The FAA recently amended Part 121 regulations governing drug and alcohol testing to clarify that “each person who performs a safety-sensitive function for a regulated employer by contract, including by subcontract at any tier, is subject to testing.” Guidance has been conflicting for more than a decade about which contractors were subject to drug and alcohol testing.
At a public hearing last month, the NTSB singled out allegedly less safe Part 91 operations in a special study on helicopter and fixed-wing EMS accidents. EMS aircraft must operate under Part 135 when carrying patients, passengers and organs, but may fly under Part 91 when only authorized crewmembers are on board. Between 1994 and 2004, the number of EMS accidents doubled.
Raytheon Aircraft donated $50,000 to the Corporate Angel Network (CAN), bringing the manufacturer’s total CAN donations to $100,000. CAN is a White Plains, N.Y.-based organization that arranges for cancer patients to fly to treatment centers in otherwise empty seats in business aircraft on routine flights.
The FAA has put its proposed expansion of the drug and alcohol testing program on the back burner for six months, canceling the April 10 compliance date. The new implementation date is slated for October 10. Meanwhile, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) continues to press a federal court challenge to prevent the proposed changes, saying they are an “unnecessary burden with no safety-related benefit.”
Keystone Helicopter is seeking an FAA production certificate to manufacture the S-76 and S-92 at its Coatesville, Pa. facility. Keystone is building a new facility known as the Heliplex at Coatesville. When complete it will cover 173,000 sq ft.
In proposed special certification conditions for the Citation Mustang published last month in the Federal Register, the FAA revealed some weights for the VLJ that Cessna has not disclosed. The notice listed the mtow as 8,395 pounds; max landing weight, 7,850 pounds; zero fuel weight, 6,500 pounds.
Eurocopter EC 135P1, Washington, D.C., May 30, 2006–The MedStar Eurocopter made two approaches to the upper landing pad at the Washington Hospital Center and was maneuvering for an approach to the lower landing pad when it crashed on the grounds of the U.S. Armed Forces Retirement Home. The pilot had called “Mayday.” The pilot, a paramedic and a flight nurse were injured.
Airbus airline and corporate jet versions of the A319 and A320, as well as the A321, recently received FAA approval for 180-minute extended-range commercial operations (ETOPS). These aircraft received ETOPS approval from the EASA in March 2004. FAA and EASA approvals for corporate and airline versions of the A318 are expected in the second half of this year. Boeing received FAA approval for ETOPS on the basic BBJ
Under the fractional aircraft ownership provider’s recently introduced PennVet VIP program, owners traveling with pets in the U.S. get 24/7 emergency veterinary advice and referrals. A dedicated phone number provides direct access to the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
In cabin seats, it’s a question of comfort, and Franklin Products of Torrington, Conn., has an answer. The company calls it Soft-Touch and claims it is superior to the currently popular memory-foam products. According to Franklin ergonomist Vesa Vannas, Soft-Touch provides better support and reacts more quickly to passenger movements than memory foam.