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Dana Air forced to disembark passengers, blocks runway due to technical hitch

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Dana Air forced to disembark passengers, blocks runway due to technical hitch

…Airport closed for an hour

A possible air mishap was averted on Monday when a Dana Air flight going to Lagos from Owerri could not take off after taxiing, due to safety concerns.
The incident, which happened at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, left some of the passengers shaken.
The 3pm Lagos-bound craft had fully loaded it’s passengers and was about take to the air when a technical malfunction was noticed in the aircraft.
An airport source, who witnessed the evacuation of passengers, told our correspondent in confidence that the aircraft had taxied through the runway and had approached the runway threshold where planes lift into the air, but could not as one of the wheels was stiff and unresponsive.
Our source noted that the pilot of the plane had tried to manoeuvre the plane into full functionality but the plane could still could not lift into the air due to the unresponsive wheels and as such had to be grounded.
Consequently, the Dana Air plane blocked off the runway such that no plane could land or take-off for nearly an hour.
It took the intervention of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) which mobilized buses and other vehicle to go to the grounded plane and ferry passengers back to the departure lounge.
Reacting to the incident, the management of Dana Air said it was not quite a very serious issue but had been taken care of by the airline.

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NCAA notifies pilots, operators of new format for birds, wildlife strike reporting

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NCAA notifies pilots, operators of new format for birds, wildlife strike reporting

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has notified pilots, airports and Airline Operators as well as Aircraft Engineers of a change in birds and wildlife strike reporting format.

Mr Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, made the announcement in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos.

Adurogboye said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had evolved a new format for birds and wildfire strike reporting.

According to him, the European Coordinating Centre for Accidents and Incidents Reporting System (ECCAIRS) Excel-based format will now be used for ICAO Bird strike Information System (IBIS) reporting.

He said the notification was contained in an advisory circular with reference NCAA/AAS/BHC/04/006/11/132 dated July 30 to all airports/airline operators, pilots and aircraft engineers.

Adurogboye said the notification was signed by the Director, Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Mr T. A. Odunowo on behalf of the Director General of NCAA.

He said it was mandatory for them to forward to NCAA, Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), using the attached IBIS-ECCAIRS form for all Bird and Wildlife strikes at their Aerodromes on or before 30 days of occurrence for the submission.

Adurogboye said this was in accordance with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs) 2015, Part 12.6.23.2 and Aerodrome Standards Manual (ASM), Section 13.2.4.2.

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Lufthansa cancels 1,300 flights over strike

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Lufthansa said Wednesday it was scrapping 1,300 flights as German cabin crew pressed ahead with a two-day strike, plunging passengers into travel chaos amid an escalating row over pay and conditions.

“As a result of the strike, around 180,000 passengers will be affected by 1,300 flight cancellations,” the airline said in a statement after losing a last-minute court battle to halt the walkout.

The 48-hour stoppage called by the UFO flight attendants’ union is due to start at 2300 GMT on Wednesday and last until 2300 GMT on Friday.

The union said the stoppage would affect all Lufthansa departures in Germany during that time.

Germany’s largest airline said it “regrets the inconvenience for the passengers”.

The carrier was putting together an alternative flight schedule where possible, it said, adding that affected passengers could rebook their journeys for free or swap their domestic flights for train tickets.

The announcement of 700 flight cancellations on Thursday and roughly 600 on Friday come after a Frankfurt labour court denied Lufthansa’s request for an injunction to block the strike.

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Aviation

Pilot gets life ban after woman’s cockpit photo

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Pilot gets life ban after woman’s cockpit photo

A Chinese pilot has been banned from flying after a photo went viral showing a female passenger in the cockpit.

The photo was taken in January on an Air Guilin flight from Guilin city to Yangzhou city, state media said, but was widely shared this week – causing the airline to take action.

It shows a woman posing in the cockpit with refreshments laid out next to her, reports the BBC.

Air Guilin said in a statement the pilot had violated air safety regulations.

The incident took place on January 4 on flight GT1011 from Guilin city to Yangzhou city, according to state media outlet ‘The Global Times’.

