Pipe: Aviation

News and Updates - NextGen's Next Big Thing

Thu, 2015-05-21 11:57

May 21- As we move into the summer thunderstorm season, NextGen technology is helping to keep departing airplanes on schedule as they fly out of Newark, NJ, into some of the busiest and most congested airspace in the U.S. That is welcome news for airline passengers who will be traveling during the busy summer vacation months.

FedEx, United Airlines and UPS have been participating in trials with the FAA in Newark and Memphis to demonstrate Data Communications (Data Comm) capabilities and benefits. Data Comm is an FAA NextGen technology that revolutionizes communications between air traffic controllers and pilots.Data Comm provides additional advanced capabilities for controller-to-pilot communications using digital information exchange.

By exchanging digital messages in addition to talking to each other over the radio, air traffic controllers, pilots, and airline operations centers can communicate more clearly and efficiently. Better communication improves controller and pilot productivity, which enhances airspace capacity and reduces flight delays. It also helps aircraft fly more direct routes, saving time and fuel, reduces the impact on the environment, and improves safety.

Air traffic controllers currently use radio voice communications to give clearances and other flight information to pilots, which is time-consuming and restrictive.Data Comm provides a two-way data exchange between controllers and flight crews for clearances, instructions, advisories, flight crew requests and reports. It enhances air traffic safety by allowing controllers to give more timely and effective clearances.

FedEx, United Airlines, and UPS already are seeing reduced delays and cost savings as a result of Data Comm benefits. They achieved those benefits because of reduced communication time between controllers and pilots, as well as improved re-routing around weather and congestion, which all translate to time saved for the flying public.

The FAA plans to deploy Data Comm in more than 50 air traffic control towers beginning in 2015 and in air traffic control facilities that manage high altitude traffic beginning in 2019. International carriers can also benefit from Data Comm capabilities and have participated in the trials at Newark.

For more info visit, or follow #FlyNextGen on Social Media.

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Internet of Farm Things

Thu, 2015-05-21 00:00

Companies are competing to turn data into advice on how to farm better, and attracting investments from the likes of Google Ventures and Monsanto.

Keith Larrabee’s farm sits on 4,000 acres of California’s Sacramento Valley, between a coastal range of mountains to the west and the tall Sierra Nevadas to the east. It’s an area that traditionally gets much more rain than most of the drought-stricken state. Even so, Larrabee is always worried about the cost and availability of water for his orchards of walnuts and pecans and his 3,000 acres of rice.


Minicab boss warns on low emission plan

Tue, 2015-05-19 08:05
Addison Lee chief says London is not ready for electric taxi fleets

Chinese and Indian airlines come into compliance with EU ETS as Swiss case moves to EU's highest court

Tue, 2015-05-19 06:12
Tue 19 May 2015 - Following a long dispute with the EU over their enforced inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), airlines from China and India have finally complied with legislation covering intra-EEA flights that took place in 2012, as well as for 2013 and 2014. The airlines had previously been ordered by their governments not to comply despite a change in the scheme that removed intercontinental flights from the original scope. Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, along with India's Jet Airways, have now opened operator holding accounts and the EU registry shows reported emissions and surrendered allowances for the three years. However, Air India has still failed to comply, along with Aeroflot and Saudi Arabian Airlines, whose authorities had also instructed non-compliance. Meanwhile, SWISS has been given permission to pursue a discrimination and compensation claim in the EU's highest court over the inclusion in the EU ETS of its flights between Switzerland and EEA countries during 2012.

Testimony - Before the Senate Commerce Committee concerning FAA Reauthorization: Air Traffic Control Modernization and Reform

Tue, 2015-05-19 01:00

As prepared for delivery

Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to speak today about the reauthorization of the FAA.

The upcoming FAA reauthorization provides us with the opportunity to propel our system to the next level of safety and foster the kind of innovative climate that has long been the hallmark of our proud aviation heritage.

This reauthorization has provided a forum for many in industry and government to openly discuss possible changes to the governance structure of the FAA to help us create the aviation system that will sustain our nations economic growth well into the future. We are open to having this discussion. But we must all agree on the most important problems reauthorization should fix. In our view those are budget instability and the lack of flexibility to execute our priorities. These challenges exist for the entire agency not just for the air traffic control and NextGen organizations, as some have suggested.

In addition to finding agreement on the problem were trying to solve, we should agree on finding ways to avoid unintended consequences. Our ability to deploy NextGen technologies and capabilities hinges on interdependencies and relationships within the agency. NextGen is more than installing technology in our air traffic facilities and on aircraft it involves the close participation of our safety organization to ensure that the technology is safe and that controllers and pilots know how to use it safely. We believe that any decision about governance must take into account these issues so that we may best serve our nation and the flying public.

Some have argued for change saying the FAA has not delivered on air traffic modernization. I would argue that the FAA has already made major progress in modernizing our airspace system through NextGen. We completed installation of a more powerful technology platform with our new high altitude air traffic control system known as ERAM. This system will accommodate the applications of NextGen and allow controllers to handle the expected increase in air traffic more efficiently. And last year we finished the coast-to-coast installation of the ADS-B network that will enable satellite-based air traffic control.

