Testifying yesterday before the Senate subcommittee on aviation on the status of NextGen ATC implementation, FAA deputy administrator Michael Whitaker told lawmakers that “both the FAA and industry must be held accountable if NextGen is to succeed.”
Mid Atlantic Sim Center, a newly formed helicopter training organization in Iceland, has signed an agreement with simulator manufacturer Indra for Europe’s first level-D full-flight simulator for the Airbus Helicopters AS350. Plans call for the FAA-/EASA-certified device, convertible between the B2 and B3 models, to be operational at the company’s new facility in Reykjavik in the first quarter of 2016.
French turboprop manufacturer Daher-Socata has signed a new five-year agreement with Hartzell Propeller to supply the recently introduced TBM 900 with advanced swept-airfoil composite five-blade propellers and spinners. “The TBM 900 is distinguished by its comfort, speed and efficiency, and all three are improved by Hartzell’s five-blade prop, which is quieter, speedier and more efficient,” said Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher-Socata’s airplane business unit.
The production system that promises to support a reduction in final assembly times for the Boeing 737 from 10 to nine days this year should become still more efficient with the introduction of a new automated panel assembly line (PAL) by early 2015. Built by Mukilteo, Washington-based Electroimpact, the PAL fastens stringers to wing skin panels at twice the rate Boeing now can manage using the current process at the 737 plant in Renton, Washington. Electroimpact designed the machine to “normalize” to the panel with an array of lasers that “see” the surface without touching it, allowing it to follow the panel curvature or contour. The process improves accuracy, consistency and “repeatability,” according to Boeing.
MRO service provider AAR has become the first MRO operator to agree to share safety information voluntarily with the FAA under a new program. AAR recently signed on to participate in the FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (Asias) program, which is designed to help MRO operators avoid serious and potentially costly safety issues and to help the FAA identify high-risk areas.
Londonderry, N.H.-based Pro Star Aviation has named Thomas Kennedy director of maintenance. In his new role, Kennedy will use his 27 years of experience to manage the MRO’s day-to-day airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul functions. Before joining Pro Star Aviation, Kennedy held various positions, from lead technician at British Midland Airways to director of maintenance at both Jet Aviation and Signature TechnicAir in Bedford, Mass. Most recently he was Northeast regional engine manager for Dallas Airmotive.
Chinese carriers have canceled several flights to Kota Kinabalu in response to poor market demand and safety concerns following a spate of kidnappings of Taiwanese and Chinese tourists in the east Malaysian state of Sabah since April.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has determined that Asiana Flight 214 crashed on July 6 last year at San Francisco International Airport because the flight crew mismanaged the approach and inadequately monitored airspeed. Announcing the findings at a meeting on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the Board also found that the complexities of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems and the crew’s misunderstanding of those systems contributed to the accident.
Directional Aviation consolidated charter broker activities from wholly owned Sentient Jet, Flexjet and Flight Options yesterday under Skyjet, a new subsidiary. Greg Richman, who is president at the division, said the Skyjet brand was a “hidden gem” in Directional’s acquisition of Flexjet in December.
An NPRM from the Treasury Department on the assessment of federal excise taxes (FET) in the aircraft management industry could be issued as early as August, according to Jorge Castro, a consultant to the National Air Transportation Association. Speaking at the group’s annual Air Charter Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, he told the audience that dialog has heated up between the Internal Revenue Service and FAA regarding regulation of the FET laws.