The number of aircraft flying in Europe with controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) equipment has about doubled in the past few months from 152 airplanes to more than 300, according to Eurocontrol officials. By contrast, CPDLC in the U.S. seems stuck in neutral, despite strong demand for the technology among airlines.
Federal Aviation Administration
Rockwell Collins has obtained what is said to be the first FAA TSO approval for ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) functionality for use with mode-S transponders. The approval will allow for enhanced traffic situational awareness on the airport surface and during flight, as well as for visual see-and-avoid maneuvering, sequencing and merging, crossing and passing operations and oceanic in-trail procedures, Collins said.
Now that much of the world has applied reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) standards in the upper flight levels, it was only a matter of time before forward-thinking China followed suit.
Although the FAA is not yet advocating new taxes or user fees, the agency continues to emphasize that it needs a consistent, stable revenue stream that is not tied to the price of an airline ticket.
Denying it is re-evaluating safety aspects of the Mitsubishi MU-2 in response to requests from several Colorado legislators, the FAA said its investigation is the result of a “recent increase in the accident rate” of the turboprop twin. As of press time, 11 people have been killed in six accidents involving MU-2s since last March, including two in Colorado. The MU-2 was the subject of two previous evaluations–in 1983 and 1991.
Judge Edwin Neill of the Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition has denied protests by the union representing flight service station (FSS) employees to prevent Lockheed Martin from proceeding with an FAA contract to consolidate FSS facilities. As a result of this decision, next month the FAA is cleared to start closing 38 of the current 61 FSS facilities and handing over 20 of the remaining 23 to the aerospace giant.
Despite the precariousness of the legacy airlines and their pension plans, their pilots still narrowly support the FAA’s mandatory age-60 retirement rule for Part 121 airline pilots. But most pilots flying for the lower-cost carriers advocate eliminating the rule or at least modifying it to enable them to remain in the cockpit longer.
Effective September 1, operators are required to use a new set of flight plan aircraft equipment suffixes to indicate advanced navigation capabilities. Pilots must use J, K, L or a newly defined Q to specify advanced Rnav and RVSM capabilities. They should continue to use a W to indicate RVSM capability only. The revised list also contains significant changes to the definitions of E and F.
The FAA said its notice sent last month to tower controllers to review the taxi into position and hold (TIPH) procedure is not intended to end the practice, as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) claims. “Basically, we are seeing a small trend of runway incursions resulting from that procedure,” said an FAA spokesperson. “We wanted to raise awareness and see if it is still required.
While many in general aviation were seeking to modify or eliminate the much-loathed Washington air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the FAA executed a 180-degree course change early last month and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to make the ADIZ permanent.