On a parallel track, through our collaboration with industry, we identified key priorities in implementing NextGen air traffic procedures. We now have more satellite-based procedures in our skies than radar-based procedures. We have created new NextGen routes above some of our busiest metropolitan areas, saving millions of dollars in fuel, decreasing carbon emissions and cutting down on delays in each city.

In addition to these improvements, we have set clear priorities on delivering more benefits in the next three years. These range from improved separation standards for heavy aircraft; better coordination of traffic on the airport surface; and streamlined departure clearances using data communications.

NextGen has already yielded $1.6 billion in benefits to airlines and the traveling public. In the next 15 years the changes we have already made will produce $11.4 billion in benefits.

We recognize it is not enough to rely on projected benefits. That is why we go back and study the benefits that certain improvements have provided to users. For example, in Atlanta, we safely reduced wake separation standards to improve the efficiency of the airport. Because of this change, Atlantas Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has increased the number of planes that can land by up to 5 percent, which translates into about five more planes per hour. Delta Air Lines is also saving up to two minutes of taxi time per flight. These improvements are saving Delta between $13 million to $18 million in operating costs annually.

We are aware of the criticisms of the FAAs implementation of NextGen, and I would like to explain our approach. There are different theories about how to deploy technology in a complex operating environment. Some take the position that you should start from a wide ranging vision and work back from there on developing a range of scenarios. Others suggest mapping out the entire picture and only proceeding when you are sure of the end game. Others say to take a more pragmatic approach, and this is the path the FAA has chosen based on close consultation with industry. This approach, used by the Office of Management and Budget, closely matches investments with tangible benefits to airlines and passengers. We acknowledge that it requires upfront investment, and we are careful not to strand programs in the middle of implementation.

When dealing with wide-spread change in a dynamic airspace system there is no margin of error. This system must transport 750 million passengers every year with the highest level of safety. Any technology we implement must be reliable and safe from the outset. To achieve this high standard, we must remain nimble and have flexibility.

Our aviation system is a valuable asset for the American public. We should use the upcoming reauthorization to provide the FAA with the tools necessary to meet the demands of the future and minimize disruption to the progress weve already made with NextGen and our work to integrate new users into our airspace system.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee today. I am happy to take any questions you may have.


Alaska Airlines inks agreement to purchase Gevo's alcohol-to-jet fuel as certification edges closer

Wed, 2015-05-13 12:51
Wed 13 May 2015 - Alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel producer Gevo has signed a "strategic alliance" agreement with Alaska Airlines under which the airline will purchase an undisclosed quantity of the Gevo renewable fuel and include the first-ever commercial flight to use ATJ. The fuel has been undergoing rigorous engine testing, evaluation and data analysis in efforts to have it certified by fuel standards body ASTM International for use in commercial airline operations. Having gone through a six-year process, Gevo is expecting approval of its fuel during the second half of this year, after which a single demonstration flight will take place. A 50/50 blended Gevo ATJ fuel has already been flight tested at supersonic speed by a US Navy fighter aircraft last December. Alaska has targeted the use of sustainable aviation biofuel at one or more of its airports by 2020.

Speech - 40 Years of Progress

Wed, 2015-05-13 01:00
Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker
Cleveland, Ohio

As Prepared for Delivery

Thanks Chip. I'm glad to be here.

  • I want to congratulate SkyWest for being named by Forbes as one of Americas Best Employers.
  • I also want to thank you for serving on the FAAs NextGen Advisory Committee and Equip 2020. Youre bringing the perspective of the regional carriers to this important work.
  • Im glad to be here as RAA celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Today, Id like to talk about:

  • The last 40 years
  • How industry has changed
  • How safety has changed
  • Id like to talk about NextGen
  • Then Ill take questions.

Deregulation / Mergers / 9-11

  • RAAs existence as an organization traces the path of the industry since deregulation.
  • Its been a tumultuous 40 years.
  • Weve seen the advent of the hub-and-spoke system of which regionals are such an important part.
    - Regional carriers now make up more than 50 percent of all airline flights.
    - Your service is essential especially to small communities.
  • Since deregulation weve seen the invention and rapid growth of the low-cost airline, which have led to a dramatic growth in air travel, but also significant disruption in the industry.
  • Weve seen mergers, failures, reorganizations in bankruptcy, more mergers.
  • For employees, its been 40 years of turmoil.
    - I started at TWA, went through 1.5 bankruptcies.
    - Then I joined United Airlines at the height of profitability and the beginning of the ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) an innovative new ownership structure .until it too filed Chapter 11 after 9/11.
  • Weve seen hubs come and go St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland all a challenge for an agency that funds much of that airport construction.

Safety Advancements

  • But the last four decades have also seen extraordinary safety advancements thanks to the FAA and industry working together.
  • After a series of accidents in the 1990s, we drovedown commercial fatal accident risk by 83% between 1998-2008, largely through CAST (the Commercial Aviation Safety Team).
  • When you hear numbers like that, its hard to get your head around it.
  • But to say it more simply last year there were no fatalities. The year before, there were no fatalities. During this time, 1.4 billion passengers flew in the United States.
  • In fact, there hasnt been a fatal accident on a U.S. commercial passenger carrier in over six years now.

