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Flight Safety Information

TopFlight Safety Information


July 15, 2019 -No. 141



In This Issue


Boeing 737 Max jets could be grounded into November: report

Incident: Austrian E195 near Manchester on Jul 14th 2019, emergency descent

Incident: Euro Atlantic B738 at Rotterdam on Jul 13th 2019, flaps problem

Accident: Jetblue A320 near New York on Jul 14th 2019, passengers and crew become sick

Accident: British Airways B772 over Atlantic on Jul 14th 2019, fumes on board

EVAS - Cockpit Smoke Protection

Incident: Finnair A359 near Surgut on Jul 12th 2019, cracked windshield

Incident: Belavia B733 at Kiev on Jul 12th 2019, overran runway on landing

Accident: Sky Express AT42 at Naxos on Jul 12th 2019, runway excursion on backtrack for departure

Boy slips through Heathrow security to board British Airways flight to Los Angeles

The USHST releases helicopter safety advice

DGCA finds safety lapses by IndiGo, issues notices to 4 executives (India)

Indian DGCA orders airport operators to buy aircraft recovery kits

FAA Publishes New 2020 ADS-B Pre-Flight Policy

A plane that crashed at Addison Airport was upside down when it hit a hangar, NTSB says

New air passenger protections kick in today (Canada)

Europe Vows to Take on SpaceX in Reusable Rocketry

POSITION AVAILABLE:...Aviation Safety Inspector (Air Carrier Maintenance)

Upcoming USC Aviation Safety & Security Program Courses




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Boeing 737 Max jets could be grounded into November: report

American Airlines will extend cancellations of about 115 daily flights for a fourth time amid the continual grounding of the Boeing 737 Max model, according to Reuters.

The extension will push the cancellation period into early November and was expected following the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) announcement in July that it had discovered a new flaw in the jet that Boeing believes will take until at least September to remedy. The FAA must reapprove the jets for flight following two deadly crashes.

"American Airlines remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to recertification of the aircraft this year," the airline said in a statement on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Before the announcement, American had planned to keep the Max off of its schedule through Sept. 3, according to Reuters. The airline is the second-largest operator of the Max in the U.S., using it predominantly on flights between New York City's LaGuardia Airport and Miami.

The need to substitute other planes for its busiest flights has forced the airline to suspend or cancel other flights, such as direct flights between Oakland, Calif., and Dallas-Fort Worth, according to the news service.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines, the world's largest Max operator, has removed the aircraft from its schedule through Oct. 1, while United Airlines has removed it through Nov. 3, according to Reuters.

The Max groundings are projected to have cost the company about $350 million thus far despite claims from CEO Doug Parker in June 12 that it was "highly likely" the planes would return to the air by mid-August.

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Incident: Austrian E195 near Manchester on Jul 14th 2019, emergency descent


An Austrian Airlines Embraer ERJ-195, registration OE-LWL performing flight OS-463 from Vienna (Austria) to Manchester,EN (UK) with 110 passengers and 5 crew, was enroute at FL340 about 140nm east of Manchester when the crew initiated an emergency descent to FL100 levelling off at FL100 about 6 minutes later (average rate of descent 4000 fpm). The aircraft continued to Manchester maintaining FL100 for about 15 minutes and landed safely on Manchester's runway 05R about 43 minutes after leaving FL340. Emergency services followed the aircraft to the apron.

Passengers reported they didn't know what was going on and received no information. They later overheard ground personnel suspecting the aircraft won't go anywhere any time soon.

On Jul 15th 2019 the airline reported the crew received indication of a possible problem with the cabin pressurization and initiated a rapid descent in accordance with standard operating procedures.

The return flight OS-464 was cancelled.

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Incident: Euro Atlantic B738 at Rotterdam on Jul 13th 2019, flaps problem


A Euro Atlantic Airways Boeing 737-800 on behalf of TUIFly Netherlands, registration CS-TQU performing flight OR-546 from Fuerteventura,CI (Spain) to Rotterdam (Netherlands), was on final approach to Rotterdam's runway 24 when the crew initiated a go around reported they had a bad indication for their flaps. The aircraft climbed to 3000 feet, diverted to Amsterdam (Netherlands) and landed safely on runway 06 at a higher than normal speed (157 knots over ground) about 25 minutes after the go-around.

