Tag Archives: APA

796 Air Traffic Controller Fatigue

To combat controller fatigue the FAA issued new rules for rest periods, another airport runway incursion, American Airlines pilots say the number of safety issues is increasing, Boom Supersonic received a Special Flight Authorization from the FAA to exceed Mach 1 for their XB-1 demonstrator, the Feds are using state resources to help enforce airline consumer laws, evidence shows someone other than a pilot at the controls of a charter flight operated by United, and a California bill would ban the CLEAR system at airports in the state.

Aviation News

New FAA rest rules to address ‘fatigue’ issues with air traffic controllers

Near-miss incidents continue to occur at the nation’s airports. After he toured air traffic control facilities, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said he “heard concerns about schedules that do not always allow controllers to get enough rest.”

From Statement from FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker:

Portrait of Michael Whitaker
Michael Whitaker, courtesy FAA

“In December 2023, we commissioned an independent panel of scientific fatigue experts to assess the risks introduced by controller fatigue in our system and to give us a roadmap to mitigate the risks. The panel’s report [PDF] brought into focus key reforms which we’re implementing immediately to ensure air traffic controllers are getting sufficient rest, while we also work to implement some longer term, systemic changes. As an initial step, I will require 10 hours off between shifts, and 12 hours off before a midnight shift, effective in 90 days, consistent with the expert panel’s recommendations. I am also directing the Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service to ensure the agency has a robust methodology to ensure compliance with this direction.”

The panel:

  • Mark Rosekind, a safety and sleep/fatigue professional and former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member.
  • Charles Czeisler, chief and senior physician, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Dr. Erin Flynn-Evans, head of the NASA Ames Research Center Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory.
NATCA logo

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has expressed concern that they were not consulted about the new controller fatigue rules, and those rules may not produce the intended result given the current controller shortage. See NATCA calls on FAA to collaborate on air traffic controller fatigue.

Southwest B38M at Washington on Apr 18th 2024, runway incursion forces rejected takeoff

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX performing a flight from Washington National, DC to Orlando, FL (USA), was taxiing for departure from runway 01 and taxied past the hold short line of runway 04. Meanwhile, a Jetblue Embraer ERJ-190 performing a flight from Washington National to Boston was cleared for takeoff from runway 04 and was accelerating.

Ground Control shouted that the Southwest plane should stop immediately and the crew stopped the aircraft about 40 meters/130 feet past the hold short line and about 30 meters/100 feet short of the runway edge line. The Jetblue crew aborted their takeoff at low speed and stopped about 240 meters/790 feet down the runway.

Aerial view of the airport showing relative positions of the two jets.
Graphics: AVH/Google Earth

American Airlines Pilots Claim There Has Been a “Significant Spike” in Safety Issues at the Carrier

In a leaked memo noting “problematic trends,” the Allied Pilots Association (APA) representing pilots at American Airlines asks members to take their time when conducting pre-departure checks. The union cites tools being left out, an increased number of aircraft collisions during towing, incorrect paperwork documenting aircraft damage, and hazards left by inexperienced ground staff on taxiways and around stands.

XB-1 to Mach 1

The FAA issued a Special Flight Authorization (SFA) to Exceed Mach 1 for Boom’s XB-1 demonstrator. Supersonic operations will occur in the Black Mountain Supersonic Corridor and some of the High Altitude Supersonic Corridor. This R-2515 airspace has been used extensively for research and military supersonic aeronautical operations.

Edwards AFB R-2515 Restricted Airspace: R-2515 Users Handbook [PDF]

The SFA extends to chase plane aircraft. A total of 10-20 flights are planned at the Mojave Air & Space Port (R-2508 Complex) before reaching supersonic speeds.

Biden Recruits 15 States to Help Enforce Airline Consumers Laws

Enforcement of consumer-protection laws covering airline travelers is the federal government’s purview. The U.S. Department of Transportation has signed memorandums of understanding with the attorneys general of 12 states and 3 others allowing them to investigate airline service complaints. If the states believe an airline violated the law or is refusing to cooperate with investigators, the states could refer cases to the DOT for enforcement.

The DOT will allow those states to access its consumer-complaint system and train state employees about applicable laws. Participating are Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

FAA, United Investigate Cockpit Visitor During Baseball Team’s Flight

On a Colorado Rockies charter flight operated by United Airlines, a man is seen in a video sitting in the captain’s chair during the flight. The FAA and United Airlines are investigating the incident. The video was posted to social media and YouTube, but subsequently removed. The man is seen at the controls of the Boeing 757.

California Moves To Ban CLEAR From Airports: No One Should Go Through Security Faster

Some California lawmakers think the CLEAR document verification system is anti-egalitarian. They are seeking to ban the service from airports in that state. The CLEAR service uses biometrics to identify passengers and allows them to go to the front of security queues. PreCheck and Global Entry would not be affected by the proposed law.

Mentioned

Ladybug Launch book cover.

Ladybug Launch: Inspired by a true story of chinitas in space by Melissa Trempe. The children’s book is based on the true story of Chilean high school girls who convinced NASA to send ladybugs to space. Find it on Amazon, at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, and in bookstores.

