FAA Blames Software Glitch For System Failure

The ATC problems that grounded hundreds of flights on Saturday were caused by "a recent software upgrade" at the high-altitude radar facility in Leesburg, Virginia, the FAA said in a statement on Monday. The upgrade, which was installed by Lockheed Martin Corp., had a new function that allowed controllers to set up a customized window of frequently referenced data, the FAA said. But as controllers used the new function, deleted settings weren't deleted from the system memory, and the storage capacity was overloaded. "This consumed processing power needed for the successful operation of the overall system," the FAA said.

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$4B LaGuardia plan unveiled

LaGuardia Airport is about to go from a state of disrepair to state-of-the-art.

The facility that Vice President Joe Biden famously dubbed "Third World" is going to be completely torn down and rebuilt as a single, sleek new building as part of a $4 billion project aimed at drastically reducing flight delays and getting the airport into the 21st century, officials announced.

Full Story - NY Post

Hackers successfully ground 1,400 passengers

Hackers targeted air travel and successfully grounded around 1,400 passengers on Sunday.

The problems for passengers started at Warsaw Chopin airport after the airline says hackers breached its ground computers, which are used to issue flight plans. The grounded airline, LOT Polish Airways, told CNN because of the attack it was unable to create flight plans for outbound flights from its Warsaw hub and as a result outbound flights from Warsaw were not able to depart.

Poland's national flag carrier says it was forced to cancel 20 flights and several others were delayed on Sunday after suffering an attack on its IT system.

Full Story - AirWise

FAA and Industry Will Study US Pilot Fitness

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced it is working with the commercial aviation and medical communities to study the emotional and mental health of US commercial pilots.

The joint FAA and industry group known as the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) recommended the study based on the recent Malaysia Flight 370 and Germanwings Flight 9525 accidents.

Full Story - Airports International

Pilot Shortage Turns to Crisis among Small Cargo Carriers

Members of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) have felt the effects of the shortage of pilots even more acutely than their counterparts within the wider regional airline sector, as qualified applicants for cockpit vacancies among Part 135 and the smallest Part 121 carriers continue to dwindle in response to new regulatory requirements and other forces.

"There's much debate about the pilot shortage in the United States and in the world, but there is absolutely no doubt that at our level where we perform, where we recruit pilots from and where we are on the food chain, we have an extremely serious problem and it has taken on crisis proportions. And the thing that is so worrisome is it's going to affect all of us, not only the operators, not only our customers, but our members. We need to see if we can collectively find ways to find some solutions to help what's going on."

Full Story - AIN Online

ANA To Buy Stake In Skymark Airlines

ANA has agreed to acquire a stake of up to 19.9 percent in bankrupt budget carrier Skymark Airlines, gaining access to coveted landing slots and strengthening its lead over rival Japan Airlines.

Under the deal, Japanese private equity firm Integral, which has provided funds to keep Skymark in business since its bankruptcy in January, will hold just over 50 percent.

The agreement also means Japan no longer will have a major independent low-cost carrier, bolstering the ANA-JAL duopoly that has dominated domestic air travel for decades.

Full Story - Air Wise

FAA Expected To Certify American Airlines, US Airways As One Carrier

American Airlines, the second-largest carrier at O'Hare International Airport, expects to receive its single operating certificate Wednesday from the FAA, an important milestone in its integration with US Airways.

As of Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to officially recognize the two airlines as one during a planned ceremony at the corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

To get the single operating certificate, the airline has spent 18 months and devoted 700 employees to aligning behind-the-scenes policies and procedures and training employees, according to an internal fact sheet.

Full Story - Aviation Pros

FAA Unveils Small Drone Draft Regs

The FAA unveiled its highly anticipated proposed regulation for the commercial use of small drones weighing less than 55 pounds on February 15, nearly four years later than expected. The agency's release of the rule on a Sunday coincided with the release of a Presidential memorandum setting privacy guidelines for federal agencies that use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Under the FAA's proposed rule, which it called a "framework of regulations," operators would be required to fly drones within their unaided line of sight, to a maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level and during daylight hours. Flights in airspace sectors other than Class G uncontrolled airspace would require local ATC permission to maintain a buffer between manned and unmanned aircraft. The rule contains a "micro UAS option" that would permit more flexible operation in Class G airspace for drones weighing 4.4 pounds or less

Full Story - AIN Online

FAA Grants Permits for Agriculture, Real Estate Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday issued permits to use drones to monitor crops and photograph properties for sale, marking the first time permission has been granted to companies involved in agriculture and real estate.

The exemptions to the current ban on commercial drone flights were granted to Advanced Aviation Solutions in Star, Idaho, for "crop scouting," and to Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona.

Advanced Aviation Solutions plans to use its 1.5-pound, fixed-wing eBee drone to make photographic measurements of farm fields, determine the health of crops and look for pests. The aim is to save farmers time walking through fields. The drone also can carry sensors that pick up information invisible to the naked eye, which can help determine which fields need watering.

Trudeau's exemption authorizes him to fly a Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter to "enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos," the FAA said.

Full Story - Aviation Pros

'No Date' For UAS Rules

The FAA is now saying it doesn't know when proposed rules governing the commercial use of small unmanned aerial systems will be ready for publication. Congress has set a deadline for the agency to map out the integration of UAS lighter than 55 pounds by next September and it was widely speculated that something would be ready for public discussion by the end of 2014. FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said there is now apparently no firm deadline.

Leaked copies of the working draft of the rules sparked widespread criticism a month ago, particularly the proposed requirement that commercial UAS operators have pilot certificates for manned aircraft. Meanwhile, the agency continues to hand out exemptions for UAS use.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is the latest to get an exemption and will use two UAS to look for standing water in remote areas that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The district's executive director, Michael Doyle, told The Associated Press that the aircraft will fly between Key Largo and Sugarloaf Key and stay at least five miles away from airports.


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