777-222 N780UA (MSN 26944)

A United Airlines flight travelling from Denver International Airport, CO (DEN/KDEN) to Honolulu-Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, HI (HNL/PHNL) suffered a major engine failure in midair and was forced to make an emergency landing at Denver International Airport, while scattering debris across several neighborhoods. The shocking incident happened shortly after United Flight 328 took off from Denver forcing the crew to declare a mayday and perform an emergency landing with one of the engines on fire and large chunks of it missing. The Boeing 777-200 plane, which had 231 passengers and 10 crew on board, landed safely, with no injuries reported. Several passengers on board caught videos of the burning engine, and the moment the jet touched the ground, and to everyone's relief, they clapped and cheered. Meanwhile, multiple stunned witnesses on the ground reported hearing a loud bang and saw pieces of metal raining from the sky. Another witness apparently saw an explosion in the sky and saw a low flying jet with traces of black smoke coming from the engine. Local authorities urged residents not to touch any pieces they find, pending a probe by the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the malfunction. The aircraft climbed to an altitude of 13,450 feet before leveling off and returning to the airport landing on runway 26 twenty five minutes later.

Aircraft Information
Airline: United
Code: UA / UAL
Aircraft: Boeing 777-222
Registration: N772UA
Serial Number: 26930
Engines: 2 x PW PW4077
First Flew: 19/11/1994
Age: 26.3 Yrs

Saturday 20 February 2021

Alice Springs Airport

Yesterday I spent the afternoon in Alice Springs so before and after my helicopter flight I hung around to see what I could get.

QANTAS B737-838 VH-XZI (MSN 39364)






SINGAPORE A350-941 9V-SME (MSN 041)