The recent FAA rule on cockpit use of personal electronic devices applies only to Part 121 carriers, although the NTSB would like to see the rule extended to cover Part 135 and Part 91K operators. AIN recently surveyed readers for insight into the distractions that challenge them and received 112 responses to our four questions. Nearly 70 percent of respondents told us cockpit and or cabin distractions are definitely an issue.
UK ATC provider NATS said last week that the first practical trial of the TopFlight air traffic management system (ATM) successfully delivered the expected level of flight efficiencies. TopFlight is a key element in Europe’s Sesar next-generation ATM system, similar to the U.S. NextGen program. A NATS official reported at the Air Traffic Management.net website that gate-to-gate travel times measured for 100 British Airways flights across the North Atlantic using the new system saved up to half a ton of fuel per flight.
The DOT’s office of inspector general (IG) wants to know whether the FAA has established adequate regulations governing the use of flight-deck automation. Some current and former ranking members of the U.S. House of Representatives transportation and infrastructure committee and its subcommittee on aviation who are concerned about the growing reliance of flight crews on flight-deck automation approached the IG about conducting an audit, which the IG confirmed it would launch early this month.
Officials from Etihad Airlines and the United Arab Emirates, where the carrier is based, are still investigating last week’s arson incidents aboard a Boeing 777 that departed Melbourne, Australia, for Abu Dhabi in which a number of smoke alarms were activated in toilets. Although no one was injured, Flight EY416 did make a precautionary landing in Jakarta, Indonesia, after smoke was detected pouring from two toilets aboard the aircraft. No one was arrested in Jakarta and the flight departed after a complete search of the aircraft, all passengers and all carry-on luggage.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) granted Norwegian Air International an air operator certificate (AOC) on February 13 for its long-haul carrier, Norwegian Air Shuttle, for routes between Europe, Asia and the U.S. The European Cockpit Association said it is worried the IAA will not be able to provide adequate oversight of what it calls a “complex new” airline structure.
The Southern California Safety Institute (SCSI) is running a cabin accident investigation class focused on the safety and survivability aspects of major transport aircraft cabins. Participants in the April 14-18 course in Long Beach will learn the requirements for interviewing survivors and documenting the cabin for deficiencies, injuries sustained during the aircraft accident, escape from the aircraft and survivability in the post-crash environment.
Troubled by an increase in the number of helicopter accidents in the last several years, the FAA has launched the Rotorcraft Safety Initiative (RSI), an effort to curb helicopter fatal accidents.
From Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. helicopter industry experienced 38 fatal helicopter crashes, a 100-percent increase over the same period in 2011-2012. These accidents resulted in 76 fatalities, 95 percent more than the same period the year before and the highest number of fatal accidents since 1994.
I often get the feeling that general aviation is the red-headed stepchild in government’s view of the aerospace industry. With apologies to the late Rodney Dangerfield, GA seems to get no respect from the federal government. There have been three comprehensive studies on aviation in the past quarter century, and a few others on narrower topics.
The 2014 Singapore Airshow (February 11-16) fulfilled its promise as Asia’s leading aerospace and defense industry gathering, with an exhibitor base of more than 1,000 companies from 47 countries, representing about a 10-percent increase on the last staging of the biennial event.
The long-simmering debate about how best to address the issue of helicopter noise above the Los Angeles basin has come to full boil. The parties that had been trying to collaborate on voluntary abatement measures have seen them become mired in a miasma of mistrust, skepticism, anger and a sense of betrayal on the part of just about everyone who flies a helicopter through the airspace, including–for the first time–law enforcement.