The FAA announced last week that it proposed fines against both Great Lakes Aviation and Southwest Airlines for unrelated FAR violations. The FAA claims that Great Lakes flew a Beech 1900 on 19 different occasions when the aircraft’s de-icing fluid was heated to temperatures exceeding the 180-degree limit that could possibly damage the aircraft. Southwest Airlines was accused of incorrectly wiring a windshield heater switch on a Boeing 717 and operating that aircraft on 1,140 passenger flights before the error was detected.
Even as researchers study ways to improve detection of in-flight icing and make airframes and engines more resistant to icing conditions, they continue to struggle to understand the icing phenomenon–especially the formation of ice crystals–according to speakers at a conference on the subject organized by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne, Germany recently. Ice-prevention techniques present their own challenges, which aircraft makers, airports and ground handlers are endeavoring to solve.
In an article in the October issue (“ADS-B Coming Soon to Asian Airspace”), AIN provided details about the upcoming ADS-B out mandates in Australia, some Asian countries, Europe and the U.S. An alert reader pointed out that there is a wrinkle that operators should be aware of: some of the mandates in Asia require equipment that meets DO-260 or -260A standards, which are less stringent than the DO-260B standards required in the U.S. and Europe.
As government mandates for equipage with ADS-B out avionics begin this month (generally above 29,000 feet in some countries’ airspace), FlightSafety International has launched an ADS-B online training program. The FAA-approved 45-minute course costs $165 per person and is available at FlightSafety’s eLearning website. Subjects covered include operating principles and procedures, flight planning, MEL issues, phraseology, emergency codes, incident reporting and more.
AOPA, GAMA and NBAA hailed the signing of the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013 by President Obama on Wednesday. His signature formally enacts legislation to enhance–and, the industry hopes, to reduce the cost of–the certification process for new general aviation aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds, their avionics and other equipment.
The White House released a report on the impact and cost of the October 2013 federal government shutdown, estimating costs anywhere from $2- to $6 billion in lost output for the overall economy.
Among the hardest hit by the 16-day furlough of non-exempt government employees was general aviation. The move closed the FAA Registry office and delayed other certification activities, imposing widespread hardship on general aviation manufacturers. The Registry must approve each certificate of registration that is required for the sale, export and import of an aircraft.
A group of California politicians wants the FAA to move faster to address the helicopter noise issue in the Los Angeles basin.
Recognizing the value of crew monitoring and cross checking skills, the industry is poised to roll out the first edition of a comprehensive training guide to teach pilot monitoring skills. At the Bombardier Safety Standdown, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt characterized “a lack of good cross checking and pilot monitoring skills” as one of the greatest threats we face today.” A former USAir pilot, Sumwalt said 20 percent of the errors his old airline experienced and some two thirds of the undesired aircraft states would never have occurred if the crews had been properly monitoring the aircraft.
The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.
The FAA is reminding aircraft operators through a special airworthiness information bulletin– NOTC5068, issued November 22–about a few idiosyncrasies to keep in mind when updating aircraft navigational databases. “The cyclical updates may exclude certain navigation data, including approach procedures, which makes this information unavailable for selection on the aircraft flight management system or navigation equipment,” warned the bulletin.