The FAA has issued a final rule that raises to 1,500 the minimum flight hours required by first officers for U.S. air carriers flying under Part 121 regulations, up from the current 250 hours. The new rules stem from a Congressional mandate following the 2009 crash of Colgan Air 3407, a Bombardier Q400, in Buffalo, NY. The rule also requires that first officers hold an ATP certificate and a type rating in the aircraft being flown.
The EASA approved the interim solution–a combination of vibration monitoring, inspections and part modification–that Eurocopter devised for the EC225 to address main gearbox (MGB) lubrication issues after the type experienced two controlled ditchings last year. The manufacturer’s fix is intended to reduce the likelihood of an undetected crack, leading to in-flight rupture and ditching, to one per billion flight hours. At issue is the bevel gear vertical shaft, a part that is critical to main gearbox lubrication.
The FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization program faces long-term technical risks and still uncertain acceptance by airspace users. But after a decade in development, NextGen could be stalled by a nearer-term threat: substantially reduced funding from Congress. In June, the House appropriations committee released transportation funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2014 that would reduce the FAA’s capital funding account, which supports NextGen programs, to its lowest level since 2000.
The FAA claims the NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to its recently issued NextGen Implementation Plan report, which projects a reduction in delays of 41 percent by the end of the mid-term implementation period in 2020.
Several decades ago there was an advertisement with three elderly ladies in a fast-food joint. They look at a burger and ask, “Where’s the beef?” One panelist at a NextGen symposium hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) International and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) in late June suggested that selling NextGen to the end users may present a similar perception problem. “Where is the hype?” he asked. “I just don’t see the hype.”
Gulfstream, Mitsubishi top survey results again
Gulfstream, the longtime leader in the AIN Product Support Survey, scored higher this year with an overall average 8.3 rating for its large-cabin jets (newer and older aircraft), although after a large jump last year, Embraer is creeping even closer to the top spot, up 0.1 to 8.2 from last year’s 8.1.
Kenny Dichter, founder of jet-card innovator Marquis Jet, is re-entering the private aviation market with the launch of Wheels Up, a new private members club. The new company is set to place an $800 million order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin turboprops, with deliveries of the eight-passenger aircraft due to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, running through 2018.
Increasing traffic and a growing number of aircraft in Europe could have significant negative consequences in the U.S., as demand for technical specialists in Europe draws on an already shrinking talent pool in the U.S.
The FAA is proposing a $2.75 million civil penalty against Boeing for allegedly failing to maintain its commercial airplane quality control system in accordance with approved FAA procedures. In September 2008, Boeing discovered it had been installing nonconforming fasteners on 777s. The following month, the FAA sent Boeing a letter of investigation that requested a response within 20 working days.
Beechcraft Global Customer Support named Edwards Jet Center in Billings, Mont., an authorized service center for the King Air, Baron and Bonanza.
Founded in 1947, Edwards Jet Center is an FBO, FAA-certified repair station and FAA Part 135 on-demand charter operator. The MRO employs 18 full-time A&P mechanics with capabilities for piston, turboprop and jet aircraft.