While Chinese airspace is becoming more flexible for general aviation operators, the pace of improvements is still slow. At the August 23 opening of the China Low-Altitude Economy Summit in Shenyang, a Chinese air traffic control official told the China Daily newspaper, “A series of reforms to the airspace will be coming over the next five to 10 years to help stimulate the fledgling general aviation industry.” Unfortunately, the official was speaking only about altitudes below 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).
The FAA plans to decommission the remaining 29 direction finders (DF) in Alaska unless the aviation industry raises specific objections. DF, first used before World War II, performs one simple function: telling its operator which direction a transmitted radio signal is strongest. A skilled DF operator could pinpoint the location of a lost aircraft. DF steers, as they’re called, have saved thousands of lives over the past 80 years. But now, replaced by more accurate technologies such as GPS and ADS-B, DF is seldom used.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced on August 23 that new cracks have been identified in the Airbus A380 airliner. These cracks are located in areas different from those found earlier this year. The new cracks appeared on an inboard wing bracket, and the EASA believes they could cause the failed part to separate from the aircraft in flight.
Now that the Pilots Bill of Rights is law, the FAA has updated Notice 8900.195 to reflect the requirement to provide certain written notifications to airmen who are the subject of an investigation relating to a certificate suspension, revocation or modification action or the approval or denial of a certificate. The new law also means the FAA must hand over copies of some ATC materials–transcripts, radar data and recordings–to allow these airmen to build a better defense.
Drew Henderson, a former airline pilot and now a graduate student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is searching for active airline pilots around Washington D.C. to take part in a short research study to help develop new cockpit display standards.The study involves a short, laptop-based flight simulation and a questionnaire.Contact him at email@example.com or (703) 400-8049.
With fall approaching in the northern hemisphere, the FAA has issued Notice 8900.196, a revised document offering updates to the agency’s deicing program for the coming winter flying season. The update includes holdover times as well as a list of deicing and anti-icing fluids.
Among the AMR Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection documents filed last fall were FAA proofs of claim against the company for 89 alleged safety violations that occurred between January 2007 and November 2011.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has updated its investigation of the May 28 midair collision between a Beechcraft Bonanza and a Piper PA-28 over the Washington, D.C. suburb of Summerduck, Va. The TSB is handling the investigation at the request of NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman to avoid any potential conflicts of interest because the two victims aboard the Bonanza were U.S. government employees.
Just as pilots using Chicago Waukegan Airport (UGN) await news of when the airport’s 6,000-foot Runway 5/23 might be extended to 7,000-feet–a more comfortable length –for jet operations–comes word that the usable runway length might actually be reduced if various government entities cannot work together.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG) has criticized the FAA for its management of the Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program, which is designed to reduce aircraft bird strikes. “The FAA’s oversight and enforcement activities are not sufficient to ensure airports fully adhere to program requirements or effectively implement their wildlife hazard plans,” concludes the August 22 report.