Boeing and the Dark Age of American Manufacturing

AI on the Ascent: Empowering the Aviation Maintenance Technician – Aviation Week Webinar, Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 11:00 am ET / 8:00 am PT.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

698 Airline Travel Challenges

Airline travel this summer faces challenges with crew shortages and fatigue. Also, the mask mandate, 100th Bombardier Global 7500 Biz Jet delivered, boarding the airplane without a jet bridge, a rare airline amenity, giving up the seat you paid for, some turbofan failures after storage, when passengers are told their flight would be ditching, and therapy animals at airports.

Aviation News

Airlines are slashing flights due to staffing shortage: ‘The summer will be chaos’

Crew shortages are affecting airlines around the world. Travel demand is up, but staff availability is down. The summer travel outlook looks chaotic.

Pilot union sues American Airlines to block pilot training program

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) filed a suit to “prevent the airline from eliminating the longstanding practice of using experienced Check Airmen during a critical stage of the pilot training program.” The volunteer program encourages pilots to take simulator training sessions on their days off. 

In the press release, Allied Pilots Association Sues American Airlines Over Railway Labor Act Violations, APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson says, 

Having failed to plan properly for the recovery in air travel demand, American Airlines management now finds itself having to deal with the consequences of being the only major airline to have furloughed pilots during the pandemic and its decision to forgo training opportunities at that time… Management continues to fall behind and is scrambling to increase the volume of the pilot training funnel. Consequently, they are now soliciting all pilots to volunteer to replace our specially trained Check Airmen as ‘seat fillers’ during a critical training evaluation stage under terms and conditions that remain largely unknown to APA.

APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson

Fatigue is starting to put safety at risk, pilots say

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), says “Fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become Southwest Airlines’ number-one safety threat.” Southwest plans to hire 8,000 new employees this year, forty percent of those flight crew.

Florida judge voids US mask mandate for planes, other travel

A federal judge says the mask mandate exceeds the authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and also that the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures.

Bombardier Delivers 100th Global 7500; Milestone Jet Goes to VistaJet – AIN

Bombardier celebrated its 100th Global 7500 delivery with its largest customer, VistaJet, which has taken 10 of the aircraft manufacturer’s flagship business jets so far. The delivery ceremony took place at Bombardier’s Montreal Laurent Beaudoin Completion Centre, where the company outfits the aircraft after they’re flown from its Toronto assembly plant. This is where customers oversee the interior finishing of their Global 7500, familiarize themselves with them, and take delivery. VistaJet is a Part 295 air charter broker.

Frontier Airlines wants to ditch jet bridges in Denver and board by stairs

Starting in 2024, Frontier Airlines plans to use airstairs and switchback ramps to board and deplane its fleet of Airbus aircraft through the front and rear aircraft doors. Frontier’s CEO, Barry Biffle: “A dedicated ground boarding facility will benefit customers by cutting in half the time for boarding and deplaning through the use of both the front and rear aircraft doors. That, in turn, will reduce our time on the ground between flights by nearly half and nearly double our number of aircraft operations per gate.”

This Airline Has Offered One Rare Amenity Since 1952 — and It’s Still the Coolest Thing in the Skies

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers unique Delftware porcelain amenities that have become collector’s items.

When do you give up an airline seat that you’ve paid for?

Sometimes you don’t want to swap seats with another passenger, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.

FAA warns of in-flight turbofan failures following long-term storage

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive (AD) warning of CF34 failures for engines taken out of storage. “Engines installed on airplanes parked outdoors for 250 or more days are at risk of excessive corrosion build-up,” it says. The AD cites several in-flight CF34 troubles.

Airline Passengers Accidentally Told Plane Was Going to Make an Emergency Landing in the Sea

Passengers aboard an Aer Lingus flight from Zurich to Dublin listened to an automated emergency announcement stating, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is an emergency. Please prepare for a ditched landing.” Flight attendants didn’t react and a passenger went into the galley to get more information. After that, an announcement from the flight crew confirmed there was no emergency.

Easter Bunny Story: Scared of flying? SFO’s new giant rabbit is here to help

Alex the Great, a 28-pound Flemish Giant rabbit, has joined the San Francisco International Airport Wag Brigade to help calm nervous travelers. The brigade is composed of mostly dogs but includes LiLou, the “World’s 1st Airport Therapy Pig.” 

37 U.S. Airports Have Therapy Dog Programs. Does Yours?

San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California was the first airport to bring in therapy dogs shortly after 9/11. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was the second airport to introduce therapy dogs.

The Journey is the Reward

Brian T. Coleman and Main(e) Man Micah discuss a letter they received from a United Airlines Captain.

Mentioned

The Air Current – Exclusive news and insight on the business and technology of flying.

The YB-52 prototype, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, takes its first flight on April 15, 1952

A Look Back At All The B-52 Variants As The Iconic Bomber Hits 70

Airliners International 2022 Chicago – Buy, swap, sell airline memorabilia. June 23-25, 2022.

37 U.S. Airports Have Therapy Dog Programs. Does Yours?

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood | Official Trailer | Netflix

Airlines Confidential Podcast – Hosted by Ben Baldanza, former CEO of Spirit Airlines, and Chris Chiames, a 30+ year airline/travel industry veteran.

Thunder Over Dover, May 21-22, 2022.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.