I got to thinking about voluntary versus mandatory safety reporting programs after reading an article in a British newspaper about two UK pilots who allegedly fell asleep in the cockpit of an Airbus A330 shortly after takeoff. What caught my attention was the statement from the UK Civil Aviation Authority that enforcement action against the pilots is unlikely.
Federal Aviation Administration
Using the successful 2008 industry/government partnership that spawned the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (Cast), the FAA announced plans on November 21 to organize a similar Air Carrier Training Steering Group to evaluate best practices and newly identified areas of air safety risk. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta asked industry participants at the meeting to provide him with the top five focus areas to improve airline training.
An eruption of anger from pilots, air traffic controllers and aviation associations greeted the revelation by FAA Federal Air Surgeon Fred Tilton that pilots with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher will automatically be required to be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
NBAA announced that its director of legislative affairs, Dick Doubrava, and FAA associate administrator for airports Christa Fornarotto have been appointed to vice president positions with government-relations responsibilities for the association. Doubrava came to NBAA in 2004 from the Carmen Group, a Washington-based government relations firm.
The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) this week will begin an audit of the FAA’s progress at reducing the fatal accident rate of helicopters operating as emergency medical service (HEMS) transports. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 required the FAA to take specific actions to reduce the HEMS accident rate, including short-term safety initiatives to promote the use of advanced technology, such as night vision equipment.
The FAA is requesting comments on the draft of an advisory circular (AC 120-27F) to provide operators with guidance on developing and receiving approval for a weight-and-balance control program for aircraft operated under Part 91, Part 91 Subpart K and Parts 121, 125 and 135. Comments must be received by December 7.
Duncan Aviation’s location in Provo, Utah, has been designated by Mexico’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation as an approved aircraft maintenance organization. In addition, the company’s Battle Creek, Mich. location recently received approval from the Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation. Besides the FAA, Duncan Aviation’s locations in Lincoln, Neb., Battle Creek and Provo hold certificates from 10 more civil aviation authorities around the world.
The FAA released its first five-year unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) “roadmap” on Friday, providing guidance on how the agency intends to introduce remotely piloted aircraft into the National Airspace System. The document describes the expected transition in standards, regulations, aircraft certification, training requirements and technology over broad periods of “accommodation, integration” and “evolution” through 2026.
The FAA published updates to the wake turbulence separation categories on October 22 for Louisville, Miami, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia airports based on improved understanding of how wake vortices behave. Categories are now based on weight, certified approach speed and wing characteristics. Special consideration will be given to aircraft with limited ability to counteract adverse rolls.
Five U.S. airlines have signed on to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Data Comm equipment initiative, bringing the effort to 80 percent of its targeted number of airframes, according to contractor Harris. The company revealed the first airline to commit–United–at the Air Traffic Control Association conference last month. Non-disclosure agreements prevented it from immediately identifying the others.