Efforts to return Chicago Center to full operation today appear to be on track. The FAA said Friday that agency pilots from Oklahoma City flew an aircraft through Chicago Center’s airspace last Thursday to help air traffic controllers test more than 100 radio frequencies in preparation for the return to service. FAA technical teams also continued testing the 835 new telecommunications circuits at the facility.
Air travel to Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas region remains problematic, in the wake of Hurricane Odile’s passage on Monday. The category-three storm was the largest ever to make landfall on the country’s Baja California peninsula, lashing the tourist region with heavy rain and high wind. As a result, affected airports in the area are closed to non-humanitarian general aviation traffic at least through the weekend, according to Universal Weather & Aviation.
The National Weather Service (NWS) released a tool last week to allow airspace system users to input real-time turbulence and icing Pireps electronically. The Pireps, as well as other weather observations, will be immediately distributed to users throughout the aviation system, including dispatchers and schedulers. The updated information will also be fed into NWS computers to help improve the accuracy of forecasts.
EagleMed has installed an automated weather observing system at Eagle Pass, Texas, that will allow the air medical operator’s fixed-wing aircraft to serve patients in the San Antonio region during inclement weather. EagleMed bases a King Air C90 at San Marcos, Texas, to serve the Eagle Pass area. The new weather system will also serve EagleMed’s sister companies, AirEvac Lifeteam and Reach, which base medically outfitted helicopters at Eagle Pass, Pearsall, Carrizo Springs and Laredo.
The NBAA Access Committee last week reported forming a new weather subcommittee to focus on improvements to aviation weather information delivery and flight safety. NBAA president Ed Bolen said the subcommittee will fully support the general aviation weather initiatives managed by the FAA and other government agencies and also strive to improve current and predictive information.
An ATR 72 operated by TransAsia crashed on July 23 during an instrument approach to Makong Airport, near Penghu in the Taiwan Strait. Forty-eight of the 58 people aboard the aircraft were reported dead. Local weather at the time of the late afternoon accident included heavy rain generated by Typhoon Matmo. Taiwan-area schools and financial markets were closed at the time of the crash due to the typhoon.
NBAA launched a weather subcommittee, which will focus on improvements in aviation weather information and flight safety, yesterday at the Friends & Partners of Aviation Weather forum in Washington, D.C. Among those on hand for the launch were FAA NextGen assistant administrator Ed Bolton, National Weather Service aviation branch manager Cyndie Abelman, FAA Air Traffic Organization senior meteorologist Kevin Johnston, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen and NBAA weather subcommittee chairman Dr. Bruce Carmichael.
The contract to begin full integration of the MBDA Storm Shadow long-range precision attack missile with the Eurofighter Typhoon is expected to be signed today. Philip Dunne, UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, announced the signing while speaking at Farnborough yesterday.
The contract is between Eurofighter and NETMA, the four-nation Eurofighter management agency, and is worth €150 million ($205 million).
The National Transportation Safety Board last week published nine specific recommendations to the FAA and the National Weather Service (NWS) that are intended to deliver more comprehensive pre-flight weather information to pilots. The recommendations are based on the findings of NTSB accident investigations involving aircraft encountering adverse surface wind, dense fog, icing, turbulence, and low-level wind shear. While this information currently exists, it is not always provided directly to pilots by NWS preflight weather forecasts.
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