Recognizing the value of crew monitoring and cross checking skills, the industry is poised to roll out the first edition of a comprehensive training guide to teach pilot monitoring skills. At the Bombardier Safety Standdown, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt characterized “a lack of good cross checking and pilot monitoring skills” as one of the greatest threats we face today.” A former USAir pilot, Sumwalt said 20 percent of the errors his old airline experienced and some two thirds of the undesired aircraft states would never have occurred if the crews had been properly monitoring the aircraft.
Online retailer Amazon said it is developing a delivery system that will use UAVs to fly packages to customers. The Seattle-based company said its goal is to deliver a package within 30 minutes of dispatching an aircraft from a fulfillment center.
The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.
Boeing and GE have warned companies operating Boeing 747-8 and 787 airliners powered by certain versions of General Electric’s GEnx engines about the risk of in-flight internal-engine icing that can reduce engine performance if aircraft wander too close to areas of significant precipitation, like thunderstorms at high altitudes. Engine models affected are the GEnx-2B on the 747-8 and the GEnx-1B on the 787 Dreamliner.
The FAA is reminding aircraft operators through a special airworthiness information bulletin– NOTC5068, issued November 22–about a few idiosyncrasies to keep in mind when updating aircraft navigational databases. “The cyclical updates may exclude certain navigation data, including approach procedures, which makes this information unavailable for selection on the aircraft flight management system or navigation equipment,” warned the bulletin.
International Air Transport Association director general and CEO Tony Tyler has said that over the past decade the aggregate safety results for airlines adhering to the association’s Operational Safety Audit standard are superior to those of carriers that do not use the system. His remarks came at last week’s annual African Airlines Association general assembly in Mombasa, Kenya. Tyler also said in 2012 there was not a single hull loss of a Western-built airplane by any of IATA’s 25 African member airlines.
Patrick Cau, a German citizen and former United Airlines flight attendant, has been sentenced to 18 months in a U.S. federal prison for making eight false bomb threats against United Airlines flights. Cau was fired by the airline about a year before the first threats began surfacing from a variety of U.S. cities in late 2012. Cau must also pay nearly $314,000 in restitution to both his former employer and the Los Angeles Police Department for expenses related to the threats.
The U.S. State Department said it “generally expects” that U.S. airlines honor notices to airmen (Notams) issued by foreign countries, while Japan has told its airlines to disregard China’s newly declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over part of the East China Sea. The conflicting guidance comes as tensions rise over how to address what the U.S., Japan, Taiwan and South Korea agree amounts to illegal territorial assertions on the part of China.
EgyptAir plans to place major aircraft orders in the next two months, even as it watches losses mount since the momentous events that unseated former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, its CEO said, speaking at the Dubai Airshow on November 19.
Despite Indonesia’s apparent ambivalence toward an open skies policy among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Garuda Indonesia continues to prepare for its home country’s full participation in the accord when it takes effect in January 2015. Most recently, on November 25, the Indonesian flag carrier introduced a new sub-brand called “Explore” ahead of a December 3 launch into service of its first ATR 72-600.