Two General Atomics Sky Warrior UAVs have been operating in Iraq since late April, well ahead of the drone’s formal system design and development (SDD) schedule. The Sky Warrior, a new version of the Predator-A, won the U.S. Army’s extended-range/multipurpose (ER/MP) competition. The substantial changes include a Thielert heavy-fuel engine, an autoland system and an improved, more mobile ground station.
Raytheon has sold a Predator Operations Center to the U.S. Air National Guard, which will use it to direct Predator UAV missions. The company is also marketing its Universal Control System (UCS) for the control of UAVs such as the Predator.
UCS is designed to be more user-friendly than the original ground stations supplied by General Atomics, and Raytheon hopes to make a sale soon.
NBAA has completed an online Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) submission service to allow Part 135 operators to comply with new requirements to electronically transmit passenger and crew manifests to U.S. Customs before arriving in the U.S.
While promising to be “balanced and reasonable,” FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told those attending the recent AOPA Expo that the nation and her agency are caught between two imperatives–national security and preventing terrorists from using aviation for mass murder.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last month extended the compliance date for the Twelve-Five Standard Security Program (TFSSP), which will require new security measures for operators of aircraft with an mtow of 12,500 lb or more, and later announced it would also delay the Private Charter Standard Security Program (PCSSP).
Some operators are concerned about possible coordination problems that might arise between the FAA and Transportation Security Administration once the TSA moves from being part of the DOT, as is the FAA, to the new Homeland Security Department (HSD).
Declaring that “this meeting is not designed to ask for a bailout of the American airline industry,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue said last month at the chamber’s second annual national aviation summit that “we’re simply asking government not to require the airline industry to absorb more than its fair share of the costs associated with the war on terrorism and defense of our homeland.”
In the past month the nation and the aviation industry have successfully navigated the first-year anniversary of September 11, the first Code Orange alert (one tier below the highest level) and additional TFRs (around the three crash sites) that actually proved to be “temporary.”
Powered by quiet motors and armed with conventional and infrared cameras and other specialized sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more and more attractive to law-enforcement agencies. Not surprisingly, both the FBI and the Office of Homeland Security are investigating how they might use UAVs for covert surveillance of suspected criminal or terrorist activity in the U.S., by night and day and in all-weather conditions.
Oracle software chief Larry Ellison can fly his Gulfstream V into and out of San Jose (Calif.) International Airport (SJC) at any time, according to a ruling handed down this summer by a U.S. District Court. Ellison had been cited by the city of San Jose for violating a curfew at the airport, which bars operations of aircraft over 75,000 lb mtow between 11:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.