9 United Airlines aircraft were grounded on on Tuesday when a TSA inspector used a Total Air Temperature (TAT) probe as a step to gain access to an airliner. The inspector was spotted in the act, forcing additional inspections prior to the potentially damaged aircraft re-entering service. Needless to say, United was less than happy, however, the TSA was quick to retaliate stating that the airline had failed to properly secure its aircraft.

House Unanimously Passes Air Safety Bill

I've been concerned lately by the FAA's actions regarding airline inspections. I was glad to see Congressman James Oberstar calling them out, but had begun to worry that he was all talk and no action. Thankfully, the House of Representatives has given me reason to worry less. The Washington Post reports that not only did they recently pass an Air Safety Bill sponsored by Congressmen Oberstar and John Mica, they passed it with a unanimous vote!

Cessna vs. Edna

Cessna has produced a video that looks to be a shot across the bow of the airline industry. They're taking aim at the Airline Transport Association (ATA) and their new spokeswoman Edna. The ATA has been defending their stance against corporate aviation with the finger wagging and bee hive wearing Edna. She claims that corporate aviation isn't paying a their fair share for the air traffic system, however, she fails to mention that the hub and spoke system is broken... but we didn't expect them to admit that now did we.

Flying on a Full Tank?

I was looking through some of my old issues of AOPA magazine when I found an article that has become nearer and dearer to our pocketbooks since the recent rise in fuel prices. In the December 2005 issue, Chip Wright wrote an article entitled "Fill 'er up?" about how general aviation has a tendency to always take off with a full tank of fuel, even when our planned flight doesn't require all the fuel on board. Wright's article gave extensive reasons why the airlines don't carry full fuel on every flight but came up short in explaining why general aviation should carry full fuel on every flight.

Flying High... No the Other "High"...

I couldn't let this one slip by... A group by the name of SAFER, which stands for Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation is lobbying the Denver offices of the FAA. Their goal is to open lounges in airports allowing passengers to smoke marijuana prior to their departure. The goal, apparently, is to mellow folks out... which is a "safer" alternative to getting them drunk, which may cause belligerent behavior. Brings the term "getting high" to a whole new level.

Get Some Sleep

Or don't get enough sleep as the case may now be for Indian aviators. Apparently the Directorate General for Civil Aviation, the Indian equivalent to the FAA has rescinded its newly implemented flight duty time limitations. These new regulations, in line with similar requirements in the U.S. and other European countries, were a much needed safety improvement over older and outdated regulations. Unfortunately the civil aviation authority is bowing to pressure from the airlines, leaving a complete gap in regulation. So right now, Indian airlines can run their crews with little sleep, and not violate any regulation other than common sense...

ADS-B and Next Generation

There has been some talk recently about the new Automatic Dependant Surveillance- Broadcast (ADS-B) program which is the major technology behind the FAA’s Next Generation air traffic control system and is slated to replace/ revolutionize air traffic control equipment in the next 10 to 15 years. I wanted to put out the information I’ve dug up so far and see what opinion our readers have for the new system

Situational Awareness

Do you want to know exactly when your in-laws are arriving? Or maybe you just want more information about where exactly that connecting flight is being held up? If so you should check out FlightAware a way cool flight tracker. I've used it with great success, you get a few more features with an account but for the most part the vanilla version does just what you need. It's a great tool for your favorite airport watering hole with a hotspot. Got something different? Let us know what tools you use in the comments below.

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