It’s wrong to label safety a priority, according to Merlin Preuss, vice president of government and legislative affairs for the Canadian Business Aviation Association. “That’s because it’s much too easy to change priorities as the world evolves,” he told last month’s Business Aviation Safety Seminar in Montreal (BASS).
AINsafety » May 13, 2013
Pilots and controllers at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Memphis International (MEM) and Houston Intercontinental (HOU) may soon take part in operational testing of a new reduced-separation standard between aircraft departing on parallel runways during crosswind conditions. For the wake turbulence mitigation for departures (WTMD) procedure one of the aircraft must weigh more than 300,000 pounds (categorized as “heavy”) and weather conditions must remain at least basic VFR with a 1,000-foot ceiling and three statute miles visibility.
Despite improved crew rest stations on airline and business aviation aircraft today, concerns about pilot fatigue will never disappear entirely. In association with NBAA, California-based fatigue specialists Alertness Solutions has developed for flight departments a downloadable guide called The Alert Crew. It outlines the top issues time-zone-jumping crewmembers should regularly consider to remain at peak performance.
At first glance, some pilots might consider Aviation Tutorials’ new Getting Around on the Ground software as a bit too basic to be useful for professional aviators. After testing the system for a few hours, however, this AIN editor now believes that it has plenty of substance and value.
The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) released a report last week on FAA efforts to assume a more risk-based approach in overseeing nearly 4,800 repair stations used around the world by U.S. air carriers. “While the FAA developed a risk assessment process to aid repair station inspectors in identifying areas of greatest concern,” the report said, “its oversight continues to emphasize completing mandatory inspections instead of targeting resources where they are needed based on risk.”
A U.S. District Court jury in Spokane, Wash., convicted commercial pilot Paul Roessler of flying an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol. Roessler was arrested following an April 2012 flight when air traffic controllers in the Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center and Spokane Tower reported the pilot demonstrated some questionable behavior. In one incident, he failed to contact the center via radio during his flight and upon arrival in the terminal area lined up with the wrong runway.
The FAA adopted an airworthiness directive for Eurocopter Deutschland MBB-Kawasaki BK117C2 helicopters requiring inspection of the long tail-rotor drive shaft assembly for blind rivets. If any blind rivets are located, the shaft assembly must be replaced. The AD was prompted by the discovery that some helicopters have blind rivets installed in place of solid rivets, which could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
The Washington Dulles Airport Runway Action Safety Team is inviting potential new members to attend its next meeting, to be held on May 23 at 1 p.m. in Terminal B’s In-Transit lounge. Airport tenants, FBO employees, pilots and airport operations and maintenance personnel are invited to help develop new procedures to enhance airside surface safety. The FAA’s Rick Pope would appreciate an RSVP.
Last summer the FAA demanded American Airlines pay $162.4 million for a number of maintenance violations at both American and its regional affiliate, American Eagle. On Thursday, the agency agreed to settle with American for $24.9 million to wipe the slate clean, based on the efforts the airline made to resolve the outstanding maintenance issues.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is pushing for clearer information on the state of FAA facilities. To set the stage for a new study of FAA facilities, the GAO said, “Our preliminary analyses indicate that as of February [this year] FAA-staffed facilities are generally in fair to good condition based on their facility condition indices.