Controller operational errors are on the rise, according to a February 27 audit report from the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), prompted by requests from the Senate subcommittee on aviation operations, safety and security and, separately, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. According to FAA data, controller operational errors at the Southern California (SoCal) Tracon, jumped from 33 in FY09 to 189 in FY10, an increase of 473 percent.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration estimates that revised wake turbulence separation standards applied for the first time at Memphis International Airport last November have produced a 15-percent increase in flight-handling capacity at the airport.
The FAA has extended for a second year an operational evaluation of pilot initiated climbs and descents using in-trail procedures (ITP) in Pacific Ocean airspace. The trial involves 12 United Airlines Boeing 747-400s flying between the U.S. West Coast and Australia and New Zealand. Having extended the evaluation to Aug. 15, 2013, the agency said that it is also holding “exploratory conversations” with ANA and Japan Airlines to include some of their aircraft in the process.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released its initial investigation into the Sept. 28, 2012, ATC error that occurred 25 miles south-southwest of Williamtown, New South Wales. At 0801 EST an Airservices air traffic controller at the Brisbane ATC complex in Queensland assumed responsibility for airspace sectors extending from 45 nm north of Sydney to near Coffs Harbor in New South Wales, a distance of about 300 nm.
The FAA has released details of a new ADS-B-based oceanic airspace trial that started October 26 with the goal of reducing longitudinal separation between participating aircraft in the Oakland air route traffic control center’s oceanic control area. The in-trail procedure (ITP), which applies to climbing and descending aircraft, is designed to prove that more aircraft will be able to fly at their requested altitudes using the ADS-B reduced separation standards. A number of conditions must exist during the trial period in order for controllers to apply reduced separation standards.
The FAA released details of a new ADS-B-based oceanic airspace trial that began October 26 to reduce longitudinal separation between participating aircraft in Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center’s oceanic control area. The current trial applies to aircraft climbing and descending and is designed to prove that more aircraft will be able to fly at their requested altitudes using the ADS-B-enabled reduced separation standards.
The FAA will implement new wake turbulence standards on at 1100Z on November 1 starting at Memphis International Airport. Other U.S. airports are expected to see the new standards applied during 2013-2014 under the joint FAA/Eurocontrol RECAT program (revising wake turbulence categories to gain capacity).
Both Gander and Shanwick oceanic control areas (OCAs) are conducting a trial of reduced longitudinal separation standards–five minutes between eligible aircraft–in North Atlantic airspace. The separation minimum for turbojets maintaining constant Mach on the same longitudinal track in the North Atlantic minimum navigation performance specifications (MNPS) airspace is 10 minutes.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the media August 2 that the three US Airways-branded regional jets involved in a series of ATC losses of separation near Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) on July 31 were never in danger of actually colliding.
Pilots flying in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) monitoring airspace will soon find themselves becoming familiar with another new compliance standard, as well as a new acronym, AGHME. This stands for Aircraft Geometric Height Measurement Element, and Nov.