A trio of helicopter trade associations are recommending that the FAA mandate night-vision goggles, enhanced-vision systems or IFR-only operations for all night flights of EMS helicopters. The recommendations overlap many key advisories made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 2006.
Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast
On Tuesday, the NTSB issued a recommendation urging the FAA to monitor more closely the communication contingency plans of all Gulf operators following natural disasters. The move was prompted by the crash of a Houston Helicopters (HHI) Sikorsky S-76A in the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 6, 2005. The helicopter crashed 24 miles offshore a week after Hurricane Katrina knocked out most cell towers in the area and HHI’s communications network.
Europe’s regulatory body, the European Commission, has issued a Eurocontrol notice of proposed rulemaking (ENPRM) mandating ADS-B after Feb. 5, 2015. At that time, all aircraft operating in European airspace must transmit ADS-B Out signals and meet Eurocontrol’s enhanced mode-S surveillance standards. Currently in the public comment stage until April 8, the final rule is expected in late 2010.
Eurocontrol might ask the European Commission to use some of the money expected to be saved by the planned decommissioning of VOR and NDB beacons to sponsor the development of avionics that would enable general aviation aircraft to operate in the sort of controlled airspace envisioned by the single European sky air traffic management (ATM) research (Sesar) program.
The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) is recommending the FAA mandate night vision goggles, enhanced vision systems or IFR-only operations for all night flights of EMS helicopters. The recommendations come on the heels of nine fatal helicopter EMS (HEMS) accidents since December 2007 and one week before the NTSB is scheduled to hold what promises to be highly charged public hearings related to those accidents and overall HEMS safety.
In a rare show of unanimity, the Air Transport Association has joined with general aviation and others in lobbying Congress for a $4 billion stimulus package that could jumpstart NextGen and provide many of its benefits during President Barack Obama’s first term.
Columbus, Ohio-based fractional provider NetJets Aviation last month forged an agreement with the FAA to become the agency’s latest NextGen partner. Under the agreement, NetJets will focus on NextGen initiatives such as area navigation (Rnav) and required navigation performance (RNP) approaches on routes into Teterboro (N.J.) Airport; WAAS, which allows for precision instrument approaches; and data communications.
Columbus, Ohio-based fractional provider NetJets Aviation on Friday forged an agreement with the FAA to become the agency’s latest NextGen partner. According to an FAA spokesman, details of the agreement–including length of the partnership–are still being worked out.
Gulfstream said it has completed a full future air navigation system (Fans) flight across the Atlantic Ocean using controller-pilot datalink communication with automatic dependent surveillance (CPDLC/ADS).
The flight was the first of its kind for a purpose-built business jet. The CPDLC/ADS datalink provides flight crews with direct communication to oceanic and remote-area air traffic controllers.
At the Air Traffic Control Association’s annual November Convention in Washington, FAA director of surveillance and broadcast services Vincent Capezutto advised AIN that he expected that the final rule covering the mandated carriage of ADS-B out avionics will be published in April 2010. This is about 12 months later than the FAA had anticipated, but Capezutto believes that the original mandate date of Jan.