The Swedish Transport Agency approved technical and operational procedures Sweden’s air navigation service provider LFV will use to operate the world’s first “remote tower,” contractor Saab announced. This fall, controllers at the Sundsvall Remote Tower Center will begin managing takeoffs and landings at Örnsköldsvik Airport, 62 miles distant.
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy conducted the first flight of an MQ-8B Fire Scout equipped with a new maritime surveillance radar that will “drastically” improve the Navy’s long-range surface search capabilities, the contractor said. The Navy plans to field the radar on the unmanned helicopter next year.
Industrial bioscience company Amyris and energy giant Total have begun to market a so-called drop in jet fuel containing a 10-percent mix of renewable farnesane under a newly revised ASTM standard, the companies announced Monday. Amyris and Total have worked closely on approval of the new fuel with Boeing, which, according to the airframer’s managing director of environmental strategy and integration, Julie Felgar, wants to see biofuel account for a 1-percent share of the total jet fuel supply within 10 years.
The Houston Metroplex project took a step forward toward full NextGen usage on May 29 with the implementation of a number of new performance-based navigation procedures (PBN). The local controlling body, Houston Center, eventually plans to bring 60 new procedures online for George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston Hobby and a number of satellite airports in the area.
The FAA’s updated Advisory Circular AC 120-61B provides information to help air carriers augment–but not alter or amend–existing programs to inform crew members about radiation exposure. The AC explains the differences between the natural sources of radiation in the atmosphere as well as the average annual exposure a human experiences from those sources.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants the FAA to make the controversial North Shore helicopter route over Long Island permanent, albeit with a few changes. The offshore route became mandatory in 2012 but is scheduled to expire under a sunset provision on August 6 unless the FAA renews it.
An international field research campaign led by Airbus and NASA has gathered a wealth of data on icing conditions in convective weather, especially on ice crystals that cause engine icing. The eight-week effort ended in March in Darwin, Australia, and the researchers expect to publish their report early next year. The partners in the project hope to gain a better understanding of icing conditions that will allow them to devise mathematical models for equipment manufacturers to use when designing detection systems.
Following a number of recent helicopter accidents, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) last month issued a notice of proposed rule-making aimed at improving the safety of helicopter external sling load and winching and rappelling operations. Winching and rappelling is generally associated with emergencies and, as a result, carries greater inherent risk than other helicopter operations, says the CASA. Such operations are also time-sensitive and are often conducted under challenging environmental conditions.
On Friday, an Indonesian volcano–Sangeang Api–sent plumes of ash as high as 65,000 feet. The ash quickly began drifting southeastward toward the Northern Territories of Australia. Darwin Airport was shut down and airlines Virgin Australia and JetStar canceled a number of flights that could have brought aircraft within the vicinity of those clouds. Authorities expect the ash to dissipate this week as it moves further east, although the volcano is still erupting.
As of the middle of May, the FAA had yet to determine if it will renew its mandatory VFR helicopter route along the north shore of New York’s Long Island. The controversial North Shore Route was established for voluntary compliance in 2008 as a response to residential noise complaints and political prodding from elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y), who pressed then Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the FAA to make it mandatory.