Saturday, March 29, 2014

Skydive Las Vegas acquires Sin City Skydiving

In business since 1993, Skydive Las Vegas operates a PAC 750 out of Boulder City Airport (BVU), about 20 miles southeast of "The Strip". Numerous sources have told me that they recently purchased Sin City Skydiving that operates a C206 out of Jean Nevada which is located about 20 miles south of the strip. 

If you visit the Sin City Skydiving site it states: "Sin City Skydiving is on temporary hiatus at this time. For immediate service, please contact Skydive Las Vegas at 702-SKY-DIVE or visit their website at Blue Skies..."

There is another drop zone, Vegas Extreme Skydiving, operating a PAC 750 out of the same Jean Nevada airport (0L7). It is not known at this time whether Skydive Las Vegas plans on moving their newly acquired company to another airport (ie. North Las Vegas airport), growing it at its current location or simply liquidating it.

It IS known that the two Las Vegas skydiving companies are not the best of friends. So if the two do end up operating out of the same small airport, I foresee at least a couple of arguments and feather ruffling. Hopefully my fellow jump pilots will not get dragged into the drama. I have a feeling this story will have some updates in the near future.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The ATSB has concluded its on-site investigation of the skydiving airplane crash at Caboolture Airfield QLD Australia

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has concluded its on-site investigation concerning a Cessna 206 that crashed on Saturday March 22nd at Caboolture Airfield, Queensland Australia, with a pilot and 4 parachutists on board. Today they released this statement:

Updated: 26 March 2014
"The ATSB team completed its on-site investigation of the accident involving VH-FRT on 25 March 2014. The ATSB has retained several components for further examination. This includes the aircraft’s engine and related components, propeller, various flight control components, some cockpit instruments and parts of the pilot’s seat. The extent to which the ATSB’s examination of the aircraft and components will be able to identify any potential anomalies is limited due to the level of damage that was sustained.
The ATSB has conducted and is analysing a significant number of witness reports. It is also reviewing the aircraft’s maintenance records, operational records for recent flights, and pilot training records. The investigation will also include reviewing potentially-related occurrences to identify if there any common aspects.
A preliminary report is expected within about 30 days of the accident. Should any critical safety issues emerge in the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately bring those issues to the relevant authorities or organisations and publish them as required."
The only photograph that they have released is the one below that shows a small amount of debris and what appears to be a bent propeller in the background.

Friday, March 21, 2014

5 dead in skydiving airplane crash near Brisbane Australia

At approximately 11:30 am local eastern Australian time (Saturday morning) a Cessna 206 with skydivers onboard crashed soon after take off from Caboolture Field near Brisbane Australia. Witnesses said that the airplane veered sharply to the left soon after take off, hitting the ground and bursting into flames. All 5 people onboard died in the crash. It is not clear which skydiving company owned the airplane, there is more than one operating at this field.

Update: According to police the victims were 4 males and 1 female. A male pilot, 2 male skydiving instructors and 2 skydiving customers. The names have not been released yet. 

Bryan Carpenter of Aerodynamic Flight Academy told reporters that, "The Cessna 206 lurched sharply to its left at an altitude of 100 to 200 feet." It is not known what caused the crash. However, according to Mr. Carpenter, "...the engine was delivering power on touch down."

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Blue Angels are back for 2014!

This will be a very busy weekend as far as air shows are concerned. The highlight of this weekends air shows is the NAF El Centro Air Show. The world famous Blue Angels will kick off their year long performance schedule here. If you can not make that air show, don't worry, there will be plenty more and I will be posting every one of them here.

There will be two more west coast shows, the Luke AFB Open House and Air Show and the MCAS Yuma Air Show. Jasper Texas will be having its annual Fly In and Air Show. Titusville Florida will be showcasing lots of warbirds at its Tico Warbird show and the Thunder in the Valley air show will be happening in Columbus Georgia. Have fun everyone!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

When Blades Creep

This is a story that I posted on my other blog Caravan Pilots a couple days ago. Considering that this was a jump plane, I figured that it should be posted here as well.

What happened to the Caravan pictured below?  

Turbine Blade Creep - the movement of a turbine blade from its normal alignment, causing it to strike the casing.  Caused by stress from high temperatures and high centrifugal forces.

When Blades Creep!  It sounds like the title of some horror movie doesn't it?  Well, if you don't know what it is... it just might become the title of your very own horrific day.  Read on and study more.

On June 1st, 2008 Grand Caravan N102VE operated by Skydive Greensburg in Indiana experienced a total loss of engine power.  On its second load of the day, it was climbing through 7,000 feet MSL with 14 skydivers on board when there was a CT (compressor  turbine) failure caused by blade creep.  The pilot reported hearing a loud explosion followed by a metal grinding noise coming from the engine.  The aircraft began to vibrate and then smoke filled the cabin when the pilot began emergency shutdown procedures.

He leveled off at 5,000 feet so that the skydivers could exit, which they all did.  He attempted a forced landing at the airport, however he was too high and fast (a common problem during such situations) and landed in an adjacent cornfield upside down, after the left wing and propeller struck the ground first.  Luckily the pilot and all skydivers survived.

The engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney Canada had issued Service Information Letters (SILs) recommending borescope inspections of the CT blades to look for blade creep and fatigue cracks.  However, the owner of this aircraft said that he was unaware of the SILs and did not perform the inspections.

We as pilots can all learn from this accident.  Do not ever assume that the owner of the airplane that you're flying is in compliance with all of the required Airworthiness Directives AND recommended Service Information Letters.  I know a lot of you had never even heard of a SIL.  Search to see if there are any on record for the airplane that you fly. Stay sharp.... fly safe!

Monday, March 3, 2014

USPA Safety Day 2014

The United States Parachute Association (USPA) designates the second Saturday in March of every year to be its Safety Day and this year that happens to be on March 8th.  Started in 1997, it is the day that all of the USPA drop zones around the country gather up their employees and skydivers to review safety issues.  Many of the skydivers are a little rusty from not jumping much (if at all) during the Winter months and is why it is held at this time of year. 

Various people will speak, including the DZO, DZM, S&TA and Jump Pilot.  If that happens to be you, be sure and write down at least an outline of what you want to speak about.  As pilots we are taught that safety is #1, so do not simply stand up and say a couple words.  Take advantage of the fact that you have everyone's attention on the topic of safety.  Personally, I usually talk about Weight & Balance, Safety Belts, Emergency Procedures (ie. departure/en route climb engine out) and Prop Awareness during hot fueling, to name a few.

The only problem with Safety Day is that it's only one day a year.  If I owned a drop zone we would have safety meetings every month.