A temporary flight restriction (TFR), outlined in FDC Notam 4/2985, will be in place on January 28 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. local for aircraft flying into or out of the Washington, D.C. area. The Notam, issued as part of security measures for U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, defines the affected area as the boundaries of the current D.C. flight restricted Zone (FRZ) and will prohibit general aviation operations at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA), Washington Executive/Hyde Field (W32), Potomac Airfield (VKX) and College Park Airport (CGS).
Air traffic control
The FAA has updated its air traffic controller handbook–JO7110.652–in an effort to prevent aircraft from flying too close together when operating on or near a busy hub airport. The update addresses arrivals and departures using both intersecting and non-intersecting runways. The effort evolved in response to a number of close calls that brought departing aircraft into close proximity with an arrival that had executed an unplanned go-around near the airport.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently reported a simple cause for last year’s close call between a Fairchild SA-227 cargo airplane and a Bell 47G helicopter at the non-tower Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport in New South Wales: the volume of the helicopter’s receiver was turned down.
Some of the strikes by air traffic controllers in Europe originally scheduled for this week have been postponed, according to Eurocontrol. The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination union consortium organized the strikes to protest a number of Single European Sky proposals to alter current ATC safety and financial goals.
The trade unions association that planned and then called off a Europe-wide ATC strike last October has scheduled a new job action on January 29 to express its displeasure with proposed amendments to Single European Sky (SES) legislation. The new strike planned by the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) will dovetail with another job action the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) plans the following day.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker believes the only way to solve the growing ATC congestion problems in the Middle East is to develop a single air traffic management system similar to Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky concept. Qatar is among several countries in the region searching for a congestion solution to support regional airline expansion plans.
Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) manufacturer General Atomics says it has successfully tested sense-and-avoid architecture and self-separation functionality that could be the key to keeping piloted aircraft and RPAs apart in the air. The recent test marked the first time the technology has functioned as a true “system of systems” to detect every class of aircraft equipage, and it paves the way for a due regard capability, that ability to avoid aircraft, objects and weather.
The chairman of a U.S. Senate subcommittee overseeing FAA contracts asked the Department of Transportation’s inspector general (IG) to look into the agency’s handling of an $859 million contract to support air traffic controller training required to help prepare 11,700 new controllers by 2021. The recently released report said the subcommittee was not convinced the FAA could or would meet the stated goals of its Air Traffic Control Optimum Training Solution (ATCOTS) program.
The government of Cyprus plans to reorganize its civil aviation department by privatizing the air traffic control function. The Mediterranean island will create a new self-funded ATC organization for the Nicosia flight information region. Eurocontrol provided strategic assistance to Cyprus in creating the new structure, which the government has labeled, “an independent, state-owned, private [ATC] company.”
A “status quo bias” slows the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in its effort to modernize the nation’s ATC system, according to a new report.