The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) 33 safety recommendations stemming from its probe of a US Airways flight focus primarily on improving two main safety areas — bird ingestion engine certification standards and passenger survivability — in a continuing effort to mitigate the hazards of bird strikes.
At its May 4 final hearing, the NTSB outlined the recommendations after its determination of probable cause of the Jan. 15, 2009, ditching accident: The ingestion of large birds into each of the Airbus A320’s engines that led to almost total loss of thrust in each engine. As the aircraft’s underbelly sustained substantial damage in the landing on water, the NTSB outlined factors that contributed to the fuselage damage and resulting underutilization of the aft slide.
Other factors contributing to the damage included FAA’s approval of ditching certification without determining whether pilots could attain ditching parameters without engine power, the lack of industry flight crew training and guidance on ditching techniques, and the captain’s difficulty in maintaining intended airspeed on final due to task saturation.
Recommendations related to powerplants and bird strike ingestion include asking the FAA to work with military, manufacturers and NASA to develop a technology that would inform pilots about operational status of an engine and, once the technology is available, require its implementation on transport-category engines with full-authority digital engine controls.
Click here to read the original article in Aviation Week.