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UAE to make geofencing technology mandatory on all drones
12 July 2017

UAE to make geofencing technology mandatory on all drones

The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is further regulating the use of drones in the country.

All drones currently used in the UAE, or being imported, must have a serial number as well as geofencing technology installed. This automatically disables drones when the owner attempts to operate one close to airports for example. Under the new law, drones will be inspected upon import.

Also, drones owned by individuals will not be allowed to have video/photo features. Only those used for research, development and security purposes will be exempt. Commercial companies that use drones for filming have their own regulations to meet.

This stricter regulation follows a number of incidents at Dubai International Airport in 2016.


EASA publishes Opinion to address loss of control in-flight at pilot licensing

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published an Opinion proposing amendments to the training requirements for initial pilot licensing to prevent loss of control in flight situations.

The so called “upset prevention and recovery training” (UPRT) requirements aim to make pilots more resilient in coping with unexpected aircraft upset situations. The requirements are based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and recommended practices and have been developed by EASA in consultation with leading industry experts.

The proposed requirements are expected to be adopted by the European Commission by 8 April 2018. It was agreed with the Member States on 28 June 2017 to provide an additional transition period until 8 April 2019 to implement these UPRT provisions.

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EASA issues safety recommendations for the transport of Portable Electronic Devices containing lithium batteries

EASA issued safety recommendations for the transport of Portable Electronic Devices containing lithium batteries, in the wake of the U.S. and U.K. ban on equipment like laptops to be carried in the passenger cabin on flights from certain countries.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a Safety Information Bulletin to remind airlines and aircraft operators of important principles for the safe transport of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) containing lithium batteries. These principles should be taken into account by the airlines when they perform their safety risk assessment.

PEDs containing lithium batteries are considered as dangerous goods. When carried by passengers, they should preferably be carried in the passenger cabin. This would enable the crew to react quickly in case an incident involving such PED occurs.

When the carriage of PEDs in the cabin is not allowed, it leads to a significant increase of the number of PEDs in the cargo compartment. Certain precautions should therefore be observed to mitigate the risk of accidental fire in the cargo hold. In particular, PEDs placed in checked baggage must be completely switched off and well protected from accidental activation.

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FAA extends flight prohibition for Libyan airspace

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new Notam, extending the flight prohibition for certain U.S. aircraft for the Libyan airspace by another two years.

Transport Canada bans drone use near airports

Transport Canada introduced a measure to prevent the reckless use of drones in Canada, banning the use within 9 km of any airport.

TC states that the number of incidents involving recreational drones has more than tripled since 2014, prompting the Minister of Transport to introduce an immediate measure which will affect the operations of model aircraft and recreational drones of more than 250 g and up to 35 kg.

The key new rules are that recreational drone operators must mark their drone with their contact information, and may not fly:

  • higher than 90 metres;
  • at night;
  • within 75 metres of buildings, vehicles or people; or
  • within 9 kilometres of the centre of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land.

Operators of drones for commercial, academic or research purposes are not affected by this measure. The rules that are already in place are effective and most commercial users operate their drones in a safe manner, according to Transport Canada.

Any recreational operator who fails to comply with the new flying restrictions and conditions could be subject to fines of up to $3,000.

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FAA extends conflict zone Notams on Pakistan, Syrian airspace by a year

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration extended the Conflict Zone Notam on Pakistani and Syrian airspace by a year. U.S. pilots are warned about the risks when flying into and out of Pakistan for the potential threat of terrorists using manpads.  For Syria it remains prohibited to conduct flight operations in the Damascus (OSTT) FIR by all U.S. air carriers.

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FAA extends conflict zone Notam on Afghan airspace by a year

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration extended the Conflict Zone Notam on Afghan airspace by a year, warning American pilots to stay at or above FL330 over Afghanistan.


Transport Canada sued in law suit over Air Canada A320 crash

Air Canada 624 as it came to rest (TSB)

Air Canada 624 as it came to rest (TSB)

The Canadian aviation regulator, Transport Canada, is one of the parties being sued in a class action law suit over the accident of Air Canada flight 624 at Halifax in 2015.

