Former Pilot Headed For Jail
A federal judge in Los Angeles accepted the plea bargain of Arnold ("Arnie") Gerald Leto III on Monday, sentencing him to 10 months in jail for flying paying passengers without a pilot's certificate--at least one flight in a Dassault Falcon 10 and at least one flight in a Cessna Citation II. Leto lost his certificate in early 2016 for flying paying passengers in the Cessna Citation II without possessing the required type rating and without a second pilot--as is required by that aircraft's type certificate.
Southwest Pilots Push Flag of Convenience Law
Four members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have introduced a bill to prevent foreign air carriers who are operating under a flag of convenience from receiving a U.S. Foreign Carrier Permit to operate in the United States. The bill has strong backing from the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA): "We look forward to competing in the international marketplace but will not stand by and watch foreign competitors decimate our industry through flags of convenience schemes or unfair government subsidies." Representatives Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Drew Ferguson (R-GA) are the bill's initial sponsors.
Langford: Uber Vision 'Do-able'
Uber drew lots of attention this week with their three-day Elevate conference about how to create an urban network of flying taxis by 2020, but as ambitious as their goals are, John Langford, the CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, says they are "do-able." The vision won't come to pass, though, he told AVweb in an interview from the conference, unless there's a deadline. "It's a little bit like going to Mars -- it's certainly possible, but it's always 20 years away," he said.
United Quickly Settles With Dragged Passenger
United Airlines has reached a settlement with Dr. David Dao, the bumped passenger who was dragged off a Republic Airlines regional flight (operating as United) after having his nose broken and losing two teeth in the process. The cellphone video of the incident and subsequent backlash has focused discussion on how everyone behaves in the aluminum tubes and likely made the doctor from Louisville, who was trying to get home from Chicago on April 9, a wealthy man.
Saxena Out At Mooney
Vivek Saxena has stepped down as CEO of Mooney International Corporation after less than a year in the top job, according to AOPA, citing an email to employees, and confirmed by AVweb. Saxena joined Mooney in August of 2016, replacing Jerry Chen, who had been appointed as interim CEO by Soaring America Corporation, the Chinese-backed investment group that recapitalized Mooney to restart production of the M20. Albert Li, Mooney's CFO, will reportedly serve as executive director until a new CEO can be appointed.
Aircraft had been inactive and hangared for approximately six months. While trying to troubleshoot a fuel quantity indication problem, a fuel sample revealed contamination, which was sent for analysis. While awaiting results, tanks were drained and an anti-bacterial fuel additive was added before they were refilled.
I was flying out of Boeing Field (KBFI), something I had done hundreds of times before. Tonights flight was to maintain night landing proficiency, so after making landings at a few airports in the area, the adventure started as I returned home in the dark. The wind was from the north, so the active runway was 31L. And because I was making the approach at night, I did what I always do: approach the runway from the north over Elliot Bay. As expected, I was assigned a left pattern to 31L.
NTSB Reports: May 2017
The pilot reported that when he raised the landing gear shortly after takeoff, he heard a loud crunch as the gear entered the wells. The pilot climbed the airplane to about 3000 feet and observed the landing gear circuit breaker was popped and the alternator was off. The pilot attempted to extend the landing gear normally several times, however, the circuit breaker popped each time and the gear remained retracted. The pilot also attempted to use the emergency gear extension, to no avail.
The relatively inexpensive and ubiquitous availability of in-cockpit Nexrad weather radar has helped minimize the risk of using personal airplanes compared to, say, 30 years ago. But risk and aviation seem to be a zero-sum game, since one result of this technology is that were more likely to get up close and personal with cumulus clouds in all stages of thunderstorm development than ever before. Thats not a good thing, but it is real. Along the way, most of us havent taken to heart the technologys inherent limitations for our purposes, like latency.
BasicMed Takes Effect
Effective May 1, 2017, you may no longer need to hold an FAA third-class medical certificate to serve as pilot in command. The change results from FAA implementing a Congressional mandate enacted last year, which directed the agency to develop appropriate regulations to eliminate the third-class medical for specified flight operations. The image below, prepared by the FAA, highlights BasicMeds major provisions.
