Weather satellites equipped to detect emergency locator transmitters helped rescue an estimated 1,500 sailors, hikers, downed pilots and others around the world last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its satellites, along with Russia’s Cospas satellites, form an international search-and-rescue system. NOAA said the 171 U.S.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
Despite the fundamental role of clouds in weather, there is much we don’t know about them. NASA intends to do something about that under a 24-month, satellite-based mission scheduled to launch next year. Called CloudSat, the program is aimed at better understanding how clouds affect climate in terms of their thickness, height, absorption, and water and ice content.
The general aviation and transport aircraft crashworthiness program that NASA has been operating since the 1970s will discontinue several planned and ongoing projects before closing in September, the victim of budget cuts. The facility, located at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., is the site for crashworthiness research of both aluminum and composite airframes.
The NTSB has called for improvements in the way the Transportation Department collects data, including the FAA’s Accident/Incident Data System (AIDS), the Near Midair Collision System (NMACS) and NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS).
Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) of St. Paul, Minn., has received a $600,000 grant from NASA to develop a whole-airplane parachute system for very light jets. The company has identified eight aircraft in various stages of development that could become a market for the product and has agreements to work with three possible manufacturers of jets in the 5,000- to 8,000-lb-mtow, 350-kt-cruise-speed category.
The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) has drawn up a list of security recommendations in a bid to ensure uniform standards at the continent’s FBOs. The recommendations are expected to be included in the association’s new code of practice for business aircraft ground handling when it is published later this year.
Owners and operators of all U.S.-registered Agusta A109E Power helicopters are being required to reduce their tail-rotor blade life limit, as well as reinserting and possibly modifying the tail-rotor hub and grip assembly. Also, Vne for the A109E must be reduced by 28 kt to 140 kt.
Following the release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of aviation runway and ramp safety, several members of Congress called on the FAA to take immediate steps “to address its inattention to runway and taxiway safety.”
“If I talk to ten people, I get ten different versions of what they believe an SMS [Safety Management System] is,” FAA associate administrator of aviation safety Nick Sabatini told attendees at the fourth FAA International Aviation Safety Forum.
A November airline takeoff incident in South Africa, reportedly involving foreign object damage (FOD), has attracted the attention of aviation safety officials worldwide and could be of concern to corporate operators of aircraft with powerful low-slung engines, such as the Boeing BBJ and 757/767 and the Airbus ACJ.