AOPA “vigorously opposes” the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s plan to prohibit the future use of emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) that use a 121.5-MHz signal. The proposal will have a negative effect on aviation safety, according to AOPA, and the association told the FCC it should immediately abandon its proposed rule changes and defer to the FAA on matters of aviation safety. According to AOPA, there are more than 200,000 general aviation aircraft still carrying 121.5-MHz ELTs.
Avionics and ATC
New developments and products in avionics, specifically about aircraft electronics in the cockpit; and news, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
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.
Universal Avionics announced a new extended warranty program for owners of Universal products this week at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention in Las Vegas. The new FlightAssure program is available after expiration of the original two-year warranty and for most older Universal avionics units.
Customers have been asking for extended warranties, according to director of product support Andy Seaton. “They want stability in operating costs. Costly repairs might not be budgeted, and this way they don’t have to worry about a surprise.”
Avionics sales totaled nearly $6.3 billion last year, according to the Aircraft Electronics Association’s first Avionics Market Report. The association released Phase 1 of the report on Tuesday during the opening of its 56th annual convention in Las Vegas. The report is an attempt “to truly and accurately reflect the value of the avionics and electronics industry,” said AEA president Paula Derks.
Flight Display Systems introduced a new bulkhead-mountable 17.1-inch display mounting system this week at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention in Las Vegas. The mount installs on the back side of a bulkhead or on a wall and allows the 17.1-inch display to swing out or be stowed inside the mount. The 17.1-inch display and mount are undergoing the STC process, although some have been installed under field approvals.
Eurocopter Japan has delivered to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency a Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin medium-twin helicopter retrofitted with a high-speed, real-time satellite transmission system. The helicopter’s satellite communication system enables direct transmission to relay satellites, without interruption by the helicopter’s moving rotor blades. Mitsubishi Electric developed the system, which solves these interference issues when ground-based networks are unavailable.
Aircell’s Gogo Biz in-flight Internet service for business aircraft will be expanded to include coverage over Canada starting in the first quarter of next year, the company announced today. At present, Gogo Biz allows passengers and flight crews to have high-speed Internet access above 10,000 feet in the continental U.S. and portions of Alaska, using their own Wi-Fi enabled laptops, tablets, smartphones, electronic flight bags and other mobile devices. No roaming fees will be assessed when using Gogo Biz in Canada, Aircell noted.
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.