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Travel Safety Update.

Dec 18, 2006

A joint letter sent to Brazilian authorities and released publicly last week by several international aviation organizations--including the Flight Safety Foundation, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Assns.--heavily criticized the treatment of the pilots. Dec 11, 2006

Brazilian ATC has come under increasing scrutiny as air traffic has been slowed in the country in recent weeks, including last week when a communication system breakdown led to extensive flight delays and cancellations. Airlines in Brazil also have been affected by controllers staging work slowdowns to protest poor work hours and low pay. ExcelAire said in a statement that "to criminalize this accident investigation runs counter to the safety of the international flying public" and predicted the police would be subject to "worldwide criticism." Dec 11, 2006

FAA may raise pilot retirement age to 65, officials say. Government and industry officials say the FAA may soon raise the required retirement age for airline pilots from 60 to 65. Officials say FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will gauge support from new Democratic leaders in Congress before publicly announcing a policy change. Dec 11, 2006

Former Brazil Justice Minister Jose Carlos Dias, who is serving as the pilots' lawyer in the case, blasted the police in comments to reporters in Brazil. He said charging the pilots was "prejudiced and discriminatory" and merely a way for the police to "find someone to blame" for the worst air crash in the country's history, in which all 154 aboard the nearly new 737-800 were killed. The pilots themselves left Brazil without comment but Dias said they would return willingly when necessary. An accident investigation report released last month said the Legacy pilots attempted to contact air traffic control 19 times in the 8 min. prior to the crash without success. Dec 11, 2006

Airbus

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, who was present in Toulouse, called the A380 "the first major leap in aircraft capacity in over 35 years" and a "classic case of 21st century engineering." She noted that it was the first time EASA and FAA have certified an aircraft concurrently. "The certificates we present today are a testament to the safety of this airplane. The plane is 300,000 lb. heavier than the next commercial airplane. In its largest configuration, it also carries roughly 200 more passengers than any other aircraft on the market...Frankly, we'd never had to deal with something this big...From a certification standpoint, that was a huge challenge." Certification of the Engine Alliance GP7000-powered A380 variant is expected next year. Dec 13, 2006

Boeing

Authorities, air carriers differ on enforcing rudder rules. The U.S. government, having tightened rules on rudder performance on Boeing 737 jets after two accidents, wants to tighten monitoring to ensure compliance. Boeing and the airlines, however, argue that the existing level of oversight is adequate. Airlines support extra monitoring for planes fitted with advanced recorder technology on the assembly line but oppose expensive recorder retrofits for the rest of their fleets. "In view of these ongoing measures, we believe the proposal is unnecessary to ensure the safety of Boeing 737 rudder control systems," ATA officials said in a report this month. Dec 13, 2006

Boeing

Boeing, Airlines Resist FAA 737 Rudder Plan. Boeing and airlines are resisting a US government proposal to require closer monitoring of rudder performance on 737 aircraft, years after two crashes prompted a design change and other measures. Dec 13, 2006

CAAC, Japan Airlines

CAAC and Japan Airlines reached agreement to launch cooperative aviation safety study projects in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Safety Institute of China, saying their goal is to contribute "to the development of global flight safety." Dec 11, 2006

ExelAire, Gol

Brazilian police charge ExelAire pilots, who face up to 12 years in prison. Brazilian police on Friday officially charged two ExelAire Legacy 600 pilots with endangering aircraft safety in the Sept. 29 midair collision with a Gol 737-800, a serious criminal charge that could land the US citizens in a Brazilian prison for up to 12 years if they are convicted. The charges came the same week the pilots, Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino, were given back their confiscated US passports and allowed to leave Brazil for the first time since the accident to return to their homes in New York. But they apparently will have to go back to Brazil for the trial, for which the starting date has not been determined. Dec 11, 2006

Gol, ExelAire

Brazilian ATC has come under increasing scrutiny as air traffic has been slowed in the country in recent weeks, including last week when a communication system breakdown led to extensive flight delays and cancellations. Airlines in Brazil also have been affected by controllers staging work slowdowns to protest poor work hours and low pay. Dec 11, 2006

Gol, ExelAire

Brazilian police on Friday officially charged two ExelAire Legacy 600 pilots with endangering aircraft safety in the Sept. 29 midair collision with a Gol 737-800, a serious criminal charge that could land the US citizens in a Brazilian prison for up to 12 years if they are convicted. The charges came the same week the pilots, Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino, were given back their confiscated US passports and allowed to leave Brazil for the first time since the accident to return to their homes in New York. But they apparently will have to go back to Brazil for the trial, for which the starting date has not been determined. Former Brazil Justice Minister Jose Carlos Dias, who is serving as the pilots' lawyer in the case, blasted the police in comments to reporters in Brazil. He said charging the pilots was "prejudiced and discriminatory" and merely a way for the police to "find someone to blame" for the worst air crash in the country's history, in which all 154 aboard the nearly new 737-800 were killed. The pilots themselves left Brazil without comment but Dias said they would return willingly when necessary. An accident investigation report released last month said the Legacy pilots attempted to contact air traffic control 19 times in the 8 min. prior to the crash without success. Dec 11, 2006

Gol, ExelAire

ExcelAire said in a statement that "to criminalize this accident investigation runs counter to the safety of the international flying public" and predicted the police would be subject to "worldwide criticism." A joint letter sent to Brazilian authorities and released publicly last week by several international aviation organizations--including the Flight Safety Foundation, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Assns.--heavily criticized the treatment of the pilots. "A criminal inquiry has no place in the investigation," the letter said. "We do not seek to put our colleagues above the law. However, criminal investigations into aviation accidents like the one on Sept. 29 are at odds with efforts to discover root causes of accidents and avoid future mistakes." Dec 11, 2006

Skyguide

Skyguide Agrees 2002 Air Crash Payout. Swiss air traffic control company Skyguide has agreed the compensation it will pay to relatives of 30 people who died in a 2002 mid-air plane collision close to the Swiss-German border, a lawyer for the firm said on Monday. Lawyer Alexander von Ziegler declined to give details on amounts to be paid to the relatives and said Skyguide had already agreed compensation with the families of the 41 other people who died in the same crash. But when asked if Skyguide had agreed compensation for the final 30 families, Ziegler said: "Yes. The families' lawyers can now take a look and decide if they want to appeal (the amounts) in the Swiss courts." Dec 15, 2006

Skyguide

Skyguide, which was operating the airspace over southern Germany, has admitted errors in the incident. On July 1, 2002, Skyguide was operating with a single air traffic controller who told the pilot of a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev 154 to descend to avoid a collision, even though early-warning instruments aboard the place had told the pilots to climb. The automatic anti-collision system on a DHL Boeing 757 also instructed its pilots to descend to the same level and the Boeing's tail fin sliced open the Russian jet. The 69 people on board the Russian Tupolev passenger jet, most of them children, as well as two pilots on the Boeing 757 operated by the courier company DHL died in the crash. Dec 15, 2006

Z

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Dec 11, 2006
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Date:Dec 18, 2006
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