Donald Shinnamon, Sr., the recipient of the MD Helicopters Law Enforcement Award here at Heli-Expo 2014, credits his father with his interest in both aviation and law enforcement. Though not involved in aviation work, during World War II his father was stationed at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, home of the Naval Test Pilot School, where he acquired his enthusiasm for aviation. After the war, the elder Shinnamon became a police officer in the Baltimore County Police Department.
Federal Aviation Administration
Aviation industry data provider JetNet has released its year-end statistics for the pre-owned helicopter market, which show that retail sales for used turbine and piston rotorcraft experienced double-digit declines of 11.8 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, in 2013 compared with the previous year. Turbine helicopters saw an 11.4-percent increase in the number listed for sale year-over-year, with the percentage of the available in-service fleet increasing from 6.1 percent to 6.4 percent, while the average number of days on market declined by 18 days over the previous year, to 414.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the government is open to ideas on privatizing the nation’s ATC system, as long as aviation industry “stakeholders” agree on making that transformation. Foxx remarked on privatization after delivering the keynote speech at an Aero Club of Washington luncheon on February 25, his first major address to an aviation audience.
Helicopter Association International launched a major new safety initiative, Land and Live, this afternoon at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif.
Fresh pressure is being placed on the FAA to revise and finalize its 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would mandate the installation of helicopter terrain avoidance and warning systems (HTAWS) and radar altimeters on all U.S. emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters. The NPRM drew a firestorm of criticism from affected stakeholders for favoring high-cost solutions over less expensive, and some argued, more effective safety technology such as night-vision goggles (NVGs).
In an effort to modernize its distribution of letters to airmen, starting today the FAA will disseminate these letters via its website, rather than through the U.S. Postal Service, email or bulletin board postings as it had been doing. “This is a tremendous step forward in providing [aircraft operators] with this critical information so they can be fully prepared for all conditions affecting their flights,” noted NBAA director of air traffic services and infrastructure Bob Lamond.
The Air Line Pilots Association International, FBI and FAA have jointly launched a campaign across 12 U.S. cities to raise public awareness about the consequences of illegal laser attacks on aircraft cockpits. Reports of aircraft laser illuminations in the U.S. have increased sharply over the past few years (partially fueled by an FAA website set up to report such incidents), from 2,836 in 2010 to 3,960 in 2013.
Facing the demands of increasing air traffic capacity and operational efficiency, the countries of the Asia Pacific region have launched various programs to adopt recent advances in Air Traffic Management and advances inavionics technology over the past couple of decades. Some countries (notably Australia) have forged ahead, while others are further behind, but it is hoped that recent developments could see closer cooperation for an eventual move to a whole-area solution.
The FAA should allow non-military drones access to fly in rural areas now, rather than wait for the agency to complete its broader integration into civil airspace following the rulemaking process, according to the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). Drones are too valuable to be kept on the ground and the agency is moving too slowly in creating applicable safety regulations, said AUVSI president Michael Toscano.
The job of an FAA inspector must be incredibly boring. I imagine them sitting at their desks all day facing down gigantic piles of paper: letters of authorization, certification compliance packages, applications for operating certificates, enforcement actions, ad infinitum. And when the poor beleaguered inspector gets one pile stamped, signed and delivered, an FAA factotum appears with a new stack and thumps it onto whatever clear space remains in the office. Every day, looking up blearily from the stacks, our overworked inspector looks fondly out the window and wonders whether she can take a few minutes away from the office to visit the airport and see if her charges are playing nice or need some friendly nudging.