New Safety Approach

  • The success has also meant weve had to change the way we mitigate safety risk.
  • The old system was forensic investigate accidents, find what went wrong, change procedures.
  • The new system is proactive we have developed a risk-based decision making approach.
    - We collect safety data.
    - We analyze the data to determine high risk areas.
    - Then we direct resources toward mitigating the identified risk.
  • Our data comes from many sources air traffic controllers, airway technicians, the airlines, commercial pilots, GA pilots, mechanics, dispatchers and other sources.
  • Through the FAAs ASIAS program, weve collected more than 160,000 voluntary safety reports by commercial airline pilots, including pilots that fly for 19 RAA members. Wed like to see all 29 RAA members submit safety reports as part of this process.
  • Your data has supported our ability to identify the underlying contributing factors that can give rise to accidents. For example:
  • Were learning more about the factors that contribute to runway excursions, and also loss of control in flight due to a loss of airplane state awareness.
  • To mitigate these factors, the FAA and industry have collectively developed several safety enhancements including in the areas of flight crew training, aircraft equipment, and aviation operational procedures.
  • We cant make these improvements without your data.
  • I ask you to continue to submit your data and encourage your pilots, dispatchers, maintenance crews and cabin crews to submit reports. Those of you who dont participate in ASIAS, I encourage you to do so.
  • Through the Air Carrier Training ARC were looking at voluntary initiatives to improve training. The ARC has recommended ways to improve pilot knowledge and skills to manage the flight path of the airplane. This work is also helping us to address the risk of pilot skill atrophy as the reliance on flight deck automation grows.

Lessons from Colgan: 1500 hour rule

  • But even as we take a proactive approach, were still applying lessons from accidents.
  • As I mentioned, the last accident by a U.S. passenger carrier in the U.S. was over six years ago that was of course Colgan Air in Buffalo in 2009.
  • Because it was a regional carrier it brought a bright spotlight on your segment of the industry.
  • Following that accident, Congress enacted the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 to enhance flight safety.
  • One provision in the law requires that all first officers have an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, or ATP.
  • It takes 1,500 flight hours to obtain an ATP.
  • Let me be clear The FAA did not enact this rule. We simply codified what Congress put into law. This was not the normal rule making process.
  • The FAA was given authority to make some adjustments to the law, and we issued a rule giving pilots credit for structured academic and military training, so they can meet the standard with fewer than 1,500 hours.
  • I know this is an important issue for RAA, and the FAA is open to discussing ways to strengthen the pilot pipeline, but this will require cooperation from across the industry.
  • I mentioned the ACT ARC earlier they have a working group focused on ways to develop alternative education, training and experience pathways to qualify for an ATP certificate. We look forward to their recommendations.

Pilot Fatigue

  • In response to another Congressional direction, the FAA also enacted a rule to address pilot fatigue.
  • We used fatigue studies to help us update the flight and duty rules in a way that helps ensure a flight crew member arrives at work rested and ready to fly.
  • In this regard, I want to note the work of RAA, along with Air Wisconsin and Washington State University, on completing a flight simulator study on pilot fatigue in multi-segment operations.
    - The study compared the alertness of pilots completing duty days with multiple take-offs and landings versus duty days of equal duration with a single takeoff and landing.
    - This research will further our understanding of the science of fatigue in flight operations.

Full Stall Training/Simulators

  • The Colgan accident, along with other accidents and incidents, also highlighted that pilots should have more experience in recognizing the cues of an actual stall, and to reinforce their ability to recover from that stall.
  • New rules require that air carriers implement training programs by 2018 to address the recognition, prevention, and recovery from full stalls.
  • To complement this requirement, were looking at what rule changes should be made with regard to flight simulators. Current rules for simulators required that pilots be trained and evaluated up to the stall warning, but not up to the full stall. So were proposing improvements to simulator models so they can be used to train pilots to recover from a full stall.
  • These changes will enable us to mitigate many of the factors that contributed to loss of control accidents.

