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FAA issues Notam prohibiting flights over parts of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman
21 June 2019

FAA issues Notam prohibiting flights over parts of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

The U.S. FAA issued a NOTAM warning U.S. pilots that flights are not permitted in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information Region, Iran, until further notice, due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions.

Cuba: Crash of Global Air Boeing 737-200 at Havana due to errors in weight and balance calculations

The Instituto de la Aeronáutica Civil de Cuba (IACC) reported that it had completed their investigation into the May 2018 accident involving a Global Air Boeing 737-200, citing errors in weight an balance calculations.

The Global Air Boeing 737-200, operating on Cubana de Aviación flight 972 from Havana to Holguín, Cuba, crashed shortly after takeoff on May 18. 2018. The aircraft came down in vegetation near a railway outside the airport, broke up and burst into flames. There were 107 passengers on board along with six Mexican crew members. One passenger survived the accident.

On May 16, the Instituto de la Aeronáutica Civil de Cuba (IACC) reported that it had completed their investigation. The authorities did not share any details and just reported that the probable cause of the accident “were the actions of the crew and their errors in the weight and balance calculations, which led to the loss of control and collapse of the aircraft during the takeoff stage”

A Global Air official earlier had reported that the aircraft had attained an extreme nose-up attitude during takeoff, which would suggest the centre of gravity was aft of the aircraft’s limits.

FAA issues warning for airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

The FAA issued a warning to U.S. civil pilots to ‘exercise caution’ when operating in the airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman due to tensions in the region.

Iran has publicly made threats to U.S. military operations in the Gulf region. In addition, the FAA states that Iran possesses a wide variety of anti-aircraft-capable weapons, including surface-to-air missile systems (SAMs), man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and fighter aircraft that are capable of conducting aircraft interception operations. Some of the anti-aircraft-capable
weapons have ranges that encompass key international air routes over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Additionally, Iran recently conducted a military exercise in the region,
demonstrating their unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capabilities.
The FAA continues that although Iran likely has no intention to target civil aircraft, the presence of multiple long-range, advanced anti-aircraft capable weapons in a tense environment poses a possible risk of miscalculation or misidentification, especially during periods of heightened political tension and rhetoric.
There is also the potential for Iran to increase their use of Global Positioning System (GPS) jammers and other communication jamming capabilities, which may affect U.S. civil aviation operating in overwater airspace over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

More information:
Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0015/19

FAA issues flight restrictions over Venezuela

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has issued flight restrictions for U.S. aircraft in Venezuelan airspace due to ‘increasing political instability’.

The FAA prohibits flights below FL260.

ATR 72-600 veers off runway on landing in thunderstorm at Taichung, Taiwan

EASA extends conflict zone warning for Iraqi and Syrian airspace

On April 17, 2019 the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) extended the validity of the conflict zone warnings for Iraq and Syria to 25 October 2019.


FAA publishes draft report on Boeing 737 MAX MCAS changes

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a draft report from the Boeing 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board, after reviewing changes made by Boeing to the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Design issues of the MCAS were noted in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 accidents.

The Flight Standardization Board reviewed only the training aspects related to software enhancements to the aircraft, stating the “system was found to be operationally suitable”.

The report is open to public comment for 14 days. After that, the FAA will review those comments before making a final assessment. Boeing Co. is still expected in the coming weeks to submit the final software package for certification.


FAA issues new Notam, prohibiting U.S. aircraft to use part of Libyan airspace

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new Notam, prohibiting flights for certain U.S. aircraft in a specific area of the Libyan airspace.

The FAA reported that is concerned about increased tensions associated with the current conflict for control of the capital, Tripoli. Libya National Army (LNA) forces have begun operations aimed at seizing control of Tripoli, including Tripoli International Airport.  The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), with support of militias, has conducted counterattacks, including tactical airstrikes on LNA forces. LNA has declared a military zone and is threatening to shoot down aircraft operating in Western Libya. 

