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.
Air traffic control
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.
Enhanced weather data and flight planning tools are now available for Canada under the Flight Operations link at www.navcanada.ca. New online services include flight plan filing, notam access and aviation weather interpretation manuals. Calling Patwas at (866) WXBRIEF now features voice recognition capabilities, local sunrise/sunset hours and fax-back function.
The NTSB’s unusually lengthy preliminary report on the February 16 crash of a Circuit City Citation 560 on an ILS approach to Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB), Pueblo, Colo., did not mention the minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) the crew received moments before the crash or whether the jet was on an IFR flight plan (it was), although it did note that instrument conditions prevailed on the approach.
In the runup to the planned January 20 implementation of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) in the U.S., Canada, South America and Mexico, the FAA has released new guidance documents to assist operators seeking to comply with the requirements of the new operating rules.
According to NBAA, the four-day show, which ran from February 13 to 16, drew 1,525 attendees, 75 more than last year’s show, and 275 exhibitors, 37 more than in 2004. The one-day Schedulers Professional Development Program continues to grow, with more than 100 attending this year, including “numerous pilots and at least one flight department manager,” said Jay Evans, former NBAA liaison to the Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee.