AgustaWestland has confirmed reports that certification of the AW609 civil tiltrotor has been pushed out to 2017, a one-year delay. A company spokesman told AIN that the schedule change is the result of numerous upgrades being made to the design in terms of aerodynamics and systems, including new engines, avionics and fly-by-wire flight controls.
Civil aviation authorities
Legislation currently being developed in Nigeria as part of the new Civil Aviation Act 2013 will attempt to classify safety and security staff (such as air traffic controllers) in that country as “essential,” effectively banning them from striking against the country’s aviation system. No date has been announced for presentation of the proposed legislation.
A recent Australian Senate investigation report was highly critical of both the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Senators questioned the investigation into the Nov. 18, 2009 crash of a Pel-Air Westwind into the ocean near Norfolk Island.
Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), whose district includes Wichita, has introduced a House bill to implement changes in the certification process for light general aviation aircraft. H.R.1848, the “Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013,” has already been referred to the House aviation subcommittee for further legislative action.
The FAA is proposing to supersede an airworthiness directive for the Sikorsky S-64E (type certificate currently held by Erickson Air-Crane). It requires inspecting and reworking the main gearbox second-stage lower planetary plate.
“The HondaJet program is steadily progressing toward certification and first delivery,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said this week at EBACE. As previously reported, FAA type certification of the light jet has been delayed by a year to late next year, primarily due to delays in certifying its GE Honda Aero HF120 engines. EASA certification is scheduled to follow in mid-2015.
This week’s EBACE show will be the second that Fabio Gamba has presided over since becoming chief executive of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) in September 2012. He joined the bizav community after serving as deputy general secretary of the Association of European Airlines. The EBAA board specifically wanted to tap the political skills of the powerful airline lobby in a bid to avoid business aviation’s interests being overlooked by European authorities.
New risk and safety management requirements imposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency are continuing to take up a lot of management time at TAG and other aircraft operators. TAG recently became the first business aviation company to achieve EASA’s stage-two requirements for its safety management system.
The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) released a report last week on FAA efforts to assume a more risk-based approach in overseeing nearly 4,800 repair stations used around the world by U.S. air carriers. “While the FAA developed a risk assessment process to aid repair station inspectors in identifying areas of greatest concern,” the report said, “its oversight continues to emphasize completing mandatory inspections instead of targeting resources where they are needed based on risk.”
Europe’s continued–and in some respects worsening–economic troubles give little grounds for optimism, and yet industry mood ahead of the 13th annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) appeared to be surprisingly bullish. This may be due in part to the success of the show (May 21 to 23) in attracting both exhibitors and visitors from well beyond the cash-strapped continent.