The FAA mandate to equip with ADS-B OUT avionics is coming in fewer than 5.5 years, and many owners and operators are still waiting to upgrade their aircraft, either because they’re hoping prices will drop and technology will improve or they aren’t sure they’ll be keeping their aircraft beyond the deadline.
I’ve been thinking a lot about complacency since the crash of a Gulfstream IV on takeoff from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., that left seven people dead. Any accident, especially one with fatalities, affects those of us who have spent our entire lives and careers in aviation. But one that occurs at an airport where we regularly work has a particular impact. The accident investigation continues, but the National Transportation Safety Board has already issued a preliminary report that raises some troubling questions about whether the pilots conducted a routine flight control check.
This has got to stop. We all know that FAA inspectors at the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) level are overworked and that FAA regulations, policies, procedures and programs impose impossible requirements on agency personnel. But when a drop-dead simple piece of paperwork that needs an approval signature hits the desk and gets delayed for some obscure confounded reason, causing the grounding of a multimillion-dollar jet, well, this simply has got to stop.
I’ve written periodically about FAA enforcement and what I consider to be abuses of the process, along with sanctions that are significantly disproportionate to the safety impact of the offenses charged.
While Houston Hobby Airport hosts thousands of business aviation flights each year, I wonder how many of the crews transiting the airport are aware of the old Municipal Airport Terminal? It’s something that I didn’t know still existed until a trip to Houston earlier this year, for the opening of the new Million Air FBO/company headquarters. Driving on Telephone Road on the west side of the airport, I noticed the white art-deco wedding cake-shaped building set back from the street, along with a few signs advertising it as the 1940 Air Terminal Museum.
When Business Jet Traveler interviewed entrepreneur Mark Cuban back in 2010, he explained how he purchased a Gulfstream V online. First, he looked at info about the jet on the manufacturer’s website and sent an e-mail to set up a demo flight for his pilot, who reported back that he loved the airplane. Then, recalled Cuban, “I sent another e-mail saying I wanted to buy it. I got the banking instructions, wired the money, and that was it.”
It is way too soon to speculate about what might have caused the Gulfstream IV runway excursion crash at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. on May 31, but the NTSB preliminary report’s focus on the gust lock system raises some questions.
As the air transport industry’s heavy hitters gathered in Doha for IATA’s June 1-3 annual general meeting (AGM), thoughts turned to heavy iron—namely, prospective widebody developments that stand to upset the competitive status quo as early as the Farnborough Air Show in July.
Many of us in aviation in the U.S. haven’t been paying much attention to our neighbor to the north. Canadians are known for being somewhat quiet and unassuming. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that quiet and unassuming doesn’t mean they’re not busily working on practical solutions to important issues. In fact, there’s a lot going on in Canada that we in the U.S. could learn from in the aviation arena.
When it comes to song topics, love is number one, but travel may be a close second. In a gazillion tunes, it seems, someone is hopping on or off a train, boat or plane.
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