Briefing: January 2010


The FAA Now Says, “Stop Polishing Your Frost.”

Once upon a time it was considered just fine to polish frost smooth rather than scrape the junk off. Now the FAA has changed its mind. The rule is only binding on Parts 125, 135, or 91 subpart F (fractionals), but nine of the 12 frost-related accidents the FAA identified were with non-fractional Part 91 operations, so all of us might take note. Previous FAA guidance recommended removing all wing frost prior to takeoff, but allowed it to be polished smooth if the aircraft manufacturer’s recommended procedures were followed. But manufacturers never published standards for polished frost, and the FAA said it has no data to determine how to polish frost to satisfactory smoothness.

Network Woes That Crimped Air Traffic For Hours Due To One Bad Box

A malfunctioning router at Salt Lake City sent misinformation about flight paths and weather to controllers. The problem remained unresolved for four hours, forcing the FAA to lighten the workload of controllers and leading to delays of about 45 minutes to 80 minutes at the nation’s busiest airports. But, then again, that’s less than a bad weather day. Part of the delay in finding these problems is the layers of modern hardware that the FAA has had to connect with archaic technologies still in place throughout the system.

TSA Rule Targets Repair Stations

Proposed rules would require repair stations to establish security protocols to guard against unauthorized access to the facility, aircraft and parts. The new rules would affect 4227 FAA-certificated shops in the U.S. and 694 in other countries that work on U.S. aircraft. The rule, if adopted, will require strict access control and implementation of security awareness training programs and, of course, allow for TSA inspections and audits. We suppose this means yet more badges, no?

The Concorde Just Can’t Find A Final Resting Spot At Heathrow

Officials at London’s Heathrow airport say they just can’t find a good spot to display their Concorde and may have to get rid of it, a prospect that has Concorde fans up in arms. The airplane has been shuffled around from place to place, and is now stored behind a maintenance hangar. The plane was almost sold to a buyer in Dubai, but that deal fell through. An airline spokesperson told the London Times, “Heathrow is the world’s most congested airport and finding a permanent location is not proving straightforward.” The plane is one of 20 Concordes that were disbursed in 2003.

It’s Not Just The Military That Like UAVs. They Now Use ‘Em Down On The Farm

An Idaho farmer used to spend upwards of $9000 to get satellite and aircraft imagery of his farmland and cattle. Now he uses a 9-foot wingspan UAV and he hopes to sell it to others for about $15,000, which would include the software and training to fly it. It weighs in at about 10 pounds, carries two digital cameras, is onboard-GPS-guided, usually flies between 400 and 2000 feet AGL, cruises at about 35 mph and can cover up to 640 acres in less than half an hour.


NTSB chides FAA for being to slow to implement runway safety programs … Sarah Palin defends the use of the G-2 jet Harper-Collins provided for her book tour … Teterboro in the queue to get a new Tower … Large-cabin, long-range G-650 has its first flight … “Jetman” Yves Rossy ditched his winged jetpack in the Atlantic during a Morraco-to-Spain attempt … DOT fined an airline $175,000 after 47 passengers were held onboard a regional jet overnight on the ramp at Rochester, Minn. … Air Car is a new air taxi using Cirrus SR22s—in India … Australian Gippsland Aeronautics got FAA certification for its GA8-TC 320 Airvan … New pilot-fatigue rules delayed (again) until later this year … Solar Impulse, solar-powered aircraft, taxied under its own (battery) power … Lycoming IO-390 STC’d for legacy Mooneys … Carter Copter licences its gyroplane/airplane hybrid to Textron subsidiary for use as a UAV … NetJets lays off 495 pilots … Cirrus now offering Avidyne Rev 9 avionics as an option … AOPA’s next sweepstakes airplane is a Remos LSA … “Ice Pilots NWT” premiered on Canadian TV showing the real Buffalo Airways, flying DC-3s, C-46s and others in the Northwest Territories … For breaking news in general aviation, log on to


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