Comments are due by January 23 on a proposal to increase the size of the Minneapolis Class B airspace, namely expanding its upper limit to 10,000 feet msl. Traffic growth, recent TCAS alerts and the advent of a new runway are the main factors behind the proposal. In the first half of last year there were 17 TCAS events reported in the airspace to be included in the proposed changes.
Traffic Collision Avoidance System
The promise of ADS-B is well known by now: provide quality surveillance at a lower cost than conventional radar and improve situational awareness in the cockpit, thereby reducing the number of accidents or incidents–such as runway incursions–in the air and on the ground.
The FAA has withdrawn its decade-old proposal to rescind its requirement for Mode-S transponders and adopted a new rule that will end the hundreds of Mode-S installation exemptions currently in effect. Beginning March 1, 2007, Part 121 and 135 operators will no longer be exempted to fly without a Mode-S transponder.
Remarkably, the two pilots and three passengers on a NetJets Hawker 800XP and the pilot of a Schleicher sailplane escaped with their lives when the two aircraft collided at about 16,000 feet in VMC on August 28 near Smith, Nev. After the collision the pilot of the glider, 58-year-old Akihiro Hirao, bailed out and alighted safely, while the badly damaged jet made an emergency gear-up landing at Carson City Airport.
Landmark Aviation last month received STC approval to install Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line 21 IDS integrated display system in the Falcon 50. Developed as a replacement for older analog instrumentation, the screen swap brings added capabilities to the airplane for display of graphical weather, electronic charts and maps and flight management system overlays.
FAA Information for Operators 06005 (www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info) released last month alerts operators of aircraft equipped with TCAS and other collision or advisory devices of the potential for traffic advisories or other spurious signals caused by active transponders aboard
Safety information about TCAS equipment and its use is now available in the form of a new FAA Safety Bulletin (www.faa.gov/and/and500/500/docs/TCAS_SAFETY_BUL
The FAA might revive TCAS III. The system, which would add lateral resolution advisories (RA) to the current TCAS II’s vertical commands, was proposed many years ago but dropped after technical investigations showed that it would have been extremely difficult to develop and implement.
The statistics tell the story. Over the last four years, there have been 1,475 runway-incursion incidents at controlled airports in the U.S., an average of one a day. Data from other countries are not readily available, but experts say incursions are on the rise worldwide. While the Federal Aviation Administration has focused primarily on pilot education initiatives to warn of the dangers of incursions, avionics makers have other ideas.
The European Aviation Safety Agency and the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile of France have issued approvals for limited use of Honeywell’s runway awareness and advisory system (RAAS) in Europe. The EASA STC covers RAAS installation on the Learjet 31, 35, 36, 55 and 60, while the French authority approved the system for the Boeing 777.