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FAA MANDATES ALTITUDE ALERT FOR COMMUTER AIRCRAFT

 FAA MANDATES ALTITUDE ALERT FOR COMMUTER AIRCRAFT
 WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Aviation


Administration (FAA) today issued a final regulation requiring all turbo-prop airplanes with 10 or more seats to be equipped with ground proximity warning systems.
 A ground proximity warning system sounds an alarm to alert the flight crew when an aircraft that is not in a landing configuration (with flaps and wheels down) flies too close to the ground.
 The FAA has required the devices on large jet aircraft since 1974 and on small jets since 1978.
 The rule, which will primarily affect commuter aircraft, is the result of a study of accidents in which fully qualified crews have flown into the ground with no apparent awareness of impending disaster until it was too late to avoid it.
 The study was conducted by the Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. It showed that 64 percent of the 25 accidents between 1970 and 1988 involving altitude control might have been prevented if the aircraft in the crashes had been equipped with the warning systems and the crew responded to a warning.
 In addition, the safety board attributed six other commuter airplane accidents between January 1987 and January 1990 to lack of a ground proximity warning device.
 Warning devices were not previously required on turbo-prop aircraft because it was generally believed that such aircraft had a greater ability to respond quickly in emergency situations. But the FAA's data now indicate that the warning devices would enhance safety on these planes.
 Under the rule, aircraft must be equipped with an approved warning device within two years of its effective date. Operators of planes that have alternative "advisory" systems will have four years before the change is required. The regulation, according to the FAA, will affect 837 aircraft currently operating and cost an estimated $14,600 each.
 -0- 3/17/92
 /CONTACT: J. Sloane of the Federal Aviation Administration, 202-267-8521/ CO: Federal Aviation Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: AIR SU:


SB-DC -- DC027 -- 8910 03/17/92 16:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 17, 1992
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