But it was brought to the airline’s attention on Sunday after screenshots of the alleged passenger’s post started being shared widely on micro-blogging site Weibo.

The post showed the woman making a V sign with her fingers – a popular pose in China – with the photo captioned: “Thanks to the captain. So happy.”

The woman is rumoured to be a flight attendant in training at a Guilin university, according to news site ‘Chinese News Service’.

Air Guilin did not specify if the photo was taken mid-flight, but Chinese pilots and analysts said the photo appears to have been taken during the flight.

The pilot, who was not named, has been banned from flying for life, though it is unclear if he was fired from all roles by the airline.

Air Guilin said in a statement that he had “violated [regulations] by allowing irrelevant personnel into the cockpit”.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, passengers are not allowed to enter the cockpit without special approval or under “necessary” circumstances.

Other staff members involved in the incident have also been “suspended indefinitely” while further investigations are held.

“Passengers’ safety is always Air Guilin’s priority. We take a zero-tolerance approach against any inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour that might risk the aviation safety,” the Chinese carrier said.

Last year, Chinese carrier Donghai Airlines suspended a pilot for six months and revoked his qualifications as a flight instructor after he allowed his wife to go inside the cockpit.

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Aviation

Plane makes emergency landing on beach

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Plane makes emergency landing on beach

A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a Long Island beach Monday after experiencing engine problems, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The single-engine Cessna 150L touched down about 2:20 p.m. at Point Lookout in Hempstead — about nine miles east of John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said.

Two people were on board the craft. There were no reports of any injuries, reports New York Post.

The plane had taken off from Stevensville airport in Maryland and was en route to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip when it was forced to land, records show.

According to FAA records the plane is registered in Ronkonkoma.

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Aviation

Plane makes emergency landing on beach

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Plane makes emergency landing on beach

A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a Long Island beach Monday after experiencing engine problems, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The single-engine Cessna 150L touched down about 2:20 p.m. at Point Lookout in Hempstead — about nine miles east of John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said.

Two people were on board the craft. There were no reports of any injuries, reports New York Post.

The plane had taken off from Stevensville airport in Maryland and was en route to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip when it was forced to land, records show.

According to FAA records the plane is registered in Ronkonkoma.

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Aviation

Qantas, Southwest stepping up checks for cracks in 737 NG aircraft after issues found

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Qantas, Southwest stepping up checks for cracks in 737 NG aircraft after issues found

Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) and Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) are stepping up checks for structural cracks on Boeing Co (BA.N) 737 NGs after discovering problems with planes that did not require urgent inspections, airline sources said.

The cracks are on what is known as the “pickle fork” – a part that attaches the plane’s fuselage, or body, to the wing structure.

Repairing the cracks requires grounding the airplane, with remedial work costing an estimated $275,000 per aircraft, according to aviation consultancy IBA.

Boeing on October 11 said 38 planes worldwide had been grounded after urgent checks but has not provided a further update. The issue surfaced while the newer 737 MAX model is grounded globally following two deadly crashes, reports Reuters.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on October 2 mandated checks of 737 NGs with more than 30,000 take-off and landing cycles within seven days.

It said jets with 22,600 to 29,999 cycles must be inspected within 1,000 cycles, which typically correspond to the number of flights.

Qantas discovered cracks in a plane with about 26,700 cycles that was undergoing heavy maintenance, while Southwest found cracks in one with about 28,500 cycles, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline had found cracking in one jet with just under 27,000 cycles that had been removed from service for repair.

He said that no Qantas jets had yet reached 30,000 cycles, but that the airline would inspect 33 planes with more than 22,600 cycles by the end of this week.

A Southwest spokesman said he could not confirm the number of cycles of the three jets the airline has pulled from service for pickle fork repairs. He said the company has complied with the FAA directive on inspections but was expanding checks to its entire 737 NG fleet.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, Boeing said all 737 NGs with more than 30,000 flight cycles and about one-third of planes with over 22,600 flight cycles had been inspected for pickle fork cracks.