The aircraft remained in Amsterdam for about 2 hours, then flew to Rotterdam for a safe landing on runway 24.

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Accident: Jetblue A320 near New York on Jul 14th 2019, passengers and crew become sick


A Jetblue Airbus A320-200, registration N521JB performing flight B6-1203 from Newark,NJ (USA) to Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), was enroute at FL350 about 90nm east of Greenville,NC (USA) when the crew decided to turn around and divert to New York JFK,NY (USA) after a number of passengers and crew reported feeling sick. The aircraft diverted to JFK for a safe landing on runway 22L about one hour later. A number of passengers and crew were assessed at the airport.

The airline reported a "handful of customers and crew" felt unwell prompting the crew to divert the aircraft out of abundance of caution. There had been no odours on board.

According to latest research results contaminations of cabin air happen on every flight with cabin air being supplied through bleed air regardless of odours or no odours on board, as engine seals leak small amounts of engine oil by design according to findings by Prof. Dr. Scholz of Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany).

A replacement A321-200 registration N983JT reached Santo Domingo with a delay of 5.5 hours.

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Accident: British Airways B772 over Atlantic on Jul 14th 2019, fumes on board


A British Airways Boeing 777-200, registration G-YMMD performing flight BA-2201 from London Gatwick,EN (UK) to Cancun (Mexico) with 237 passengers and 13 crew, was enroute at FL360 about 700nm westsouthwest of Shannon (Ireland) when the crew donned their oxygen masks reporting fumes on board, several people on board needed medical attention. The crew decided to turn around and divert to Shannon, descended to FL290 and landed safely on Shannon's runway 24 about 1:45 hours after turning around. Eight people were assessed by paramedics at the airport.

The passengers were taken to hotels until a replacement aircraft arrives. The continuation of the flight was postponed to the next day.

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Incident: Finnair A359 near Surgut on Jul 12th 2019, cracked windshield


A Finnair Airbus A350-900, registration OH-LWK performing flight AY-101 from Helsinki (Finland) to Hong Kong (China), was enroute at FL370 about 140nm southwest of Surgut (Russia) when the crew turned around and decided to return to Helsinki due to a cracked windshield. The aircraft descended to FL360 and landed safely back in Helsinki about 3:10 hours after the decision to return.

The occurrence aircraft returned to service about 19.5 hours after landing.

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Incident: Belavia B733 at Kiev on Jul 12th 2019, overran runway on landing


A Belavia Boeing 737-300, registration EW-336PA performing flight B2-847 from Minsk (Belarus) to Kiev Zhulyani (Ukraine) with 139 passengers and 5 crew, landed on Zhulyani's runway 26 at about 23:49L (20:49Z) but overran the end of the runway, broke through the approach lights and came to a stop on soft ground about 100 meters past the end of paved surface and 300 meters past the end of the runway. There were no injuries, the aircraft received minor if any damage.

The aerodrome was closed for about 16 hours until the aircraft was removed.

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Accident: Sky Express AT42 at Naxos on Jul 12th 2019, runway excursion on backtrack for departure


A Sky Express Avions de Transport Regional ATR-42-500, registration SX-FOR performing flight GQ-405 from Naxos to Athens (Greece) with 46 passengers and 3 crew, was backtracking runway 36 for departure at about 17:20L (14:20Z) when the aircraft went off the paved surface of the runway and came to a stop with the main gear in a ditch, the tail on the ground, the lower fuselage below propellers on the runway edge and the nose gear on the runway surface. There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

Passengers on previous flights reported it was common to backtrack the runway, line up for departure and then roll back using back power (propellers in beta) to get as much runway available for takeoff as possible.

Naxos' runway 18/36 is officially 900 meters/2950 feet long. The Hellenic AIP reports TODA, TORA, ASDA and LDA all at 900 meters.