The accident occurred when the Airbus A320 hit powerlines and an antenna array as it attempted to land at Halifax International Airport, Canada during a period of snow fall and limited visibility. The aircraft was conducting a Localizer (LOC-Z) approach to runway 05 at the time. Twenty-three occupants were injured.

The lawsuit alleges that Transport Canada breached its duty of care by inadequately monitoring the airport’s compliance with safety requirements and by choosing not to install an ILS for runway 05.

Federal lawyers challenged Transport Canada’s responsibility in court, arguing that the regulator could not be sued because it did not owe a duty of care to the passengers. Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Denise Boudreau decided that even though Transport Canada did not owe a duty of care to the flying public, it had to be included in the lawsuit because as landlord for the airport, it could be held responsible for its navigation systems and other equipment.
Other defendants in the case include Air Canada, the Halifax International Airport Authority, NavCanada and Airbus.

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EASA proposes drug, alcohol testing and psychological assessment of pilots

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published a proposal to the European Commission on new operational rules on pilot mental fitness, drug and alcohol testing. This proposal is part of an action plan following the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident.
EASA’s proposal, Opinion 14/2016, includes the following new requirements:

  • Ensuring that all pilots have access to a support programme;
  • Mandating airlines to perform a psychological assessment of pilots before the start of employment;
  • Introducing systematic Drug & Alcohol (D&A) testing of flight and cabin crew upon employment, after a serious incident or accident, with due cause (i.e. following reasonable suspicion), as well as
  • Unannounced D&A testing after rehabilitation and return to work;
  • As an additional safety barrier for airlines which are not already subject to a national programme for psychoactive substance testing: mandatory random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crew within the EU RAMP inspection programme.

The proposals address relevant safety recommendations made after the Flight 9525 accident by the EASA-led Task Force, as well as by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA).

The EASA Opinion will serve as the basis for a legislative proposal by the European Commission in the course of 2017.


FAA extends flight ban for Ukraine’s Simferopol and Dnipropetrovsk FIRs

Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) FIRs

Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) FIRs

Due to the continuing hazards the the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is extending the prohibition on flight operations in the Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) FIRs in Ukraine.

The FAA initially banned all U.S. flights from the Simferopol and Dnipropetrovsk areas on July 18, 2014, the day after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down near Hrabove, Ukraine. The FAA continued to evaluate the situation in the area and has determined there is a continuing significant flight safety hazard to U.S. civil aviation.

Simferopol FIR

Although the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) published a Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) on February 17, 2016, indicating that ATS routes L851 and M856 could be considered for planning flights in the Simferopol (UKFV) FIR, there is continuing concern over the hazard to U.S. civil aviation from possible conflicting air traffic control instructions from Ukrainian and Russian air traffic service providers. Shortly following the EASA bulletin, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency responded with a press release in which it again asserted that it was responsible for air traffic services in a portion of the Simferopol (UKFV) FIR. The Russian circular (from Feb 21, 2016) further stated, “The Russian Federation does not bear the responsibility for the provision of safety to those flights, which will be operated within Simferopol FIR under control of ATC unit other than Simferopol Air Traffic Management Centre.” Russia contended that EASA’s decision was politically motivated and `pose[d] a threat to aviation safety in the region.’ In addition, there have been reported incidents of purposeful interference, including GPS jamming, in the Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) FIRs. Based on this information, the FAA continues to assess that there is a significant flight safety hazard to U.S. civil aviation in the Simferopol (UKFV) FIR.

Dnipropetrovsk FIR

In the Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) FIR, there is an ongoing risk of skirmishes in the area and a potential for larger-scale fighting in eastern Ukraine involving combined Russian-separatist forces, according to the FAA. This could result in civil aircraft being misidentified as a threat and then intercepted or otherwise engaged, as demonstrated by the shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. These combined forces have access to a variety of anti-aircraft weapons, to include man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and possibly more advanced surface-to-air-missiles (SAMs) that have the capability to engage aircraft at higher altitudes.
Separatists have demonstrated their ability to use these anti-aircraft weapons by successfully shooting down a number of aircraft during the course of the fighting in eastern Ukraine in 2014. More recently, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) unmanned aerial systems (UASs) also have been shot down by surface-to-air missiles and small arms ground fire, and brought down with GPS jamming in the Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) FIR.

These considerations caused the FAA to extend the flight ban from October 27, 2016, to October 27, 2018.

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