The House aviation subcommittee cleared legislation yesterday that would force the FAA to follow established rulemaking processes before implementing a new requirement that some pilots be screened for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before receiving a medical certificate. The bill, H.R. 3578, was introduced on November 21 by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), chairman of the Transportation Committee’s aviation subcommittee.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
Under a new partnership announced yesterday, Argus’s charter aircraft operator ratings and search filtering are now part of CharterPad’s online charter marketplace. CharterPad is also increasing the number of Argus-rated operators in its system, with nearly half of all such operators having joined CharterPad. Besides the Argus ratings, CharterPad’s main dashboard also includes a link directly to the aviation services company’s TripCheq system, which provides charter customers with a comprehensive analysis of a company’s credentials specific to a trip.
Even as researchers study ways to improve detection of in-flight icing and make airframes and engines more resistant to icing conditions, they continue to struggle to understand the icing phenomenon–especially the formation of ice crystals–according to speakers at a conference on the subject organized by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne, Germany recently. Ice-prevention techniques present their own challenges, which aircraft makers, airports and ground handlers are endeavoring to solve.
The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.
Boeing and GE have warned companies operating Boeing 747-8 and 787 airliners powered by certain versions of General Electric’s GEnx engines about the risk of in-flight internal-engine icing that can reduce engine performance if aircraft wander too close to areas of significant precipitation, like thunderstorms at high altitudes. Engine models affected are the GEnx-2B on the 747-8 and the GEnx-1B on the 787 Dreamliner.
NetJets is installing the Tempus IC system–a lightweight device that connects cabin crew to ground medical facilities through the aircraft’s satellite telephone system–aboard its midsize and large-cabin fleet of business aircraft. According to a NetJets spokesperson, some of the company’s current in-service fleet of Bombardier Global 5000s and 6000s already have the Tempus equipment installed and an additional number of the fractional ownership provider’s Globals, as well as its Challenger 350s and 605s, are being fitted with the system.
The NTSB opened an investigation last week into why a Boeing Dreamlifter 747-400 mistakenly landed at Wichita’s Jabara Airport on November 20, rather than its intended destination, McConnell Air Force Base some eight miles farther south. The audio between the McConnell tower and the freighter reveals the state of the crew’s disorientation, even after the aircraft was safely on the ground. The Atlas Air crew operating the aircraft for Boeing contacted the McConnell tower to signal its intent to use the Rnav GPS approach to Runway 19 Left.
The FAA is reminding aircraft operators through a special airworthiness information bulletin– NOTC5068, issued November 22–about a few idiosyncrasies to keep in mind when updating aircraft navigational databases. “The cyclical updates may exclude certain navigation data, including approach procedures, which makes this information unavailable for selection on the aircraft flight management system or navigation equipment,” warned the bulletin.
There were no survivors among the 34 people on board a Mozambique Airlines Embraer E190 that crashed in Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park on November 29. The aircraft was en route from the Mozambique capital Maputo to Luanda, Angola, where it was due to land at 2:10 p.m. local time. Embraer dispatched a technical team to the crash site, where accident investigators started work on November 30.
International Air Transport Association director general and CEO Tony Tyler has said that over the past decade the aggregate safety results for airlines adhering to the association’s Operational Safety Audit standard are superior to those of carriers that do not use the system. His remarks came at last week’s annual African Airlines Association general assembly in Mombasa, Kenya. Tyler also said in 2012 there was not a single hull loss of a Western-built airplane by any of IATA’s 25 African member airlines.