The FAA’s budgetary woes are but one symptom of the U.S. fiscal freight train that has been speeding down the track with ever greater wobbles since 9/11.
Air traffic control
Wire strikes–long the bane of low-altitude rotorcraft and agplane operations–could be reduced if a system now undergoing testing on both sides of the Atlantic is able to supplement or even replace marker balls and continuously flashing strobes. It could also aid other low-flying aircraft in avoiding any obstacles in the flight path.
Interested parties will have more time to comment on the FAA’s proposal to require all air-tour operators to be certified under air carrier regulations. Since the proposal was published last October, the FAA has received more than 1,160 comments, many of them asking for an extended comment period and a public forum.
Honeywell has obtained FAA certification of an avionics package that enables Citation 500s to meet the requirements for operating in RVSM airspace, including domestic RVSM scheduled to be implemented next January. Honeywell’s STC covers Citation 500s with serial numbers between 001 and 0274.
West Star Aviation in Grand Junction, Colo., is working with the FAA to amend its Learjet 35/36 RVSM STC to include models with the FC-530 autopilot, FC-200 autopilot and Mark IV wings, FC-200 autopilot and non-Softflite Century III wings or FC-531 autopilot and Century III Softflite wings. The amended STC will allow about 70 to 80 additional 30-series Learjets to meet RVSM equipment requirements.
Flight delays resulting from ATC problems fell to their lowest level in a decade last year, said Eurocontrol. The average delay caused by ATC issues decreased by 20 percent to 1.7 minutes per flight. During 2003, about 9.5 percent of all flights were subject to delays, down from 11 percent in 2002.
Business jet operators knew three years ago that they would have to be equipped with approved ELTs by January 1 this year or be grounded until the installation was made. Many operators apparently didn’t take this notice seriously (maybe counting on the FAA to delay compliance, as it has a history of doing) and waited until the last minute to make arrangements for the installation. Or they simply forgot about it.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-35, Carolina, Puerto Rico, April 15, 2002–In IFR conditions with no IFR flight plan filed, the pilot of Mitsubishi N45BS experienced a loss of control while orbiting and crashed into an automobile service facility. Destination was Luis Munoz Marin Airport, San Juan. ATC had asked the flight to hold VFR over the “plaza.”
Raytheon Beech King Air 90, Rawlins, Wyo., Jan. 11, 2005–Cleared for the VOR/GPS Runway 22 approach to Rawlins Municipal Airport (RWL), King Air N41WE crashed and was destroyed. The ATP pilot and two medics were killed and one medic was seriously injured.
In a landmark decision, the FAA has adopted a final rule allowing the use of HUD-based enhanced vision systems (EVS) for descent below published instrument approach minimums.