On Jul. 18, 2012, a Boeing 737-200 operated by Sky Airline, sustained heavy damage to the right hand wing in an accident that occurred at La Serena – La Florida airport, in Chile.
The aircraft, flying as SKU-101 from Antofagasta, banked right while on final approach prior to touchdown and the right hand wing tip hit the ground.
The pilot aborted the landing, performed a go around and decided to divert to Copiapó – Chamonate Airport (where it safely landed) after assessing the damages: the wing tip was deflected upwards and even the flap was damaged.
If you wonder what the aborted landing scene looked like from a SKU-101’s passenger seat, here is the answer:
According to the reports, the weather was fairly good. The visibility on the ground was deteriorating but the runway visual range at the time of the (missed) approach was 6,000 m.
Tight circuits involving “banked finals” are often flown by airlifters, tankers and military/government planes and bizjets for training purposes, but I’ve never seen a civil liner (besides those landing at Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong) on a scheduled service banking so much prior to touchdown, even if some may be “crabbed” to fly the final approach under crosswinds (meaning that a WCA, Wind Correction Angle, is applied by aligning nose and tail with the wind direction while the aircraft is following a different course).
Moreover, based on the few available details, it’s really difficult to understand the reasons for such a curved approach although it seems enough safe to say that the crew opted for the go around a bit too late.
There’s a certain interest in technologies capable to detect volcanic ash in flight since, in April 2010, the European airspace was almost paralyzed as a consequence of the eruption of the volcano Eyjafsallajokull, in Iceland.
Many airports were closed and thousands commercial flights cancelled whereas, on Apr. 15, melted ash was found on the inside surfaces of some Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornets involved in a training mission few hours before the imposition of airspace restriction caused by the huge ash cloud.
Volcanic ash is extremely dangerous for both propeller and jet aircraft: volcanic dust is extremely fine and can easily invade the spaces between rotating machinery and jam it; furthermore, the silica melts at about 1.100° C and fuses on to the turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes (another part of the turbine assembly) which in modern aircraft operate at 1.400° C, with catastrophic effects.
When a volcano erupts, training activities are postponed, exercises are cancelled or scaled-down, but security air traffic, such as air policing and Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) sorties must be flown. With some risks.
This might be the best or even the more dangerous helicopter show you’ve ever seen.
The video, most probably filmed years ago (based on the poor image quality), shows an Australian OH-58 Kiowa performing stunts inside what looks like a packed stadium, at low level around a man acting like a sort-of chopper tamer.
Such maneuvers require a lot of experience, skill, cold blod and insanity: the one piloting the chopper may have been the best pilot in the world or even the most daring. But he’s performing the display with zero safety margin: a simple error or a minor mechanical failure would mean the death of a lot of people.
On a side note, after the craziest helicopter show in the world, beginning at 04:00 minutes, you can see an interesting hoist recovery performed by a Royal Australian Navy Sea King (in the old color scheme).
On Mar. 15, for the first time ever at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center a Ikhana MQ-9 unmanned aircraft (modified Reaper) flew with an Automated Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B transponder.
It was the first time that an unmanned aircraft the size of the Ikhana with its 66 foot wingspan and 10,000 pounds take off weight has flown using the aircraft tracking device that all aircraft operating in certain U.S. airspace will have to adopt by 2020 to comply with New Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules.
The tests were part of a project named UAS in the NAS which is shortened for the full name of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System.
NASA launched the Ikhana from Dryden and flew it over the Western Aeronautical Test Range, which forms part of Edwards Air Force Base and China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center. This first flight took some three hours and the new equipment was found to have performed well: the ADS-B enabled NASA the ability to gain much more detailed information which would in theory be given to Air Traffic Controllers and airborne pilots in other aircraft equipped with ADS-B flying with the vicinity of the UAV (even if, currently, only air traffic controllers can see all the aircraft broadcasting ADS-B data in a given part of the sky).
Indeed, the ADS-B system uses a special transponder that autonomously broadcasts data from the aircraft’s on-board navigation systems about its GPS-calculated position, altitude and flight path. This information can be received by ground stations, by other nearby aircraft enhancing situational awareness.
This first flight of the ADS-B equipped Ikhana is the first in many planned flights to gain data whilst doing simulated real world tasks. During this first flight and as part of a collaborative effort, FAA’s William J Hughes Technical Centre in Atlantic City, N.J recorded the ADS-B data and will help NASA analyse the performance and accuracy of the system fitted in the aircraft.