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Pakistan grounds ATR fleet for inspections
12 December 2016

Pakistan grounds ATR fleet for inspections

20161207-0-p-1

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority: PCAA ordered the grounding of all ATR aircraft in the country for inspections, following a recent accident and incident.

On December 7, an ATR 42 crashed after impacting terrain near Havelian, killing all 47 on board. The investigation is ongoing. On December 11 an ATR 72 suffered ‘technical problems’ relating to an engine prior to departure from Mulat Airport.

The CAA decided on December 11 to ground all of PIA’s ATR aircraft for inspections. The airline operaters five ATR 42-500 aircraft (average age 10 years) and five ATR 72-500 aircraft (average age 4.5 years).

 

EU adds Iran Aseman Airlines to black list; removes airlines from Kazakhstan

File photo of an ATR-72 operated by Iran Aseman (photo: Aeroprints.com / CC:by-sa)

File photo of an ATR-72 operated by Iran Aseman (photo: Aeroprints.com / CC:by-sa)

The European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, removing all air carriers from Kazakhstan and adding Iran Aseman Airlines.

The EU Air Safety List is a list of airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.
All airlines certified in Kazakhstan are now cleared from the list, following further improvements to the aviation safety situation in that country. On the other hand, Iran Aseman Airlines was added to the list due to unaddressed deficiencies.
Following the update, a total of 193 airlines are banned from EU skies:

  • 190 airlines certified in 18 states, due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states.
  • Three individual airlines, based on safety concerns: Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq) and Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname)

An additional six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).

More information:

 

Audit says FAA lacks risk-based oversight process for civil unmanned aircraft systems

Typical small drone with camera (photo: Don McCullough / CC:by)

Typical small drone with camera (photo: Don McCullough / CC:by)

The U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded, following an audit, that the FAA does not verify that drone operators actually meet or understand the conditions and limitations of their exemptions either before or after the application is approved.
The growing demand for civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations presented new safety oversight challenges for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), causing the OIG to initiate an audit in August 2015.
Using an authority granted by Congress, FAA has approved over 5,500 commercial UAS to operate by exempting them from regulatory requirements, and recently issued a final rule governing operations of small UAS.
The OIG found that FAA streamlined its process in 2015 for exempting civil UAS from regulatory requirements in response to increasing requests for exemptions and concerns over lengthy approval times. However, FAA’s process does not verify that operators actually meet or understand the conditions and limitations of their exemptions either before or after the application is approved. Furthermore, while FAA has taken some steps to advance UAS technology, the Agency has not established a risk-based safety oversight process for civil UAS operations—a key tool for focusing resources on a range of emerging risks. Despite an increase in reported UAS events, FAA lacks a robust data reporting and tracking system for UAS activity. As a result, FAA is currently taking a reactive approach to UAS oversight.
FAA concurred with all six of recommendations:
  1. Establish specific milestones to update and maintain UAS guidance to keep pace with technological developments and incorporate inspector feedback.
  2. Develop comprehensive and updated training for safety inspectors on UAS technologies and Agency rules and guidance related to UAS oversight.
  3. Initiate a periodic process to perform inspections of commercial UAS operators based on operational factors (e.g., location, number of operations, and type of activity) to verify knowledge of and compliance with FAA requirements and to inform the development of a risk-based oversight plan.
  4. Design and implement a risk-based and prioritized oversight plan for UAS to help ensure safe operations of UAS.
  5. Develop and implement a process to coordinate existing disparate UAS databases within FAA to facilitate data mining and safety analysis.
  6. Implement a process to share UAS data with field oversight offices to assist inspectors in risk-based and proactive oversight of civil UAS operations.

More information:

Dutch authorities ban Sky High Aviation Beech 1900 from Bonaire

The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate banned a Beech 1900D of Sky High Aviation from operating commercial flights to Bonaire Airport and other Dutch airports in the Caribbean.

Sky High Aviation, a small commuter and charter airline from the Dominican Republic, had commenced scheduled passenger flights from Santo Domingo Airport to Bonaire Airport on October 30, 2016 using a recently acquired Beechcraft 1900D, registered HI1007. During the second flight to Bonaire, authorities found that the aircraft was not equipped with a mandatory terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS).

The aircraft was allowed to leave Bonaire for a ferry flight without passengers back to Santo Domingo. HI1007 was manufactured in 1996 and operated as N87551 on behalf of Continental Express.

 

More information:

FAA warns passengers not to use Samsung Galaxy Note 7 over lithium battery safety issues

Lithium battery fire on a laptop (CAA)

Lithium battery fire on a laptop (CAA)

The U.S. FAA issued a statement not to use Samsung Galaxy Note 7 electronic devices on board aircraft over fears about the safety of the device’s lithium battery.

The FAA stated:

In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.

The move stems from Samsung‘s decision to  recall the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Due to an undisclosed manufacturing defect, the lithium ion battery cell can overheat when charging, leading in some instances to the battery catching fire or exploding.

 

More information:

FAA upgrades aviation safety rating for Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia is now allowed to operate flights to the U.S. (photo H.Ranter/ASN)

Garuda Indonesia is now allowed to operate flights to the U.S. (photo H.Ranter/ASN)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced that Indonesia complies with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and has been granted a Category 1 rating.

