Aircraft News August 2005.


Experts see no link among recent airline crashes. There are no obvious links among four plane crashes which have occurred within the past month, safety experts said. The accidents have killed more than 320 people. No one died in the crash of an Air France jet in Toronto. "Rare events can clump together -- there's an old wives' tale that accidents come in threes," said George Donahue, a former Federal Aviation Administration official who is now a professor at George Mason University. "I can't tell you that I think there's any kind of common thread." Aug 25, 2005

Japan hopes to test supersonic jet next month. Japan hopes to resume testing of a successor to the retired supersonic Concorde as early as next month. Japan's space agency will test the plane over the Australian outback. The jet is designed to fly at twice the speed of sound. If the test is successful, Japan will conduct more experiments. Its goal is to build a plane that can fly 300 passengers from Tokyo to Los Angeles in four hours. Aug 24, 2005

Black boxes remain best option for cockpit data, regulators say. Despite some limitations, black boxes remain the best option for storing cockpit information, the National Transportation Safety Board said. A new series of black boxes are more likely to stay intact after a crash, the board said. Meanwhile, Greek officials investigating a crash on Sunday still have not recovered one of the two black boxes containing important flight data. An alternative to the black box is a communications network that would beam data back to the ground every few seconds. However, U.S. officials say the cost of a reliable system is too high. Aug 19, 2005

Concorde may be history but that does not mean the end of supersonic passenger flights. Around the world various agencies are working on Mach 2 plus projects and last week news came from Japan that their arrow shaped unmanned development aircraft is expected to be launched at the at Australia's Woomera test range sometime after 15 September. Three years back the original prototype crashed on test. Japan, whose aerospace industry has always taken a backseat to other industrial enterprises, is keen to be seen as the leader of what is an international project. The planned aircraft is a 300-seater which could fly Tokyo - Los Angeles in just four hours. 2020 is the target date for airline introduction. Aug 19, 2005

More than 300 U.S. runways lack appropriate overrun, report says. More than 300 runways at U.S. commercial airports do not have enough overrun space to help avoid accidents, writes The Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney. Airports are not required to retrofit runways that do not have the 1,000 feet of overrun area currently required by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is encouraging airports to install a mix of water, foam and cement that can quickly stop jets if they skid off a runway. The FAA says the material is an acceptable alternative to a full runway overrun. Aug 16, 2005

Air France probe finds jet landed too far down runway. An investigation into the Air France plane crash is looking to the pilots for answers on why the aircraft was landed halfway down the runway in heavy rain conditions, instead of circling the area to land safely. One expert familiar with preliminary data from the ground radar said the aircraft accelerated briefly after landing in a half attempt to circle, but the Transportation Safety Board team is still looking at data from the black boxes. Aug 8, 2005

Investigators look at failed chutes in Toronto crash. Officials are investigating why two escape chutes failed to inflate properly after an Air France plane skidded off the runway and crashed last week in Toronto. Investigators also are looking at why the pilot attempted a relatively short landing in bad weather. Aug 9, 2005

American, French investigators join accident investigation. French and American investigators have joined their Canadian counterparts in examining wreckage, the weather conditions at the time and the pilot's actions in Tuesday's accident where an Airbus A340 skidded off the runway in Toronto. An official report won't be available right away, but The International Herald Tribune writes the inquiry is likely to focus on the pilot's decision to land at Toronto Pearson International Airport rather than circle until the weather improved or land at an alternate airport. Some aviation experts said the crash could have been avoided if the Toronto airport had installed a new kind of concrete at the end of its runways, The Washington Post reports. Aug 5, 2005

Canadian officials start investigating Air France incident. Canada's Transportation Safety Board has started investigating the crash of an Air France jetliner earlier this week at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Investigators have recovered the plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. The plane overran a runway during a thunderstorm. All of the more than 300 passengers and crew members survived the incident. Aug 4, 2005

Air France jetliner skids off runway; all aboard survive. An Air France jumbo jet skidded off a runway during a thunderstorm and broke into pieces Tuesday afternoon in Toronto. The Airbus A340-300 caught on fire, but all of the more than 300 passengers and crew members survived. Only minor injuries were reported. Still, the accident shows why stopping a loaded jetliner on a wet runway in poor weather remains a serious danger for commercial airlines. Runway issues may now get more scrutiny from regulators in the process of certifying the Airbus 380 superjumbo jet. Aug 3, 2005

U.S. says U.K. aid to Airbus could undermine subsidy talks. The White House said negotiations to end a dispute over aircraft subsidies could be hurt if the U.K. gives Airbus financial...

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