767 Go Around

From AVweb:

“The official told CNN the Russian UTair crew had been cleared to land but chose to abort on their own authority. The Aerolineas Argentinas crew also had been cleared to taxi across the runway. A spokesperson told The Irish Times there was plenty of room between the two aircraft for a safe landing….”

Read the whole post here.

Boeing takes sides in the Super Bowl

Credit: FlightAware

From USA Today:

“As for the test flight, it took about five hours with the cabin crew of the 747-8F piloting the jet over a swath of eastern Washington that spanned roughly 100 miles east and west as well as north and south.

So, how did it all come together?

The inspiration, of course, came from the Seahawks – who were set to square off just three days after the “12” test flight against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey on Sunday (Feb. 2). The National Football League squad is based in Seattle, where Boeing remains one of the region’s largest employers.

Boeing had flight testing it wanted to do with the aircraft, and the company’s flight test team got creative in combining a regular test flight with some of the Super Bowl hype sweeping over Washington state.”

Southwest Jet Lands at Wrong Airport

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes around aircraft, so I am not pointing fingers. However, a Southwest Jet landed at the wrong Branson airport yesterday. Here’s a clip from AVweb:

“A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 with 129 people aboard landed at the wrong airport in Branson, MO early Sunday evening but the airline is calling the unexpected arrival “uneventful.” Flight 4013 from Chicago Midway put down on Runway 12/30 (3738X100) at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport a little after 6 p.m. local time instead of hitting Runway 14/32 (7140X100)at Branson Airport about nine miles south. “Our ground crew from the Branson airport has arrived at the airport to take care of our customers and their baggage,” Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said. “The landing was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe.”

Read the whole story here.

Here’s a map of the two airports:

Flight Plan at SkyVector.com

Apparently, the NTSB is now investigating.

This happened just two months after another high profile wrong airport landing.

Night Currency

Our club's PA-28-140 after the flight.

A few nights ago, I had the opportunity to go out and meet the night requirements of § 61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.

I’d like to give a hat tip to the controllers at Spirit of St. Louis (KSUS) airport who were very accomodating. They let me use the longer runway for stop and goes and worked me around some bizjet traffic. It’s still summer, but days are already getting shorter. It was fun and exhilarating getting to practice my skills in the dark!

Controller furloughs begin next week

Plan your flights accordingly.

From Politico:

“At a hastily called Thursday briefing, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told reporters that the public should prepare for delays that ripple across the aviation system.
Air traffic controller furloughs will begin on Sunday, and depending on how the schedules and the situation at specific airports works, the delays may run from a few minutes up to several hours.”

From J. Mac McClellan:

“The reason the world didn’t end on April 1 is that the government must give federal employees advance notice before any furlough. That notice period is up on Sunday. Beginning then FAA employees, including controllers, can expect to be furloughed at least one day every two weeks.

One day every two weeks is a 10 percent cut in a 10 workday pay period. Remove 10 percent of the controllers from any of the nation’s busiest facilities and there will be very noticeable delays. The major airline hub airports are actually scheduled beyond capacity at rush hours so take away at least 10 percent of capacity and you can imagine how the airplanes will stack up.”

ADS-B is Hackable?

ADS-B is mandated for all aircraft starting in 2020. But here’s a troubling little tidbit from a ComputerWorld security blog that should keep people on their toes:

“Here’s a few important facts: Automated Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) has no security as was pointed out at Def Con 20 shortly before a hacker was able to inject ghost planes into radar. It is unencrypted and unauthenticated. Teso said, “Attacks range from passive attacks (eavesdropping) to active attacks (message jamming, replaying, injection.” The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) also has no security; it “is used for exchanging text messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio (VHF) or satellite.” Although his talk did not focus on the vulnerabilities in those two protocols, he used them to find targets.

Anyone with the right tools and a little know-how can read and send these ACARS messages….

Teso used ACARS to exploit and break into the airplane’s onboard computer system and then upload Flight Management System (FMS) data….

Read the whole article here.

FAA Course – Tower Closings

If you are a certified pilot, you should know what to do if you come across a closed tower. But here is a helpful seminar from the FAAST team for those that are looking to get up to speed if you’ve been out of practice for a while:

Title: Airports in Transition – Dealing with Control Tower Closures
Topic: Towered and Non-towered Airport Ops, Safety Issues when a Tower Closes, Runway Signs and Markings
Date and Time: Saturday, April 13, 2013 , starting at 9:00 am CDT
Location of Seminar: West Star Aviation
18 Terminal Drive
East Alton, IL 62024

Contact Information: Dale Rust
Phone: (618) 401-4378
Or read more about the course here.

Hat’s off to STL TRACON

From today’s Post-Dispatch:

“Some quick thinking by air traffic controllers Kevin Cook and Steve Clark helped a Navy fighter pilot land his F-18 jet at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport last year with just five minutes of fuel left. Failure might have meant ditching the plane in the Mississippi River.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association recently honored Cook and Clark for their actions on April 4, 2012, with an Archie League Medal of Safety Award. The national award is named for the country’s first air traffic controller, who once guided aircraft in and out of Lambert using red and checkered flags, beginning in 1929.

The program recognizes controller “saves” from the previous year.”

Congrats, Kevin and Steve! Glad to have you watching out for us. Read the whole article here.

Introduction to ADS-B

Credit: FAA

Air Facts brings us a comprehensive introduction to ADS-B:

“In an industry famous for its ridiculous acronyms, ADS-B stands out for being uniquely confusing. Everybody uses the term, but few really know what it means. And who can blame them–it’s incredibly complicated. Unlike WAAS or LORAN, you can’t even pronounce it!

So what is ADS-B? Why should you care about it? Can you just ignore it?

No. While ADS-B may be confusing, it’s probably the most important technological change you will have to deal with as a pilot over the next two decades. So suck it up and spend some time learning the language…”

Read the entire article here.