General Dynamics C4 Systems’ next-gen UHF and VHF air traffic control radios completed the first phase of the FAA’s factory acceptance testing program. According to the company, the new radios improve sound clarity, making it easier for air traffic controllers and pilots to hear one another. The second phase of testing, scheduled for this fall, will place with 90 of the next-gen radios in FAA facilities in Florida, Oklahoma and New Jersey to validate how the radios perform in the operational environment.
The Pacific offshore helicopter symposium will be held in Australia next month in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center at Darling Harbour. Topics to be discussed at the October 8 event include the new CASA rules on commercial operations such as the latest IFR, copilot qualifications and multi-engine performance standards. Changes to the latter could result in many hospital helipads and oil rig platforms operations being considered unsuitable for the current crop of medium to heavy helicopters, unless the new EASA rules are modified.
The Bristow Academy in Titusville, Fla., is installing the Garmin G500H glass-panel avionics suite in its four Robinson R44 Raven 1 instrument training helicopters. Bristow operates one of the world’s largest offshore oil and gas helicopter services, and updating its training helicopters with the G500H will make it easier for pilots to transition into larger mainline helicopters that already have the latest glass-panel technology, the company said. Separately, Bristow honored graduate Michael Campbell last month.
China Satellite Communications and Row 44 owner Global Eagle Entertainment have signed a memorandum of understanding to help Chinese airlines that want to add in-flight connectivity services. The agreement will also allow Row 44 customer airlines to continue delivering in-flight connectivity services while flying into and over China. The agreement calls for Row 44 to provide hardware and software to support satellite-based in-flight connectivity.
A newly updated FAA draft advisory circular AC 20-151B provides flight departments with fresh guidance necessary in obtaining airworthiness approval for traffic alert collision avoidance systems II (Tcas II), as well as for certification of a stand-alone mode-S transponder system.
Jet Aviation added the 101st client for its European Union Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) management support services. Since the EU-ETS trading phase started earlier this year, Jet Aviation began offering EU-ETS management support services to help its customers seamlessly comply with the regulations and avoid non-compliance fees. “Our turnkey compliance solution is particularly helpful to small operators who don’t have in-house staff to ensure they are complying with the EU-ETS requirements,” said Matthias Gruber, manager of Jet Aviation’s EU-ETS services.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has delivered new precision departure release capability (PDRC) software to the FAA; it is designed to improve the flow of air traffic from the moment an aircraft leaves the ground until it reaches cruise altitude.
The financial performance of U.S. airlines improved from “razor thin margins to paper thin margins” during the first half of the year, as passenger airlines collected 2.1 cents in profit for every dollar of revenue, according to trade organization Airlines for America (A4A). In a quarterly media briefing on August 22, A4A said airlines benefited from a small decrease in fuel prices, their largest cost.
The FAA has begun initial deployment of a new time-based flow management (TBFM) system that the agency says will optimize the flow of aircraft into busy airspace. TBFM, which was recently installed in all 20 en route air traffic control centers, supersedes the three-year-old traffic management advisor “as a time-based scheduling tool that meters aircraft through all phases of flight to deliver the correct number of aircraft to airspace sectors and down to the runway at the exact pace at which the aircraft can be accommodated.”
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.