At precisely 0901 UTC on January 20, new operating rules for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) are planned to take effect in the U.S., southern Canada, South America and Mexico. Depending on your particular situation, you may be anticipating or dreading the event.
Air traffic control
After calling on European Union (EU) member states last year to align their operating rules more closely with those of the FAA, the U.S.-based General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has formed a joint industry committee to draft recommendations and submit them to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Raytheon Aircraft teamed with AeroMech to develop an RVSM solution for most of the Beechcraft King Air fleet and has STCs for the King Air 200, 300 and 350 equipped with APS-65 or APS-80 autopilots and ADC-80 air-data computers.
A small company that began life by providing collision-avoidance hardware to the U.S. Navy has grown into a larger provider of data tools for airports, airlines, charter operators and FBOs. Megadata sells its data products under the Passur name, a contraction of the term “passive secondary surveillance radar.”
William Horn Jr. a retired air force colonel, NBAA employee and aviation consultant, died on December 14. He was 85.
He was a member of the Army Air Force, serving in World War II, and was manager of airspace and ATC services for NBAA from 1973 to 1984. He is survived by three children, two sisters and three grandchildren.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, Parker, Colo., Aug. 4, 2005–The NTSB blamed the accident on the commercial pilot’s failure to fly a stabilized instrument approach at night. Contributing factors were the dark night and low clouds, the inadequate design and function of the airport facility’s minimum safe altitude warning system (MSAW), and the FAA’s inadequate procedure for updating information to air traffic controllers.
Few navigation systems have experienced the ups and downs of loran as they sought recognition. In December, a UK agency said the system is an essential back-up to GPS; the same month the FAA rejected it for the same purpose and an independent group of U.S. experts unanimously endorsed the system as a backup.
The promise of ADS-B is well known by now: provide quality surveillance at a lower cost than conventional radar and improve situational awareness in the cockpit, thereby reducing the number of accidents or incidents–such as runway incursions–in the air and on the ground.
Although the FAA needs to hire 11,800 new controllers through Fiscal Year 2015 to replace retirees and other vacancies, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association noted the agency’s latest FAA Administrator’s Fact Book reports that the overall total number of controllers dropped from 14,227 at the end of FY2005 to 14,206 in FY2006.
The UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has introduced a permanent 250-knot speed restriction for standard instrument departures (SIDs) from London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Northolt and London City airports. Aircraft are required to maintain and not exceed 250 knots below FL100.