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September 22, 2014, 12:25 PM

The task force set up in early August by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to assess risks to aircraft operating in conflict zones has defined a work program with two immediate objectives.

September 22, 2014, 12:20 PM

The Australian-led Joint Agency Coordination Center at the heart of the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 said last week that 58 objects “inconsistent with the Indian Ocean seabed” had been located in an area not previously explored. The Malaysian government is bringing an underwater vehicle to the area at the end of September to aid in identifying the objects. MH370, a Boeing 777, disappeared March 8 with 239 people aboard.

 

September 22, 2014, 12:15 PM

The FAA granted the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority category-one safety status last week after conducting inspections to ICAO standards of the country’s aviation infrastructure and regulatory framework. The new status will allow Ethiopian carriers direct access to the U.S. from Africa.

September 22, 2014, 12:10 PM

Australian company One Atmosphere was recently named this year’s winner of the Australian Defense Science and Technology Organization’s Eureka prize. The company received the honor for creating Pegasus, an emergency helicopter buoyancy system to prevent aircraft from sinking after ditching at sea. One Atmosphere said the lightweight Pegasus will quickly raise a 22,000-pound helicopter from a depth of 33 feet and keep it afloat for four hours.

 

September 22, 2014, 12:05 PM

In light of recent accidents that underscore the dangers of hypoxia, operators might want to hear the dangers for themselves. A 2008 recording of a pair of Learjet pilots who nearly lost control of their aircraft illustrates the threat that hypoxia poses. In the recording something is clearly wrong with the pilots, but they struggled to make their problem and their intentions known to a Cleveland Center controller, who figured the problem out on his own and instructed the pilots to descend.

September 22, 2014, 12:03 PM
Iridium Next satellite

Satellite-based surveillance developer Aireon will provide a free emergency tracking system for aircraft when the satellite constellation it will use is launched and operating, as expected, in 2017. Aireon announced the service on September 22, saying the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 earlier this year makes global emergency tracking “essential.”

Aireon’s surveillance system will use automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receivers contained as hosted payloads on new Iridium Next satellites to send position reports to subscribing air navigation service providers over oceanic and remote regions of the Earth beyond radar coverage. Iridium plans to launch the second-generation constellation of 66 low-Earth-orbit satellites between 2015 and 2017.

The Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking service, branded as “Aireon Alert,” will be provided “as a public service to the aviation community, free of charge,” the company said. Operating from a 24-hour emergency call center, it will provide authorized search-and-rescue organizations with the location and last flight track of any 1090-MHz ADS-B transponder-equipped aircraft flying in airspace without other surveillance. Airlines will not have to equip with new avionics.

“The existing gaps in surveillance, particularly in cases of lost aircraft, became abundantly clear this past year,” said John Crichton, president and CEO of Nav Canada, an Aireon joint-venture partner. “The tragic disappearance of Flight MH370 prompted worldwide urgency to look for solutions. Aireon’s response amounts to a global public service, offering Aireon Alert universally with no fee.”

Aireon is a joint venture of Iridium Communications and ANSPs Nav Canada, Italy’s ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority and Denmark’s Naviair. Nav Canada will acquire a 51-percent interest in the venture by late 2017.

A competing ADS-B-based surveillance system is also progressing. Earlier this month, ADS-B Technologies and satellite communications provider Globalstar announced the completion of the latest flight demonstration of its space-based ADS-B Link Augmentation System (ALAS), tracking a round-trip flight between Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The test “marked the first time that a flight demonstration tested a dual-link (1090 MHz and Universal Access Transceiver) space-based ADS-B system in all environments and for extended periods of time,” the companies said. “The flight proved that the 1090ES and UAT versions of the ALAS technology work continuously, reporting the aircraft’s position every second during a flight of nearly 7,000 miles.”

September 22, 2014, 12:00 PM

Both occupants of a Beechcraft Super King Air 300LW died September 14 when their aircraft crashed into a pair of houses in the La Isla area of the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires as it approached Jorge Newberry Airport. The impact ignited a fire in both ground structures that also destroyed the aircraft.

September 21, 2014, 5:53 PM

Air France pilots on Saturday voted to continue striking until at least Friday, extending by another five days a walkout that has forced the airline to cancel more than half its flights over the past week. The point of contention centers on Air France’s stated plans to shift more capacity to its low-fare Transavia subsidiary, whose pilots work for significantly less pay than those of the main airline.

September 21, 2014, 5:17 PM

A series of new order announcements involving no fewer than three major civil airframe makers signaled the end of a late-summer sales lull on Wednesday, as airlines went on a new buying spree reminiscent of July’s Farnborough airshow. The value of the week'sday’s orderss totaled some $11.37.45 billion at list prices and involved 11886 airplanes ranging in size from the Embraer E175 regional jet to the Boeing 787-9 widebody. 

September 19, 2014, 11:58 AM

The latest round of economic sanctions imposed against Russia by the U.S. and European Union (EU) did not directly target the civil aerospace and air transport sectors, but they may yet inflict collateral damage on these industries. The U.S. sanctions, announced on September 12, included the Rostec defense group, which has ambitions in the civil sector, such as its planned joint venture with Canada’s Bombardier to build Q400 regional airliners in Russia.

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