The FAA is seeking responses to a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that it believes will significantly improve operational flexibility for operators using an enhanced flight vision system (EFVS). Comments on FAA-2013-0485 are due by September 9.
Air traffic control
While the FAA mandate to install ADS-B OUT equipment for aircraft flying in U.S. airspace by Jan. 1, 2020 (above 10,000 feet or in Class B or C airspace) is more than six years away, aircraft operating in some countries’ airspace must be compliant starting in December.
The FAA released its final policy last week regarding the procedures for allowing aircraft owners and operators to have their flight information blocked from online flight tracker sites.
As part of continued cost cutting by the U.S. federal government, the FAA has announced plans to begin decommissioning some instrument approach procedures (IAP) to save on maintenance costs of ground-based navaids. The agency said the plan also stems from a near doubling of new IAPs in the past decade thanks to advances in satellite-based approach systems.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has delivered new precision departure release capability (PDRC) software to the FAA; it is designed to improve the flow of air traffic from the moment an aircraft leaves the ground until it reaches cruise altitude.
The FAA has begun initial deployment of a new time-based flow management (TBFM) system that the agency says will optimize the flow of aircraft into busy airspace. TBFM, which was recently installed in all 20 en route air traffic control centers, supersedes the three-year-old traffic management advisor “as a time-based scheduling tool that meters aircraft through all phases of flight to deliver the correct number of aircraft to airspace sectors and down to the runway at the exact pace at which the aircraft can be accommodated.”
NBAA said the FAA “responded quickly” to its concern about restrictive disclaimers that technically made it not legal to use notices to airmen (Notams) and other aeronautical information from some government websites. “The current language has not only warned visitors that the sites are not considered official sources,” NBAA said, “but also raised concerns that third-party sources used by pilots to retrieve Notams might not be considered Part 91 compliant.” The FAA said the disclaimers will be modified this week to legally allow the use of the information found on these websites.
The captain of an Embraer ERJ-145 has highlighted what he says was a “serious threat to flight safety” caused by the actions of air traffic controllers during an approach to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (KCLT) last January.
According to testimony recently given through NASA’s confidential aviation safety reporting system (ASRS), the flight in low-visibility conditions (reported as one quarter mile) encountered radar altimeter problems that eventually caused the crew to miss their first Category II ILS approach at CLT and head to an alternate.
The U.S. Navy is rethinking prime contractor Northrop Grumman’s selection of an Exelis-built collision avoidance radar for the unmanned MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance aircraft. The plan was to fit the Global Hawk derivative with the first Department of Defense (DOD) program of record “sense-and-avoid” radar, to comply with international airspace requirements and prevent midair collisions. However, “we’ve made a decision to pause on the development of that capability,” Capt. James Hoke, the Navy’s Triton program manager, said at the Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C.
FAA Air Traffic Organization COO David Grizzle plans to step down from his position in December, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca). “Throughout [his] tenure at the ATO, we worked together to strengthen the Natca-FAA collaborative relationship. That has resulted in many successes, from modernization to labor relations, which have helped continue to make our National Airspace System the world’s safest and most efficient,” said Natca president Paul Rinaldi. “We thank David for his contributions.”