NextGen progress

  • Safety is always our first priority, but as Deputy Administrator, one of my statutory roles is to serve as the agencys Chief NextGen Officer.
  • Im proud to say that weve made significant progress in the last year. We finalized the deployment of automation upgrades at 20 high altitude air traffic control centers across the continental United States.
    - With ERAM in place, were able to process more air traffic data, more efficiently, from more sensors.
    - En route controllers using ERAM can now track 1,900 aircraft at a time, instead of the previous 1,100.
    - And ERAM provides all 20 control centers with the same access to all flight plans filed in the system. Transitions between sectors and centers will be automatic, even when planes divert from their planned course. All of this means increased capacity and improved efficiency for the U.S. airspace system.
  • Were also in full production mode with similar automation upgrades in our terminal air traffic control facilities TRACONs.
  • These upgrades set us up to deliver greater NextGen benefits including through ADS-B the core technology that moves us from a radar-based system to a satellite-based system. This technology enables more efficient separation of aircraft and provides coverage where radar is lacking, like in the mountains and over water. Last year, we completed the installation of 634 ground transceivers that make up the infrastructure for ADS-B another major milestone.
  • Completing this foundation will enable us to deliver more advanced NextGen capabilities to users of the system.
  • Were working to deliver benefits in four priority areas in the next 1-3 years. These four areas are:
    - Increasing the availability and use of Performance Based Navigation
    - Improving surface operations
    - Implementing Data Communications, and
    - Making multiple runway operations more efficient.
  • We agreed on these priorities in collaboration with the aviation industry through our NextGen Advisory Committee, or NAC, as we call it.
  • We believe, and industry agrees, that progress in these areas can benefit all of us in the near term.
  • The FAAs Metroplex initiative is a good example of our efforts to implement Performance-based Navigation.
    - This past year, we implemented scores of new performance-based procedures in the Houston, North Texas and Washington D.C. metro areas.
    - For example, in Houston, we put in place 60 new performance-based procedures, and results show an annual savings of $6 million from reduced fuel consumption.
  • In support of making multiple runway operations more efficient, we safely reduced wake separation standards at many airports including in Atlanta Louisville Cincinnati Houston Charlotte and New York.
    - Because of this change, Atlantas Hartsfield-Jackson airport has increased the number of planes that can land by up to 5 percent, which translates into about five more planes per hour.
    - And Delta Air Lines is saving up to two minutes of outbound taxi time per flight, and saving between $13 million to $18 million dollars in operating costs annually.
  • One technology that especially applies to regional carriers is the Wide Area Augmentation System, or WAAS, which is a process of fine tuning the GPS signal over a wide area.
    - WAAS enables pilots to conduct precise approaches at airports when visibility to the runway is reduced due to bad weather or other conditions.
    - Its beneficial for aircraft that need access to smaller and medium-sized airports that cant afford expensive ground-based landing equipment.
    - NextGen procedures are dramatically less expensive to implement than traditional procedures that require costly ground equipment.
    - Nationwide, weve already published about 4,000 of these WAAS procedures at about 1,700 airports.
    - I know Horizon Airs fleet is equipped with WAAS, and theyre realizing fuel-saving benefits through the use of these approaches.


  • With the ADS-B ground stations installed, and ERAM complete, were looking forward to the next major milestone, which is ADS-B Out equipage by 2020.
  • The FAA issued a rule in 2010 requiring the fleet to equip with ADS-B avionics by January 1, 2020. This deadline is certain. It will not change. Its an important milestone to keep NextGen on track.
  • Last October, the FAA held an industry call to action on ADS-B equipage. From that event, the FAA stood up the Equip 2020 working group a public-private group that is working to identify barriers to equipage and provide solutions for airspace users. SkyWest is a participant in this group.
  • Since Equip 2020 started, were seeing a lot of momentum. The four major airlines that sit on the NAC have publicly declared they will meet the 2020 deadline Delta, American, Jet Blue, and FedEx. Each of these major airlines has a plan for equipage.
  • The cost of equipage for General Aviation has also dropped significantly, and weve seen a sharp uptick in equipage here.

Call to Action: Be Part of the Solution

  • We know that regional carriers face particular equipage challenges (e.g. whether you should retrofit older aircraft or phase them out in favor of buying new rule-compliant aircraft by the deadline.)
  • I encourage you to ensure your airline has a plan.
  • Through Equip 2020, you can help influence what solutions are coming out.
    - You can work in collaboration with major carriers, as well as manufacturers and suppliers, to address these issues together.
    - In fact, Equip 2020 is forming a working group to provide equipage solutions for legacy aircraft like the regionals CRJ-200 and ERJ-145.
    - We stand ready to work with you.

In closing

  • The RAA is a key part of the aviation industry. Youve persevered through a lot of change in the past 40 years.
  • I want to thank RAA for:
    - working with us on the Commercial Aviation Safety Team
    - for working with us in various rulemaking committees
    - for submitting safety data through ASIAS, and all of your efforts to ensure safety.
    - And for working with us on the NAC.
  • The FAA is also committed to expanding our delivery of benefits through NextGen. To do it, wed like to see industry equip sooner rather than later. Were working with industry to spur more rapid equipage.
  • Thank you for your participation at this conference.
  • Im happy to take questions.

Speech - Wichita Aero Club Luncheon Speech

Tue, 2015-05-12 01:00
Administrator Michael Huerta
Wichita, KS

Thank you for that warm welcome, Jack [Pelton, EAA Board Chairman] Im always happy to see a fellow California native. Jack was an important member of the FAA Management Advisory Council a few years back, and hes a valuable partner to us now that hes at the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Last week, one of the most diverse collections of World War II aircraft ever assembled flew over Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. Thousands of people lined the National Mall and crowded onto balconies and rooftops across the city to see these historic planes take flight. It was a special moment to witness, deeply rooted in a love for aviation and its rich history.

Being back in the Air Capital of the World, Im once again reminded of that history. So much of it happened here in Wichita. Let me give you an example.

