There is general agreement that the FAA’s Notice to Airmen (notam) system is a conduit for often confusing information of marginal value and hopelessly wedded to outdated technology. Funding to fix problems with the notam system, however, recently came through for the FAA’s notam office and changes are already under way.
Oliver Hessel, the former operations manager with Munich, Germany FBO MTM Aviation, has formed a new flight-support company called Air Ops International. The new firm will specialize in supporting corporate and general aviation operations and will also be based at Munich International Airport.
AOPA has expressed alarm about new notam language that says pilots could be subject to criminal penalties for violations of TFRs and other security airspace.
General aviation interests expressed consternation over a May 1 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advisory warning the GA community against planned Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks using “light aircraft,” issued even as new TFRs covering a peripatetic President Bush continue to disrupt day-to-day operations.
The AvVantage electronic flight bag (EFB) from Spirent Systems recently completed a series of flight evaluations by Embraer in an ERJ-145 regional jet. Flown from São José dos Campos Airport in Brazil, the compact handheld computer was used to view approach charts, operations manuals, MEL, flight plans and notams. Embraer pilot Heliano Cabral said the Spirent EFB performed “exceptionally well” during the flights.
Some flight schools have gone out of business since September 11 though the actual number is elusive. A National Air Transportation Association spokesman said a member survey taken two weeks after the terrorist attacks yielded shocking results. NATA’s membership conservatively lost between $300 million and $500 million during the period when all flight instruction and VFR flying were banned.
In the fallout from September 11, the FAA has placed tight travel restrictions on Part 91 operators flying from the U.S. to overseas destinations, while simultaneously prohibiting most foreign-registered private airplanes from landing at U.S. airports without first gaining clearance from the White House.
The NTSB blamed the crew of the Comair Bombardier regional jet that crashed at Lexington (Ky.) Blue Grass Airport on August 27 last year for failing to realize that they were taking off from the wrong runway. The crash killed 49 people; the first officer, the sole survivor, sustained serious injuries. Runway 26, the runway the crew mistakenly used, is only 3,500 feet long; Runway 22, the runway they were cleared to use, is 7,003 feet long.
By the middle of last month, as the Bush Administration was cautiously lifting many of the September 11-inspired airspace restrictions, NBAA and other general aviation organizations continued to work for Part 91 IFR operations within the New York and Washington temporary flight restriction (TFR) areas, including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
Air Routing International’s Domestic Flight Watch (DFW) program, now in its second year, is designed to reduce the impact of ATC delays and reroutings on corporate and charter operators. “The DFW program has succeeded in boosting the domestic air operations efficiency and time management of Air Routing’s clients,” said vice president Tim Maystrik.