The Eurocopter EC135 light twin helicopter is facing more trouble after the EASA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on December 19 referring to a manufacturer alert service bulletin that requires a one-time check of fuel probes and, possibly, cleaning and replacement. The issue, discovered by Bond Air Services, appears to be that the probes are indicating a fuel level higher than actual. Investigations showed that the incorrect signals that the probes transmit to the indicator may also inhibit the amber “fuel caution” light.
The assets of bankrupt fractional provider Avantair will be auctioned off next month at a warehouse about a mile from the company’s former headquarters at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in Florida. According to court documents, the auction is being held off-site from its headquarters to address airport security concerns, especially since the building is adjacent to a National Guard air unit.
Honda Aircraft announced that the FAA issued Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) for the HondaJet, a key milestone in the light jet’s certification program. Now that the jet’s GE Honda Aero HF120 engine is certified and the TIA issued, Honda Aircraft has finalized the certification timetable for the HondaJet.
Friday’s market chatter that Textron is set to acquire Beechcraft had still drawn no official comment either party as of press time. A December 20 report in the Financial Times citing only “people familiar with the matter” was enough to drive Textron’s share price up on Wall Street by almost 15 percent at one point to close at $37.29 by the end of the day.
When the FAA was looking for ways to slash expenditures by more than $600 million in Fiscal Year 2013 as part of “sequestration” cuts mandated by the U.S. Congress last spring, part of the plans was a shutdown of 149 low-activity contract control towers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last week lists two aviation issues as top priorities for 2014 in the latest audit released by the office of its inspector general (IG). The DOT will focus on improving the FAA’s industry oversight and operations within the national airspace system (NAS), while also identifying and addressing what it views as root problems in the decade-old NextGen program.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is partly shifting responsibility for compliance with its operational safety audits (IOSA) to airlines themselves under the new enhanced version of the program (E-IOSA). According to Giancarlo Buono, IATA’s regional director for safety and flight operations in Europe, the E-IOSA process will require operators to continuously monitor their own compliance with the IOSA standards, but IATA itself will still conduct the current biennial “snapshot” audits.
The Russian parliament was presented with legislation last week to allow Russian airlines to begin hiring foreign pilots to meet an expected shortfall in experienced crews. Currently only Russian citizens may fly Russian airliners. The move comes just a month after the crash of a Boeing 737 at Kazan Airport, 450 miles southeast of Moscow, in which it appears the pilots lost control of the aircraft, killing all 50 people on board. Shortcomings in crew qualifications have already been cited as possible factors in that accident.
IATA says air carriers that participate in its operational safety audits (IOSA) had a 62 percent better accident rate than non-IOSA airlines through November 2013. Worldwide, about 65 percent of all commercial flights operate under the IOSA umbrella, including those of 149 airlines that are not IATA members, representing nearly 84 percent of the world’s air traffic. In Africa, which has the highest accident rate by region, only 14 percent of accidents involved IOSA-compliant operators.
A December 15 Air France flight was held on the ground in Venezuela after French intelligence officials received a credible tip that a bomb would be detonated when the flight was over the Atlantic between Caracas and Paris. An extensive search of the Airbus A340 found no explosive devices and the flight was allowed to proceed.