Seventy years ago, a B-29 bomber rolled off the assembly line at the Wichita Boeing plant. It was called Doc part of a squadron of eight airplanes named after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. After serving in the Korean War, Doc was decommissioned and sent to the Mojave Desert in California. There it stayed for more than 40 years, baking in the sun and occasionally being used for military target practice.

Doc got a reprieve in 2000, when a group of historians rescued it and shipped it back home to Wichita. They dreamed of restoring the old B-29 to its former glory and eventually getting it back in the air.

Hundreds of volunteers came out to work on Doc including people who had built the plane in 1944. They painted and installed new skin panels. They replaced every piece of wire and cable. They put in new engines and a modern avionics system.

Thanks to these efforts, Doc is on track to fly again this summer for the first time since the Korean War.

This is a story that embodies the spirit of Wichita. Aviation pioneers like Clyde Cessna and Bill Lear made their marks here. Planes that fly across the world were built here, by generations of Wichita families.

As much as aviation is a part of Wichitas past, its also an important part of its future. In a factory adjacent to the one where Doc was built 70 years ago, Spirit Aerosystems is using the latest in robotics technology to create fuselage and cockpits for the 787 Dreamliner out of black carbon composite tape the most advanced aircraft manufacturing technique in existence today.

This type of innovation is essential to keeping up with our evolving industry not only here in Wichita, but also at the FAA.

Today, Im going to tell you about how our agency is working to create Americas 21st century aviation system. Then, I look forward to answering your questions and hearing about the successes and challenges youre experiencing here in Wichita.

As you know, the FAA is focused on putting the Next Generation Air Transportation System in place. NextGen is using innovative technologies and procedures to make flying safer, greener, and more efficient and its already delivering benefits across the country.

One of the most important developments were working on is the shift from radar-based aircraft tracking to satellite-based tracking.

The FAA installed the baseline ground infrastructure for the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast system last year. This is exciting technology especially for the general aviation community.

ADS-B helps controllers determine your aircrafts location with far greater accuracy. If you operate in remote areas where radar coverage is limited, ADS-B will make flying safer. It helps us take the search out of search-and-rescue if you run into trouble a potentially life-saving benefit.

ADS-B also brings free weather and traffic updates from coast to coast directly to the cockpit. This means youre getting the most up-to-date information on hazardous weather, temporary flight restrictions, and notices to airmen when you need it most.

The full benefits of ADS-B require 100 percent equipage for aircraft flying in controlled air space. The FAA has set a January 1, 2020, deadline to equip for ADS-B Out in controlled airspace. Many of you have asked about that deadline, and if it might be extended. The answer is no the date is set so I want to strongly encourage you to make plans to get equipped as soon as possible. You dont want to end up grounded in the early months of 2020 because of a parts or installation delay.

I want to thank the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and all of the other industry groups who have encouraged owners to get equipped and helped raise awareness about the 2020 deadline. This support has been invaluable.

The FAA is collaborating closely with these organizations through our Equip 2020 working group. Were seeking to smooth the transition to ADS-B by identifying and resolving the barriers delaying operators from getting equipped.

I know cost has been a major concern. Im pleased to report that a number of avionics manufacturers are stepping up to produce equipment that complies with the ADS-B Out mandate. This increased competition has driven costs down considerably. Some units are now available for less than $2,000.

Since our ADS-B Call to Action last October, more than 8,000 general aviation aircraft have equipped a really promising start. We want to see those equipage rates continue to rise.

So if you havent researched getting ADS-B equipment for a while, now is a great time to take a second look.

ADS-B is just one example of how were modernizing our national airspace system.

This spring, we delivered on another important foundational element of NextGen. En Route Automation Modernization, or ERAM, is one of the largest technology changeovers in the history of the FAA. ERAM is a faster computer platform that replaces our legacy system, which had its roots in the 1960s. It gives us a much bigger, richer picture of our nations air traffic and allows controllers to better manage flights from gate to gate.

ERAM also supports a number of other important NextGen technologies.

For example, Eisenhower National is the key site for the STARS FUSION improvement software, which is used for air traffic control displays. The software package makes it easier for controllers to do their jobs, creating a clearer and more accurate display that pulls in data from multiple radar and ADS-B sites. As more aircraft in the region equip with ADS-B, the full benefits of these upgrades will be experienced.

The FAA isnt only using new technologies to prepare for the future. Were also evolving in the way we think and approach our processes especially when it comes to certification.

When we first started certifying aircraft, it was a pretty simple process. We laid out airworthiness standards for small airplanes, and manufacturers met them. Over the years, this process became much more complicated.

Wichitas history proves that the aviation industry tends to attract innovative thinkers. As they created new and better aircraft designs, the certification process struggled to keep up.

We knew we needed to find a better way to increase safety, certify more efficiently, and help bring more products to market. We quickly realized that the answer was to change our mindset. Instead of being prescriptive, we needed to be performance-based.

Instead of requiring certain design elements on specific technologies, we knew we needed to define the safety outcomes we wanted to achieve. This approach recognizes that theres more than one way to deliver on safety and it provides room for flexibility and innovation in the marketplace.