LGNX 121550Z 35007KT CAVOK 26/16 Q1011=
LGNX 121450Z 36011KT CAVOK 27/15 Q1011=
LGNX 121350Z 35011G21KT CAVOK 27/14 Q1011=
LGNX 121250Z 35010G20KT CAVOK 27/14 Q1011=
LGNX 120950Z 01012KT CAVOK 26/16 Q1011=
LGNX 120850Z 01011KT 9999 FEW025 25/15 Q1011=

The aircraft off the runway:

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Boy slips through Heathrow security to board British Airways flight to Los Angeles

The unaccompanied child, who had no travel documents, mingled with passengers getting on the flight and was only spotted when cabin crew asked to see his boarding pass in order to direct him to his seat - PA

Police at Heathrow Airport are investigating how a 12-year-old boy slipped through security and managed to board a British Airways flight to Los Angeles without a ticket or boarding pass.

The unaccompanied child, who had no travel documents, mingled with passengers getting on the flight and was only spotted when cabin crew asked to see his boarding pass in order to direct him to his seat.

The mystery youngster, who is thought to be Dutch, was not travelling with his parents, and refused to cooperate with cabin crew when he was challenged.

Fellow passengers said he refused to leave the aircraft and was eventually removed by police officers who boarded to assist aircrew.

As a result of the security lapse, the aircraft had to be cleared and all the passengers were forced to undergo a second security check, delaying the flight by more than four hours.

The mystery youngster, who is thought to be Dutch, was not travelling with his parents, and refused to cooperate with cabin crew when he was challenged Credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant
Detectives were working to establish where the boy was originally from and how he had managed to pass through strict security cordons, without being spotted.

One theory is that he was a transit passenger who had arrived at Heathrow with a ticket to an onward destination, but had then attempted to see if he how far he could get with our being challenged as part of an elaborate dare.

The lapse also raises concerns over the effectiveness of security checks at Britain's busiest airport, although a spokesman for British Airways insisted the boy had been through the same controls as all other passengers.

The spokesman said: "We have apologised to our customers for the delay to their flight after an issue during boarding.

"The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority and everyone who had boarded the aircraft had been subject to security checks.

"We conducted additional precautionary screening as soon as this issue came to light and we are assisting the police with their enquiries."

Rachel Richardson, who was heading to Los Angeles on a business trip, described chaotic scenes as airline staff tried to deal with the situation.

She said: "The boy would not speak to the cabin crew and they were asking if anybody spoke Dutch. He would not help them understand where his bags were so the whole aircraft had to be cleared which meant we were almost more than four hours delayed taking off. It was very frustrating."

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "A 12-year-old boy boarded a BA flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles at around 17:15hrs on 14 July.

"He was identified by cabin crew during pre-flight check. He did not have a ticket or any travel documents.

"The boy was an unaccompanied minor. He is not a UK national. As a security precaution, passenger de-planed following a discussion between police and the captain.

"The child is believed to have arrived at Heathrow as a transit passenger."

A Heathrow spokesperson said:

"We are working with our police colleagues and British Airways to understand how an unauthorised passenger boarded the incorrect aircraft. The individual did not represent a security risk and, purely as a precaution, the aircraft in question was re-screened and has since departed. We apologise for the disruption and will continue working closely with the authorities and our airline partners to keep the airport safe."

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The USHST releases helicopter safety advice

With a turbulent beginning to the year threatening the lives of those working in the helicopter industry, the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) has urged helicopter operators, pilots, instructors and mechanics to rely on safety basics and place a stronger emphasis on identifying and managing risk

Since January of this year, there have been 15 fatal accidents with 27 fatalities in the helicopter industry. The USHST notes that this is comparable with 2013, when 30 fatal accidents occurred. And, as July notoriously records a high number of accidents, the team anticipates that the industry is at risk of matching the 35 fatal helicopter accidents that occurred in 2008.

In response, and as an extra safety precaution, the USHST has encouraged those working in the field to focus on seven key actions that will help save lives.

