The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to slowly but surely modernize the NOTAM system using a “phased approach.” This modernization comes after the 2017 incident where an Air Canada crew almost landed on the taxiway in SFO after missing a NOTAM about a runway closure.
Robert Sumwalt (Chairman of the NTSB) then memorably declared NOTAM’s “a bunch of garbage.”
One milestone of the modernization (that pilots and flight planners will certainly welcome) is the proposed improvement of the presentation of NOTAM information. The new NOTAM’s will “prioritize or highlight the most important safety information, and optimize data, technology, and processes to help pilots find and retain the most relevant information.” Hopefully, this means a future of NOTAMs written in plain language and will prioritize critical information such as ‘runway closures’ or ‘no Jet A1 fuel available’ over ‘grass cutting’.
The FAA will also be transitioning to fully compliant ICAO NOTAMs, in line with the rest of the world. The first phase of this begins now (spring 2021) with some NOTAMs having ICAO translations provided, such as runway field condition (FICON) reports from smaller continental US airports.
Falcon 10X Debuts, Boasting Never Before Seen Anti-Upset Safety Features (And The World's Roomiest Business Jet Cabin)
Dassault has officially launched the Falcon 10X, a competitor to the Global 7500 and Gulfstream G700, with an array of cutting-edge safety features, as well as a unique cabin.
The Falcon 10X’s cabin is roomy, stretching a foot wider and approximately half a foot taller than rival Global 7500 and G700 cabins. Preliminary figures indicate a cruise speed of Mach 0.925 and the ability to take-off at max gross weight from a 6000ft runway and land in as little as 2500ft.
“We have optimized every aspect of the aircraft with the passenger in mind and established a new level of capability for ultra-long-range aircraft,” says Dassault Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.
However, the cabin is not where the ingenuity ends. Despite having three engines, there is only one throttle lever. Yes, the digital flight control system (DFCS), incorporates a single power-lever Smart Throttle, which was tested extensively last year. Critically, adding the Smart Throttle enables the addition of ‘Recovery Mode.’
“What Recovery Mode does is return the 10X to stable flight after an upset in any configuration, when the pilot pushes the Recovery button on the instrument panel. This is a step up from envelope protection, which can help prevent overspeed or stall and other excursions, and it’s more comprehensive than the level buttons in some modern autopilots.” Loss of Control In-Flight (LOCiF) remains a significant contributor to aircraft accidents worldwide.
The DFCS also has a soft go-around and “comfort” climb and descent, designed to make passengers more comfortable during maneuvering. The Smart Throttle also heralds improvements for reduced-thrust takeoffs and noise-abatement procedures.
Dassault expects the Falcon 10X to be certified and enter service in 2025.
One Flight Department Learns How A Seemingly Small Event Can Throw The Spotlight on Bigger, Unknown Issues
An event occurred at one business jet flight department involving a breakdown in CRM between a senior captain and a new-hire captain. The operator incurred no damage or injury, or cost, so it was dismissed by the chief pilot and director of aviation with no investigation.
However, after the CEO got wind of the incident, they hired a consultant to conduct an external evaluation.
According to the consultant, the flight department believed that their manuals, procedures, and work ethic equated to solid risk management. However, results indicated deficiencies in the entire organization: “...the group’s operations were standard industry practices at best, with only a few areas in which they were adhering to best practices or best practices plus.”
Despite best intentions, even the most professional flight departments “mistakenly assume that safety and risk management are simply a matter of faithfully obeying regulations, following the flight operations manual, completing checklists, etc.”
Putting unity before safety also surfaced as an issue. “Like most aviation professionals, its members were convivial and energetic, results-oriented. But they were also so conflict-averse that they went out of their way to preserve a collegial, amiable environment in the department.”
Had this ‘one-off’ event been ignored, similar safety issues may have re-occurred, leading to a more severe event. The review concluded that a stronger organizational culture is what the flight department needed.
An Untapped Source | The FAA Invites Drone Operators To Participate in ASRS
The National Airspace System (NAS) is about to receive never before collected safety information because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has extended the protective wing of the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS - AKA “The NASA Report”) to drone operators.
Bringing unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) into the safety fold has advantages for both drone operators, aircraft operators, and the FAA.
ASRS helps give the industry a more complete picture of incidents involving drones that they would otherwise not even know had happened. “If, for example, a particular model of drone – or even a particular location with heavy interference – was found to be associated with a number of flyaways, an identifiable pattern would emerge that could lead to the situation being remedied.”
In return, drone operators will be afforded protection from civil penalty or certificate suspension to encourage reporting and self-disclosure of errors, violations, and safety issues.