Monday, January 24, 2011

Explosion rocks Moscow's Domodedovo Airport

by B. N. Sullivan

A large explosion rocked the international  arrivals hall at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport (DME) earlier today, January 24, 2011.  Local officials say that the blast, which was caused by a suicide bomber, killed at least 35 people and left more than 100 injured.

Amateur video and photos shot on site showed a grisly scene, with bodies and body parts strewn about, and heavy smoke hanging in the air. has posted links to several photos from inside the Domodedovo Terminal.

Air traffic at DME was disrupted immediately after the bombing.  Some flights were diverted to Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, or to St. Petersburg.  Other en route flights returned to their departure cities.

Here is a news video about the incident, posted on YouTube by Russia Today:

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SkyWest Airlines fined $359,000 for alleged violations of FAA regulations

by B. N. Sullivan

Today, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced proposed civil penalties (i.e, fines) against SkyWest Airlines, Inc. The FAA proposed fines totaling $359,000 for three separate alleged violations of Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA press release explains:
The FAA proposed a penalty of $220,000 for alleged failure to document heavy checked bags, motorized mobility aids and a heavy shipment carried in the cargo compartment of the company’s passenger aircraft.  As a result, the company operated the aircraft on five flights between April 21 and May 25, 2010 with incorrect weight and balance data.  The FAA alleges the violations occurred because the carrier’s employees failed to follow required procedures for documenting cargo carried on revenue passenger flights.

The other two proposed civil penalties are for allegedly operating two Bombardier Regional Jet aircraft when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

In the first case, a proposed civil penalty of $70,500, the FAA alleges SkyWest employees failed to follow the company’s Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program (CAMP) and the Bombardier maintenance and inspection manual during five attempts by mechanics to correct an avionics system cooling problem on one aircraft.  SkyWest operated the aircraft on at least five revenue passenger flights between July 15 and 21, 2009 when it was not in compliance.

In the second case, the FAA is proposing a civil penalty of $68,500, alleging SkyWest operated another Bombardier jet on eight revenue passenger flights between May 30 and June 1, 2010 when it was not in compliance with regulations.  The FAA alleges SkyWest mechanics failed to follow procedures required in the airline’s CAMP when replacing the right air conditioning pack’s pressure-regulating and shutoff valve.
SkyWest, which is headquartered in St. George, Utah, has 30 days to respond to the FAA.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Video: Two years after ditching in the Hudson River, 'Sully' reflects

by B. N. Sullivan

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the historic, successful ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.  Now retired, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who was in command of that Airbus A320 on January 15, 2009, reflects on what he calls the "experience of a lifetime."

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube

Thanks to the Associated Press for posting the video on YouTube.

Click here to view all the posts about US Airways Flight 1549 on Aircrew Buzz.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Delta Air Lines planning to purchase hundreds of new aircraft

by B. N. Sullivan

Big news today: Delta Air Lines plans to acquire hundreds of new aircraft.  According to a Bloomberg article about the planned aircraft purchase, Delta "plans to order 100 to 200 narrow-body jets and seek options for 200 more, a possible record purchase."

Presumably the new planes will replace Delta's older DC-9, Boeing 757-200, and Airbus A320 aircraft.  The new planes would be used on domestic routes.

From the Bloomberg article:
Delta will consider “large, medium and small” narrow-body jets, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said yesterday in a separate weekly recorded message to employees.

“It’s important we take a very long-term view of our fleet,” Anderson said.
Speculation is that Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier all may be asked to submit proposals for the order.  This could be the largest single aircraft purchase to date by any commercial airline.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Crew among fatalities in Iran Air Boeing 727 crash in Iran

by B. N. Sullivan

An Iran Air Boeing 727-200 aircraft (registration EP-IRP) has crashed in northwestern Iran, in Azerbaijan province, killing more than 70 of those on board, including all  crew members.  Iran Air Flight IR 277 from Tehran-Mehrabad (THR) reportedly crashed into mountainous terrain following a missed approach at Urmia (Orumiyeh) Airport (OMH).  The accident happened on January 9, 2011 at about 19:45 local time.

