13 September 2010

ATR-42-200 Accident in Venezuela

Picture: ImageShack

A ConViasa flight from Porlamar-island (ICAO code KPMV) to Puerto Ordaz airport (ICAO:n koodi SVPR) in Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, had an accident 6 miles from the destination. Of 43 passangers and 4 crew members at least 23 have survived.

Conviasa was founded in 2004 and it operates 15 aircraft, the flag ship is the sole Airbus A340-200.

Before today's accident ConViasa had already one previous fatal accident in 2007, in which their Boeing 737 (YV102T) flew into terrain while on approach to Caracas. In that accident two crew members and one passenger were killed. The accident was a CFIT, controlled flight into terrain. The flight had gone outside the approach procedure's protected zone by executing a base turn late and hit a side of a vulcano.

ConViasa is owned by the government and was founded as a successor for the previous Venezuelan State-owned airline, Viasa, that went bust in 1997. The founding was done on the orders of the colourful president Hugo Chavez. ConViasa is keeping a good comapany otherwise as well, it is code sharing with Aeroflot, Iran Air and Cubana.

Viasa flew from 1960 and it had a fairly good safety record, a couple of major accidents during the 60's but after those things had gone without major mishaps.

24 August 2010

Nepal DO228 Accident

Video is from Nepal TV and the aircraft is the Dornier DO228, 9N-AHE.

This morning's accident to an Agni Air flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (Tenzing-Hillary) airport is again a reminder of how difficult flying conditions in Nepal are, and how little the flights receive in a form of ATM services.

Lukla airport is at an altitude of 9380 FT. Its runway is 1729 FT long and about 66 FT wide with bitumen surface. It is inclined by about 12 %. There are no instrument landing system at Lukla and in fact only possible system would be based on GNSS, but there are no GNSS procedures designed for Lukla or any other airport in Nepal. The main reason seems to be an old-fashioned inclination against other than conventional navaids.

Tne Nepalese surveillance system is not much better, there is an PSR/SSR station in Katmandu Valley but its coverage is hampered by the local terrain and is usefol only within a very small area around the Katmandu TIA International Airport and, therefore, its use is very limited even within the Kathmandu TMA, e.g. ATC are not allowed to vector traffic at all.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Nepal (CAAN) are in a process of improving their NAV and SUR services and may be also looking at possibilities to utilise GNSS (SBAS and/or GBAS augmentation) and ADS-B systems (Mode S ES). A basic GPS has been mandated in Nepal (no official IFR procedures), but all the domestic flights are still equipped with Mode A/C transponders only. But there is a very strong willingness within the CAAN and the pilot community to move forward with modernisation.