FAA Publishes First Set of UAS Facility Maps
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today published more than 200 facility maps to streamline the commercial drone authorization process. The maps depict areas and altitudes near airports where UAS may operate safely. But drone operators still need FAA authorization to fly in those areas.This marks a key first step as the FAA and industry work together to automate the airspace authorization process. The maps will help drone operators improve the quality of their Part 107 airspace authorization requests and help the FAA process the requests more quickly. The maps are informational and do not give people permission to fly drones. Remote pilots must still submit an online airspace authorization application.Operators may download the map data in several formats, view the site on mobile devices and customize their views. The map viewer displays numbers in grid cells which represent the distances Above Ground Level (AGL) in one square mile up to 400 feet where drones may fly. Zeros indicate critical locations around airports and other aircraft operating areas, like hospital helipads, where no drone flights can be preauthorized. Requests to operate in these areas will require further coordination and FAA safety analysis, which can result in additional safety mitigations to be complied with by the drone operator. Remote pilots can refer to the maps to tailor their requests to align with locations and altitudes when they complete airspace authorization applications. This will help simplify the process and increase the likelihood that the FAA will approve their requests.FAA air traffic personnel will use the maps to process Part 107 airspace authorization requests. Altitudes that exceed those depicted on the maps require additional safety analysis and coordination to determine if an application can be approved.Additional maps will be published every 56 days through the end of the year. The updates will coincide with the agencys existing 56-day aeronautical chart production schedule. If a map is not yet available, it can be expected in future releases.The facility maps are an important accomplishment as the FAA collaborates with industry to safely integrate drones into the National Airspace System. They will help improve the safety of drone and traditional aircraft operations. Questions may be directed to the FAA's UAS Integration Office via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 844-FLY-MY-UA.
Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents
Mountain Flying: Experience and Training is EssentialMountain flying is exhilarating, exciting, and challenging. It can open up new flying opportunities, but you need training, experience, and careful preparation to safely navigate those lofty peaks and spectacular scenery.Your training should begin with a quality mountain flying course that includes adequate mountain ground and flight training. You have a narrow window of safety when flying around mountains so youll need the experience and knowledge gained from a recognized training program. After your training is complete, and before your first flight, make sure you perform a mountain checkout with a qualified mountain flight instructor.Mountain flying, even more so than flight in the flatlands, is very unforgiving of poor training and poor planning. Its essential that you learn how to carefully prepare for the rigors and potential pitfalls of a mountain flight. Knowing the conditions is essential. The combination of weather and the surrounding terrain can cause dangerous wind, severe turbulence, and other conditions that may create serious challenges for a small GA aircraft. So, its important to use every available clue about the weather and terrain.Even experienced mountain pilots may not be familiar with the way local conditions and terrain may affect an aircrafts performance. While enjoying the views at a high-density altitude, you can quickly become surprised by your aircrafts changing performance. The pressure altitude, corrected for temperature, will make your airplane perform as if it is at a higher altitude. This change can have an adverse impact on your aircrafts performance.Here are the skills youll need:Knowledge of your airplanes performance, including how your aircraft will perform in all weather conditions and at high altitudes. Youll need to review takeoff, climb, landing, cold starts, hot starts, and stalls, among other performance characteristics. Make sure you take conditions into consideration, and are leaning the engine correctly for optimum power. Your planes condition and performance is essential to your survival.Flying skills. Do you have the skills needed to operate in extreme conditions, make decisions quickly and calmly, and fly in all types of weather?Do you have a Plan B? This is critical when flying a GA aircraft in the mountains. You should have an alternative route to get you out of trouble, or the option of delaying your return to home base.Survival. Are you experienced in personal survival techniques? Bitterly cold temperatures, high winds and other factors can land you in a position that you werent originally counting on. Be sure to pack specialized emergency and survival equipment on board. Youll want to include personal locator beacons, in addition to a 406 emergency local transmitter.Mountain flying is demanding so you should carefully consider your experience and background before beginning a flight into mountainous terrain.Checklist:Are you fully knowledgeable about your capabilities and those of your aircraft?Have you taken a specialized training course and worked with your flight instructor?Are you aware that while youre focused on a type of flying that has great rewards, it also has heightened risk?Those mountain views are beautiful, but theyre even more stunning when you can enjoy them safely.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) communitys national #FlySafe campaign is designed to educate GA pilots about the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.Message from FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta:The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our #Fly Safe campaign. Every month on FAA.gov, we provide pilots with Loss of Control solutions developed by a team of experts some of which are already reducing risk. I hope you will join us in this effort and spread the word. Follow #FlySafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.What is Loss of Control?A LOC accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen when the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and quickly develops into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.More about Loss of ControlContributing factors may include:Poor judgment or aeronautical decision makingFailure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective actionIntentional failure to comply with regulationsFailure to maintain airspeedFailure to follow procedurePilot inexperience and proficiencyUse of prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcoholDid you know?In 2015, 384 people died in 238 general aviation accidents.Loss of Control was the number one cause of these accidents.Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight.It can happen anywhere and at any time.There is one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.Learn more:Read Tips on Mountain Flying, by the FAA FAASTeam.This FAA Mountain Flying tip sheet has specific information designed to keep you safely in control of your aircraft.Have you read the Extreme Weather edition of the FAA Safety Briefing? Rocky Mountain High: The Zen of Mountain Flying is just one of the good articles in this May/June 2012 issue.Are you a practical type? If so, youll appreciate the Top Ten Practical Considerations for Mountain Flying on AvWeb.This NTSB Safety Alert has lessons learned information that can be critical to your safety.TheFAASafety.govwebsite has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics.Check out GA Safety Enhancements fact sheets on the mainFAA Safety Briefingwebsite, including Flight Risk Assessment Tools.TheWINGS Pilot Proficiency Programhelps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.TheGeneral Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC)is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risk, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of GA accidents. The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers in the FAA, several government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and stakeholder groups. Industry participants include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Flight Instructors, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and the aviation insurance industry. The National Transportation Safety Board and the European Aviation Safety Agency participate as observers.
