Did you know that under the European Union (EU) Ramp Inspection Program, both private and commercial aircraft are subject to inspection when operating into/out of any of the 48 participating country states? The inspection covers 53 items and is expected to take 60 minutes, if all items are checked. Recently, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) added to their list of standard inspection items.Read More
National Security is a top priority for the United States, and the forms with which we identify ourselves are being upgraded to meet the minimum-security standards established in the REAL ID Act. The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 as an effort to boost the security features of identification cards and therefore, circumvent tampering and counterfeiting. The Act also establishes stricter document requirements in the application process as an added measure to prevent unauthorized individuals from obtaining a REAL ID.Read More
Know someone who had a drone on their holiday wish list? Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), attract individuals young and old: weekend hobbyists, professionals, and those seeking a new career opportunity. As industries and individuals find new ways to use them, their popularity continues to grow.Read More
The FAA estimates there will be as many as 7500 drones (aka Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs) crisscrossing U.S. airspace within the next five years. While some see opportunity, others see mayhem.
In recent months, drones have become a hot topic in both aviation and non-aviation circles. News reports of drone sightings and drone misuse have surfaced in local and national media. Recent announcements by Amazon and Google to use drones as delivery systems have sparked imaginative speculation, and fueled the debate on the appropriate use of drones.Read More
Without a doubt, business aviation took a big hit during the economic downturn. A great deal of the damage was caused by the perception that the “Haves” were flying around in their plush biz jets while the “Have-Nots” were experiencing an economic free fall.
The sight of automotive and banking industry executives flying to Congressional hearings in multi-million dollar private jets, asking for a handout, did not sit well with the Congressmen and the general public in 2008. Despite valid arguments that corporate jets save businesses time and money, the press skewered executives for this particular company perk, which in turn fueled the public outcry against their perceived conspicuous consumption.Read More
On Halloween, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two broke apart over the Mojave Desert, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury. Alsbury, along with pilot Peter Siebold, who survived the crash, were performing a test flight when something went wrong. While the exact cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), early findings reveal some sobering lessons that the air translportation indusry can learn from.
Even Experienced Crew Make Mistakes
Humans are fallible, even those who have undergone the best training and have the most experience. Alsbury had 15 years of flight experience, and the Halloween flight was his ninth trip in SpaceShipTwo; Siebold got his pilot’s license when he was 12. Just a week after the crash, NTSB revealed that the 39 year old co-pilot changed the spacecraft’s aerodynamic controls prematurely, causing the tail to rise and create drag, essentially hitting the brakes early. NTSB Chairman, Christopher Hart, cautioned this “feathering” error should not have caused the crash on its own, and is only one of several possibilities the organization was exploring as the cause of the crash.
Last year, the FAA changed the requirements for pilots looking to become First Officers, mandating they must complete 1,500 hours of flight time instead of the previous 250 hours. This significant jump came after the 2009 crash of Colgan Air flight 3407 was found to be caused by pilot error resulting in the death of 50 people in upstate New York.
While the new rules are meant to improve safety, they also have had the unintentional consequence of adding to an already precarious situation in meeting pilot supply. Retiring boomers, a lost decade of hiring combined with high training costs, and a low initial salary has left the industry with a shortage of qualified pilots needed to fulfill the 4,500 yearly demand for pilots. Without new strategies to fill the gap, the public could be faced with cancelled flights and the industry with reduced revenues. Let’s take a closer look at the problem and underlying cause.Read More
On September 26, all air traffic in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway international airports were grounded due to a fire in the basement of the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAU) in Aurora, IL. The center covers 91,000 square miles, and its closure resulted in the cancellation of thousands of flights to and from Chicago area airports over several weeks, causing a ripple effect felt throughout the nation.
The fire is being blamed on a contract employee, Brian Howard, who is facing multiple charges and is currently awaiting trial. The damage caused when Howard cut cables; early reports suggest that nearly $123 million in economic activity was lost as a result of the cancelled flights.
“This is one of the most challenging situations that air traffic controllers and other FAA employees have faced since 9/11,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. Rinaldi went on to say that it was almost impossible to overestimate the damage Howard caused.
A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General last month is raising concerns about the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) ability to carry out its upgrade of the nation’s air traffic control system. The program, called the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NexGen, began in 2003 and was supposed to conclude in 2020. However, funding issues, doubts, and general uncertainty are creating delays and making the program more expensive than originally conceived. All this is making some wonder, is NexGen for real?Read More
Hundreds of new planes are taking to the skies without the personal entertainment devices we’ve all come to expect. While some passengers may assume that planes without screens in the headrest are old, the truth is a little more complicated, as more and more airlines are counting on passengers bringing their own devices.
Passengers have been carrying laptops and other mobile devices onto planes for years, but up until recently they haven’t been allowed to use them throughout a flight. Then, in October 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expanded the use of personal electronic devices to so they may remaining on during all phases of a flight: so long as it is in airplane mode. With this decision, along with growing rates of wi-fi on planes, passengers can stream content using the devices they already carry, and operators want passengers to use these personal devices rather than the airline providing them.