Wichita-based emergency medical transport operator EagleMed achieved Level 3 of the FAA’s safety management system on July 7. EagleMed president Larry Bugg said, “We are committed to every practice and principle of SMS and are determined to achieve SMS Level 4 status, which represents the pinnacle of aviation safety.” EagleMed is one of two FAA Part 135 certificate holders in the FAA’s Central Region to achieve Level 3 status.
By the end of this year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects to release a long-delayed draft rule that will begin to establish the conditions under which individuals and companies can fly small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes. But concerns over potential privacy infringements could postpone the release of a final “small UAS” regulation until well into 2016. Routine flights by larger UAS will follow when standards become available to properly equip them for collision avoidance and command and control from the ground.
The Air Charter Association of North America (Acana) and Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) have teamed to raise standards for the air charter industry, to include Part 135 and 121 operators and air charter brokers. The two associations are collaborating on the development and implementation of best practices “that will lead the air charter industry,” said Acana chairman and co-founder Scott Bickford.
The FAA last month released Safety Info for Operators document 14009 to explain a new data-gathering system on implementation of safety enhancements to Part 121 air carriers. The informational notice says all data gathered is only for the evaluation of industry-wide safety-related issues and is not intended to reflect regulatory compliance.
The FAA published the document as part of its support for the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (Cast), of which the agency is a participant along with air carriers, manufacturers and aviation labor organizations.
The European Commission is conducting a user survey of an aviation safety initiative focused on possibly revising EC regulation 216/2008 related to common civil aviation rules and the role of the European Aviation Safety Agency. This online survey asks for informed opinions and suggestions to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the current EU aviation safety system, as well as possibilities for improving safety, competitiveness, environmental protection and the quality of air services.
I’ve written periodically about FAA enforcement and what I consider to be abuses of the process, along with sanctions that are significantly disproportionate to the safety impact of the offenses charged.
As the aviation sector awaits the FAA’s final rule on the safety management systems (SMS) process, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has looked more closely at the status of SMS implementation, as well as at some of the key challenges the FAA and industry face in completing that implementation. The agency’s air traffic organization is currently the only FAA group that has completed the SMS implementation process, although five other agency organizations are finalizing their efforts.
The FAA is proposing updated policies for Part 121 carriers to ensure crews understand their roles in fighting in-flight fires, as well as the equipment and procedures necessary. The new policy provides guidance on the installation of emergency equipment while also looking at crew procedures and training. The agency published an advisory circular–AC 120-80–to address the issues a decade ago.
Aviation alphabet groups slammed USA Today’s “sensationalistic” story published yesterday about general aviation safety. The story, “Unfit for Flight,” “fails to acknowledge the significant progress general aviation manufacturers have made to improve safety,” noted GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “The reality is that the number of fatal accidents in general aviation aircraft has declined substantially in recent years. In fact, the goal of one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown by 2018 now appears increasingly likely.”
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) last week announced a set of regulatory reforms intended to streamline governing aviation through improved continuity in the areas of engineering, pilot licensing, flight training and operations, maintenance and fatigue risk management, as well as improving standards for navigation, sport aviation and aerial work.