FAA Air Traffic Report
Today's Air Traffic Report:Thunderstorms moving across the Southeast likely will delay flights in Atlanta (ATL) and Charlotte (CLT) early this afternoon. Clouds and fog in the Northeast could slow air traffic in Boston (BOS), the New York area (EWR, JFK, LGA) and Philadelphia (PHL). On the West Coast, clouds and wind may trigger delays in San Francisco (SFO). Delays also are likely in Los Angeles (LAX).Pilots: Check out the new Graphical Forecasts for Aviation (GFA) Tool from the Aviation Weather Center.For up-to-the-minute air traffic operations information, visit fly.faa.gov, and follow @FAANews on Twitter for the latest news and Air Traffic Alerts.The FAA Air Traffic Report provides a reasonable expectation of any daily impactsto normal air traffic operations, i.e. arrival/departure delays, ground stoppages, airport closures. This information is for air traffic operations planning purposes and is reliable as weather forecasts and other factors beyond our ability to control.Always check with your air carrier for flight-specific delay information.
General aviation pilots can now prepare to fly under BasicMed without holding a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements. They can fly under BasicMed beginning on May 1, the effective date of the January 10 final rule. It offers pilots an alternative to the FAA's medical qualification process for third class medical certificates, while keeping general aviation pilots safe and flying affordable.General aviation pilots may take advantage of the regulatory relief in the BasicMed rule or opt to continue to use their FAA medical certificate. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete a medical education course every two years, undergo a medical examination every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions. For example, pilots using BasicMed cannot operate an aircraft with more than six people onboard and the aircraft must not weigh more than 6,000 pounds.A pilot flying under the BasicMed rule must:possess a valid driver's license;consent to a National Driver Register check;have held a medical certificate that was valid at any time after July 15, 2006;have not had the most recently held medical certificate revoked, suspended, or withdrawn;have not had the most recent application for airman medical certification completed and denied;have taken a BasicMed online medical education course within the past 24 calendar months;have completed a comprehensive medical examination with any state-licensed physician within the past 48 months;have been found eligible for special issuance of a medical certificate for certain specified mental health, neurological, or cardiovascular conditions, when applicable; andnot fly for compensation or hire.Pilots can read and print the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist and learn about online BasicMed online medical courses at www.faa.gov/go/BasicMedAmplify the news on Twitter and Facebook using #BasicMed.
FAA to Hold Airspace Workshops in Las Vegas
April 20 -The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will hold three public information workshops in late April on proposed airspace improvements over the Las Vegas metropolitan area.The improvements are part of the FAA's Las Vegas Metroplex project, which proposes to use streamlined satellite navigation to move air traffic more safely and efficiently through the area. The project includes McCarran International Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Henderson Executive Airport and Nellis Air Force Base. It is one of 12 Metroplex projects nationwide.Under the project, existing air routes may be modified with new satellite-based routes. Satellite technology enables the creation of more direct air routes as well as routes that are automatically separated from one another. It also allows highly efficient climbs and descents on departure and arrival routes, which can result in significant environmental benefits.The FAA has not begun designing the modified routes. The purpose of the workshops is to explain the issues the FAA identified with the current airspace and some of the potential solutions to those issues.The workshops will feature informational videos and poster boards that explain satellite-based procedures and show some of the issues the FAA identified with the current Las Vegas airspace. FAA representatives will be available to answer questions, and people can submit written comments at the workshops and online for 30 days afterward. The workshops will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. They will be an open-house format, where people can attend any time during the posted times to learn about the project. Free parking will be available at all locations.The briefing dates and locations are as follows:April 25: Henderson Convention Center, 200 S. Water Street, Henderson, NV 89015April 26: North Las Vegas Airport, Grand Canyon Room, 2730 Airport Drive, North Las Vegas, NV 89032April 27: Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89155During the design process for the modified routes, the FAA will hold additional public workshops where they will share the proposed routes and seek comment on them. The community feedback received from those future workshops will help determine whether changes should be made to the proposed designs.Amplify the news on Twitter and Facebook using #LasVegas