The FAA published updates to the wake turbulence separation categories on October 22 for Louisville, Miami, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia airports based on improved understanding of how wake vortices behave. Categories are now based on weight, certified approach speed and wing characteristics. Special consideration will be given to aircraft with limited ability to counteract adverse rolls.
Federal Aviation Administration
Five U.S. airlines have signed on to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Data Comm equipment initiative, bringing the effort to 80 percent of its targeted number of airframes, according to contractor Harris. The company revealed the first airline to commit–United–at the Air Traffic Control Association conference last month. Non-disclosure agreements prevented it from immediately identifying the others.
It is a common perception among operators and maintenance facilities that trying to get approval criteria from the FAA for just about anything is a moving target that varies from region to region and even among inspectors. “Shopping around” to get the answer you want to hear has been common for as long as anyone can remember. Loosely defined criteria can present a serious safety hazard, and it’s widely recognized that they are a significant waste of time and money for both the applicant and the FAA.
Industry leaders attending the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) conference in Washington last month made it clear that one of their major concerns is that additional sequestration cuts are likely to further slow the deployment of the FAA’s $40 billion NextGen air traffic management system.
Delivery of the $40 billion NextGen ATC modernization will likely remain highly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of politics unless those charged with implementing the system work to protect its funding streams, senior industry leaders told the recent Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) conference and exposition.
Within 6 Months
Nov. 29, 2013:
Enhanced Consumer Protections for Charter Air Transportation
Frontier Airlines has become the first Part 121 airline approved to use iPad EFBs running the ForeFlight Mobile app for all phases of flight, under FAA OpSpec A061. As is typical with commercial users of iPad EFBs, the FAA will not allow the Frontier pilots to turn on the own-ship position switch in ForeFlight Mobile. They will be able to use ForeFlight’s hazard and weather map overlays, en route charts, approach charts and airport diagrams as well as ForeFlight’s document-storage feature to access safety publications and other materials.
The FAA talks a lot about the importance of safety management systems. It has several web pages dedicated to SMS. Newsletters dedicated to SMS. And employees certainly talk it up at internal and external meetings. But talk is cheap, as we all know.
Duncan Aviation (Booth No. C8543) recently released an update to its “Straight Talk About FANS” e-book, providing operators with information on the Future Air Navigation System component of the FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization effort.
Patrick Ky, the new executive director at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), is willing to take into account peculiarities of general aviation, which includes business aviation and helicopters, in future regulation. Prompted to react to the industry’s unease at often being lumped with the airline world, Ky confirmed that EASA is carrying on with its efforts, with the FAA, toward less restrictive and more performance-based certification rules, he told AIN.