The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) sent a letter today to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, urging him to stop cuts from sequestration that will “disproportionately” affect the safety of general aviation operations. “The recommended cuts will have unacceptable consequences for the nation and the flying community,” AOPA president and CEO Craig Fuller wrote to Huerta.
Air traffic control
The FAA says recent evaluations of error reports occurring over oceanic airspace show that deviations, especially vertical large height deviations (LHD), have increased in numbers to the point where they exceed the agency’s safety target levels. That means increased risk for both private and commercial operators. An LHD occurs when an aircraft strays more than 300 feet from its assigned altitude.
Helicopter pilots unexpectedly straying into IFR conditions and losing control of their aircraft has been identified as the cause of the greatest number of rotorcraft fatalities, according to the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST). The group, which is focused on greatly reducing helicopter accidents by 2016, has reported that NTSB figures from 2011 indicate that 45 of 52 such accidents proved fatal to occupants. “That means the chances of surviving an inadvertent encounter with IFR are just 14 percent,” according to IHST.
The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, have asked the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General to look into the rise in the number of losses of ATC separation that began emerging after the FAA’s 2009 update of its operational error reporting protocols. The IG has received a similar request from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) have inked an agreement that each believes represents a significant step in enhancing a mutual dialogue focused on runway safety. The agreement also means the realization of a shared aviation safety intelligence model, a computer database designed to improve accident analysis.
The “overriding” principle the Federal Aviation Administration is following in carrying out mandated U.S. government budget cuts is to cause “the minimal impact to the maximum number of travelers,” Administrator Michael Huerta said Wednesday.
Garmin’s GDL 39 portable ADS-B receiver offers a simple solution for pilots who want to receive free weather and traffic information without a lot of complication. The GDL 39 sells for $799 and receives both types of ADS-B signal that are a unique feature of the U.S. ADS-B landscape. Not all portable ADS-B receivers are dual-band; some receive only the frequency that provides free weather information and certain traffic targets.
European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas admitted to excessively slow progress on the Single European Sky (SES) last week and characterized Russia’s continued charges for Siberian overflights as unacceptable. He has threatening European Union member states with legal action over their failure to carry out their respective SES responsibilities. Separately, he is planning a March 21 meeting in Moscow to pressure Russian authorities to address what he views as “unfair” overflight fees.
The FAA is urging pilots to spend training time focusing on an updated Advisory Circular 70-2A, which deals with what the agency says is “a significant increase in the unauthorized laser illumination of aircraft.” The AC provides guidance to both aircrews and air traffic controllers about formal reporting of laser illumination incidents. Pointing a laser at an aircraft in the U.S.
The Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) effort, Europe’s equivalent of NextGen in the U.S., is making progress as a research and development program “but it is not yet a successful modernization program,” according to the man directing its development phase.