On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today there will be “no time limit” in the search for a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 that has been missing since March 8. On March 28, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced that the search area for Flight 370 had been refined to a new location nearly 700 miles north of the earlier search region of the southern Indian Ocean.
Over the last 20 years, the aviation industry has documented more than 200 incidents in which turbofans have lost power during high-altitude flights, according to NASA.
Despite the news that air traffic surveillance group Aireon now has most of the key elements in place to create a functioning ADS-B system, the FAA has still not committed to the project for updating its oceanic air traffic management operations. And according to libertarian think-tank The Reason Foundation, the U.S. government might not view this important commitment as a priority.
Two pilots have filed safety reports with NASA’s ASRS system about the recently opened Ivanpah solar energy plant in San Bernardino County, Calif. The pilots said they were nearly blinded by the glare off the energy plant’s expansive mirror system. The Ivanpah plant uses 173,500 large mirrors to reflect sunlight onto boilers atop three 459-foot towers. Ivanpah’s co-owner and operator, NRG Energy, was notified of the “blinding” complaints last week and said it would respond within 10 days.
Large flocks of birds around many Indian airports continue to threaten aircraft that are constantly under threat of strikes particularly during takeoff and landing. Data compiled by Airports Authority of India for Chennai International Airport, for example, shows bird strikes increased from 38 in 2012 to 50 in 2013.
As the April deadline approaches for European policymakers to decide whether to extend the Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to international operators again, a significant step has been taken in the opposite direction.
Air Greenland announced last month it has canceled the purchase of two EC225s. “In August 2013, the company observed that the market for offshore operations around Greenland had not developed as expected since the time of the order in 2011,” the carrier explained. It also said it attempted to sell the rotorcraft to other parties with no success. Under the final agreement, Air Greenland will pay a waiver of DKK16 million ($2.8 million), just over 4 percent of the value of the 2011 contract.
Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and the Geological Survey of India are to deploy a Dhruv light twin equipped with geophysical equipment for mineral exploration. Capabilities include detection of oil, gas and minerals (gold, copper, thorium and other rare earth materials) as well as environmental and nuclear surveillance.
Europe is slowly progressing toward the use of simultaneous non-interfering (SNI) approaches for helicopters at airports. This would improve rotorcraft access to busy airports while reducing the environmental impact, promoters of a dedicated research project believe. Further in-flight demonstrations are planned for next year, eight years after the first series of trials.