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Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014

April 21, 2014 Comments off

Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014
Source: Transportation Research Board

Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014 explores issues that address the major environmental components affected by aviation activities, sustainable solutions that have evolved and continue to be developed to minimize aviation’s environmental impacts, and key processes that link aviation and the environment. The focus of the e-circular is on the state of science and on identification of priority research with potential to yield benefits during the next several years to several decades.

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Impacts of Aging Travelers on Airports

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Impacts of Aging Travelers on Airports
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 51: Impacts of Aging Travelers on Airports describes the challenges of wayfinding, fatigue, technology and equipment, and needed amenities, as well as the practices that airports are enacting to accommodate and improve the airport experience of aging travelers. The report is designed to help users better understand the aging demographic, and define issues and implement effective practices to accommodate aging travelers at airports.

New From the GAO

April 10, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. KC-46 Tanker Aircraft: Program Generally on Track, but Upcoming Schedule Remains Challenging. GAO-14-190, April 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-190
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662449.pdf

2. Air Force: Actions Needed to Strengthen Management of Unmanned Aerial System Pilots. GAO-14-316, April 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-316
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662468.pdf

3. Presidential Helicopter Acquisition: Update on Program’s Progress toward Development Start. GAO-14-358R, April 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-358R

4. Status of Efforts to Initiate an Amphibious Combat Vehicle Program. GAO-14-359R, April 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-359R

Testimony

1. Inspectors General: Oversight of Small Federal Agencies and the Role of the Inspectors General, by Beryl H. Davis, director, financial management and assurance, before the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-14-503T, April 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-503T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662442.pdf

New From the GAO

April 8, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Medicare: Second Year Update for CMS’s Durable Medical Equipment Competitive Bidding Program Round 1 Rebid. GAO-14-156, March 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-156
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661475.pdf

2. 2014 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits. GAO-14-343SP, April 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-343SP
Podcast - http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/662283

3. Aviation Safety: FAA Should Improve Usability of its Online Application System and Clarity of the Pilot’s Medical Form. GAO-14-330, April 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-330
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662388.pdf

4. Military Capabilities: Navy Should Reevaluate Its Plan to Decommission the USS Port Royal. GAO-14-336, April 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-336
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662377.pdf

5. Information Security: IRS Needs to Address Control Weaknesses That Place Financial and Taxpayer Data at Risk. GAO-14-405, April 8
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-405
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662372.pdf
Podcast - http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/662350

Testimonies

1. Paid Tax Return Preparers: In a Limited Study, Preparers Made Significant Errors, by James R. McTigue Jr., director, strategic issues, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-14-467T, April 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-467T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662357.pdf

2. Tobacco Products: FDA Spending and New Product Review Time Frames, by Marcia Crosse, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-14-508T, April 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-508T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662361.pdf

3. Government Efficiency and Effectiveness: Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits, by Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-14-478T, April 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-478T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662367.pdf

China’s Hunger for U.S. Planes and Cars: Assessing the Risks

April 8, 2014 Comments off

China’s Hunger for U.S. Planes and Cars: Assessing the Risks (PDF)
Source: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

The U.S. trade deficit with China continues to grow but at a slower rate. A key reason for this is the boom in U.S. automotive and aerospace shipments to China. As China becomes more affluent and urbanized, ordinary Chinese are driving more cars and traveling more by frequently by air. China’s future demand, however, could be affected by pollution, traffic bottlenecks, and other factors. U.S. companies must also contend with China’s industrial policy, which tilts the playing field toward domestic industry. In the long run, technology transfer and off-shoring could erode U.S. competitiveness and take business away from U.S. plants.

Subject Resource Guide: Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Operations

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Subject Resource Guide: Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Operations
Source: Air University (Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center)
Topics covered:

  • Aerial Reconnaissance
  • Dissemination
  • Electronic Collection
  • Exploitation
  • Gathering
  • Integrated Planning
  • Intelligence
  • ISR
  • Military Intelligence
  • Military Surveillance
  • Military Reconnaissance
  • Network Centric
  • Reconnaissance
  • Surveillance

Total Passengers on U.S Airlines and Foreign Airlines Serving the U.S. Increased 1.3% in 2013 from 2012

April 1, 2014 Comments off

Total Passengers on U.S Airlines and Foreign Airlines Serving the U.S. Increased 1.3% in 2013 from 2012
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried 826.0 million systemwide (domestic + international) scheduled service passengers in 2013, 1.3 percent more than in 2012 and the highest total since 2007. The systemwide total was the result of a 0.5 percent increase in the number of domestic passengers (645.6 million) and a 4.0 percent increase in international passengers (180.4 million) (Tables 1, 1A, 5).

