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September 22, 2014, 12:40 PM

UPS is making a series of safety enhancements in the aftermath of the September 9 NTSB hearing into the crash of UPS Flight 1354 at Birmingham, Ala., in August last year.

September 22, 2014, 12:35 PM

The FAA released an updated advisory circular AC 91-79A last week to help pilots and aircraft operators more easily identify, understand and mitigate the risks of runway overruns. The AC was also developed to assist operators in creating their own standard operating procedures (SOPs) to help reduce those risks.

Runway overruns account for approximately 10 incident or accidents annually, many resulting in fatalities, according to the agency.

September 22, 2014, 12:25 PM

The NTSB will hold a free one-day forum to review current technological advancements to flight data recorders and aircraft locators. The preliminary agenda for the meeting, called “Emerging Flight Data and Locator Technology,” was posted last week. The session will focus on equipment in use while also exploring new technologies in development and determining what issues relating to policy, industry standards and technical limitations need to be addressed.

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.

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