Despite an apparent historic consensus at the ICAO Triennial Assembly in Montreal in early October to develop a global market-based mechanism for managing aircraft emissions, the European Commission (EC) has pressed ahead with plans to implement its emissions trading scheme (ETS) in the meantime.
The Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) is voicing concerns about national rule harmonization with international standards–changes that the AHIA warns could bring major additional costs but little safety improvement. Among the changes is a proposed fatigue management philosophy that could call for hiring an extra crew at an IFR/NVIS helicopter base, and thus increase a Bell 412’s hourly rate by an estimated 25 percent. Another worry has been proposed legislation that bans piston-powered helicopters from populous areas.
In his address to symposium attendees, EASA executive director Patrick Ky reiterated his agency’s commitment to “less but better” regulation in future. A paper written along these lines was to be presented at a management meeting last month. However, the rethink will have to strike a balance between calls for lower-level (more detailed) rules and demands for higher-level rules that leave room for interpretation, he said.
A recent New York Times article described a Russian request to the State Department to approve U.S. locations for one or more terrestrial signal monitors for Russia’s Glonass satellite navigation system, similar to America’s GPS, suggesting the request could have worrisome consequences.
According to the article, “The CIA and other American spy agencies, as well as the Pentagon, suspect that the monitor stations would give the Russians a foothold on American territory that would sharpen the accuracy of Moscow’s satellite-steered weapons.”
Eurocopter is currently developing a production version of the electric backup motor it tested on an AS350 Ecureuil single in 2011, company CEO Guillaume Faury revealed last week, noting that improvements in motors and electric energy storage have made a sound business case for such hybrid power. While not powerful enough to act as a second engine, the system would make autorotation safer by avoiding any rpm drop and then providing some power in the flare.
Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Center last week introduced a system to dynamically manage upper airspace to suit traffic flow. The new variable division flight level (VDFL) enables a flexible distribution of traffic between upper and lower sectors (from 24,500 feet to unlimited), by altering the division flight level to match changing traffic patterns. The division flight level between the upper and lower sectors was previously fixed at 33,500 feet.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week released a new video to reinforce the need for airport operators to report all bird strikes. The production also details how to preserve and prepare bird remains for shipment to Washington, D.C., for analysis.
Inmarsat successfully launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, which–when fully operational–will provide airborne broadband around the globe at speeds of up to 50 Mbps. The just-launched satellite will cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of next year, providing global coverage by the end of the year. Honeywell is exclusively developing, producing and distributing the onboard hardware that will connect users to the Global Xpress network.
The FAA has issued an Unapproved Parts Notification for MacLean Sky aircraft bolts used in certain Dynafocal mounting assembly low-profile kits that were manufactured without the benefit of an FAA production approval. According to the FAA, from 2009 to 2012 MacLean Sky, formerly Sky-Manufacturing of Commerce, Calif., was manufacturing parts for an FAA production approval holder (PAH) and selling the excess parts to Fasteners Dimensions of Ozone Park, N.Y.
The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.