Firstly, it is crucial that you know how much fuel you need or may need, says USHST. Carrying enough fuel for unexpected situations is integral to flight planning, and ignoring minimum fuel reserve requirements will put flight crews at unnecessary risk. Crews are also advised to take time to inspect the condition of an aircraft both before and after a flight to identify any issues that could affect the aircraft during operation.

Many over the counter (OTC) medications can impair the abilities of pilots, leading to aircraft accidents. The USHST notes that OTC medications usage by pilots remains a factor in 10 to 13 per cent of aircraft accidents and, as such, crews should recognize the potency of OTC medications.

During flight, there are many ways that flight crews can curtail the risks of getting into an accident. The USHST says to stop the scud running; sometimes a helicopter's altitude will be lowered to avoid clouds or bad weather, but this is dangerous, as it increases the risk of flying into terrain, wires or towers. In addition, visual flight rules in instrument conditions can lead to death, says the USHST - whether this is because the aircraft is flying too low or the pilot is not instrument qualified or is unwilling to believe what the gauges are indicating, it is dangerous and can be fatal.

As its penultimate piece of advice, the USHST advises that crews must not succumb to Get-There-Itis. This 'disease' can cloud judgement, causing pilots to become fixated on the destination and thus disregard any alternative courses of action. And finally, don't be afraid to divert, turn around or land. Ensure you have an alternative course of action available should the weather conditions worsen of unexpected problems arise. "In other words, don't be afraid to land and live," concluded the team.

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DGCA finds safety lapses by IndiGo, issues notices to 4 executives (India)

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) carried out the audit at the IndiGo office in Gurgaon on July 8 and July 9, the sources said.

The DGCA is conducting special audit of all airlines and airports which are in monsoon-affected areas in the wake of multiple landing incidents across the country.

NEW DELHI: Four senior executives of IndiGoNSE 1.78 % airline were issued show cause notices Friday by the DGCA after a special audit team of the aviation regulator found safety lapses, according to sources privy to the development.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) carried out the audit at the IndiGo office in Gurgaon on July 8 and July 9, the sources said.

"Captain Sanjiv Bhalla, the head of training; Captain Hemant Kumar, the chief of flight safety; Captain Ashim Mitra, the senior vice-president - operations; Captain Rakesh Srivastava, the QA (Quality Assurance) and Ops Safety, have been issued show cause notices today," a source told PTI.

The DGCA is conducting special audit of all airlines and airports which are in monsoon-affected areas in the wake of multiple landing incidents across the country.

The regulator has given 15 days to the four executives to respond to the notices.

In its notice to company's training chief Bhalla, the regulator said that pilots' corrective training "was either not carried out or delayed" in number of cases when it was recommended by the Flight Safety and Operations Department of the airline.

The regulator said the department sent these recommendations for corrective training after analyzing the data coming out of Flights Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA).

FOQA is the process of obtaining and analyzing all kinds of data from flights in order to improve the safety and efficiency of flight operations. Whenever a safety parameter limit is exceeded, it is called an "exceedance" or "event".

The notice to Bhalla said,"The corrective action recommended are inconsistent and not commensurate with the severity of the FOQA events".

"The corrective training records post failure (unsatisfactory reports) were not maintained in individuals training folder," the notice added.

The regulator also said that there is no Safety Action Group (SAG) within the training department to discuss and resolve critical safety issues concerning training.

Currently, IndiGo is the leading airline in India as it has around 50 per cent share of the domestic air passenger market.

In the notice issued to Srivastava, who handles Quality Assurance (QA) and Operations Safety of the airline, the DGCA said,"There is substantial delay in counselling/corrective training of the crew involved in FOQA events."

The regulator added that the pilots involved in such events or exceedances were not made available for corrective training.

In its notice to Srivastava, it said "there was no analysis pertaining to crew involved in repeated exceedances in the last quarter".

"Guidelines have not been established for deciding the quantum and type of corrective action required to be taken in case of a FOQA event," the DGCA said in its notices to Srivastava and Mitra.

To company's flight safety chief Hemant Kumar, the DGCA said,"There is a lack of supervision on the corrective training and related documentation".

