The ATC phrases “climb via” and “descend via” were officially added to the pilot/controller glossary on April 3, indicating the FAA now expects pilots to understand and comply with the new abbreviated IFR clearances. Pilots can expect to hear these instructions when operating on standard instrument departures (SIDs) and standard terminal arrival routes (Stars) when ATC changes a procedure’s altitude restriction for some reason.
Air traffic control
Dr. David Byers, developer of the Synthetic Air Traffic Advisory System (Satas), which uses off-the-shelf technology to create a virtual control tower, demonstrated the system at last week’s Sun ’n’ Fun show in Lakeland, Fla. Satas combines a SharpEye radar unit, developed by DeTect of Panama City, Fla., for marine applications, with the airfield radar system from SRI of Rockledge, Fla., which makes ground security radars. Together, the systems identify and track aircraft flying in the area, all without the need for any transponders on board the aircraft.
The FAA on March 28 published a revised version of AC No: 20-138D that clarifies and adds new guidance material to the airworthiness approval process for a variety of GPS systems, including augmented GPS, and Rnav equipment for RNP operations and baro-Vnav equipment.
The FAA issued a special ATC procedure Notam last week for the upcoming Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Ga. The Notam becomes effective April 7 and requires slot reservations for any of the Augusta-area airports: Bush Field, Daniel Field, Aiken Municipal and Thomson-McDuffie County.
At the 57th annual Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) convention, held in Nashville, Tenn., from March 12 to 15, the AEA announced that 2013 worldwide general aviation avionics sales exceeded $2.4 billion, 6.9 percent higher than the comparable 2012 number. Of the $2.4 billion in sales generated last year, 54 percent were for forward-fit (new aircraft) and 46 percent for retrofit (aftermarket). “There are many signs for our market recovery,” said Paul Derks, AEA president.
Authorities reopened the upper airspace over the republic of Kosovo to civilian overflights on April 3, 15 years after it closed because of the ethnic war in the former Yugoslavian territory. The action will lead to shorter flight routes in the region and represents “a significant step toward aviation normalization in the Western Balkans,” Eurocontrol announced.
Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) state-owned air navigation service provider signed a contract with Comsoft, of Karlsruhe, Germany, to modernize the island nation’s air traffic management (ATM) and surveillance systems to the latest international standard. The parties announced the contract in Port Moresby, PNG’s capital, on March 28.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said an additional go-around might have prevented a January 23 wet-runway excursion involving a chartered Fairchild SA-226 turboprop at Archerfield in Queensland.
Twenty air traffic controllers, all members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), were honored for their skill, dedication and professionalism at the association’s March 26 Archie League Medal of Safety awards ceremony. The annual event spotlights controllers who saved at least one life during an emergency.
We owe the FAA a debt of gratitude for the most excellent job the agency has done to provide data to aid our flying. It is amazing that for a relatively small cost pilots have access to a wealth of navigation information. Much of it—VFR charting especially—is gorgeous, pretty enough to hang on a wall or use as wrapping paper after the expiration date.