The FAA will procure new radar systems for some 15 low- to medium-activity airports that currently have no radar displays. These displays are part of the agency’s plan to provide interim tower displays in advance of the full national deployment of the Standard Terminal Automated Radar System (Stars). The displays will provide an “affordable and certifiable” tower radar that can be purchased by airports at their own expense.
Quebec-based avionics manufacturer Amphitech International last month received limited Canadian STC approval to install its OASys wire- and obstacle-detection radar aboard a Eurocopter AS 350B3 Ecureuil. The helicopter, operated by Heli-Express, was to embark on an eastern U.S.
MITSUBISHI MU-2B-35, CAROLINA, PUERTO RICO, APRIL 15, 2002–Shortly after 3 p.m., an MU-2 crashed into a car dealership west of San Juan. The sole-occupant ATP-rated pilot died in the crash. Crucian International Airlines was operating the airplane on a Part 91 positioning flight from Christiansted, Virgin Islands. The crash also killed one person on the ground and seriously injured two others.
In the wake of September 11 the FAA has decided to shelve earlier plans to decommission the U.S.-wide network of ATC primary radar installations. Some officials, however, have expressed concern about the increasing–and currently unbudgeted–maintenance needs of radar stations in future years. The fear is that escalating costs to keep primary radars in operation could have a damaging effect on the agency’s NAS modernization plan.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) said in a letter to the FAA last month that its Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) should not be mandatory. According to the association, language contained within the SAFOs might allow some FAA inspectors to think they are.
Meteorlogix of Minneapolis has launched its MxVision AviationSentry helicopter edition, a weather system giving helicopter pilots a “fast, accurate and comprehensive weather briefing.” The system information includes real-time, high-resolution radar; storm tracking, with details on approaching cells; satellite imagery for identifying areas of low cloud and fog; and forecast maps.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) said in a letter to the FAA that Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) should not be mandatory. According to the association, language contained within the SAFOs might allow some FAA inspectors to think they are.
The House of Representatives passed legislation that aims to punish anyone convicted of knowingly pointing a laser at an aircraft with a maximum of five years in prison. Introduced by Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.), the bill stems from a number of cases over the past few years where pilots have reported lasers being shone in the cockpit, causing temporary loss of vision. To date, no accidents have resulted from laser pointing.
Galileo Avionica, the Italian division of Selex Sensors & Airborne Systems, is showcasing a new family of airborne sensors named “Gabbiano” (Italian for seagull). The modular airborne surveillance radars tap the combined expertise of the Finmeccanica group’s newly combined Italian and UK sensor businesses, which in the past have developed light maritime radars such as the RDR 1500 and the APS-717.
Wire strikes–long the bane of low-altitude rotorcraft and agplane operations–could be reduced if a system now undergoing testing on both sides of the Atlantic is able to supplement or even replace marker balls and continuously flashing strobes. It could also aid other low-flying aircraft in avoiding any obstacles in the flight path.