In a report released early last month, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said policy decisions by the Bush Administration, not inadequate revenues, are causing the declining balance in the Aviation Trust Fund.
Air traffic control
Latin America adopted reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) on January 20, along with the rest of the Americas, and the transition to date in Brazil has been relatively smooth, according to national officials.
“There were no major problems on January 20,” said Saulo Jose da Silva of Brazil’s Department of Air Traffic Control.
Security, crew fatigue and the potential for bureaucracy to inhibit operations, particularly on longer flights outside the region, are among the greatest concerns of European-based corporate-aircraft users. Apart from some concern about airport slot restrictions, which might be combined with ATC delays, operators reported no serious issues for cross-border flights within Europe.
An operational alert NBAA published last month requires some clarification. The alert said, “Some operators have misinterpreted climb and descent guidance for operations in RVSM airspace and have been incorrectly restricting the aircraft climb/descent rate to 1,000 fpm at all times when in RVSM airspace.”
With the airlines arguing that they pay for more than 90 percent of the ATC system but don’t account for 90 percent of its use, and with the FAA confirming that budget cuts will hamper its certification work, there wasn’t a lot of good news at the FAA’s industry budget briefing for FY2006 last month in Washington.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of five foreign ATC service providers contends that since “commercialization,” they have maintained safety, controlled costs and improved efficiency. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association emphasized that controllers in Cleveland alone handle more operations annually than all of Canada’s controllers handle. It is difficult to compare the U.S.
Beginning later this month, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) will use aircraft-specific laser lights to warn errant pilots they have strayed into the Washington, D.C.-area Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Beech 99, Neihart, Mont., Aug. 17, 2004–The NTSB determined the cause of the Alpine Air Beech 99 cargo flight crash was the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate terrain clearance during cruise, which resulted in the airplane’s hitting mountainous terrain. Dark night conditions and mountainous terrain were contributing factors. Before the accident, the pilot told ATC he was VFR and level at 8,500 feet msl.
Airport surface detection equipment model X (ASDE-X), designed to help controllers spot potential runway collisions, will be installed at 15 airports beginning with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport next month.
While debate rages over whether the “temporary” Washington metropolitan area air defense identification zone (ADIZ) should be morphed into a permanent ADIZ, a study of 13 general aviation airports that fall within the restricted airspace shows that they have been hit hard economically and operationally.