This month marks a milestone for NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), the 35th anniversary of its monthly safety bulletin, Callback. Capt. Rex Hardy, a decorated U.S. naval aviator and test pilot, created the publication in 1979. His vision of a short, readable and informal format to present “lessons learned” (selected from the thousands of anonymous ASRS submissions by flight crews, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others) was an immediate success. Yesterday, current editor Don Purdy published Callback issue number 414.
Regulations and Government
News about bills, laws, regulations and other governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace. Topics include FAA reauthorizations, taxes on fuel and aviation activities, environmental legislation, ICAO decisions, governmental mediation of labor conflicts and World Trade Organization disputes and decisions.
The FAA is “well on track to having all the ADS-B foundational technology completed well before the 2020 mandate for industry to equip with ADS-B out,” associate administrator Michael Whitaker told the U.S. Senate commerce committee’s aviation subcommittee on NextGen air traffic management. “Both the FAA and industry must be held accountable if NextGen is to succeed,” he added, emphasizing that “the 2020 deadline is not going to change.”
After Sir Richard Branson launches the first passenger flight of his Virgin Galactic space venture, possibly later this year, he’s indicated that he will turn his attention to developing a supersonic commercial aircraft that can transit from New York to Tokyo (10,800 km; 5,800 nm) in “less than an hour.” He envisions an orbital aircraft, which could reach speeds up to 30,000 kph (16,200 knots).
Recognizing its potential to become a major industry player, China is finally moving toward greater liberalization of its aviation sector. The announcement followed on the heels of the Third Plenary Session held in November 2013. It was during this time that China’s new leaders, alongside the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), committed to a series of reforms geared to loosen the regulatory grip that has significantly hindered industry growth. Now, eight months later, signs of change are on the horizon.
The UK’s new military air safety regime has contributed to the delayed entry into British service of some new platforms, such as the Airbus A330MRTT Voyager tanker, the Thales Watchkeeper UAS and the L-3 Integrated Systems Airseeker (the UK version of the USAF’s RC-135 Rivet Joint SIGINT aircraft). As a result, some UK aerospace industry managers have expressed dissatisfaction with the Military Aviation Authority (MAA), in off-the-record comments to this editor and others.
NBAA, AOPA, airport businesses, local aircraft owners and a corporate operator have filed a Part 16 complaint with the FAA about California’s Santa Monica Airport. The complaint seeks to settle the issue of when the city, which owns and operates the airport, is no longer subject to grant assurance obligations that require it to keep the airport open. While the city believes that its obligations expire on July 1 next year, the complainants claim that a 2003 request by the city to amend the last grant agreement extended the period of time that the airport must remain open to August 2023.
The European Commission is conducting a user survey of an aviation safety initiative focused on possibly revising EC regulation 216/2008 related to common civil aviation rules and the role of the European Aviation Safety Agency. This online survey asks for informed opinions and suggestions to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the current EU aviation safety system, as well as possibilities for improving safety, competitiveness, environmental protection and the quality of air services.
Within Six Months
July 4, 2014:
Taws Equipage for Canadian Aircraft with Six or More Passenger Seats
Web Manuals, a Swedish company that offers digital operational manual creation, publication, distribution and maintenance services, is set to expand its sphere of operations and open a U.S. office in Boston later this year. The Malmö-based firm streamlines the task of maintaining and sharing up-to-date company operational or maintenance manuals, which are becoming ever more crucial in the current safety management system climate.
The FAA’s Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) have a backlog of applications for certificates that concerns the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s Office. As of last October, 1,029 new air operator, flight school and repair station applicants awaited certificates from FSDOs across all eight FAA regions, with 138 applications delayed longer than three years, the IG reported to Congress on June 12.