Former Free Flight Phase 1 director Charles Keegan has been appointed vice president for operations planning in the FAA’s Air Traffic Management Organization (ATO), succeeding Norman Fujisaki, who is retiring. Keegan will continue as director of the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), the interagency organization developing the long-term plan for the next-generation air transport system.
Air traffic control
The FAA last month chose Lockheed Martin from a field of five bidders to provide the services now offered by the agency’s 58 automated flight service stations in the continental U.S., Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Under a five-year contract that includes five additional option years, the agency expects to save $2.2 billion if it exercises all of the option years.
New taxi into position and hold (TIPH) guidance for pilots became effective February 5. It includes new ATC procedures and phraseology to improve runway safety.
Because of “undesirable” events involving TIPH, the FAA convened a safety risk management panel consisting of representatives from the agency’s Air Traffic Service and Flight Standards Service, as well as certain specialists, including experts in aviation human factors.
In a letter to the Department of Transportation last month, AOPA renewed its support of loran as a possible low-cost, ideal backup to the future GPS-based ATC system. The letter went to the Coast Guard because it is responsible for operation and maintenance of loran.
In the ongoing saga of air traffic controller staffing, the FAA announced yesterday as part of its 10-year forecast that it is increasing controller hiring to better meet attrition and increasing system demand. The agency’s updated Air Traffic Control Workforce Plan now specifies the need for 15,000 new controllers over the next decade, up from previous plans for 12,500 new controllers over a similar period.
The FAA is releasing a new Web-based program that lets the user fill out, digitally sign and print forms online. The user can also interact with the FAA when necessary and forward forms directly to the aircraft registry to be placed in the official aircraft records.
A European mandate calling for mode-S transponder upgrades in transport-category airplanes is causing confusion for some U.S. business jet operators as they struggle to interpret the rule’s fine print and decide whether it applies to them.
The investigation into the causes of the midair between a Gol Boeing 737 and an Embraer Legacy operated by Long Island-based ExcelAire last September 29 is likely to continue through the end of the year.
The Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau blamed insufficient pilot proficiency and repeated interference of a passenger occupying the cockpit right seat as the main causes of the crash of a Spanish Citation I/SP near Zurich Airport in April 2003. In the final report on the accident, examiners emphasized that a pilot flying a fast aircraft single-pilot must be particularly rigorous and systematic in structuring flight procedures.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) president and CEO Pete Bunce used the association’s annual industry review and market outlook briefing to dispel the “myths” that the Bush Administration has put forth regarding the need for an overhaul of the FAA’s current funding mechanism.