The first 100-percent civil biofuel flight, conducted on October 29 in a Falcon 20, showed that the fuel is cleaner and just as efficient as conventional jet-A, according to results released by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. Information collected in flight and analyzed by the NRC revealed a 50-percent reduction in aerosol emissions.
Regulations and Government
News about bills, laws, regulations and other governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace. Topics include FAA reauthorizations, taxes on fuel and aviation activities, environmental legislation, ICAO decisions, governmental mediation of labor conflicts and World Trade Organization disputes and decisions.
The line has sharpened between airlines and labor groups over the FAA’s decision to exclude all-cargo operations from its new, stricter pilot flight duty rule, scheduled to take effect in January next year. Airlines for America (A4A), the trade organization representing major U.S. airlines, issued a statement on January 7 reaffirming its support of the duty rule as published and urging Congress to reject new legislation that would change the rule to include all-cargo carriers.
Despite his rhetoric during a presidential debate that “corporate jets” should not get tax breaks, President Obama signed a bill–the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012–last week that extends the 50-percent accelerated depreciation for capital goods, notably including business aircraft, through the end of this year.
Missouri senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat) hit the nail on the head when she wrote to the FAA about easing rules on the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) in aircraft. Her letter seeks to have the FAA reconsider restrictions on PEDs, citing as one example the fact that many airline pilots are now using switched-on iPads during taxi, takeoff and landing without any problems.
The U.S. Congress has passed legislation that delays the threatened automatic cuts in federal government spending by two months until March 1, sparing for now a $55 billion reduction in the Department of Defense (DOD) budget for the current fiscal year. That budget currently stands at $552 billion, after the Congress authorized the Fiscal Year 2013 spending bill late last month. The President signed the defense authorization bill on January 3.
The UK’s National Grid Electricity Transmission recently took delivery of a Bell 429 that it will use for inspection and maintenance of power lines. It is equipped with an operator workstation in the cabin featuring the SyQuest 20-inch HD display, MX-10 control unit, HD Nano Flash recorder, USB hub ports and a keyboard.
Erickson Air-Crane has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire 14 helicopters and associated personnel and assets from HRT Participacoes em Petroleo (HRT). The deal requires Erickson Air-Crane to provide operational services, including both cargo and passenger transport, to HRT in the Amazon under a three-year renewable contract. Erickson traditionally had focused its efforts on building, selling, servicing and operating heavy-lift S-64 Aircranes. Erickson CEO Udo Rieder said the agreement provides “an excellent path to diversification and growth.”
England and Wales have begun consolidating local police air assets into the new National Police Air Service (NPAS) to provide a national, borderless service making use of the nearest aircraft. The 24-hour air service will operate 28 aircraft from 23 locations and be able to reach “98 percent of the population of England and Wales within 20 minutes.” The British government hopes the NPAS program will save up to £15 million ($24 million) a year. The service is being implemented regionally, and the consolidation is expected to be complete by January 2015.
AgustaWestland’s new eight-ton medium-heavy twin recently completed high/hot testing in Arizona, Colorado and Texas and now heads north. The company expects certification in this year’s second half. AgustaWestland has logged orders for approximately 60 of the new helicopters, primarily from the oil and gas market.
Australian operator Newcastle Helicopters has plans to launch a floating heliport in Sydney’s harbor in the middle of this year. The powered, flat-top vessel will feature two helipad sites, aircraft storage, refueling facilities and meeting rooms.
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