In a bid to dispel apparent confusion over the limits of its regulatory authority over unmanned aerial systems, the FAA on June 23 reminded users that it does possess the authority to regulate radio-controlled model airplanes. Publishing its interpretation of the statutory special rules for model aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the agency said, “The guidance comes after recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team warned rotorcraft pilots to be extra cautious while flying next month because July typically sees more fatal accidents than any other month of the year, usually three or four accidents, representing approximately 13 percent of the annual total. The industry normally records approximately 20 fatal accidents during the rest of the year. The helicopter safety team believes the reasons for these July accidents vary, although the following three primary causes appear to stand out: collisions with wires or trees, mechanical problems and poor weather.
As the aviation sector awaits the FAA’s final rule on the safety management systems (SMS) process, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has looked more closely at the status of SMS implementation, as well as at some of the key challenges the FAA and industry face in completing that implementation. The agency’s air traffic organization is currently the only FAA group that has completed the SMS implementation process, although five other agency organizations are finalizing their efforts.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said in a June 20 report that it was unable to determine the reason why a de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter operated by Kenn Borek Air flew into terrain on January 23 last year during a VFR flight from South Pole Station to Terra Nova Bay. All three people on board perished in the crash. The flight was initially considered overdue after the crew failed to make a required position report.
A female passenger died and three flight attendants were injured on June 24 when unidentified gunmen fired on a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A310 flying at approximately 5,000 feet and carrying 170 passengers. Reports say between four and eight bullets pierced the aircraft’s cabin as it overflew Badhber in the Peshawar region on approach to the local airport.
Asiana Airlines released a statement on June 24 closely following the NTSB’s finding of probable cause for the July 6, 2013 crash of Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. The South Korean airline said, “The NTSB made four training recommendations to Asiana, all of which Asiana has already implemented. We believe the NTSB has properly recognized the multiple factors that contributed to the accident, including the complexities of the autothrottle and autopilot systems, which the agency found were inadequately described by Boeing in its training and operational manuals.”
French air traffic controllers called off their work stoppages three days early on June 25 just as Belgian controllers launched a series of two-hour strikes that ran through June 26. The Association of European Airlines said in a statement, “The reason for this social unrest is linked to the self-interest of the unions, which refuse to accept much needed efficiency improvements to their working practices.” Nearly 400 flights in Europe were affected by the strikes on Wednesday alone.
Australian officials have once again amended the search area for the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 missing since March 8. “Specialists have analyzed satellite communications information–information that was never initially intended to have the capability to track an aircraft–and performed extremely complex calculations,” said Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. “The new priority area is still focused on the seventh arc, where the aircraft last communicated with a satellite. We are now shifting our attention to an area farther south along the arc based on these calculations.”
Two pilots of a Boeing 757 were reported to be temporarily blinded on June 25 as their cockpit was hit with a green laser while the aircraft was descending into Omsk in southern Siberia. The pilots believed the laser was aimed upward from a city street about three miles from the airport. The aircraft landed safely, with no permanent injuries to anyone aboard.
The sight of a building badly dented by the right wingtip of an Airbus A380 as the aircraft taxied at Le Bourget Airport ahead of the 2011 Paris Air Show emphasized the challenge posed by ground obstacles to pilots navigating around unfamiliar airports. Honeywell Aerospace seeks to address the problem through an innovative adaptation of its enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). The new Passive Wingtip Protection System (PWPS), which has based on an upgrade to the EGPWS software, is now under development at the group’s facility in Redmond, Wash.