Av Hazard publicizes safety and operational concerns to help prevent accidents but it works only if we hear from you. Use the postage-free Av Hazard card to describe the hazard and return it to Pro Pilot. To obtain an official FAA review send NASA an ASRS form. For immediate action, call the airport, FBO, ATC, FSDO or the 24-hour FAA Safety Hotline at 800-255-1111. Note: Telephone numbers for all US Towers and ARTCCs are published in Ac-U-Kwik and Pilots Express Airport/Heliport/FBO directories. To report safety concerns outside the US, contact ICAO HQ at 514-954-8219 or via fax at 514-954-6077. ICAO has worldwide telephone and fax numbers to expedite Av Hazard reports to civil aviation authorities.
TFRs coming to an area near you
With the opening of both Professional and Division 1 football seasons recently, FAA issued a Notice reminding pilots of Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) over sporting and other special events and the special procedures when operating around these areas. Since Sep 11, 14 CFR 99.7 created the requirement for TFRs to be created over special security events which are defined as a stadium with a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people.
These events may be regular or post season major league baseball, NFL football, and NCAA games. This Blanket Notam also covers NASCAR, Indy Car and other special notice events. TFRs cover an area 3 nm around the event up to 3000 ft AGL prohibiting all aircraft and parachute operations 1 hour before the start of the event to 1 hour after the event. This includes the time if the event goes long so FAA reminds pilots the ending time of the TFR may not be as published if the game is a nail biter and goes into overtime.
- Finding current TFR information is relatively easy with several online sources such as tfr.faa.gov, aopa.com/ tfr and airspacecoordination.org to name a few. With the elections heating up next year, TFRs will no doubt begin popping up around the country and if the websites are not enough FAA will even e-mail TFR notices directly to your cell phone if you sign up for the e-mail notifications. It pays to stay ahead of these TFRs if not you may need to read and be familiar with FAA Special Notice 4/4386—National Airspace System Intercept Procedures—but that discussion is for another day!
$11,000 fine for laser attacks on pilots
With the recent rise of laser attack incidents on aircraft, FAA released a legal interpretation of 14 CFR 91.11, Interference with a Crewmember via Laser. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt states, "These are not toys, and this is dangerous. What they might think is an innocent prank can be deadly, and to suffer a loss of vision at low altitudes could have very serious consequences to both the crew and the passengers." To raise public awareness of this dangerous action, FAA will now seek fines of up to $11,000 for the offense.
Helicopter pilots are often on the receiving end of the laser because they fly at low altitude and airspeed providing a much easier target. The new legal interpretation from FAA states the laser exposure can cause harmful effects to the pilot and can be considered interfering with a crewmember's abilities to perform his or her duties therefore punishable by a fine.
Briefing passengers on survival equipment location
As a result of the airplane accident in Aleknagik AK on Aug 9, 2010, NTSB sent a letter of recommendation to AOPA for more thorough passenger briefings prior to takeoff. According to the letter, the accident pilot failed to brief the passengers on the location of survival equipment in the event of a crash nor did he tell the passengers about a satellite phone located behind the pilot seat in the event of an emergency.
Following the crash sequence the surviving passengers were not aware of a satphone located on the aircraft. One of the passengers remembered from a previous flight another pilot stated a survival kit was located in the back of the airplane. The wreckage was found and rescue personnel made it to the crash site but not before helicopters could evacuate the survivors. All personnel spent the night at the scene due to darkness and poor weather with the temperatures dropping to –30°F (with wind chill factored in). In the letter, NTSB stated had the passengers been briefed on the location and use of survival and emergency communication equipment (specifically the location and use of the satphone) rescue and recovery procedures could have been initiated sooner.
NTSB members recommended AOPA to "educate pilots of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight operations about the benefits of notifying passengers about the location and operation of survival and emergency communication equipment on board their airplanes." They went on to say that "providing potentially life-saving information to passengers about survival and communication equipment on board an aircraft is a no-cost way for pilots and operators to enhance the safety of their flight operations."
- As professional pilots we brief passengers every day—however, too often we may assume that frequent flyers know where the equipment is or we are in too much of a hurry to stay on schedule and breeze through the passenger briefing or skip it entirely. Don't assume that in the event of an accident (as in this case) the pilot survives the crash sequence—give all passengers a fighting chance at survival, especially in terrain like Alaska and give a thorough passenger briefing.