The regulator added that Kumar's department did not escalate the issue with the Safety Review Board (SRB) of the airline when pilots - who needed corrective training - were either not made available for such training or if they came for such a training, it was after a delay.

In an airline, the SRB - which is made up of top executives - has to make sure that appropriate resources are provided to achieve the established safety performance.

The airline's spokesperson told PTI that its senior officials have received four show cause notices from the DGCA and "this is under review by the company".

On July 4, four senior executives of SpiceJet were also issued show cause notices by the DGCA after a special audit team of the aviation regulator found lapses on their part.

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Indian DGCA orders airport operators to buy aircraft recovery kits

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the operators of major Indian airports to acquire disabled aircraft recovery kits (DARK).

The decision comes days after a SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 aircraft went off the runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai during heavy rain conditions.

As a result, the main runway of the airport was closed leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

To thwart the reoccurrence of such incidents in the future, the DGCA ordered the airport operators of Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Mumbai to acquire DARK.

It also urged the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to purchase three DARK and deploy them at important airports. DARK will enable the airport operators to retrieve stuck aircraft.

The decision was taken by the DGCA director general Arun Kumar during a meeting attended by airport operators and other stakeholders.

An unidentified senior official of the DGCA told The Economic Times: "We cannot be the world's third largest aviation market and not have the capability to retrieve an aircraft for 90 hours. We will soon have such equipment at six airports to avoid a repeat of long closures."

"This will ensure that no airport is shut due to unavailability of equipment to take out the aircraft. The money spent will come under the airport operator's revenue asset base, which would mean that they can recover the cost of the equipment through charges. Airport operators have agreed to this arrangement."

One DARK is expected to cost up to Rs80m ($1.17m), which will be paid by the respective operator of the airport.

At present, national carrier Air India is the only carrier with a DARK in the country.

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FAA Publishes New 2020 ADS-B Pre-Flight Policy

ADS-B, FAA, pre-flight policy

When the FAA's ADS-B Out regulation becomes effective next year, operators will need to predict the availability of the GPS constellation along their planned route and comply with a number of operational stipulations the FAA has outlined in its newly published policy on pre-flight performance requirements.

The new policy comes six months prior to the Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B Out airspace mandate taking effect. Under the new policy, the FAA is requiring operators to assess how their aircraft's position-reporting avionics will perform along their filed flight plans.

In the pre-flight planning process, the FAA is requiring pilots to use a preflight availability prediction tool to asses whether or not their aircraft's GPS receivers can meet the navigation integrity category (NIC) performance requirements outlined by the technical standard order used by the agency to define the accuracy of position reporting equipment. NIC refers to the containment radius around an aircraft's reported position, which must be accurate within less than 0.2 nautical miles of its actual airborne position.

Under the new policy, the FAA is specifically targeting operators of aircraft GPS receivers that are not wide area augmentation system (WAAS) compatible. Operators who equip with non-WAAS receivers are more likely to experience performance outages that limit their access to the airspace defined in the rule.

When assessing the GPS performance for their intended flight plan, if an operator determines that the predicted performance will support the proposed flight, the FAA will require the pilot to adjust the route to avoid the area where degraded performance could occur.

"After an operator receives a satisfactory preflight availability prediction for an intended operation, there may be certain conditions that warrant a subsequent prediction. For example, a change in departure time or a change in the GPS satellite constellation as indicated by a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) may have an effect on the predicted GPS performance for the intended operation," the policy statement said.

There is also an acknowledgement by the FAA regarding its Exemption 12555 policy, a one-time grant of exemption for aircraft from 14 CFR § 91.227 requirements for operators using GPS receivers when their performance falls below the requirement and backup surveillance is unavailable. The FAA established that exemption to address the performance characteristics associated with the three different variants of GPS receivers that are currently found in air transport category aircraft.

Operators that have qualified for Exemption 12555 do not need to perform a preflight availability prediction. Those who fall outside of the exemption and are flying aircraft with GPS receivers that do not meet the necessary NIC and NAC performance requirements must use either their own preflight availability prediction tool or the FAA's Service Availability Prediction Tool (SAPT).

