The Helicopter Association International (HAI) has sent an urgent congressional alert to its members to contact their legislators about resolving continued delays in the FAA’s longstanding commitment to provide National Airspace System-quality communications and weather services in the Gulf of Mexico. According to HAI, more than 35,000 people live and work offshore, supported by nearly 650 helicopters.
In response to recommendations of the joint industry/government International Helicopter Safety Team, MD Helicopters will include as standard equipment on all its aircraft wire-strike protection systems, cockpit voice and video recorders, health and usage monitoring systems and terrain awareness warning systems starting next year.
The NTSB determined the probable causes of two helicopter accidents. In one, a sightseeing Bell 206L LongRanger that crashed into the East River in Manhattan on takeoff was found to be 222 pounds overweight. The Board blamed the Helicopter Professionals pilot’s “inadequate preflight planning” in the June 14, 2005 crash. One passenger was severely injured.
The FAA says that the Alaska Capstone program of testing a host of advanced avionics (including automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast–ADS-B) in small commercial aircraft will become part of the agency’s nationwide ADS-B implementation.
Private jet passengers whose consciences are troubled by their jet’s contribution to global warming can now rest easier with the new CarbonNeutral option for Air Partner’s JetCard block charter program. Customers pay a 2-percent supplement to their flight-hour costs, and Air Partner channels this money into four climate-friendly energy and technology projects to offset the damage done by the aircraft’s engine emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued long-awaited final amendments to oil and fuel spill prevention, control and countermeasure (SPCC) rules. Facilities that store oil and fuel must still have SPCC plans implemented by Oct. 31, 2007; however, the EPA proposed an extension to July 1, 2009, for facilities that had SPCC plans amended after July 16, 2002.
Sikorsky S-76A, Eugene Island, La., Oct. 22, 2006–The S-76 was repositioning to an offshore oil platform in VMC when it crashed into the water and sank. The crew encountered a cloud deck at 500 feet and visibility was hindered by rain. The ATP-rated pilot was not injured and the commercial first officer was slightly injured. The helicopter, operated by Petroleum Helicopters of Lafayette, La., was destroyed.
Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, N.Y., today presented its 2005 Spirit of Noise Abatement Award to 32 of its based operators and corporate flight departments for maintaining 100-percent compliance with the Voluntary Restraint from Flying Program (between midnight and 6:30 a.m.) and for not exceeding 93 dBA on approach and departure as measured by the airport’s noise-monitoring system.
China has disclosed that it intends to build a GPS-like global navigation system. Named Compass, the $2 billion system would have 30 satellites in medium earth orbits similar to the current GPS. Five additional satellites will provide WAAS-like and other functions, with a forecast 10-meter accuracy free to all users. Western experts predict likely operation between 2015 and 2020.
A recent letter from the FAA’s Eastern Region regional counsel has generated concern that the agency has abruptly changed its icing policy. Regional counsel Loretta Alkalay’s letter was in response to a request by flight instructor Robert Miller for a definition of known ice. Alkalay wrote, “Known icing conditions exist when visible moisture or high relative humidity combines with temperatures near or below freezing.