FAA Makes Tower Closing Decision

On 23/03/2013, in Life around runways, by steve

rThe Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reached the decision that 149 federal contract towers will close beginning April 7 as part of the agency’s sequestration implementation plan. The agency has made the decision to keep 24 federal contract towers open that had been previously proposed for closure because doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest.

An additional 16 federal contract towers under the “cost share” program will remain open because Congressional statute sets aside funds every fiscal year for these towers. These cost-share program funds are subject to sequestration but the required 5 percent cut will not result in tower closures.

“We heard from communities across the country about the importance of their towers and these were very tough decisions,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Unfortunately we are faced with a series of difficult choices that we have to make to reach the required cuts under sequestration.”

“We will work with the airports and the operators to ensure the procedures are in place to maintain the high level of safety at non-towered airports,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Click here to read the full article

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National Day Under the Snow

On 22/03/2013, in Tower chronicles, by lajos

708900Well, this has never happened before in my 30 years of service at Ferihegy airport. We have never had the occasion to open the National Day, 15 March with snow this big. In the past by mid-March winter was but a remote memory and the worst we would get was the occasional snow-shower thrown at us by the heavens, but those never lasted long. Now, however, we woke to what was arguably the hardest winter day ever.

Driving to the airport I was thinking about global warming in this mid-March morning and the minus 8 centigrade it was sporting but when I saw an early morning departure climbing out primly my thoughts switched to the snow clearing detail who must have worked extra hard during the night. We had a usable runway and that was much more than could be said of the country’s highways, but that was another matter. There was life at Ferihegy when we arrived to relieve the night shift.

Gale force wind was driving the snow horizontally the whole morning but this did not prevent the white stuff from falling also on the runway in prodigious amounts. As usual, the snow clearing detail was working on one runway while we used the other and then we switched. For two hours starting at nine a.m. I had the good luck of fencing with our traffic. The old-style single runway operation is always more of a challenge for us than the more comfortable dual-runway ops, so I approached things with a double portion of drive and adrenalin. There was no lack of aircraft to handle. There were a lot of delayed flights, some of them were late departing in the first place and we also had our share of birds diverting to Ferihegy… the weather was not much better in the neighboring countries either. My task was further complicated by the not insignificant detail that only the two taxiways at the ends of runway 31R were clean and usable, a circumstance that doubled the time aircraft spent on the runway. The time could be even more as pilots moved extremely carefully after landing and until they left the runway. With the next arrival on short final, there was no room to err. But good coordination and the work of the approach controllers ensured that aircraft were coming at a constant speed and the correct spacing, so nobody had to break off their approach.

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And the show goes on…

On 17/03/2013, in Tower chronicles, by lajos

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Ferihegy is a beautiful, magical world…

When the split took place and Budapest Airport (BA) Ltd and Hungarocontrol were created, the airport was left adrift… The most important activity of BA was divesting itself from all manner of activities and, as the saying goes, they managed to throw out the baby with the bath water. This way, the managed to successfully get rid of their ground handling operation.

When they realized that they were unable to turn a profit even in this slimmed down state, a second historic blunder was made. Hoping for a miracle, the operating concession of the airport was sold to a foreign company. May be the idea was not so bad but the way it was realized haunts us to this day. I have no idea who the original bidders were but we heard a lot of promising stories about the British company which won in the end. Possibly they excelled in operating other airports but it is certain they did not send their best people to run Ferihegy. Their only legacy is the memory of the many trees they had chopped down by reason of avoiding birds nesting on the airport’s grounds. Yes, the British had indeed cut the airport down in more ways than one.

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Patrick Ky to move on to new heights at European Aviation Safety Agency

On 14/03/2013, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

Patrick Ky, SESAR’s Executive Director, has been appointed as Director of EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency.

pky-prKy has been an integral driver in the set-up and execution of Europe’s first ambitious air traffic management modernisation programme. “This is great news for Patrick but of course the organisation, and in particular Vice- President Kallas, is disappointed to see him go. Patrick has been invaluable to the successful accomplishment of every step of this Joint Undertaking and we are sad to lose him, however, we can at least revel in the fact that he will not be too far away, ” says Matthias Ruete, Director-General Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), European Commission and Chairman of the Administrative Board of SESAR.

“It has been a privilege to lead SESAR’s incredibly talented people through times of great challenge and great opportunity. I am extraordinarily proud of what we have accomplished together and I am confident that my departure will not jeopardize the future of SESAR. The team is ready, prepared and skilled to face future challenges and build on the good work that has already been achieved. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with SESAR in my new position – which, after all shares a common objective,” says Patrick Ky on his new engagement.

Click here to read the full article

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FAA Approves Boeing 787 Certification Plan

On 13/03/2013, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company’s certification plan for the redesigned 787 battery system, after thoroughly reviewing Boeing’s proposed modifications and the company’s plan to demonstrate that the system will meet FAA requirements. The certification plan is the first step in the process to evaluate the 787’s return to flight and requires Boeing to conduct extensive testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance with the applicable safety regulations and special conditions.

dreamliner

“This comprehensive series of tests will show us whether the proposed battery improvements will work as designed,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We won’t allow the plane to return to service unless we’re satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.”

The battery system improvements include a redesign of the internal battery components to minimize initiation of a short circuit within the battery, better insulation of the cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system. Click here to read the full article

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Airline Employment and Fleet Forecast Trends – White paper from Flight International

On 12/03/2013, in Airline corner, by steve

FlightAcross the globe which regions are developing and what are the projections for growth?

Which aircraft will receive the most orders over the next few years?

Of all the airlines in operation today, which are looking to develop and how, to ensure they have a sustainable future beyond 2013?

All of these questions will affect your recruitment this year and this whitepaper will provide some insight into the answers you need to effectively plan your strategy.

Click here to get your free copy.

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Quote of March 2013

On 01/03/2013, in Quote of the month, by steve

A feeling of distrust is always the last which a great mind acquires.

Jean Baptiste Racine

mistrust-md

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