I got to thinking about voluntary versus mandatory safety reporting programs after reading an article in a British newspaper about two UK pilots who allegedly fell asleep in the cockpit of an Airbus A330 shortly after takeoff. What caught my attention was the statement from the UK Civil Aviation Authority that enforcement action against the pilots is unlikely.
Federal Aviation Regulations
Slowly but surely, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are entering the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) despite a regulatory regime that was previously considered prohibitive to all but government agencies and research institutions. Unmanned aircraft have flown for the first time commercially in remote Arctic airspace, and companies are considering or have already begun the process of obtaining FAA airworthiness certification of their UAS designs.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued type certificates in the restricted category to the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle X200 and AeroVironment Puma AE small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on July 19, for the first time permitting operators to use the aircraft for commercial purposes.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects to formulate a standard by 2016 that will permit unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to interoperate with manned aircraft using an “electronic means” to see and avoid potential collisions, according to the executive leading the FAA’s effort to introduce UAS into the airspace system.
How accurate should airworthiness directives be? Before you answer that question, let me give you an example of an actual AD applicable to the Airbus A318/319/320/321 and then you can decide whether the information provided is sufficient for a mechanic to perform the required maintenance properly. I know you’re not all mechanics, but I don’t think you need to be one to see the problem.
Within Six Months
May 23, 2013:
Interest in Restructure of Rotorcraft Airworthiness Standards
Before the 9/11 attacks in 2001, a one-mile bubble of airspace used to follow the U.S. President around, theoretically protecting him and his entourage from airborne threats. That bubble has grown to a 10-nm diameter ring surrounded by a 30-nm restricted zone, raising a key question: Is the risk of an attack now that much greater than it was before 9/11?
Imagine seeing this headline: “Major Airline Uses Student Pilots on Passenger Flights.” There would be universal outrage and condemnation if an airline tried to put students in the cockpit on passenger-carrying flights–even if “just” to handle the radios or practice touching some of the controls in cruise flight.
The FAA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) aimed at reducing noise generated by new helicopters and supplemental type certificate (STC) modifications for new helicopters certified under Part 36 (noise standards) of the federal aviation regulations (FARs).
The FAA has denied Bell Helicopter’s petition for an exemption to the normal category Part 27 weight limit of 7,000 pounds for the Bell 429 light twin to 7,500 pounds, but plans to seek public comment that could lead to a revision of Part 27 standards.
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