The manufacturer said additional assessments were underway to determine the cause and potential implications for planes with fewer than 22,600 cycles.

“Depending on the results of these assessments, additional inspections or repairs may be required,” Boeing said.

It said that so far the repair costs were not big enough to affect its bottom line. But the company added that it could not estimate potential future financial impacts because since the inspections were ongoing.

A Boeing spokesman on Wednesday said he could not provide a further update.

American Airlines and United Airlines, whose 737 NG fleets have less than 30,000 cycles, are also inspecting their entire fleets but have not found any pickle fork issues so far, representatives for both airlines said.

Virgin Australia said it had already inspected all 19 of its 737 NGs with more than 22,600 cycles and did not find any cracks.

South Korea’s transport ministry said all nine 737 NGs grounded in the country with cracks had more than 30,000 cycles.

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Aviation

Airbus cuts delivery goal on Hamburg plant snags

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Airbus cuts delivery goal on Hamburg plant snags

Airbus (AIR.PA) cut its full-year delivery goal for commercial jets on Wednesday, as the planemaker struggles with production delays at a newly expanded German plant.

Europe’s largest aerospace group expects to deliver “around 860” airliners in 2019 instead of the 880-890 previously targeted, the company said as it posted 1.6 billion euros ($1.78 billion) in adjusted operating income for the third quarter, reports Reuters.

The revised delivery numbers and outlook “reflect the underlying actions to secure a more efficient delivery flow in the next years”, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in the company statement.

The adjusted operating profit figure rose 2% year-on-year as revenue fell 1% to 15.3 billion euros for July-September and net income rose 3% to 989 million euros. The group also trimmed its 2019 free cash flow goal to reflect the revised delivery outlook.

Airbus has been wrestling with delays to its A321 jets at its plant in Hamburg, Germany for around two years, and a top leasing industry executive said earlier on Wednesday that the situation showed no sign of improving.

John Plueger, chief executive of Air Lease Corp (AL.N), told the Airfinance Journal Asia Pacific 2019 conference that problems at the Hamburg plant were “getting worse, not better”.

Asked about Plueger’s comments, an Airbus spokesman said: “We are agreeing next deliveries with our customers.” The discussions with customers were confidential, he added.

To reach its revised 2019 goal, Airbus must still hand over 289 planes in the final quarter, a little short of its record 297 deliveries in the same period last year.

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Aviation

Airbus cuts delivery goal on Hamburg plant snags

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Airbus cuts delivery goal on Hamburg plant snags

Airbus (AIR.PA) cut its full-year delivery goal for commercial jets on Wednesday, as the planemaker struggles with production delays at a newly expanded German plant.

Europe’s largest aerospace group expects to deliver “around 860” airliners in 2019 instead of the 880-890 previously targeted, the company said as it posted 1.6 billion euros ($1.78 billion) in adjusted operating income for the third quarter, reports Reuters.

The revised delivery numbers and outlook “reflect the underlying actions to secure a more efficient delivery flow in the next years”, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in the company statement.

The adjusted operating profit figure rose 2% year-on-year as revenue fell 1% to 15.3 billion euros for July-September and net income rose 3% to 989 million euros. The group also trimmed its 2019 free cash flow goal to reflect the revised delivery outlook.

Airbus has been wrestling with delays to its A321 jets at its plant in Hamburg, Germany for around two years, and a top leasing industry executive said earlier on Wednesday that the situation showed no sign of improving.

John Plueger, chief executive of Air Lease Corp (AL.N), told the Airfinance Journal Asia Pacific 2019 conference that problems at the Hamburg plant were “getting worse, not better”.

Asked about Plueger’s comments, an Airbus spokesman said: “We are agreeing next deliveries with our customers.” The discussions with customers were confidential, he added.

To reach its revised 2019 goal, Airbus must still hand over 289 planes in the final quarter, a little short of its record 297 deliveries in the same period last year.