The FAA is in the process of codifying this change into a rewrite of Part 23 of our aviation regulations. Congress recognized this was a priority when it required a Part 23 rulemaking in the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013, and Ive asked my team to shorten timeframes wherever possible so we can get this rule done quickly.

Its a big undertaking. The new rule will touch many different aspects of aviation, so we have to make sure its fair, can be enforced, and doesnt have an adverse impact on safety or airworthiness.

I know youre eager for this rule to get done but its imperative that we do it right. Your businesses are counting on it, and the competitiveness of the entire U.S. aviation industry is counting on it.

Your contributions as part of the ASTM International Committee and the Aviation Rulemaking Committee on this subject have already been invaluable. The feedback we received from industry and international stakeholders has helped shape the rulemaking were currently drafting. We plan to publish it for public comment by the end of this year. Well also continue to collaborate as industry develops compliance measures that will meet our new performance-based standards.

In addition to re-thinking our certification process for aircraft, the FAA is also re-thinking our requirements for general aviation pilots.

I know one of the most important issues on everyones mind here today is the third-class medical certificate. The FAA is working to define how a person can fly without a third-class medical certificate while maintaining the highest level of safety.

We want to make this a lasting policy change that encourages more people to get their pilot certificates and invest in general aviation aircraft. We also have to acknowledge that a change to medical requirements could introduce risks into the system that we need to understand and mitigate.

Please know: were working diligently to get a proposal out so all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to weigh in.

All of these actions were taking are born out of a larger shift toward embracing risk-based decision-making. Aviation has long been on the forefront of this kind of thinking in transportation, and its unquestionably the future of our industry.

As a result, the FAA is embedding risk management into every level of our business. I even made it one of the agencys four Strategic Initiatives when I became Administrator because I knew it was essential to helping us achieve our mission of providing the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

Twenty years ago, the FAA operated under the philosophy that 100 percent compliance with safety regulations equaled 100 percent safety. This, however, didnt go far enough. Not all safety issues are regulated and several incidents in the 1990s led us to rethink this approach.

We knew that, as aviation became safer, wed have less accident data to guide our efforts. We needed to focus on identifying areas of risk and mitigating them before an incident occurred.

Heres how it works: We collect safety data from air traffic controllers, airway technicians, pilots, other aviation professionals, and a variety of other sources. We then analyze this data to identify potential high-risk areas and target our resources to address them.

Using data and analysis to guide the way we make decisions is common sense and the aviation industry has been an essential partner in our efforts. Weve been working together for years to introduce more risk assessments into our decision-making processes.

Thanks to our collaboration with airlines, manufacturers, labor, and others under the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, we reduced the risk of fatal commercial accidents by 83 percent between 1998 and 2008 a stunning success. Since 2008, weve continued to build on that accomplishment.

An important factor contributing to our ongoing improvement is the widespread adoption of Safety Management Systems, which have produced safer, more efficient outcomes for small and large carriers alike.

The FAA recently finalized a rule requiring most U.S. commercial carriers to have Safety Management Systems in place by 2018. It codifies the risk-based decision-making process that weve developed cooperatively with industry over the last decade-and-a half. It also puts us in line with internationally-recognized best safety practices.

Ive laid out a few of the ways that the FAA is preparing our national airspace system for the future. In order for us to continue making progress on these initiatives, we need the proper resources.

The current FAA reauthorization expires on September 30th. Were committed to working closely with Congress to pass a long-term bill. While we dont know what that bill will exactly look like yet, we do know that it has to embrace a few key principles.

First, reauthorization must help us maintain our exceptional safety record by providing more opportunities to use risk-based decision-making.

Second, we must continue the modernization of our air traffic control system with stable funding for our core operations and NextGen investments.

Third, reauthorization should secure appropriate funding for our nations airports. The new Eisenhower National terminal thats about to open is a fantastic example of the kind of project we need to support.

Finally, we must maintain and strengthen Americas global leadership on aviation. In addition to shaping and harmonizing international aviation standards, this means strengthening the U.S. aviation industry in a competitive global marketplace.

The aviation products we make in America right here in Wichita are essential to the health of our national economy. Seeing your planes crisscross the globe are a sign that U.S. innovation is alive and well.

I hope we can count on you to help us call on Congress to take up a long-term reauthorization bill as soon as possible.

Before I wrap up, let me leave you with this. I often think about how lucky I am to be leading the FAA. Its an organization thats always done important work in an industry that was born out of American zeal and ingenuity. We are in the midst of a historic time in aviation and the decisions we make now will define aviation for decades to come.

Look no further than Doc. Thanks to the dedication of the aviation community here, that old B-29 that spent four decades in the desert will soon take flight again. If thats not a sign of what we can do when we work together, I dont know what is.

Thank you for the opportunity to join you here in Wichita today. I look forward to answering your questions.


How Nanomaterials Can Help Make Fuel from Sunlight

Mon, 2015-05-11 00:00

Researchers say combining bacteria with nanoscale semiconductors opens a new path toward efficient artificial photosynthesis.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, say that by combining nanoscale materials with bacteria, they have opened the door to a new way of designing systems that could efficiently turn carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into useful organic compounds—similar to what plants do through photosynthesis. Down the road, they say, the system could become a commercially viable way to produce high-value chemicals like drug precursors used by the pharmaceutical industry, or to store renewable energy in the form of liquid fuels.


