When the national threat level was raised to code orange (high) on December 21, most people in general aviation took it in stride. With New Year’s celebrations just days off, new TFRs were issued for New York City and Las Vegas, followed by one for downtown Chicago, and waivers were suspended for sports stadium overflights and the Washington, D.C. air defense identification zone.
Although excessive rainfall and mudslides have hit Southern California hard this winter, near-record lows in rain and snowfall elsewhere in the west are increasing the risk of forest fires. A Columbia Helicopters spokesman said, “There have already been several fast-moving grass fires in the area. If these conditions continue–and forecasts say they will–we will have tinder-dry forests that are ripe for fires.
Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) want to require pilots to respond to resolution advisories (RAs) from airborne collision avoidance systems (ACAS) in all circumstances. On March 1, the regulator issued a notice of proposed amendment (NPA) for JAR-OPS 1.398 rules covering ACAS operations.
For the first time since 1975, the number of safety recommendations classified as “open” has dipped below 1,000, the NTSB said last month. Of the 989 open recommendations, 335 are related to aviation and 339 to highway transportation.
With passage of the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be required to check the names of potential air-charter customers against government terrorist watch lists if an operator requests it. The measure also mandates the issuance of photo pilot certificates that are resistant to tampering.
Accidents involving aircraft on airport ramps remain one of the most expensive sources of claims for insurance companies. Efforts to curtail such losses have taken a new turn with a three-way cooperative program that teams the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU).
A Raytheon Beech T-34 Mentor crashed on December 7 when the left wing snapped off about four inches inboard of the root attach point. The Mentor was being operated by Texas Air Aces/Aviation Safety Training (AST) and crashed near Houston Hooks Field, killing the flight instructor and front-seat passenger. AST’s mission was emergency upset training for major flight departments around the U.S.
U.S.-registered turbine business aircraft accident numbers were mixed last year, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. The total number of accidents was down slightly last year compared to 2005, thanks mostly to the turboprop sector, which saw a 17.5-percent reduction.
Last month this column looked at safety management systems (SMS) and considered why the industry is embracing them. This month focus shifts to the key elements of such systems and their contribution to the industry’s livelihood.
Total business aviation accidents were down slightly in 2006, thanks mainly to a decrease of more than 17 percent in turboprop accidents, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. Total business aviation-related fatal accidents, on the other hand, were up in 2006 with 19.