The FAA announced on June 2 that seven aerial photo and video production companies are seeking regulatory exemptions that would allow the film and television industry to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for the first time. If the requests, which are supported by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), are granted, there could be useful economic benefits as the agency begins to address the demand for commercial UAS operations and how to balance them with safety concerns.
Foodborne illness is a growing concern in the U.S., and one that flight departments and FBOs should take seriously. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 48 million cases each year in the U.S., 128,000 of them severe enough to require hospitalization, 3,000 of them fatal. Travel medical services provider MedAire notes that gastrointestinal illness accounts for the largest percentage of calls from its private aviation customers, with 77 percent of them regarding passengers.
NetJets’ repair stations achieved a new safety milestone yesterday, entering Level III of the FAA’s safety management system (SMS) program. As such, NetJets is the first repair station in the U.S. to achieve this safety level.
Australian minerals institute AusIMM awarded its Jim Torlach Health and Safety Award to the Flight Safety Foundation for its Basic Aviation Risk Standard (Bars) program, which was designed to audit aircraft operations that are used extensively for carrying mining company personnel. The institute noted the Bars program raised the level of minimum acceptable standards for aircraft operations worldwide. Bars consists of four components: risk-based international aviation standard, auditing program, aviation safety training programs and global safety data analysis program.
Triggered by the loss of an Air France Airbus A330 in June 2009 in the Atlantic and compounded by the loss of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 in the Indian Ocean in March, representatives of ICAO member states and of the aviation industry agreed on a set of near-term priority actions and a framework for medium- and long-term objectives, at a special meeting on global aircraft tracking at ICAO in Montreal on May 14.
Many of us in aviation in the U.S. haven’t been paying much attention to our neighbor to the north. Canadians are known for being somewhat quiet and unassuming. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that quiet and unassuming doesn’t mean they’re not busily working on practical solutions to important issues. In fact, there’s a lot going on in Canada that we in the U.S. could learn from in the aviation arena.
The Federal Aviation Administration has created a new interagency office to coordinate federal investment in the ambitious NextGen ATC modernization effort following the elimination of the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO). Congress erased funding for the JPDO earlier this year, 10 years after it required the Department of Transportation to establish the office under the Vision 100-Century of Aviation legislation that launched NextGen.
Battle lines have formed in the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) review of the $10,000 fine the FAA charged Raphael Pirker for operating a small unmanned aircraft. Six parties filed “friend of the court” amicus briefs by the NTSB’s May 16 deadline, including a coalition of major news media organizations supporting Pirker’s position.
The National Transportation Safety Board on May 13 released the findings of its Special Investigation Report on the safety of agricultural aircraft operations, which can involve flying as low as 10 feet above the ground. That kind of flying presents risks from ground-based obstacles with scant room for error.
Having lost the first round of its attempt to fine Raphael Pirker for using a flying wing to take video, the FAA plans to issue a public notice reaffirming its authority to regulate the use of small unmanned aircraft. The agency is appealing a March ruling by a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) administrative law judge rejecting the $10,000 fine.