A decisive milestone was reached yesterday as the solar-charged, electric-powered Solar Impulse successfully completed the second-to-last leg of its Across America mission by landing at Washington Dulles International Airport–locally it was Sunday, June 16 at 12:15 a.m.–stimulating renewed enthusiasm for discovery and innovation.
As congestion increases, avoiding collisions between aircraft and birds is becoming a more pressing issue. The Indian Air Force, which conducts many operational and training flights and often at very low level, attributes around 10 percent of accidents to bird hits. It took the lead last year by issuing global bids to four companies for 45 bird detection and monitoring radar systems (BDRS) to be installed at airports and air bases across India.
Airbus began the 2,500-hour flight-test program for its new A350XWB when the new long-range widebody took off for the first time at almost exactly 10:00 a.m. local time in Toulouse, France, on Friday. The eagerly awaited first flight over southwestern France lasted slightly more than four hours and the twinjet, powered by Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines, safely touched down back in Toulouse at 2:05 p.m.
The FAA plans to make changes to some procedures for flights into three Colorado airports–Aspen, Eagle County Regional and Garfield County “Rifle”–for the 2013 to 2014 holiday season, NBAA said. Specifically, the FAA will discontinue use of a legacy air-traffic slot-reservation program for these airports during the November-through-January time frame. In lieu of the air-traffic slot-reservation program, the FAA will manage the traffic volume with other traffic management initiative tools, including miles-in-trail and ground-delay programs.
The EASA has issued a new emergency AD on the Eurocopter EC225, requiring crews to land or ditch immediately if the main gearbox’s back-up lubrication system activates. “Investigations on the [emergency lubrication] system have revealed an area of the flight envelope in which the [system’s] performance is different from that assumed during certification,” the EASA said. The system was designed to allow for 30 minutes of flight after loss of oil lubrication.
The Netherlands has signed an agreement with the U.S. FAA to promote air safety in the airspace around the Dutch-governed Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten (southern half of Saint Maarten), as well as portions of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. The U.S. is responsible for providing air traffic flow services in the adjacent San Juan flight information region. This agreement will include coordination of traffic flows between airspace controlled by the U.S. and Dutch authorities.
The recent experience of the crew of a Part 121-operated Embraer ERJ-145 underscores the value of returning to the destination in the event of encountering icing. The crew noticed that ice (which they later classified as “severe”) had begun accumulating on the windshield wipers and nose and that the aircraft’s anti-ice system could not be turned on. As they attempted to operate the anti-ice manually, the system came to life but produced a master warning on the Eicas followed by a “bleed air 2 overtemp” warning.
The FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive–2013-10-52–for GE90-110B1 and GE90-115B engines on May 16 after two reports of transfer gearbox assembly (TGB) failures prompted in-flight engine shutdowns. Investigations revealed the cause as TGB radial gear cracking and separation. The AD prohibits the operation of any aircraft with either engine installed five days after receipt of the directive.
In response to the powerful tornado that ravaged areas of Oklahoma City on Monday, business aviation charity Sky Hope Network has organized a community relief fund to aid several aviation professionals who lost their homes and also the family of an FAA title examiner who was killed in the tornado. In its first day, the campaign raised nearly $10,000, all of which will be distributed directly to the victims. Donations can be made through June 1 via Sky Hope’s website.
UK-based low-cost carrier EasyJet, Airbus and Nicarnica Aviation plan a final test in August of the Nicarnica-developed airborne-volcanic-object imaging detector in a bid to prevent major air traffic disruption like the one the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull caused in 2010.