IFR Briefing: November 2016


NTSB Says ATC Needs Better Emergency Training

Air traffic controllers need better training to effectively assist aircraft in distress, the NTSB said in a safety-recommendation report released in September. The report was based on an analysis of five general aviation accidents from 2012 to 2015, in which seven people died. In each case, the pilot was talking to ATC but the controller either failed to provide adequate assistance or instructed the pilot to take actions that made the situation worse, according to the NTSB. The FAA should develop a required national training program to ensure that all controllers have training that is “current and relevant,” the NTSB said, and include lessons learned from recent events.

FAA Launches ADS-B Rebate Program

In September, the FAA began offering a $500 rebate to aircraft owners who upgrade to ADS-B-capable avionics. Rebates are available for up to a year, or the first 20,000 takers, whichever comes first. The program’s website lays out a five-step process: make a plan, reserve your rebate, get the installation done, fly and validate, then file your rebate claim. The site also offers a vast selection of FAQs, a 10-minute instructional video that walks you through the process, and quick-reference PDFs.

New FAA Drone Rules Now In Effect

New FAA rules that became effective in August make it easier for operators to secure a commercial drone certificate, and it’s expected their numbers will quickly outpace manned-aircraft pilots. The FAA says commercial drone operators could exceed 600,000 within a year, equal to the total number of pilots from student to ATP. “The sky is going to open up for a lot of opportunities,” said Randy Yates, of Omaha, Nebraska, who plans to use drones in his property-inspection business. “It’s going to be a whole new world.” The Air Line Pilots Association raised safety concerns, saying commercial operators should have to pass a flight test. The drones are restricted to airspace below 400 feet and must weigh 55 pounds or less.

NTSB Objects To “Sully” Portrayal

NTSB staffers who investigated the ditching of USAir 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009 say the Hollywood movie about the event, “Sully,” portrays them in an inaccurate and unfair light. The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, was released in U.S. theaters in September. The script adds dramatic tension by portraying the NTSB investigators as trying to prove the flight crew could have made it to a runway. “We’re not the Gestapo,” said Robert Benzon, who led the NTSB investigation, and objected to the film’s portrayal. “We’re the guys with the white hats on.” The NTSB said it was not contacted during the making of the film.

First Flight For Junkers F13 Replica

An all-new Junkers F13 monoplane built from the original 1919 blueprints flew for the first time, in September. The airplane was built by Rimowa, a Swiss luggage company known for its grooved aluminum metal luggage, which resembles the duralumin skin of the new airplane. “I have dreamed about seeing the F13 up in the air for a long time,” said Bernd Junkers, a grandson of the designer. “It’s great, a fantastic day.” The company spent two years building the airplane, following several years of research that included a 3-D scan of a museum original, as complete plans for the aircraft no longer exist. More than 330 of the airplanes were built and sold, and only a handful of non-flying originals remain.


Icon has opened a factory in Mexico to produce A5 components…JetBlue flew the first U.S. airline route to Cuba since 1961…Red Bull air races are coming to Indianapolis and Las Vegas in October…A Cold-War-era USAF U2 crashed during a training flight in California, one pilot was killed…The hybrid lighter-than-aircraft Airlander 10 was damaged during a test flight…Red Bull pilot Hannes Arch died in a helicopter crash…Boeing unveiled the T-X, its contender for the next-generation USAF trainer…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at AVWeb.com.


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