Additionally, when pilots receive NOTAMS indicating that planned government GPS interference testing impacting ADS-B Out airspace occurs, they will not require operators to avoid that airspace. A technical evaluation of such occurrences by the agency determined that they have no way of guaranteeing whether an aircraft flying through affected airspace would actually experience GPS performance degradation.

The latest ADS-B Out equipage levels as reported by the FAA. Photo: FAA

The new pre-flight policy is the latest in a series of new guidelines established by the FAA to help airspace users transition from relying on ground-based radar to ADS-B as the primary air traffic surveillance source in the U.S. In April, a new policy for non-equipped aircraft was published noting that air traffic controllers will only approve non-ADS-B flights when they're convenient. Avionics manufacturers and installation facilities have also been working to ensure operators know how to deal with ADS-B failures.

As the 2020 mandate draws closer, the commercial airline segment of the U.S. flying community appears to be on track to have nearly all of their aircraft requiring upgrades equipped. The general aviation community remains the lowest equipped segment, with the U.S. registered helicopter fleet remaining the lowest equipped segment.

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A plane that crashed at Addison Airport was upside down when it hit a hangar, NTSB says

An aircraft that crashed June 30 at Addison Airport was upside down when it struck a hangar seconds after takeoff, killing 10 people, according to an NTSB preliminary report.

The report released this week sheds little other light on the cause of the crash. A final report could take a year or more, National Transportation Safety Board officials have said.

NTSB officials have previously said they have several witness accounts and footage from multiple security cameras at the airport north of Dallas to help them piece together the events that led to the crash.

"Several security cameras captured the drift to the left immediately after takeoff and then a roll to the left," the NTSB report released Wednesday states. "One camera showed the airplane roll completely inverted before it collided with the hangar."

"Witness marks and wreckage distribution were consistent with the airplane impacting the top of the hangar in a right wing low, nose down, and inverted attitude," the report states.

The crash killed pilot Howard Cassady, co-pilot Matthew Palmer and all eight passengers. No one on the ground was injured.

Passengers included: Brian and Ornella Ellard, whose family owned a business that bought the plane earlier this year; their children Alice and Dylan Maritato; Steve and Gina Thelen; and John and Mary Titus.

About an hour and a half prior to departure, the Beechcraft King Air 350's fuel tanks were "topped off" and luggage was placed an the rear of the aircraft, NTSB reported, citing information it received from aircraft owner EE Operations and aviation services provider Flyte Aero.

The Federal Aviation Administration told NTSB that the pilot contacted ground control stating he was ready to taxi, and at 9:05 a.m. June 30 was directed to use runway 15. About 9:10 a.m., the pilot was given departure instructions and cleared for takeoff.

"A crew comment regarding a problem with the left engine occurred about 8 seconds before the end of the recording," NTSB reported. "Three automated 'bank angle' aural alerts began about 3 seconds before the end of the recording."

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New air passenger protections kick in today (Canada)

Airlines, industry groups, passenger advocates taking the regulations to court

Airline passengers have new rights starting today, as long-awaited government rules kick in. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

Airline passengers have new rights starting today, as rules from the Canada Transportation Agency that have prompted backlash from industry and consumer advocates kick in.

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations require airlines to meet certain obligations, including clear communication to passengers about their rights and timely updates for delays or cancellations. Passengers will also be compensated up to $2,400 if they're bumped from a flight.

In addition, passengers are now entitled to a certain standard of treatment when stuck on the tarmac. People will be allowed to leave the plane in certain situations if the delays exceed three hours - though that's twice the time the Senate committee that studied the rules recommended.

Federal government announces new rules on airline passenger protection, compensation
Time spent on the tarmac became a huge point of contention when two planes were stranded for up to six hours on the tarmac at the Ottawa airport in 2017 due to bad weather. The passengers were kept on board with no air conditioning, food or water.

Air Transat was fined after the CTA found the airline broke its agreement with passengers. Transportation Minister Marc Garneau used the example to illustrate why the new bill of rights - then in the Senate - should be a priority.