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A year on from Lion Air crash, Indonesians pray, scatter petals for victims

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A year on from Lion Air crash, Indonesians pray, scatter petals for victims

One year after a Lion Air plane crash that killed 189, relatives and friends of victims held prayer vigils and cast flower petals into the Java Sea at the site where the budget carrier’s Boeing 737 MAX jet went down beneath the waves.

The almost new Boeing Co aircraft had been flying from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to the town of Pangkal Pinang, on the Bangka-Belitung islands off Sumatra, when it crashed within minutes of take-off.

“This cannot be forgotten because it was such a tragic and unbelievable event,” said Epi Samsul Komar, whose 24-year-old son, Muhammad Rafi Andrian, was on the doomed flight, JT610.”Hopefully this flower-scattering ceremony can heal our longing for our child,” Komar told Reuters.

He was among the families of victims who went by boat to the crash site off the West Java district of Karawang to throw petals into the sea, a tribute they also performed last November 8.

Tuesday’s event came days after Indonesian investigators issued their final report on the disaster, setting out Boeing’s failure to identify risks in the design of cockpit software and recommending better training for Lion Air’s pilots.

The fatal crash, followed within five months by another at Ethiopian Airlines, led to a global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX and a crisis for the world’s biggest planemaker.

Stan Deal, newly appointed President and Chief Executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, attended the ceremony in Jakarta, at which he told Reuters he was there to pay his respects.

Deal’s predecessor, Kevin McAllister, was ousted by Boeing last week, the first high-level departure since the two crashes.

In the town of Pangkal Pinang, tax office employees held special prayers for seven colleagues killed in the crash, the office head, Krisna Wiryawan, said.

A tribute video featured photographs of the victims in happier times.

“When the loved ones are gone, only memories remain,” read a message near the end of the video. “These memories will remain in our hearts.”

Indonesian regulators criticized the design of the 737 MAX’s anti-stall system, known as MCAS, which automatically pushed the plane’s nose down, leaving pilots fighting for control.

Investigators attributed the Lion Air crash to a number of factors, including design flaws and inadequate regulatory oversight, as well as errors by Lion Air pilots and engineers.

Lion Air was “always improving upon pilot skills and maintenance because it’s a never ending job in the airline industry,” Chief Executive Edward Sirait told reporters at Tuesday’s event.

Boeing ran a statement in Indonesian newspapers in which its president and chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, said, “We are deeply sorry and grieve for the loss of life.”

“May God rest their souls in peace, provide strength to their families, and keep their memories alive,” he said.

Muilenburg also visited the Indonesian embassy in Washington to offer condolences a day before he is due to testify before the U.S. senate on Tuesday.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said she hoped victims’ relatives would receive proper compensation.

Boeing settled first claims with family members’ representatives in September. Three people familiar with the matter said family members are set to receive at least $1.2 million each.

That figure is compensation for a single victim without any dependents, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were confidential.

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Solving agelong airspace safety conundrum

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Solving agelong airspace safety conundrum

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has gone ahead to install Cat 3 ILS for three airports for a start. The irony is that no Nigerian carrier with the exception of Arik, private/business jet operators has airplane that is compliant with this modern landing tool, WOLE SHADARE writes

 

Breaking the jinx

It was long overdue. The acquisition of multi-million dollar category three Instrument Landing System (ILS) will no doubt shape flight operations in the country and ensure greater safety of aircraft preparing to land at major airports where installation of the highly powerful facilities are being installed.

An ILS consists of two ground antennas and an airborne received in the aircraft. One of the ground antennas, known as a localiser, transmits a narrow beam along the runway, giving lateral guidance to aircraft approaching the runway.

The other antenna, the glide slope, transmits a vertical beam at a specified angle, giving vertical guidance for aircraft approaching. Together, the localiser and glide slope provides aircraft with an exact path to follow toward the runway.

The main advantage of ILS is that it allows approaches and landings in poor weather conditions. Pilots do not have to visually see the runway until moments before touchdown, because the ILS can guide the plane down very precisely.

However, there are different standards of ILS. These are named CAT I, CAT II and CAT III (CAT III has three additional sub-standards: CAT IIIa, CAT IIIb and CAT IIIc).

