Largely obscured by the preoccupation with new security directives inspired by September 11, the debate over the FAA’s now binding interpretation of a long-standing pilot duty-time rule appears to have run its course. In fact, traffic declines have rendered the issue moot at major airlines, where pilot furloughs have left many longing for the days when duty times approached the 16-hr limit set by the FAA.
Statistically, if you want to avoid aircraft accidents, stay away from airports. Fortunately, at least for the runway-incursion portion of the problem, there’s a more practical option on the horizon from Amphitech International.
Design changes to resolve a manufacturing problem with the wing leading-edge anti-ice system of the Premier I were under way at press time. It was possible the modification would be installed on all affected aircraft before the June 29 compliance date of an AD that prohibits the new jet from flying into known icing until it is modified.
Piaggio Avanti, Battle Mountain, Nev., Dec. 7, 2007–The NTSB blamed the accident on the flight crew’s failure to follow published procedures while landing the Avanti. On approach the airplane broke out at 750 feet and made a normal touchdown on a wet runway. The pilot engaged the nosewheel steering just below 60 knots indicated, and the airplane started into an abrupt left turn.
Water that pooled under the floor panels of a Falcon 20, froze and restricted the movement of the aileron trim actuator as the airplane was landing at London Stansted Airport is to blame for the airplane’s “frozen” controls, according to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
A Concord, Mass. startup company is offering what it claims is a low-cost datalink service based on Arinc and Iridium communication standards. Wingspeed announced at the NBAA Convention its XL Link System, a low-speed data network with avionics that cost 70 percent less than comparable Acars equipment.
• Following the recess for the year-end holiday season, the 110th Congress apparently was in no rush to resume work on leftover legislation and to prepare for new business. The House of Representatives returned on January 15, while the Senate indulged in “pro forma” or “hello and goodbye” sessions until January 22.
A Lufthansa Boeing 737 recently became the first aircraft to use Mode S capability to transmit its radar identification (flight ID), without the use of secondary surveillance radar (SSR) code. Rod Marten, who oversees mode-S operations at Eurocontrol, said that air traffic controllers typically assign a four-digit SSR code to a target on the radar screen then manually correlate the aircraft information with the electronic flight plan data.
PHI has already logged 23,000 hours on its fleet of nine Sikorsky S-92s, and on Monday at Heli-Expo it signed an options contract for six more of the model to be delivered in 2009 and 2010, as well as six copies of the S-76C++ to support deepwater oil industry missions in the Gulf of Mexico.
HeliFlite Shares and Sentient Jet on February 12 announced they have partnered to make seats on the aircraft they operate available to members of one another’s programs. Under the agreement, HeliFlite clients can fly on Sentient Jet’s airplanes while Sentient members gain access to quick, convenient helicopter flights to most local airports in the Northeast.