The FAA first assessed Indonesia’s civil aviation authority in September 1997 and found it in compliance with ICAO standards and then lowered the rating from Category 1 to Category 2 in April 2007. While under a Category 2 rating, the country either lacked laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its civil aviation authority – a body equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters – was deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures.

 The Category 1 status announced on August 15, 2016 is based on a March 2016 FAA assessment of the safety oversight provided by Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation. A Category 1 rating means the country’s civil aviation authority complies with ICAO standards.  With the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 1 rating, Indonesian air carriers that are able to secure the requisite FAA and DOT authority, can establish service to the United States and carry the code of U.S. carriers.

At the same time the EU is not yet fully satisfied with the level of safety oversight in Indonesia. Following an initial ban of all Indonesian carriers to fly to the EU in July 2007, airlines that have shown to be able to operate safely were taken off the list in recent years. The bans for a.o. Garuda, Lion Air Indonesia AirAsia and Batik Air have been lifted.

An ICAO audit of Indonesia in 2016 though, showed the level of implementation of ICAO standards that was still below the world average.

FAA proposes $500,000 civil penalty against SeaPort Airlines

A SeaPort Airlines Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (file photo)

A SeaPort Airlines Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (file photo)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $500,000 civil penalty against SeaPort Airlines, Inc. for allegedly operating three single-engine Cessna Caravans when they were not airworthy.

 The FAA alleges SeaPort failed to perform initial and recurring borescope inspections of the planes’ turbine compressor blades. The inspections are required by an Airworthiness Directive that is intended to prevent compressor turbine blade failures, which could cause an engine to lose power.

The FAA alleges the company operated the three aircraft on a total of 583 flights when the inspections were overdue. The agency alleges the aircraft therefore were not airworthy.

Additionally, the FAA alleges SeaPort failed to record the method of compliance with the Airworthiness Directive and when the next recurring inspections were required for those three aircraft as well as another Cessna Caravan.

SeaPort has 30 days from receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

EU updates black list, clearing Air Madagascar, Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air

The European Commission updated the EU Air Safety List, clearing Zambia, Air Madagascar, Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air from the list.

The Air Safety List contains airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.
Following the update, all airlines certified in Zambia are cleared from the list, along with Air Madagascar and three airlines certified in Indonesia: Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air. In addition most aircraft of Iran Air are allowed to resume operations to the EU.

A total of 216 airlines are now banned from EU skies: 214 airlines certified in 19 states, due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states.
Two individual airlines, based on safety concerns: Iraqi Airways (Iraq) and Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname).
An additional six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).

 

FAA to test drone sensor detection systems around airports

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that it signed three companies in an effort do develop a system to detect illegal operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying too close to airports.

The FAA signed  Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRDAs) with Gryphon Sensors, Liteye Systems Inc. and Sensofusion.

The companies’ prototype drone sensor detection systems will be evaluated at airports selected by the FAA. The agency and its federal government partners – particularly the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – will work with the companies to study how effective their respective technologies are, while ensuring they do not interfere with the safety and security of normal airport operations.

The CRDAs with Gryphon, Liteye and Sensofusion expand upon collaborative efforts with industry to develop system standards to identify unauthorized UAS flights near airports, which could pose a hazard to manned aircraft. The agency has seen a steep increase in reports of small UAS close to airports over the last two years.

The FAA has also partnered with DHS and CACI International on similar research to explore how that company’s prototype detection technology may help detect UAS.

FAA proposes $917,000 civil penalty against Puerto Rican airports for ARFF violations

Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport, Vieques (photo Jaro Nemčok / CC:by-sa)

Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport, Vieques (photo Jaro Nemčok / CC:by-sa)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $917,000 civil penalty against the Puerto Rico Ports Authority for alleged aircraft rescue and firefighting violations at three of its commercial airports.

The allegations are as follows.

Aguadilla-Rafael Hernández Airport

  • The airport is required to have two aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles based on the type of aircraft it serves.  On March 25, 2015, one of the vehicles was unable to perform its required functions because it failed to correctly mix firefighting foam and water.  As a result, the airport did not provide the required ARFF capability.
  • During a demonstration the same day, ARFF personnel failed to begin applying extinguishing agent within the required three minutes of an alarm sounding.  Moreover, the airport’s ARFF vehicles did not have two-way voice communications to maintain contact with other emergency vehicles and with the airport fire station.  And one firefighter had a damaged fire suit so was therefore not equipped to perform his duties.
  • The airport failed to ensure that 13 firefighters received recurrent aircraft familiarization training.
  • The airport did not inspect its tenant fueling facilities between July 2014 and March 26, 2015.
  • The airport on 14 dates conducted daily self-inspections at night rather than at sunrise, as required by its Airport Certification Manual.
  • On Sept. 26, 2015, one of the airport’s two ARFF vehicles was not operational because the roof turret did not work and duct tape was used to seal cracks in a waterline to the roof turret.

 The FAA also alleges the airport’s air carrier runway had a larger than permitted hole in it on March 25, 2015.

Ponce-Mercedita Airport

  • On nine dates in March 2015, the airport conducted daily self-inspections in the afternoon or at night rather than at sunrise, as required by its Airport Certification Manual.

Vieques-Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport

  • The airport’s ARFF vehicles did not have required two-way radio communications with the airport fire station on March 24, 2015.

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.