Indian helicopter operators have asked the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to revoke a new requirement making pilots personally responsible for conducting security checks on passengers. Ahead of India’s long election campaign, which ends this month and involves extensive use of chartered helicopters by politicians, the DGCA sent out a directive that obliges pilots to personally search passengers for guns and other illegal items.
Malaysia’s transport ministry released a five-page preliminary report on May 1 into the disappearance of MH370, the Boeing 777 that has not been seen since it departed Kuala Lumpur March 8 for Beijing. The aircraft carried 227 passengers and a crew of 12. The new report adds little, if any, new information about the disappearance.
The civil aviation authority of the Cayman Islands (a branch of the British CAA) and Cayman Islands Helicopters have won their appeal against a previous justice decision that forced the sightseeing flight operator to suspend operations from a helipad conveniently located near a cruise-ship terminal in George Town. As of April 8, the CAA still had to validate the certificate again, almost one year after it had been suspended.
The United Nations agency that coordinates the international use of radio frequency spectrum is joining with the government of Malaysia to hold an “expert dialogue” on the need for real-time monitoring of flight data exposed by the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The parties will conduct the invitation-only meeting in Kuala Lumpur on May 26-27.
France’s civil aviation authority, the DGAC, has approved the idea of training medical personnel as helicopter emergency medical service (Hems) “technical crewmembers,” beginning October 8. This change should meet the EASA IR-OPS requirement, which France opted out of for two years. Most helicopter EMS flights in the country today are conducted by a single pilot.
The European Commission proposed new guidelines last week designed to harmonize rules and regulations that dictate the operation of unmanned aerial systems, which the EC designates as remotely piloted aircraft systems. Potential European operators are eager to put unmanned vehicles into service as soon as possible. The proposed new European guidelines will look at safety, security, privacy, data protection and insurance liability issues.
The FAA future flight technologies branch approved Air Crew Academy’s automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) online training module last week. Previously, individual operators were required to submit the academy’s ADS-B training module to their local FSDO case-by-case to obtain a letter of authorization (LOA). The ADS-B module covers operating procedures, flight planning, MEL procedures, human-factors considerations, ADS-B phraseology, normal and abnormal system operation, aircraft IDs, data source errors and incident reporting.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is preparing to reduce its staff by 20 percent in the face of government budget cuts. Safety inspectors, mostly based in Canberra, make up just over half of the 110 personnel who might be let go. The union representing the safety inspectors is fighting the planned cuts.
Lawmakers finally received a response to questions about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) searches of general aviation aircraft on domestic flights, but they remain unsatisfied. The response came from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the umbrella federal agency that includes CBP. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) received a letter and a table reporting more details about some of the incidents, but Roberts and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) were not fully satisfied and sent a letter on February 12 requesting a briefing and more written responses from the DHS.