Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) plan to introduce a bill Wednesday morning intended to prohibit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from closing 149 federal contract tower facilities under budget sequestration, an industry source confirmed to AIN. A companion measure is also expected to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
A change in FAA policy that allows the use of GPS approaches at alternate airports should be welcome news for pilots. “Operators are now permitted to file a flight plan for a GPS approach at either the destination or an alternate, but not both,” according to NBAA. The new policy took effect on April 4. Previously pilots could fly GPS approaches only at the destination airport.
Remember the spate of sleeping controllers and the angst it all caused at 800 Independence Avenue and 1200 New Jersey Avenue?
Satcom Direct held its 9th annual conference in early February, bringing together not only its own customers but also a variety of hardware manufacturers and other companies that benefit from and provide services via satcom. The conference grows every year and is evidence that the steady pace of satellite communications development has led to a greater variety of airborne telecom services–and even some reductions in pricing–for aircraft operators.
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.
Operators at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Bridgeport, Conn., are stepping up efforts to keep their ATC tower open after withdrawal of federal funding. Kyle Slover, COO of local FBO Volo Aviation, told AIN that discussions about options for keeping the tower open on a privately funded basis were already under way before the FAA’s March 22 announcement that 149 towers are to close at U.S. airports beginning April 7.
The FAA released guidance yesterday to the 149 airports whose contract towers are scheduled to close as a result of budget cuts that outlines the shutdown schedule and addresses what will happen to the tower structures and equipment.
The European Commission is taking to task the vast majority of its 27 nation states for their lack of progress in forging the Single European Sky through a program to unify regional airspace.
Inefficiencies caused by Europe’s fragmented airspace generate extra costs of close to €5 billion each year, adding 42 kilometers (27 miles) to the distance of an average flight, and forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in user charges and incur delays. The U.S. controls the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost.
As India’s air traffic grows and skies get crowded, the country’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Civil Aviation have finally reached an agreement on a long-standing demand for flexible use of airspace (FUA). The implementation will stand “subject to ensuring adequate safeguards in the system to prevent inadvertent leaks of military information and dissemination of any information on military aviation activities strictly on a ‘need to know’ basis,” noted a government statement. The military currently controls approximately 65 percent of India’s airspace.
While NTSB investigators at South Bend (Ind.) Airport are probing the cause of the crash of a Hawker Beechcraft Premier during an approach on Sunday, they are also trying to determine whether there are any links between this accident and two other Premier crashes within a three-week period. Nine people have died in the three recent accidents involving Premiers.