On January 27, the FAA announced that it has developed a more streamlined process to help operators with the letter of authorization (LOA) needed for flight in reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) airspace above FL280. A joint industry/FAA task force studied issues with RVSM certification and made recommendations about how to improve the system last May.
British ATC provider NATS announced last week that a new system that uses time intervals rather than distance to separate arriving and departing aircraft should be in full operation at London Heathrow Airport next spring. The dynamic time-based separations (TBS) system is expected to reduce aircraft delays while increasing an airport’s landing acceptance rate by accounting for wind-speed changes that current distance-based separation ignores.
NBAA welcomed changes announced and enacted yesterday by the FAA to streamline the process for aircraft operators seeking a letter of authorization (LOA) for operations in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace above FL280. According to NBAA senior manager of safety and flight operations Mark Larsen, the FAA’s final policy is in line with recommendations made by a task force to improve the LOA inspection process, while maintaining operational safety in the National Airspace System.
Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) manufacturer General Atomics says it has successfully tested sense-and-avoid architecture and self-separation functionality that could be the key to keeping piloted aircraft and RPAs apart in the air. The recent test marked the first time the technology has functioned as a true “system of systems” to detect every class of aircraft equipage, and it paves the way for a due regard capability, that ability to avoid aircraft, objects and weather.
Lockheed Martin (Stand 1975) is installing its WindTracer windshear and turbulence-detection system at Dubai International Airport (DXB), where it will be used to detect aircraft wake vortices, thus allowing for increased runway utilization. Two WindTracers have been installed this year and a third one is to follow in the first quarter of next year, Michael Margulis, WindTracer program director, told AIN. WindTracer is a long-range, 3-D-scanning pulsed doppler lidar-based system.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of Norway issued its final report explaining how confusion between two aircraft with similar call signs resulted in a near-collision at Oslo Airport in October last year. The incident occurred as a Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 (NAX 741) executed a missed approach as another of the company’s aircraft (NAX 740) was taking off.
The FAA published updates to the wake turbulence separation categories on October 22 for Louisville, Miami, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia airports based on improved understanding of how wake vortices behave. Categories are now based on weight, certified approach speed and wing characteristics. Special consideration will be given to aircraft with limited ability to counteract adverse rolls.
Because air traffic controllers are increasingly making traffic separation decisions based upon an aircraft’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS) capability–or lack thereof–the FAA has begun updating aircraft equipment suffixes for traffic operating in U.S. domestic airspace. For instance, a GNSS-equipped aircraft may now fly a random route without the need for ATC radar monitoring, where previously radar was always required.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released its report last week on the near collision between a Cessna Citation X and a Gulfstream V in NavCanada-controlled airspace on March 8 last year. Both aircraft, level at 43,000 feet and cleared on opposite-direction courses along J16, passed within one mile laterally and just under 1,000 feet vertically of each other near London, Ontario.
Standard separation required 2,000 feet vertically and five miles laterally.
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