ORS4 No.1107: The Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Non-United Kingdom Operators

Tue, 2015-05-05 12:02
General approval for the carriage of dangerous goods within the United Kingdom (UK) by Third Country Operators (TCO) engaged in commercial air transport (CAT). Please note that this general approval only applies to the carriage of dangerous goods that are normally permitted to be carried by the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Any operator wishing to carry munitions of war within the UK must hold the appropriate permission issued by the UK CAA.

ICAO completes international dialogues with States on a market measure to address aviation CO2 emissions

Fri, 2015-05-01 17:47
Fri 1 May 2015 - A series of ICAO climate change seminars organised by ICAO during April in its five world regions was completed this week in Madrid. The aim of the Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) was to inform ICAO Member States on mitigation measures being undertaken to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation but in particular to explain and discuss with States a proposed market-based measure to cap the sector's net emissions from 2020. Although no formal decision has been made, a carbon offsetting scheme is emerging as the preferred option by those States currently engaged in the development process at ICAO, and delegates to the GLADs, which also included representatives from industry and civil society, were encouraged to offer ideas and recommendations on the scheme. ICAO estimates that to achieve the carbon-neutral growth goal, the airline sector could be required to spend around $2.8 billion annually on carbon offsets by 2025, rising to $11.9 billion by 2035.

Aviation industry and NGOs press case to ICAO States on the need for a market measure to meet emissions targets

Fri, 2015-05-01 17:47
Fri 1 May 2015 - The series of Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) held by ICAO in its five world regions during the past month had the aim of consulting with Member States over the design of a global market-based measure (GMBM) to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. However, there was a strong representation from the aviation industry and environmental groups at the events, both sides pressing the case for the introduction of a global scheme to mitigate the growing climate impact of the sector. "This is a crucially important issue for the industry and an MBM is an integral part of our overall strategy," IATA Senior Vice President Paul Steele told delegates to the Madrid GLAD. Despite a general lack of understanding over MBMs, he said, the GLADs had been a very constructive and positive process, with a lot of progress made.

Speech - En Route Automation Modernization

Thu, 2015-04-30 01:00
Administrator Michael Huerta
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and thank you to everyone for joining us today.

En Route Automation Modernization, or ERAM, is one of the largest technology changeovers in the history of the FAA. We completed it last month and Im pleased to report that its functioning smoothly in the 20 high altitude air traffic control centers across the continental United States right now.

ERAM is not just a faster computer system its a network that replaces our legacy system, which had its roots in the 1960s. We are now able to handle air traffic in a much more collaborative way. We can see a much bigger and richer picture of our nations high altitude air traffic.

ERAM gives us a big boost in technological horsepower over the system it replaces. This computer system enables each controller to handle more aircraft over a larger area, resulting in increased safety, capacity and efficiency.

ERAM processes data from nearly three times the number of sensors as the old system. It can track and display nearly double the number of high altitude flights, and enable controllers to handle additional traffic more efficiently. Its going to make all air traffic flow more smoothly across the country.

As the Secretary said, this means that controllers will now be able to better manage flights from gate to gate. With tools that are now available through ERAM, our air traffic computers can generate specific trajectories and speeds that will allow controllers to make the most efficient use of the airspace and cut down on congestion. Previously, controllers would have to estimate the best speed for an aircraft to travel in order to maintain proper separation. With the more precise picture that ERAM gives us, theres a greater opportunity for more efficient spacing of aircraft and to use NextGen procedures that save fuel and cut down on emissions.

Eventually, in conjunction with other new technology, ERAM will allow controllers to push a button and send a written message to a pilot in advance, allowing them to change course and steer around storms and congestion, once again improving on time arrival and decreasing delays.

Our new system now links seamlessly with another technology that processes satellite-based GPS information. This system is called Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, or ADS-B. Last year we finished the coast-to-coast installation of the ADS-B network.

With its GPS technology, ADS-B provides a more precise and efficient alternative to radar including in places where there was no radar coverage before. For example, using their new ERAM computers, controllers today are providing radar-like separation over the Gulf of Mexico and large parts of Alaska with ADS-B. By 2020, it will become the FAAs primary means of tracking and separating aircraft.

With ERAM in place, the FAA has fulfilled an important commitment in modernizing the nations NextGen air traffic control system. We did not make this progress alone. We did so by creating a close collaboration between management, labor and industry.

Id like to acknowledge the Chief Operating Officer of the FAAs Air Traffic Control Organization, Teri Bristol, whose leadership on ERAM was fundamental. Also, Id like to acknowledge our labor representative from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Julio Henriques. Julio was instrumental in helping us implement ERAM and served as the NATCA lead representative. Finally, I would like to acknowledge our industry representative, Stephanie Hill, from Lockheed Martin. The teamwork between labor, management and industry is why ERAM is working today. Together, we are enhancing safety and increasing capacity in what is already the worlds safest aviation system.

I want to thank you again for joining us today, and I would like to turn it over to Julio for more insight into how we accomplished this major milestone.