Lost baggage procedures have also been updated to allow for compensation of up to $2,100. There are also clearer policies for transporting musical instruments.

The regulations will apply to all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights. Large airlines, those that have serviced two million passengers or more in the last two years, will have a slightly different regulatory regime than smaller airlines in some cases.

Smaller airlines, for example, will have to pay less compensation for delays or cancellations that are within the airline's control but are not related to safety issues

Pushback from both sides
The rules have been controversial among airlines and passenger advocates, and the government will have to fend off attempts to kill the rules in court.

The International Air Transport Association and several airlines are arguing the rules violate international agreements and Canada is overstepping its authority. It's asking a federal court to invalidate the regulations.

While the airlines say the rules go too far, passenger rights experts say they don't go far enough.

Two advocates are also challenging the tarmac delay rules, saying they violate the charter rights of some Canadians with disabilities who may not be able to sit for extended periods.

Bob Brown, a disability rights advocate who is quadriplegic, says the rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk by up to 2,000 kilometres. The case is currently before the Federal Court of Appeal.

These are only some of the changes coming in. Starting in December, airlines will also have to adhere to standards about flight disruptions and seating passengers with children. Compensation for cancelled flights and delays are part of phase two of the rollout.

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Europe Vows to Take on SpaceX in Reusable Rocketry

For years, European space companies have been complaining: SpaceX prices are impossible to beat!

In fact, new Falcon 9 rocket rides retail for just $62 million (rides on reused rockets are reportedly selling for as little as $50 million). That's less than half the cost of an Ariane 5 from Airbus (NASDAQOTH: EADSY) subsidiary Arianespace, leading Ariane CEO Alain Charmeau to warn that SpaceX is going to "kick Europe out of space" unless Europe does something about this -- and soon.

So it's probably good news for Airbus and Ariane that Europe has decided it will finally do something.


Rocket landing on a barge marked with an X

Image source: Getty Images.

Europe's 3 million-euro bet on reusability

Specifically, the European Commission announced last month that it's going to ante up some seed capital to begin researching a pair of "reusable upright-landing" rockets that could theoretically, eventually, compete with SpaceX in the reusable rockets market.

The EC will pay 3 million euros ($3.4 million) to the German Aerospace Center and five privately held companies -- MT Aerospace from Germany, Amorim Cork Composites from Portugal, Spain's Elecnor Deimos; and CFS Engineering and Almatech, both of Switzerland. Working together, these six organizations will develop technologies for reusable rockets that will land upright after a successful mission, just like SpaceX rockets.

The EC calls its latest project RETALT (for RETro propulsion Assisted Landing Technologies), and it's giving the team three years to accomplish its mission. When complete, the RETALT consortium aims to have two rocket models to work with: a two-stage version similar to SpaceX's Falcon 9, where only the first stage will be reusable, and a single-stage-to-orbit reusable rocket for delivery of smaller payloads. That one will resemble the rockets being launched today by Rocket Lab -- but reusable.

The chances of European space success
Will RETALT succeed? I certainly hope it does. But with the small size of the EC's investment, the lack of involvement by marquee space-tech companies like Thales or Ariane, and the fact that the EC seems to be designing its new rocket by committee, I worry that this project has little prospect of producing paradigm-shifting results for Europe's space industry.

Consider the obstacles in the context of SpaceX, the company Europe is trying to emulate. SpaceX has been testing vertical landing of rockets since at least as far back as 2012, beginning with its Grasshopper test bed rocket. Not only does this mean SpaceX has at least a seven-year head start on Ariane, it also suggests that the three years of funding the EC is promising its consortium may not be enough to get Europe's space industry anywhere near the level of reusable-rocket proficiency that SpaceX already possesses.

And speaking of funding, SpaceX spent nearly $400 million designing and developing its reusable Falcon 9 rocket, and a further $500 million to develop Falcon Heavy. This suggests Europe's $3.4 million may only be a down payment on what's necessary -- it may need to scale up that investment by a few hundred times in order to reach the point that SpaceX is at already.

