From the category archives:

Aviation Safety


General Aviation is safe, but the statistics suggest there is room for improvement. One of the potentially most important improvements for this segment of aviation is to upgrade the quality, currency and accuracy of the information to GA pilots. The FAA awarded a contract to Lockheed and Computer Science Corporation for the provision of pre-flight services, called the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS) II via an online website. [click to continue…]



The two articles below exhibit a duality of opinion. When one considers that the 535 women and men who sit on Capitol Hill are essentially the FAA’s Board of Directors, such mixed messages make it hard for Administrator Huerta to manage his 47,000 career civil servants. [click to continue…]



Aviation safety should not just involve the suits, but MUST include everyone in the organization. The below attached article highlights an effective method of reaching all employees.

Great idea; all should emulate if they do not already have one in place. [click to continue…]



The security of airline systems from hackers is among the most arcane aviation safety issues. At the same time, providing an inviolate firewall between the onboard systems and potentially nefarious cyberpunks is critical to the future of this industry. The below two articles seem to contradict each other, one suggesting that Mr. Roberts hacked a plane’s systems and the other indicating that airlines are “skeptical” to such interventions by third parties. The FAA, TSA and all other federal authorities on this subject must provide a definitive answer to this possible hole in the security wall. [click to continue…]



The Administrator traveled to Wichita, KS recently to speak to the Aero Club there. His topics were matters of great interest to aviation, but perhaps most significantly, one of the industry’s most respected leaders gave him a strong endorsement in the introduction. [click to continue…]



Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) (left) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) (right) introduced legislation on May 12 that, if enacted, would become the immediately applicable rules for the operation of sUAS until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 NPRM becomes final. The Senators are obviously frustrated with the FAA’s slowness in issuing the rules for this new industry; so they have imposed their own set of regulations.

What are the variances between the Booker-Hoeven bill and the FAA’s proposal? What are the new assignments imposed on the FAA by this proposed legislation? How will the sUAS industry react to the statute’s authorizing the FAA to assess fees, without any expressed limits as to setting of those dollar amounts? [click to continue…]

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The NTSB frequently cites weather as a probable cause for many aviation accidents. That factor has been listed so many times for GA crashes (2/3 of the fatal GA accidents were in IMC conditions that the 2014 Most Wanted List included GA weather in the Board’s Top 10. Below is an article announcing the award of a $77 million contract by the FAA to Raytheon Co. to produce faster, more accurate WX information. [click to continue…]



The potential for safety challenges exist in every flight. One way to reduce the risk is for the pilot to gather as much relevant information as possible. The FAA has created a smartphone app which can educate UAS pilots about the airspace in which a flight will be launched. [click to continue…]



On February 15, 2015 Secretary Foxx and Administrator Huerta announced the issuance of an NPRM, Part 107, which proposed the terms by which Small UAS commercial operators could fly. Since then, the UAS industry has put great pressure on the FAA to do more to advance their business. On May 6, 2015, the Administrator appeared at AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2015 conference and announced a new program Pathfinder.

What did the Administrator really do? [click to continue…]



Alaska has a different aviation culture, in part driven by geography/weather and partially attributable to a risk less-than-adverse approach to flying. The awarding of the FAA’s prestigious Diamond Certificate of Excellence for meeting, and in some cases exceeding, the administration’s highest level of annual voluntary training to Northern Aviation Services’ Northern Air Cargo and Aloha Air Cargo recognizes excellence in safety performance there. That’s great news about Alaska and the sort of positive reinforcement of good practices which encourages others to emulate. [click to continue…]


Having been upgraded by the FAA, now ICAO and EASA will review the DGCAI, why?

by Joe Del BalzoMay 6, 2015

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCAI) recently received an upgrade of its rating from the FAA under its IASA. Now comes EASA and ICAO to repeat the same scrutiny as the American review. Why this redundant reevaluation?

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IATA and EASA issue Training Guidance for “Upset Prevention Recovery Training”—that’s great

by Joe Del BalzoMay 5, 2015

A number of recent pronouncements by significant safety professionals have raised the question of pilots’ ability to manage the complex technology of the cockpit and to respond when something unexpected happens. The International Air Transportation Association and the European Aviation Safety Agency have issued a curriculum that the airlines should use to train their crews [...]

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The Battle over the safety and noise of East Hampton unfortunately goes to court

by Sandy MurdockMay 4, 2015

Litigation has been initiated between the Friends of East Hampton and the Town Of East Hampton. The issues and parties are reminiscent of the interminable litigation over Santa Monica Airport. While the initial parties constitute a long list getting longer, the success of the plaintiffs will increase dramatically as another entity seeks intervention.

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United’s SMS reply to its self-identified cockpit issues is Spot On!

by Joe Del BalzoApril 28, 2015

United Airlines, a leading, voluntary participant in the FAA’s state-of-the-art safety discipline Safety Management System (SMS), did the right thing by sending a message to their pilots that objective data and some incidents (not accidents) indicates that their skill levels need refinement. Unfortunately, the FAA ignored the basic comity that should mark SMS and it [...]

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What’s your Top 5 for Safety Improvements?

by Joe Del BalzoApril 27, 2015

Linked below is a very interesting OpEd piece authored by Eric Auxier, an A320 captain with over 21,000 hours. He writes a blog and has authored a book. The Captain has listed below what he thinks are the top five safety improvements. His choices and their rationales are summarized below (the list is numbered but [...]

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