Small Display Bedevils Some Apple Watch Apps

Thu, 2015-04-30 00:00

The 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch show the device’s promise and pitfalls.

Nobody needs an Apple Watch, or any kind of smart watch, really; we haven’t quite figured out what to do with these things yet, beyond activity tracking and replicating the alerts you already get on your smartphone. But that isn’t stopping app makers from trying to figure out more things to do with wrist-worn gadgets. There are more than 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch, which started selling this month from Apple’s website (though if you order now, you probably won’t get one until June).


JetBlue turns in impressive fuel efficiency gains but emissions continue to grow as a result of traffic growth

Fri, 2015-04-24 13:12
Fri 24 Apr 2015 - As a result of continued growth in traffic operations, JetBlue's greenhouse gas emissions rose by 5.5 per cent in 2014 over the previous year, although it recorded its best-ever fuel efficiency performance. Measured in terms of GHG emissions per 1,000 revenue ton miles, the airline managed a reduction from 1.65 tonnes of CO2e to 1.54 tonnes, a 6 per cent improvement. According to its annual responsibility report, 'The Blue Review', just published, emissions rose from 5.9 million tonnes in 2013 to just over 6.2 million tonnes last year. However, against an industry target to improve average annual fuel efficiency by 1.5 per cent from 2009 to 2020, JetBlue is currently averaging 2.2 per cent. In addition to initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint from operations, the airline is engaged in programmes to improve onboard recycling and water conservation, and since 2008 has run an annual environment campaign called 'One Thing That's Green'.

Air Transat, Germanwings and Cargolux look to improve their fuel efficiency programmes with Aviaso software

Fri, 2015-04-24 11:11
Fri 24 Apr 2015 - Leading Canadian leisure carrier Air Transat has become the first North American customer of Swiss fuel efficiency software provider Aviaso. The airline has had a fuel management programme in operation since 2003 and is ranked by German climate NGO atmosfair in its annual Airline Index as one of the most fuel efficient in the industry. However, Air Transat says implementing the Aviaso system will give it the means to improve operational practices and further refine its programme, with a goal to reduce fuel burn by another one per cent. In January, Aviaso signed agreements with two other airlines for its software - low-cost carrier Germanwings and cargo operator Cargolux - bringing its number of customers to over 17 airlines.

LAX’s new ocean wave international terminal is awarded LEED Gold sustainability status

Thu, 2015-04-23 12:20
Thu 23 Apr 2015 - The new 1.25-million-square-foot Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has become the largest terminal in the United States to achieve LEED Gold certification by the US Green Building Council. The design by Fentress Architects features a dramatic arching roofline inspired by ocean waves, which helps reduce solar glare and heat while providing additional lighting. The ceiling is supported by a skeletal framework of structural ribs meant to resemble the inside of a whale. The 15-gate concourse features natural daylight and low-E glass, which minimises heat gain, while different lighting controls reduce energy use. With LAX the second-busiest airport in the nation, the terminal has been designed to provide for future expansion and, says Fentress, is not only sustainable, it is America's most technologically advanced airport so far.

FedEx Fuel Sense initiatives continue to help cut jet fuel use and reduce aircraft emissions intensity

Wed, 2015-04-22 14:18
Wed 22 Apr 2015 - FedEx has revealed it saved 100 million gallons of jet fuel from its FedEx Express airline operations in 2014 against a 2005 baseline, avoiding over 976,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. It attributes the achievement to the company's Fuel Sense programme as well as aircraft fleet modernisation, with more than 330 million gallons of jet fuel saved through 46 initiatives introduced since 2007. Details of seven new Fuel Sense programmes launched in 2014 are outlined in its latest annual Global Citizenship Report (GCR). FedEx has a goal of reducing aircraft emissions intensity by 30 per cent by 2020 from the baseline and has so far achieved a 21.4 per cent cut. At its World Hub in Memphis, FedEx has just added 15 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell powered GSE cargo tractors, funded by a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Energy.

A Swiss Army Knife for Neuroscience

Tue, 2015-04-21 00:05

Neural probes that combine optics, electronics, and drugs could help unlock the secrets of the brain.

Various powerful new tools for exploring and manipulating the brain have been developed over the last few years. Some use electronics, while others use light or chemicals.


Appeal by India’s Jet Airways against its inclusion in the EU ETS rejected in non-compliance stand-off

Mon, 2015-04-20 11:12
Mon 20 Apr 2015 - An appeal by India's Jet Airways against action taken against it by the UK Environment Agency (EA) for non-compliance with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) has been rejected by an independent UK legal adjudicator. The case relates to the airline's intra-EEA flights that took place in 2012 for which the airline did not submit a report of its CO2 emissions nor surrender allowances to cover those emissions, as required by EU and UK law. In its submission, Jet Airways argued that the unilateral action of the EU on the imposition of its scheme did not accord with the global consensus reached by ICAO Assembly resolutions and that the Indian Government had prohibited it from complying. Jet Airways faces a fine of €15,000 ($16,000) to cover the 150 tonnes of CO2 emissions estimated by the EA.