Visibility ceiling

In order to fly a CAT I approach, the cloud based (ceiling) must not be lower than 200 feet and the visibility must not be lower than 550 metres. This is because the pilots must be able to visually identify the runway no later than 200 feet above the ground to be able to land.

For a CAT II approach, the ceiling must not be lower than 100 ft and the visibility not less than 350 metres. CAT III has no minimum ceiling, but there must be at least 50 metres of visibility.

The installation of the landing aids was part of the agency’s effort to ensure that aircraft lands in adverse weather conditions, especially during harmattan season.

Second phase beckons

The second phase of the project involving the installation of ILS/DME in Kano, Port Harcourt and Katsina airports will commence as soon as Lagos and Abuja installations are completed. The installation of these facilities at the airports was informed by the severe weather conditions prevalent in there.

A reliable aviation source told New Telegraph that this was the first time any Nigerian airport would be furnished with the Category 3 ILS, a system that helps aircraft to land in foggy, hazy and harmattan weather conditions, usually blamed for multiples of flights cancelations in Nigeria.

The Category 3 instrument landing system can help aircraft land at the airport where they are installed even at zero visibility.

This is the landing equipment used in most developed countries of Europe and America where there is foggy weather and visibility is always low.

Managing Director of NAMA, Capt Fola Akinkuotu, said the project was aimed at tackling the problem encountered by pilots and airlines during the harmattan season.

Harmattan hampers flights

During harmattan in Nigeria, the weather becomes hazy and visibility is bad. So with this equipment that NAMA has acquired, aircraft can land at any time at the airports, but the equipment needs stable electricity supply. It does not work where there is unstable power.

Before now, the situation had made flying in the Nigerian airspace difficult during the harmattan, resulting in flight cancellations.

Most international and local flights have had to be diverted to neighbouring countries any time there is harmattan haze because of lack of facilities to guide them with precision during landing. The issue of the harmattan haze is a yearly seasonal occurrence as Nigeria has mainly rainy (thunderstorms) and dry seasons (harmattan).

While the problem lasted, no airline could fly and passengers were delayed with colossal loss of revenue to the operators.

Domestic airlines in Nigeria particularly dread harmattan season because of its attendant dusty and hazy weather which lead to multiple flight cancellations due to low visibility.

The weather minima at most airports in the country penultimate year was between 600 metres for Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and Nnamidi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja and 800 metres for Calabar, Owerri, Benin City and other airports.

Nigeria operates geriatric aircraft

Another challenge here is that virtually all the airlines in Nigeria with the exception of Arik and private/business jet operators do not have on board facilities to leverage on the Catagory 3 ILS because they use old model aircraft. All foreign airlines carry the equipment on-board because of the sophistication of their aircraft.

Instrument landing system – ILS – is a very common precision approach system used in airports around the world.

An aeronautical engineer, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that the ground based ILS equipment must live up to very strict standards, and be very carefully calibrated.

Experts’ views

“As a result, installing and maintaining CAT II/III ILS equipment at an airport is very expensive, so not all airports have it. In addition to the ILS antennas, there are also strict requirements for other runway equipment such as lighting,” the source said.

The source further disclosed that aircraft must have special equipment that is certified to perform CAT III approaches, adding, “again, cost is a significant factor. Equipping aircraft with such fine-tuned equipment is very expensive, and if you mostly fly to areas with good weather, it is probably not worth it.”

An air traffic controller, Victor Eyaru, said most of the aircraft operating in the country did not have special equipment to align with the high power CAT 3 equipment.

He said aircraft that do not have the facility onboard cannot enjoy benefit from the ground facility but would have to rely on other cumbersome strategy of landing their airplanes.

Eyaru noted that the aviation regulatory body, Nigerian Civil Aviation (NCAA), can only mandate all airlines to get the facility if it so wish, saying, however, but that the facilities do not come cheap.

Last line

Old planes don’t have the onboard equipment to use Cat 3 ILS. The international airlines, which operate newer model of aircraft, will find the equipment very useful.

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