Integration of remotely piloted air systems (RPAS, or unmanned air systems) into non-segregated airspace in Europe has moved a step closer with the latest test flight in the Desire project (Demonstration of Satellites enabling the Insertion of RPAS in Europe). The project is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Defence Agency (EDA) and led by Indra of Spain.
From May 2, the FAA will start publishing new instrument approach plates that include an enlarged segment of airspace to protect aircraft during circling approaches. The new airspace also offers pilots additional obstacle clearance while considering their MSL altitude above the MDA, which affects true airspeed.
The boundaries of protected airspace for circling approaches are defined by arcs drawn from the threshold of each runway at an airport. The larger the aircraft, the larger the arc.
Standards organization RTCA will establish a new group in the next several weeks to expedite the development of standards that will enable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to fly in unrestricted airspace in the U.S. The new group—Special Committee 228—will further the work of an earlier group that is being discontinued because of concern over its slow progress.
The FAA lowered the boom on airports serving mainly GA, business and regional airline traffic, announcing on March 22 that it will close 149 ATC contract towers as part of its effort to slash spending by more than $600 million in the current fiscal year under the federal government’s “sequester” mandate. The action could spell the end of the agency’s 30-year-old contract tower program.
New York Center plans to change how eastbound IFR traffic receives oceanic clearances before entering minimum navigational performance standard (MNPS) airspace. The procedural changes will apply only to aircraft entering oceanic airspace from an FAA air traffic management facility.
The U.S. Army has validated the design and functionality of a second-phase ground-based sense and avoid (GBSAA) radar system that will support training flights of MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAVs in unrestricted airspace beginning in 2014.
Pilots in Southern California are urged to use caution now that the new north and south Los Angeles Class D airspace became active on June 28. The north Class D airspace stands adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Class B airspace and Santa Monica Airport (SMO) Class D airspace.
Jeppesen will publish the new visual departure from Chicago Executive Airport (PWK), which is located 10 nautical miles north of O’Hare International Airport (ORD).
Flying in “Chicagoland” will become severely restricted for many aviators due to an upcoming NATO Summit meeting scheduled for later this month. The summit and the associated temporary flight restriction (TFR), in what is labeled as National Defense Airspace, will be in place from May 19 to 21. The meetings will be held at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago, next to the old Meigs Field.