Both GNA and advancing LNA forces have access to advanced man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and likely anti-aircraft artillery.  These ground-based weapon systems present a risk to aircraft, but only at altitudes below FL300.  LNA forces have tactical aircraft capable of intercepting aircraft at altitudes at and above FL300 within the self-declared military zone in Western Libya, which may present an inadvertent risk to civil aviation operations in Western Libya.  While the LNA tactical aircraft threat is likely intended for GNA military aircraft, an inadvertent risk remains for civil aviation at all altitudes due to potential miscalculation or misidentification. This risk necessitates an all-altitude flight prohibition for a specific geographic area West of 17 degrees east longitude and North of 29 degrees north latitude in the Tripoli FIR.


FAA extends security notice for flights over Egypt Sinai Peninsula

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

The United States FAA extended a security warning for the Egypt Sinai Peninsula by another year due to continuing concern for flight safety.

The initial Notam was issued on March 30, 2015, based on the FAA’s assessment that international civil air routes that transit the Cairo (HECC) Flight Information Region (FIR) over the Sinai Peninsula and aircraft operating to and from Sinai airports are at risk from potential extremist attacks involving antiaircraft weapons, to include Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), small arms fire, and indirect fire from mortars and rockets targeting Sinai airports.

The FAA reports that the Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham in the Sinai (ISIS-Sinai), an Egypt-based affiliate of ISIS, continues to conduct attacks in northern and southern Sinai, some of which demonstrate their capability and intent to target civil aviation. Throughout 2018, ISIS-Sinai targeted Egyptian security forces and police check-points in the Sinai.

Based on this information, the FAA continues to advise U.S. airlines and operators to avoid flying below FL260 in this area.

More information:

ATSB issues report on in-flight upset involving Boeing 747-400

Following an ATSB investigation into an in-flight upset involving a Boeing 747-438 near Hong Kong in 2017, Qantas has incorporated more complex stall warning recovery events in recurrent lesson plans for its Boeing 747 flight crews.

The incident occurred in April 2017. While descending toward Hong Kong, air traffic control instructed the flight crew to hold at a waypoint. When entering the holding pattern, the aircraft’s aerodynamic stall warning stick shaker activated a number of times and the aircraft experienced multiple oscillations of pitch angle and vertical acceleration. During the upset, some passengers and cabin crewmembers struck the cabin ceiling and furnishings, sustaining minor injuries.

The ATSB found that while planning for the descent, the flight crew overwrote the flight management computer-provided hold speed. After receiving a higher than expected hold level, the flight crew did not identify the need to re-evaluate the hold speed. This was likely because they were not aware of a need to do so, nor were they aware that there was a higher hold speed requirement above flight level 200.

Prior to entering the hold, the speed reduced below both the selected and minimum manoeuvring speeds. The crew did not identify the low speed as their focus was on other operational matters. The ATSB also found that due to a desire to remain within the holding pattern, and a concern regarding the pitch-up moment of a large engine power increase, the pilot flying attempted to arrest the rate of descent prior to completing the approach to stall actions.

In addition, the pilot monitoring did not identify and call out the incomplete actions. This led to further stall warning stick shaker activations and pilot induced oscillations, which resulted in minor injuries to four cabin crewmembers and two passengers.

The ATSB found the flight crew had limited training and guidance for stall warning recovery techniques at high altitude or with engine power above idle. Inconsistencies were also found in flight crew training of the awareness of the need to re-evaluate holding speed when there are changes in altitude, especially above flight level 200.

Subsequent to the incident, Qantas provided retraining for all Boeing 747 flight crews in stall warning recovery scenarios and amended ground school lesson plans to ensure flight crews were adequately prepared to recover from stall warning activations at high altitudes or with engine power above idle.

Qantas also amended flight crew training manuals relating to hold speed selection and updated ground school lesson plans and information to ensure standardised training and holding pattern training. In addition, Qantas proactively applied these measures across its Boeing 737 and 787 fleets.