Drive starts to reduce controlled flight into terrain by smaller and lighter aircraft

The Australian Air Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is recommending that Australia reviews its terrain awareness warning system (TAWS) requirements for turbine-powered aircraft below 5,700kg (12,500lb) and for helicopters to reduce controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents.

The move comes hot on the heels of a US National Trans­portation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation that TAWS should be mandated in helicopters that carry six passengers or more (Flight International, 14-20 March).

The ATSB recommendation follows a number of CFIT accidents in the country over the past 10 years and the bureau’s investigation of the July 2004 CFIT crash of a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne at Benalla, Victoria, which resulted in the deaths of five passengers and the pilot. The aircraft was on a private flight from Sydney Bankstown when it went off course and crashed in cloud-covered terrain. The aircraft was not fitted with TAWS and was not required to be equipped.

The ATSB recommends that Australian requirements are reviewed in light of international standards. Australian regulations require aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of more than 15,000kg, or carrying 10 or more passengers on regular public transport or charter operations, to be fitted with an approved ground proximity warning system. Aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 5,700kg or less, but carrying 10 or more passengers, are required to have a TAWS B+ system – one that is equipped with a visual display. The ATSB says there are more than 200 Australian registered turboprops with a seating capacity of less than 10 that are currently not required to have TAWS.

In the USA, all turbine-powered US-registered aircraft with six or more passenger seats and manufactured after 29 March 2002, have to be fitted with an approved TAWS, while those manufactured before this date had until 29 March 2005 to comply. The NTSB now recommends that the FAA should mandate TAWS in all turbine-powered helicopters with six or more passenger seats. Such a requirement in Australia would affect 86 helicopters, says the ATSB.


Source: Flight International