The exact number of people on board Flight IR 277 is unclear.   An accident post on the Aviation Safety Network website says, "ISNA quotes the Roads and Transportation Secretary stating there were 94 passengers and eleven crew members on board. Fars News Agency reports 93 passengers and twelve crew members."

A BBC News article about the accident, quoting Iran's Fars news agency, says there were 33 survivors.

The same BBC article quoted a Red Crescent official who said that "the plane had broken into several pieces, but there was no explosion or fire."

The weather at Urmia Airport was said to be poor at the time of the accident.

UPDATE:  The Aviation Herald reports:
Iran's Transport Ministry said, that there was no emergency.  According to tower tapes the pilot aborted the approach when he could not establish visual contact with the runway at decision height and went around indicating they wanted to return to Tehran.  33 people have been taken to hospitals, 73 have perished.
METARS (via the Aviation Herald):

OITR 091800Z 29004KT 0500 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091750Z 29004KT 0500 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091700Z 33004KT 0600 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091650Z 33004KT 0600 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091600Z 26004KT 0800 SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016

OITR 091550Z 26004KT 0800 SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091500Z 24006KT 0800 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1015

The Associated Press posted this video clip about the Iran Air accident on YouTube.

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

American Airlines Boeing 757-200 runway overrun at Jackson Hole, Wyoming

by B. N. Sullivan

Earlier today,  an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 (registration N668AA) overran runway 19 at Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), Jackson, Wyoming.   The aircraft, operating as American Airlines Flight 2253, had just landed at Jackson following a flight from Chicago O'Hare International Airport.  According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there were no injuries among the 181 passengers and crew on board.  No damage to the aircraft has been reported.

The NTSB, which has begun an investigation of the incident, said in a statement that the aircraft  "came to a rest in hard packed snow about 350 feet beyond the runway overrun area." 

There was no emergency evacuation.  Passengers deplaned using stairs.

The incident occurred at about 11:38 AM local time (18:38Z), December 29, 2010.  It was snowing at the time of the incident.


KJAC 291843Z 24010KT 1SM -SN BKN004 OVC019 M03/M06 A2913
KJAC 291751Z 22007KT 3/4SM -SN BKN004 OVC010 M04/M06 A2915

UPDATE: has published a number of photos related to this incident.  (Hat tip to @Heather_Poole for posting the link on Twitter.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

FAA-Approved Santa ready to line up and wait

Watch out for this guy if you're flying tonight.  Looks like he's at Max Takeoff Weight.  You can track Santa's progress around the globe with the NORAD Santa Tracker.

FAA approved Santa

Happy Holidays to Aircrew Buzz readers around the world, and for the New Year I wish all of you blue skies, smooth air, tailwinds, and happy landings.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FAA fines Continental Airlines and American Eagle for maintenance issues

by B. N. Sullivan

FAA logoThe U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed civil penalties -- i.e., fines -- against both Continental Airlines and American Eagle Airlines for operating passenger aircraft that were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

A $275,000 fine is proposed against Continental for operating two non-compliant Boeing 737-900ER aircraft on 73 flights.
The FAA alleges Continental mechanics failed to follow the 737 Airplane Maintenance Manual when they installed incorrect main landing gear wheel-tire assemblies on two aircraft and released them for service on Nov. 7 and 19, 2009.

The manual contains specific instructions to mechanics not to use wheel-tire assemblies intended for the B-737-700, -800 and -900 on the heavier B-737-900ER.  The manual says using the incorrect assemblies on the heavier version of the B-737 might lead to damage to the aircraft or injury to people working on and around the aircraft.
A fine of $330,000 is proposed against American Eagle for operating a non-compliant Embraer 135 aircraft on 12 revenue passenger flights.
The FAA alleges American Eagle mechanics failed to note broken passenger seats and armrests on two aircraft during a Dec. 18, 2008 inspection and did not follow the approved maintenance manual instructions during those inspections.  FAA inspectors discovered seats on two aircraft that would not raise and stow into the upright and locked position for takeoffs and landings.  FAA inspectors also found damaged center arm rests that would not stow in the upright and locked position.

The FAA further alleges that American Eagle used one of the aircraft on 12 revenue passenger flights between the inspection and eventual repair of the seats and armrests.  The other aircraft did not fly again until the airline completed the required work.
The airlines have 30 days to respond to the FAA.