And by that time, of course, it's likely SpaceX's capabilities will be even more advanced.

What does this mean for Ariane 6 -- and for the United Launch Alliance?
In the meantime, of course, Airbus and Ariane are continuing with their efforts to lower the cost of more mundane expendable rockets -- the single-use kind of rockets that were standard before SpaceX arrived.

At last report, Ariane hoped to have its new Ariane 6 expendable rocket ready to fly by 2020 -- and hoped to price it at $77 million per flight. That still won't be cheap enough to compete with SpaceX now that it's offering flight-proven Falcon 9 rides for just $50 million a pop. But it should be cheap enough to give the United Launch Alliance (ULA) -- the Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) joint venture that is Ariane's other primary rival -- another thing to worry about.

And this, I suspect, may be the biggest implication of Europe's new interest in reusable rocketry: If RETALT succeeds and if its technology is adopted by Ariane, ULA could end up in the unenviable position of being the only major Western space company lacking an active program for reusable rocketry.

Boeing and Lockheed won't be able to leave this move unanswered. Combined, the two companies have already spend nearly $500 million on their space businesses, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. And if they want ULA to remain a part of the space race, they may have little choice but to spend a lot more -- and develop a reusable rocket of their own.

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POSITION AVAILABLE: Aviation Safety Inspector (Air Carrier Maintenance) Job in Louisville, Kentucky - Department of Transportation

The United States government is a massive employer, and is always looking for qualified candidates to fill a wide variety of open employment positions in locations across the country. Below you'll find a Qualification Summary for an active, open job listing from the Department of Transportation. The opening is for an Aviation Safety Inspector (Air Carrier Maintenance) in Louisville, Kentucky Feel free to browse this and any other job listings and reach out to us with any questions!

Aviation Safety Inspector (Air Carrier Maintenance) - Louisville, Kentucky
Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation
Job ID: 118292
Start Date: 07/08/2019
End Date: 07/15/2019

Qualification Summary
OPM Qualifications Standard for Aviation Safety Series, FG-1825 Minimum Eligibility Requirements:Not more than two separate incidents involving Federal Aviation regulations violations in the last 5 years;Valid State driver`s license;Fluency in the English language;No chemical dependencies or drug abuse that could interfere with job performance; andHigh school diploma or equivalent.Aviation Safety Inspector positions have job-related medical requirements. When applicable, applicants MUST meet job-related medical requirements which will be assessed and validated during the pre-employment process.Medical Requirements: Applicants must be physically able to perform the duties of the Aviation Safety Inspector position in a safe and efficient manner, with or without a reasonable accommodation. The minimum medical requirements include the following requirements:Have good distant vision in each eye and be able to read, without strain, printed materials the size of typewritten characters (glasses and contact lenses permitted);Have the ability to hear the conversational voice (hearing aid permitted); andNot have any physical condition that would cause them to be a hazard to themselves or others that would interfere with their ability to fly as passengers in a variety of aircraft.SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE, TRAINING, AND CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: To qualify for this position you must demonstrate in your application that you possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower level in the Federal Service. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position. Applicants should include examples of specialized experience in their work history. In addition, applicants MUST meet all of the following:Experience involving the maintenance and repair of airframes, power plants, and systems of multi-engine aircraft of more than 12,500 pounds maximum certificated takeoff weight maintained under an airworthiness maintenance and inspection program;Aircraft maintenance experience in a repair station; air carrier or airline repair facility; military repair facility; or local, state, or Federal governmental agency;Experience involving the maintenance and repair of airframes, power plants, and aircraft systems with responsibility for certifying airworthiness;Aircraft maintenance work experience within the last 3 years; andFAA Mechanic Certificate with airframe and power plant ratings.Specialized experience at the FG-12 involves a wide range of assignments or a few highly complex assignments, requiring planning and organization, setting priorities and working without clear or specific guidelines. Work at this level is typically reviewed only to assess the impact on overall organizational objectives.

If you'd like to submit a resume or apply for this position, please contact Premier Veterans at [email protected] All are free to apply!

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