An administrative law judge with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dismissed the $10,000 fine the FAA levied against Raphael Pirker for flying a small unmanned aircraft, casting doubt on the agency’s ability to regulate their commercial use.
Business aviation operators are lacking in safety management system (SMS) internal evaluation programs and safety training, according to the 2013 SMS Audit Result report released yesterday by aviation services company Argus. The report highlights recurring deficiencies found in SMS implementation and execution, it said.
“A view into the industry-wide aperture helps aviation operators focus their efforts on common deficiency areas cited by auditors,” Argus noted. “Operators can then use this information to improve their own SMS implementation and execution efforts.”
“Implementing recommended safety improvements that address helicopter operations can mitigate risk for thousands of pilots and passengers each year,” said NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman, referring to the recently released NTSB Safety Alert SA-031. “At this week’s Heli-Expo, we are working with HAI to increase awareness and identify voluntary action taken by key stakeholders to improve the safety of helicopter operations.”
Chris Horton, the recipient of the 2014 AgustaWestland Safety Award, is on a mission to “make safety sexy,” primarily to better reach his generation of pilots. “We’re pretty much glued to our iPhones, iPads, Facebook, Twitter,” he told AIN. “We get our news from social media. Safety education can be done that same way.” At 27, Horton is likely the youngest person to ever receive the HAI safety award.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) vice chairman Christopher Hart and a panel of industry and government experts shared “lessons learned from helicopter accidents” at a wide-ranging panel discussion at Heli-Expo yesterday. Topics discussed included maintenance, simulation and training and the advantages on-board video and data recorders provide in accident investigations.
Fresh pressure is being placed on the FAA to revise and finalize its 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would mandate the installation of helicopter terrain avoidance and warning systems (HTAWS) and radar altimeters on all U.S. emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters. The NPRM drew a firestorm of criticism from affected stakeholders for favoring high-cost solutions over less expensive, and some argued, more effective safety technology such as night-vision goggles (NVGs).
The UK CAA unveiled a series of stringent measures today as a result of a review it launched last September to improve the safety of helicopter operations in the North Sea. These changes are expected to improve survivability after a ditching.
The Air Line Pilots Association International, FBI and FAA have jointly launched a campaign across 12 U.S. cities to raise public awareness about the consequences of illegal laser attacks on aircraft cockpits. Reports of aircraft laser illuminations in the U.S. have increased sharply over the past few years (partially fueled by an FAA website set up to report such incidents), from 2,836 in 2010 to 3,960 in 2013.
The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) is considering a more streamlined version of its international standards for business aviation certification (IS-BAO) program. The goal is to encourage smaller flight departments to take part in the audits, which will bring them into compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization safety standards and best practices.
The job of an FAA inspector must be incredibly boring. I imagine them sitting at their desks all day facing down gigantic piles of paper: letters of authorization, certification compliance packages, applications for operating certificates, enforcement actions, ad infinitum. And when the poor beleaguered inspector gets one pile stamped, signed and delivered, an FAA factotum appears with a new stack and thumps it onto whatever clear space remains in the office. Every day, looking up blearily from the stacks, our overworked inspector looks fondly out the window and wonders whether she can take a few minutes away from the office to visit the airport and see if her charges are playing nice or need some friendly nudging.