NTSB Reports on Airplane Accidents Caused by Wildlife

Much is made in the news about terrorist attacks on airplanes, of course with good reason. But there are other, somewhat “hairier” things that can also take a plane down (no pun intended). Take a look at these two reports from the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board):

http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief.aspx?ev_id=20130911X64815&key=1

In the first incident, the NTSB reports that a plane was attempting to land on a small airport runway, when a deer ran onto the pavement right toward the oncoming plane. The pilot attempted to climb, but couldn’t accomplish it before the deer struck and substantially damaged the left horizontal stabilizer. The pilot was able to stop without further incident, and no mention is made of what happened to the deer.

For an incident like this, the NTSB didn’t send an investigator, but depended upon reports from the FAA and the pilot to make its determination: The probable cause(s) of this accident—An inadvertent collision with a deer during landing. This raises the question of whether or not the airport should have had a fence, however, no fence could have prevented what happened in the next incident.

The second reported incident took place between a student pilot and our national bird, the bald eagle. According to the flight instructor, the plane was 1,000 feet above the ground when the eagle hit the right horizontal stabilizer. The instructor immediately took over and landed at the nearest airport. He reported that the rudder controls were impaired on final approach, but he managed to land without incident. Again, nothing was mentioned as to what happened to the bald eagle.

However, the plane showed a large indentation on the right horizontal stabilizer with bird feathers embedded in it. The tail cone was shoved upward into contact with the rudder, which had impeded the rudder’s movement.

For those of you unfamiliar with NTSB, it’s an independent branch of the government charged with advancing transportation safety. The NTSB’s mandate is to investigate every civil aviation accident, as well as major accidents in other types of transportation, including train accidents, marine accidents, and even pipeline accidents. They attempt to determine the probable causes and issue recommendations for safety improvements that could prevent future accidents.

Click here for more information about the NTSB.

California Police Departments Testing Cost-Effective Electric Motorcycles

USA Today reports that more police departments are trying out electric motorcycles. According to an article posted on Oct. 30, 2013, the San Mateo California police department has purchased one Zero electric motorcycle. San Mateo is joining several other California police departments in the San Francisco Bay Area in trying out the new, recently-developed motorcycle. It’s supposed to have various advantages over its gas fueled competitors, including, of course, a much lower cost to run. The bikes were specifically designed for law enforcement agencies, and are reported to be highly maneuverable in traffic. Their battery holds enough of a charge to last a police officer’s entire shift. According to Zero’s vice president, John Lloyd, “Police Departments are continuing to select Zero Motorcycles to be added to their fleets because the motorcycles have been developed from the ground up to meet the requirements of law enforcement agencies around the world.” For more information about Zero and their innovative line of products, click here. They have a compelling infographic titled, TOP 15 THINGS YOU’LL NEVER DO AGAIN. One of them is pump gas. Take a look here. Perhaps the most impressive advantage of these vehicles is that they cost about a penny per mile to run! In these days of ever-rising gas prices, that can’t be beat.  San Mateo’s Deputy Chief praised the Zero in a public statement, saying, “The Zero Police Motorcycle provides the solution that allows our officers to provide security without the intrusive odors and loud noises of traditional police motorcycles.” No one can argue with the idea of less intrusive odors on our nations roadways, but the loud noises the Deputy Chief referred to are one of the aspects of motorcycles that may keep a cyclist safer on the road. It’s been shown that car drivers frequently fail to see motorcyclists, because they are so much smaller, and this leads to accidents. Because of their quietness, electric motorcycles have created a fair amount of controversy. What impact will their introduction onto our roadways have in terms of automobile versus motorcycle accidents? We’ll talk more about this in our next post, so stay tuned.

Veritech Expands Accident Reconstruction Capabilities

PRESS RELEASE Engineers at Veritech Consulting Engineering expand the firm’s competencies in the newest accident reconstruction technologies including Crash Data Retrieval analysis and Heavy Vehicle EDR use. Castle Rock, CO – Veritech Consulting Engineering continues to stay on the forefront of technological advances in accident reconstruction techniques through ongoing training and certification programs. Two of the principal engineers at Veritech completed advanced data analysis courses in the fourth quarter to keep the firm on the leading edge of motor vehicle accident reconstruction technology.