The U.S. Navy is upgrading the communications network on its E-6B Mercury airborne command post to provide the battle staff on board with faster, more reliable access to both classified and unclassified information. The service recently received the third fleet E-6B outfitted with the Internet protocol bandwidth expansion (IPBE) upgrade.
In a new safety alert for operators (SAFO), the FAA reminds pilots not to depend upon cockpit technology as the primary means to control the aircraft in all situations.
“A recent analysis of flight operations data (including normal flight operations, incidents and accidents) identified an increase in manual handling errors,” said the SAFO, issued on January 4.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is trying to understand how a military air traffic controller allowed a Qantas-Link Boeing 717 inbound to Darwin carrying 115 passengers to fly through the altitude of a Qantas Boeing 737 that just departed that same airport with 155 people on board. Darwin is a joint-use military/civilian airport. The 717’s Tcas system alerted the crew to the other aircraft, which the pilot reported passed about 800 feet beneath him. That same captain said the other aircraft looked as if it had passed much closer to his 717 than 800 feet.
Night Flight Concepts (NFC) is offering laser defense training online. The one-hour course is available to law enforcement and other first responders for $95 and to other students for $125 through the company’s website: www.nightflightconcepts.com. Upon finishing the course, students take an online quiz and can print a certificate of completion.
Qantas Airways’ August 23 cancellation of “firm commitments” covering 35 Boeing 787-9s previously slated for delivery beginning in 2014 demonstrates the need for an airframer to remain flexible in the face of changing industry demand. The sudden change, prompted by after-tax losses in the current financial year, also demonstrates the continued vulnerability of the airline sector to rising costs and uncertain demand.
The FAA has directed its investigators and staff to pursue stiffer penalties for people who purposefully point laser devices at aircraft. Shining a laser at an airplane can temporarily blind the pilots, resulting in a safety issue. The number of reported laser incidents nationwide rose to 3,592 last year from 2,836 in 2010.
AAR has signed a letter of intent with the city of Duluth, Minn., to reopen the maintenance facility previously operated by Northwest Airlines.
Aveillant, a spin-off company from France-based technology engineering specialist Altran, is developing a new radar designed to distinguish between aircraft and the rotating blades of wind turbines, eliminating the potential confusion wind farms could cause in ATC and allowing wind farms to be built closer to airports.
Three weeks of fruitless negotiations between Qantas and three of its employee unions have forced the government’s workplace labor tribunal to arbitrate new labor agreements. The Australian flag carrier has warned that the dispute could result in a dip in its profits for the last six months of 2011 of up to 66 percent.