Travel Safety Update - North America.
Oct 4, 2009
After more than 20 years of stagnation, global helicopter safety performance is showing signs of improvement. Figures released at the third International Helicopter Safety Symposium in Montreal, Canada on 29 September show a slow but steadily improving trend since 2005, the year in which the rotary-wing industry set up the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) with the aim of reducing helicopter accident rates globally by 80 percent by 2016. These are the findings of the International Helicopter Safety Team. At the same time the IHST has launched a series of safety "toolkits" to help operators around the world implement their own improvements to safety management, risk management and training. The figures show that helicopter accidents averaged 9.4 per 100,000 flying hours in the years 2000 to 2005, but since then they have gradually reduced to 6.2 in 2008 and could be lower this year. Sep 30, 2009
The US FAA has issued an alert to commercial airlines and others warning that the portable credit card readers being used by carriers for passenger purchases must be vetted for safety. "A recent inquiry into the use of portable electronic credit card readers has revealed that some operators may be using these PEDs aboard US-registered aircraft without having appropriately and adequately determined their potential for interfering with communication and navigation equipment," the FAA states in an information for operators dated 23 September. In addition to having the airline verify that the devices will not interfere with aircraft avionics based on previously published advisory materials, the FAA says card readers using lithium batteries "must have the associated risk of the hazmat being carried aboard aircraft" reviewed by the FAA's office of Hazardous Materials in coordination with the carrier's principle avionics inspector. Sep 28, 2009
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has lifted a tsunami watch for Hawaii following a magnitude-7.9 undersea earthquake near the Samoa islands The center downgraded the Hawaii watch to an advisory at 10:23 a.m., according to center director Charles McCreery. The Islands remain under a tsunami advisory until 7 p.m., meaning unusual sea levels or currents could occur. The warning center says sea level changes of 3 to 4 feet could take place between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., McCreery said. The quake generated a tsunami that came ashore on American Samoa. Fili Sagapolutele, who works at the Samoa News, said water flowed inland about 100 yards in Pago Pago before receding, leaving cars stuck in mud. There were no immediate reports of injuries or structural damage. In Hawaii, residents are being urged not to call 911 for updates. Instead, they should monitor the situation on television, radio or news Web sites, said John Cummings of the cityOs Department of Emergency Management. The tsunami watch was declared at 8:05. The quake was located 110 miles east-northeast of Hihifo, Tonga; 125 miles south-southwest of Apia, Samoa; 435 miles north-northeast of Nukualofa, Tonga; and 1,670 miles north-northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. Sep 29, 2009
Hilton Hawaiian Village
The family of a 56-year old Honolulu man who died after he got caught in the suction of a drain in the newly rebuilt Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon in Waikiki is suing the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Attorney Mark Davis filed suit yesterday in Circuit Court on behalf of the family of Bill Stock, a disabled athlete who got into trouble while swimming at the lagoon on July 30 and died the next day at The Queen's Medical Center. According to Davis, Stock was swimming at the lagoon when he was trapped by the strong suction and flat underwater drain gate, less than 5 feet below the surface. Swimmers and surf instructors who attempted to save Stock's life reported that it took three people to pull him free of the drain, Davis said. Stock was a disabled athlete who was a strong and active swimmer as well as an advocate for other disabled athletes, he added. Oct 1, 2009
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded Horizon Air its 10th consecutive Diamond Certificate of Excellence. The award recognizes the airline for achieving a 100 percent participation rate by its maintenance personnel in the Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Awards program. "Horizon Air continues to be an industry leader through encouraging continued education of its AMTs and participating in the AMT Award program,O said Jim Hultgrien, FAA Safety Team Program Manager at the FAAOs Portland Flight Standards District Office. OWe believe a well managed and up to date training program is a key component to a companyOs safety culture. The FAAOs AMT Award program is a way to acknowledge HorizonOs dedication to training and their commitment to safety." Established in 1991, the AMT program honors aviation maintenance personnel and employers who participate in training opportunities that exceed FAA regulatory requirements. The Diamond Certificate of Excellence is the highest honor the program can bestow on a company. "This is a tribute to HorizonOs maintenance employees," said Celia Sherbeck, Horizon's vice president of maintenance and engineering. OThey are extremely dedicated to continually refining and expanding their technical expertise in order to sustain and strengthen our company's safety.O Sep 28, 2009
