Although the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) believes the FAA has made progress on safety issues, it says the agency must expand and enhance the reliability of its key data sources. A DOT report issued last week says, for example, that the FAA faces challenges with establishing an effective risk-based oversight system for repair stations and aircraft manufacturers.
Bombardier’s popular Safety Standdown program will return to Asia for its third edition in conjunction with next week’s Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE). The seminar, to be held on April 15 at the Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao, is free to all participants but advance registration is required at www.safetystanddown.com. Topics to be examined include pilot fatigue and health, safety management system integration, safety culture, and criminalization in aviation. Among this year’s presenters will be U.S.
Just days before the stranglehold of U.S. government budget sequestration was set to douse the lights at the first 24 contract control towers this week, the FAA last Friday issued a temporary reprieve to any closures until June 15. The agency said it needs more time to address the mounting legal actions the imminent closings have triggered.
NetJets has become the first combined 14 CFR 135/91K operator to achieve Level IV of the FAA’s Safety Management System Pilot Program. The March 27 certification provides a four-level system acknowledging development of a formal SMS in accordance with both FAA and international standards. The program is designed to guide operators in developing and implementing an integrated, comprehensive safety management system for their organization and required the U.S.-based operator to conduct thousands of hours of additional safety training for all employees.
Standards organization RTCA will establish a new group in the next several weeks to expedite the development of standards that will enable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to fly in unrestricted airspace in the U.S. The new group—Special Committee 228—will further the work of an earlier group that is being discontinued because of concern over its slow progress.
Part 135 flight and duty regulations are not yet on the front burner of aviation rulemaking, John Duncan, deputy director of FAA Flight Standards Services, told attendees at the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) safety symposium last month. The agency has a full plate writing new regulations because of congressional mandates included in the “Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010.”
AOPA “vigorously opposes” the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s plan to prohibit the future use of emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) that use a 121.5-MHz signal. The proposal will have a negative effect on aviation safety, according to AOPA, and the association told the FCC it should immediately abandon its proposed rule changes and defer to the FAA on matters of aviation safety. According to AOPA, there are more than 200,000 general aviation aircraft still carrying 121.5-MHz ELTs.
The threat of food-borne illness at 41,000 feet is all too real, and one the business aviation industry takes all too lightly, says Paula Kraft, a principal with Aviation Catering Consultants (ACC) of Atlanta.
According to in-flight medical emergency services specialist MedAire, 60 percent of its calls are related to gastrointestinal illnesses. That number leaves no doubt that food-handling standards should be just as rigorous as those that apply to aircraft maintenance, asserts Kraft.
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) began its annual safety symposium with an attention-grabbing slide. It shows the accident rates for U.S. Part 121 airlines and all Part 135 operations for the years 2007-2011. The accident rate for all Part 135 operations is 0.60 per 100,000 flight hours, approximately four times worse than the airlines’ 0.159 per 100,000 flight hours.
Enhancing aviation and surface safety remains the top priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation, concluded the department’s Inspector General in a recent report of the agency’s top management challenges.