NBAA said the FAA “responded quickly” to its concern about restrictive disclaimers that technically made it not legal to use notices to airmen (Notams) and other aeronautical information from some government websites. “The current language has not only warned visitors that the sites are not considered official sources,” NBAA said, “but also raised concerns that third-party sources used by pilots to retrieve Notams might not be considered Part 91 compliant.” The FAA said the disclaimers will be modified this week to legally allow the use of the information found on these websites.
Air traffic control
The captain of an Embraer ERJ-145 has highlighted what he says was a “serious threat to flight safety” caused by the actions of air traffic controllers during an approach to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (KCLT) last January.
According to testimony recently given through NASA’s confidential aviation safety reporting system (ASRS), the flight in low-visibility conditions (reported as one quarter mile) encountered radar altimeter problems that eventually caused the crew to miss their first Category II ILS approach at CLT and head to an alternate.
The U.S. Navy is rethinking prime contractor Northrop Grumman’s selection of an Exelis-built collision avoidance radar for the unmanned MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance aircraft. The plan was to fit the Global Hawk derivative with the first Department of Defense (DOD) program of record “sense-and-avoid” radar, to comply with international airspace requirements and prevent midair collisions. However, “we’ve made a decision to pause on the development of that capability,” Capt. James Hoke, the Navy’s Triton program manager, said at the Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C.
FAA Air Traffic Organization COO David Grizzle plans to step down from his position in December, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca). “Throughout [his] tenure at the ATO, we worked together to strengthen the Natca-FAA collaborative relationship. That has resulted in many successes, from modernization to labor relations, which have helped continue to make our National Airspace System the world’s safest and most efficient,” said Natca president Paul Rinaldi. “We thank David for his contributions.”
International trip support group United Aviation Services (UAS) is significantly boosting its ability to serve clients in the Americas with the opening next month of a new headquarters for the region in Houston, Texas. Like its world headquarters in Dubai, the new UAS facility will operate 24/7 and it is set to have more than 50 staff by the end of this year.
A number of air navigation service providers (ANSPs) have called attention to instances of pilots’ apparently not understanding the procedures for deviating around weather, prompting Eurocontrol to remind flight crew that they must seek approval from controllers before returning to their previously assigned route once they have resolved the weather conflict. The agency issued an updated version of that safety reminder early this month to explain to crews that they must also request permission to deviate around weather before they begin maneuvering.
Bristow is retrofitting a fleet of 44 Sikorsky S-76C++s and Sikorsky S-92As with Rockwell Collins’s traffic alert and collision avoidance (Tcas II) system. Installations are in progress. A new-generation system, the TTR-4100, will be fitted to 20 of the helicopters. It adds traffic computer capability and enables automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) in.
The FAA’s newest runway safety enhancement tool, runway status lights (RWSLs), became operational on July 25 at Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD). The new system uses a series of colored lights embedded in the runway and taxiway pavement to help prevent runway incursions by offering pilots and vehicle operators a simple visual system to determine whether it is safe to cross or enter a runway.
Vehicle movement area transmitters (Vmats) have been installed at both Denver (DEN) and St. Louis-Lambert (STL) international airports to help improve runway safety.
The prospect of an ATC facility without human air traffic controllers is progressing well, according to Dr. Dave Byers, a pioneer in the technology that would enable this development.