ITT Corporation announced today that a new technology it is implementing will dramatically improve aviation safety and efficiency in the Gulf of Mexico while reducing passenger delays and greenhouse gas emissions. The company is planning to help bring the same technology to other areas across the United States in 2010, including New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. The new technology -- called Automatic Dependent Surveillance -- Broadcast, or ADS-B -- will enable air traffic to be managed more efficiently, allowing airplanes to use more direct routes to save fuel and reduce flight times. ADS-B is the backbone of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, the Federal Aviation AdministrationOs effort to steadily transform the ground-based air traffic control system of today to a more efficient, satellite-based system of the future. OWe are proud to help the FAA usher in a new era of aviation,O said Steve Loranger, ITTOs chairman, president and chief executive officer. OThis transformation of U.S. air traffic control is not only going to improve safety and reduce passenger delays, it will also help the airline industry make significant cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions.O Fully implemented, NextGen and ADS-B are expected save the U.S. economy more than $40 billion a year through fuel and passenger time cost savings. Specific benefits ADS-B will enable include:
* Decreased passenger delays: FAA estimates a 35-40% reduction by 2018 due to NextGen implementation * Decreased fuel consumption: Tests show that an ADS-B-equipped Airbus on a trans-Atlantic flight could save 350 lbs. of fuel per trip * Reduced carbon emissions: A UPS pilot program of ADS-B reduced greenhouse gas emissions of its Boeing 757 aircraft by 38% * Greater safety: An ADS-B pilot program in Alaska coincided with a 47% decrease in accident rate * Comprehensive tracking: GPS technology now allows the path of aircraft to be tracked anywhere -- on the ground or in the air * Shorter flight times due to more direct routes OWe are delighted to be on time and under budget for ADS-B system development and deployment,O said Loranger. OITT is pleased to partner with the FAA and we look forward to working together for years to come.O ADS-B will also address challenges specific to airspace over the Gulf of Mexico, one of the most highly trafficked airspaces in the world with hundreds of commercial airline flights and more than 600 helicopters operating every day to service 9,000 offshore oil and gas platforms. Currently, radar coverage exists in a very limited area, requiring the application of inefficient air traffic control procedures. As a part of the ADS-B program, ITT is also installing equipment to monitor weather in the area and enable the transmission of real-time weather information to aircraft. Currently, such information is only available for approximately one-quarter of the Gulf of Mexico. ITT was awarded a $1.86 billion contract by the FAA in 2007 to lead a team to develop and deploy the ADS-B system nationwide and operate and maintain the system after deployment through September 2025. Oct 1, 2009
A federal judge has ruled New Mexico officials can keep US Airways from serving alcohol on its New Mexico flights after a passenger caused a drunken-driving crash that killed five people. US Airways sued the state in 2007 after the New Mexico Regulation and License Department denied its application for a liquor license. The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline argued that New Mexico has no authority to regulate on-board alcohol service, require alcohol training or enforce sanctions against the carrier because the state is pre-empted by federal law. However, in a 24-page opinion issued late Wednesday, U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo found that neither the Airline Deregulation Act nor the Federal Aviation Act can pre-empt state liquor control laws. Oct 1, 2009
US Airways, Airbus
Capt. Chesley OSullyO Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles will fly together again on the occasion of SullenbergerOs return to the air in his new role as an active management pilot for US Airways. Sullenberger and Skiles will fly US Airways Flight 1427 from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Charlotte, N.C. (CLT). US Airways this week said Sullenberger also had joined the airlineOs flight-operations safety-management team. Sullenberger and Skiles masterfully managed to ditch their plane, Flight 1549, in the Hudson River in January after geese took out both engines, disabling it. Updates are being posted throughout the day from on Twitter @usairwaysnews. For more information on US Airways, visit www.usairways.com.
Sep 29, 2009
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