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FAA warns passengers not to use Samsung Galaxy Note 7 over lithium battery safety issues
9 September 2016

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.

EU adds Iraqi Airways to blacklist, removes Air Astana

Iraqi Airways B737-800 YI-AST (photo: Anna Zvereva / CC:by-sa)

Iraqi Airways B737-800 YI-AST (photo: Anna Zvereva / CC:by-sa)

The European Commission has updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. The update clears Kazakh carrier Air Astana, but adds Iraqi Airways.

The updated EU Air Safety List clears Kazakh carrier Air Astana, whose operations in the EU had been restricted since 2009. On the other hand it adds Iraqi Airways due to unaddressed safety concerns.

In August 2015, Sweden and the United Kingdom already revoked Iraqi Airways’ license to fly into these countries for safety reasons.

No air carriers from Thailand were added to the Air Safety List at this time. The Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are willing to continue to work with the Thai authorities to enhance aviation safety in the country. The Commission and EASA will however closely monitor future developments and, if the protection of air passengers against safety risks so requires, the Commission could then propose to include one or more air carriers from Thailand in the Air Safety List.

The updated EU Air Safety List includes all airlines, to a total of 228, certified in 20 states. This is because of a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states: Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Benin, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 2 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of 4 airlines), Kazakhstan (with the exception of Air Astana, which is being cleared today), the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zambia. Additionally, the list also includes two individual airlines, based on safety concerns with these air carriers: Iraqi Airways (Iraq) and Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), bringing the overall total of airlines banned from EU skies to 230.

The list also includes seven airlines which are subject to operational restrictions. These airlines can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran), TAAG Angolan Airlines (Angola) and Air Madagascar (Madagascar).

 

Transport Canada suspends Buffalo Airways’ AOC over safety issues

A Buffalo Airways Douglas DC-3C following an accident in August 2013 at Yellowknife (TSB)

A Buffalo Airways Douglas DC-3C following an accident in August 2013 at Yellowknife (TSB)

Transport Canada suspended Buffalo Airways’ Air Operator Certificate over safety issues. The suspension went into effect on November 30, 2015.

The airline is now prohibited from providing commercial air services.

According to a statement by Transport Canada,  the action was taken “in the interest of public safety because of Buffalo Airways’ poor safety record.” The department will not allow Buffalo Airways to resume its commercial air service until it proves it can keep its operations consistently compliant with aviation safety regulations.

The ASN Database shows that the airline lost at least four aircraft since 2000, though no one was killed in any of these accidents. The most recent accident occurred on 25 September 2015 when a Curtiss C-46 Commando made a forced belly landing at Déline, Canada. The aircraft had suffered a loss of oil in one engine and a propeller overspeed.

Update:

The suspension was lifted by Transport Canada on January 12, 2016.

More information:

FAA downgrades Thailand to Cat 2 over aviation safety concerns

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that the Kingdom of Thailand does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and has been assigned a Category 2 rating based on a reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority.

A Category 2 International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating means that the country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or its civil aviation authority is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures. With a Category 2 rating, Thailand’s carriers can continue existing service to the United States. They will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States.

Thailand was assigned an initial Category 2 rating in 1996 and received a Category 1 rating in 1997. Reassessments of Thailand in 2001 and 2008 continued the Category 1 rating. A reassessment in July 2015 found that Thailand did not meet international standards.

As part of it’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), ICAO audited the Thai civil aviation authority in 2005.

The results of this audit showed that the country scored below world average in their oversight. In March 2015 ICAO identified a significant safety concermn with respect to the ability of the authorities to properly oversee it’s airlines.

More information:

FAA proposes $200,000 fine for Detroit-Wayne County Airport’s lack of snow and ice removal

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $200,000 civil penalty against Detroit’s Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) for allegedly failing to maintain safe airfield conditions during a November 2014 storm.

The FAA alleges that WCAA, which operates Detroit Metro-Wayne County International Airport (DTW), failed to follow its FAA-mandated Snow and Ice Control Plan (SICP) during the storm. As a result, it allegedly allowed various DTW airfield surfaces to become unsafe and failed to limit air carrier operations to portions of the airfield where they could safely occur.

Among other things, the FAA alleges that WCAA failed to treat a taxiway and a deicing pad with deicer fluid. A Delta Air Lines Boeing 737 -800 slid off the untreated taxiway and onto the grass, and a cargo jet became stranded due to icy conditions after exiting a runway.

Additionally, three commercial airliners became stranded on the de-icing pad for approximately three hours each due to icy pavement conditions, the FAA alleges.

The FAA further alleges that WCAA failed to notify airlines of changing runway conditions; activate the DTW “snow desk” to coordinate snow removal operations; monitor snow removal operations and issue information about conditions affecting the runways, taxiways and ramp areas; conduct frequent runway inspections and friction tests; provide enough qualified personnel on the airfield to comply with the SICP; and issue a timely notice that a runway was closed.

In January 2014, representatives from the FAA and WCAA met to discuss concerns about winter operations at DTW. Additionally, the FAA issued a warning letter to WCAA in May 2014 for failing to comply with their SICP during a February 2014 storm.

WCAA has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.