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.”
Federal Aviation Administration
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.
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) has condemned H.R. 2946 as a potentially fatal legislative stall tactic that would prevent the installation of secondary cockpit barriers aboard commercial aircraft. The bill, introduced by House aviation subcommittee chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to study and report on the risk posed to commercial aviation security if a cockpit door is opened during flight.
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.”
Updates to FAA joint order 7210.3X, the agency’s operational guide to ATC facility management, take effect August 22.
The comment period for additional ideas for the FAA’s upcoming redo of its airman certification standards closes August 23. A notice published last month included a first draft of the authorized instructor certificate documents, a second draft of the private pilot certificate and the instrument rating documents, as well as a set of frequently asked questions.
Rockwell Collins’s next-generation TTR-2100 traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas II) for transport aircraft has achieved FAA certification. The new system, which provides NextGen traffic surveillance in a lighter and more capable unit, is available for Boeing aircraft as a forward-fit and retrofit solution. Airbus and other aircraft types will follow soon. Both the TTR-2100 and the soon-to-be certified TTR-4100 for helicopters and business and regional aircraft meet the emerging requirements of NextGen airspace.
L-3 Platform Integration has earned a four-year extension of its FAA organization designation authorization (ODA) and passed a biennial audit of its ODA-related process. It has also won FAA approval for modification of the composite-fuselage Boeing 787.
The FAA-granted ODA allows a center to issue certificates of airworthiness and supplemental type certificates as designees on behalf of the agency.
Budget sequestration may have some obvious negative consequences, such as precluding the Pentagon from displaying U.S. warplanes at the Paris Air Show for the first time in more than two decades. But it has the potential to yield some positive changes as well. On the domestic side of the ledger, for example, the head of the FAA’s office of flight standards foresees draconian funding cuts as an opportunity to make changes in the way his agency does business.
The FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization program faces long-term technical risks and still uncertain acceptance by airspace users. But after a decade in development, NextGen could be stalled by a nearer-term threat: substantially reduced funding from Congress. In June, the House appropriations committee released transportation funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2014 that would reduce the FAA’s capital funding account, which supports NextGen programs, to its lowest level since 2000.