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.
Air traffic control
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.
Thunder Aviation in Chesterfield, Mo., and Flight Test Associates of Mojave, Calif., are working on an RVSM solution for Falcon 20s equipped with Honeywell Bendix/King KFC 400 autopilots. A group STC is scheduled before the end of the month. Thunder Aviation is also expecting an amendment to its RVSM STC for Falcon 20s equipped with Collins AP105 autopilots that will add similarly equipped Falcon 10s.
SWEARINGEN MERLIN IIA, JACKSONVILLE, FLA., NOV. 27, 2003–A Swearingen Merlin IIA (N698X) registered to George C. Swanson, MD Ltd of Port Arthur, Texas was destroyed at 12:56 p.m. when it crashed into a wooded area while on an ILS approach to Craig Municipal Airport (CRG), Jacksonville, Fla. The pilot was killed and all four passengers were seriously injured.
While Congress has acted on several recommendations from the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, the group is still concerned about the lack of coordination and communication between executive branch departments having jurisdiction over the air-transportation system.
Avcon Industries has a source of financing available for its reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) solution for the Learjet 20 series as well as for other Avcon modifications. It is provided by Commercial Capital Co. for 24-, 36-, 48-, or 60-month terms. More than 80 airplanes have been upgraded using the Avcon STC RVSM Group Solution. Orders for upgrading another 40 airplanes are booked or pending.
Following an acrimonious battle between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association over the recently passed FAA reauthorization bill and a provision to privatize some control towers, the agency and the union signed a two-year contract extension last month that expands pay for performance to air traffic controllers and provides potential savings of several million dollars.
Pilots flying into Colorado’s ski-country airports are already aware of the controversial special traffic-management program (STMP) for filing for slots into the crowded airspace. Every year, particularly during the holiday seasons, pilots’ frustration levels rise as the number of available arrival slots dwindles, especially during bad weather.