The FBI has stepped up its efforts to squelch laser pointer incidents by assigning the investigation of two recent attacks to its Joint Terrorism Task Force. Two different aircraft last week became the targets for laser pointer attacks at New York’s La Guardia Airport. No cockpit crewmembers were injured in either incident.
The NTSB recently began using laser scanners as a replacement to standard camera photography to record important data at accident scenes. A camera records in two dimensions, but a laser scanner adds virtual reality by viewing evidence in three dimensions.
In another example of the government’s pushback against laser threats to aviation, a federal grand jury in Jacksonville, Fla., indicted John Tyler Pennywitt on October 5. He was accused of shining a handheld laser pointer at a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office helicopter on the night of June 3, 2012. Pennywitt was indicted under a section of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that makes it a federal crime to aim a laser at an aircraft, or even into the path of an aircraft.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority reported last week that the incidence of laser pointers being aimed at aircraft in that country’s airspace is on the rise, mostly during takeoff and landing. Last year 175 incidents were recorded. So far this year there have been 170, indicating a higher total for 2012.
Aircraft Cost Calculator, which offers a web-based business aircraft operating cost calculator, has formed an advisory board of business aviation industry veterans “to further strengthen our application for our clients.” The four advisory board members include Rene Banglesdorf of Charlie Bravo Aviation; Dan Dickinson of Inav Group; Emmanuel Dupuy of Heli Asset of Paris; and Robert Gort of Sterling Aviation.
A Lakeland, Fla. man faces 20 years in prison after aiming his laser pointer at a Polk County sheriffπs helicopter conducting a search-and-rescue mission. The laser caused the flight crew to become disoriented and abort the mission.
Conklin & de Decker developed a new carbon dioxide calculator for business aircraft. The Microsoft Excel-based calculator provides estimated carbon offset costs by aircraft make and model. Conklin’s CO2 Calculator allows the user to select the aircraft type, make and model and hours flown per year and then predicts fuel consumption while providing CO2 emissions and offset costs per year.
Wichita-based Spirent Systems last month announced that the FAA awarded its latest aircraft file server–a PC running the Windows NT operating system–an STC and parts manufacturing approval. Developed primarily for use by major and regional airlines, the computer server is capable of hosting a variety of airline-specific software applications, the company said.
Danish software house Air Support has rebuilt its Preflight Planning System (PPS) to run on a Windows-based menu system. The change means that the program can interface more readily with any related flight-planning software or services, such as the runway analysis data system from the Aircraft Performance Group from Castle Rock, Colo. The latest version of PPS will also be compatible with Microsoft’s new Longhorn system.
“Our customers expect an instant response to their problem,” said Chris Gress, manager for parts, components and services. “Our new parts, components and services [PCS program] can meet their needs anywhere, anytime.
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