The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched investigators to examine a Southwest Airlines jet after it made an emergency landing in West Virginia yesterday after a hole opened in the body of the airplane and the cabin lost pressure.
The FAA’s proposed guidelines addressing crew fatigue on ultra-long-range flights by “flag carriers” (OpSpec A332) contain “substantive improvements” that the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) supports, but the trade association retains its “technical objection” to the crew complements referred to in the draft OpSpec.
The FAA yesterday reached a settlement with Southwest Airlines that reduces the civil penalty it proposed to levy against the carrier on March 6 last year from $10.2 million to $7.5 million. The agency proposed the penalty after it found that Southwest operated 46 airplanes on 59,791 flights without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage fatigue cracking.
US airlines continued to post improved on-time performance numbers in September—the third straight month they did so and beating the mark they set last year, according to Portland, Ore.-based FlightStats.com. The year-to-date numbers tell a similar story about the seven largest U.S.
The FAA has reached agreements with four U.S. airlines to fund in-cockpit runway safety systems, in this case electronic flight bags (EFBs), in exchange for the operational data those systems would generate. Under the plan, the FAA will provide $600,000 each to SkyWest Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, US Airways and Southwest Airlines to invest in the new technology in airplanes they’ll fly into and out of 21 testbed airports.
The FAA’s approach to Airworthiness Directive (AD) compliance was a significant feature in the Department of Transportation’s Independent Review Team report on “Managing Risks in Civil Aviation.” The team was formed after the FAA suffered what the report called a “perfect storm” earlier this year during AD compliance issues with Southwest Airlines and American Airlines.
The House of Representatives on July 22 unanimously approved a bipartisan aviation bill that tightens the FAA’s airline maintenance oversight procedures and creates an Aviation Safety Whistleblower Investigation Office.
Speaking at this year’s EAA AirVenture, acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell defended the track record of various agency-industry cooperative safety and inspection programs against Congressional criticism and promised to crack down on those who abuse rules governing amateur-built aircraft.
In a curious illustration of how current events make strange bedfellows, the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) has joined Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and NBAA to fight what they perceive to be causes of record-high oil prices. The two associations are members of the newly formed Stop Oil Speculation Now (S.O.S. Now) campaign, which includes airlines, trucking companies and travel associations. S.O.S.
There’s that old saying, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” And if ever there was an ill wind, it’s the one that has been generated by the price of oil and its effect on the airlines. But that same wind is bringing new opportunities to business aviation, with the prospect of expanded operations and the likelihood of added airplanes to the industry’s fleet.