ON THE FLY
CESSNA SETS TIME
FOR "LSA CONCEPT" UNVEILING
Cessna will roll out its brand-new, never-before-seen proof-of-concept Light Sport Aircraft at 9:30 Monday morning, July 24, 2006, right in the center of AeroShell Square. Later that day, company bigwigs will hold a news conference to address Cessna's activity regarding the LSA market, plans to create a new line of propeller aircraft (the rumored "Cirrus-killer" project?), and an update on the FAA certification progress for the six-seat Citation Mustang bizjet.
Photo of the concept may appear in the next website update.
The NTSB said last week its investigation into 11 recent aircraft accidents -- 10 involving apparent controlled flight into terrain and one involving a midair collision -- has raised "serious concern" about the FAA's effectiveness in ensuring that air traffic controllers properly respond to imminently hazardous situations.
In several of the accidents, alert systems provided timely warning of impending conflicts with terrain and aircraft, but controllers did not provide safety alerts to pilots. In other accidents, the alert systems themselves were ineffective. Some accidents occurred when, in the absence of automated alerts, controllers did not use available information to identify and warn pilots of hazardous situations, the NTSB said.
The 11 accidents under review occurred between December 2002 and February 2006. The most recent one involved a Cessna 172RG and a 182Q that collided in flight about 3 miles south of Gillespie Field Airport in El Cajon, Calif., killing all three on board. Radar replay data indicates that the aural conflict-alert alarm at the Southern California TRACON activated twice and a continuous visual alert was displayed on the scope. The pilots were not provided with traffic advisories or a safety alert. Controllers told the NTSB they didn't hear or see a conflict alert at any time before the accident. The investigation is ongoing.
MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (LAMA) TO OFFER LSA "SEAL OF APPROVAL"
If the new Light Sport Aircraft rules leave it up to manufacturers to certify that their airplanes comply with the required standards, how much confidence should buyers place in those products? They can go by company reputation and their own personal assessment, but soon they'll have another option as well. The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) is offering to audit manufacturers and verify that they are in compliance with their stated quality-assurance standards. If the standards are being met, the manufacturer can put a sticker on every aircraft to show that it's been checked by a third party. LAMA will unveil more details about the program next week at AirVenture.