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.
The recently announced Aireon joint venture to provide aircraft position reports from Iridium satellites equipped with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receivers will help close gaps in the already extensive ADS-B coverage provided by Nav Canada, an Aireon partner.
Reduced longitudinal separation minimum [RLongSM], an ATC pilot program in the North Atlantic, produced no safety events during a nine-month evaluation period last year. “Normal longitudinal separation is ten minutes,” explained Dave Stohr, president of Air Training International. “The trial was running with five minutes between appropriately equipped and approved aircraft.”
FAA Order JO 7110.65 is the manual–some call it the “ATC bible”–that air traffic controllers turn to for guidance about ATC procedures and phraseology. Last week, the Agency updated a few procedures to reflect a change in thinking about speeds and aircraft separation.
For U.S. Part 91 business jet operators that fly to Europe, the upcoming Future Air Navigation System (Fans) mandate means not only new operational procedures but also yet another letter of authorization (LOA) requirement from the FAA. Fans and controller pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) are essentially functions that will be baked into the flight management system (FMS), yet each operator’s implementation of procedures, training and a maintenance program for Fans/CPDLC will need a formal stamp of approval from a local FAA office.
For U.S. airplane owners and operators the simple four-letter acronym RVSM (for reduced vertical separation minimums, the process for reducing to 1,000 feet the separation between airplanes flying above 29,000 feet) signals the beginning of an onerous process to get formal permission from the FAA to fly in what has become an ordinary fashion.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating a separation error between two Airbus A330s on March 30 in the far-northwest corner of the continent.