Cost-benefit analysis of airport security: Are airports too safe?

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Cost-benefit analysis of airport security: Are airports too safe? (PDF)
Source: Journal of Air Transport Management

This paper assesses the risks and cost-effectiveness of measures designed to further protect airport terminals and associated facilities such as car parks from terrorist attack in the U.S., Europe, and the Asia-Pacific area. The analysis considers threat likelihood, the cost of security measures, hazard likelihood, risk reduction and expected losses to compare the costs and bene fi ts of security measures to decide the optimal security measures to airports. Monte-Carlo simulation methods were used to propagate hazard likelihood, risk reduction and loss uncertainties in the calculation of net benefits that also allows probability of cost-effectiveness to be calculated. It is found that attack probabilities had to be much higher than currently observed to justify additional protective measures. Overall, then, it is questionable whether special efforts to further protect airports are sensible expenditures. Indeed, some relaxation of the measures already in place may well be justified.

Audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Management of Terrorist Watchlist Nominations (Redacted Version)

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Management of Terrorist Watchlist Nominations (Redacted Version) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General

Despite using three separate systems to track non-investigative subject watchlist nominations, we found that the FBI had not maintained the necessry records to readily provide an accurate accounting of the actions that were taken regarding to the watchlisting status of non-investigative subjects. We found that the processes used by the FBI were redundant and resulted in incomplete, inconsistent, and erroneous data.

New From the GAO

March 20, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

General Services Administration: GSA Should Clarify Its Reporting Exemption and Collect Additional Data on Executives’ Use of Aircraft for Nonmission Purposes. GAO-14-151, February 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-151
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661253.pdf

Sustaining the U.S. Lead in Unmanned Systems: Military and Homeland Considerations through 2025

March 12, 2014 Comments off

Sustaining the U.S. Lead in Unmanned Systems: Military and Homeland Considerations through 2025
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Over the past decade, the United States has established a lead in the military use of unmanned systems technology. Yet, the U.S. lead is at risk in the decades ahead, as U.S. strategists and policymakers have not taken sufficient steps to shore up success in the military-technical revolution at hand. With the effective 2014 end of the Afghanistan War, commitment to explore the broader possibilities of unmanned systems is retreating within the Department of Defense (DoD). Meanwhile, the rest of the world is rapidly increasing its attention and investment in unmanned systems. Additionally, unmanned systems will have domestic prominence and importance for the United States as they are increasingly adopted for homeland and law enforcement missions, for private commercial use, and by individuals. This report offers analysis of the key risks and opportunities of the technology and provides specific recommendations for policymakers to sustain the U.S. lead out to 2025 and beyond.

High Interest GAO Report — Aviation Workforce: Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots

February 28, 2014 Comments off

Aviation Workforce: Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots
Source: Government Accountability Office

GAO found mixed evidence regarding the extent of a shortage of airline pilots, although regional airlines have reported difficulties finding sufficient numbers of qualified pilots over the past year. Specifically, looking at broad economic indicators, airline pilots have experienced a low unemployment rate—the most direct measure of a labor shortage; however, both employment and earnings have decreased since 2000, suggesting that demand for these occupations has not outstripped supply. Looking forward, industry forecasts and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections suggest the need for pilots to be between roughly 1,900 and 4,500 pilots per year, on average, over the next decade, which is consistent with airlines’ reported expectations for hiring over this period. Yet studies GAO reviewed examining whether the future supply of pilots will be sufficient to meet this need had varying conclusions. Two studies point to the large number of qualified pilots that exists, but who may be working abroad, in the military, or in another occupation, as evidence that there is adequate supply. However, whether these pilots choose to seek employment with U.S. airlines depends on the extent to which pilot job opportunities arise, and on the wages and benefits airlines offer. Another study concludes that future supply will be insufficient, absent any actions taken, largely resulting from accelerating costs of pilot education and training. Such costs deter individuals from pursuing a pilot career. Pilot schools that GAO interviewed reported fewer students entering their programs resulting from concerns over the high costs of education and low entry-level pay at regional airlines. As airlines have recently started hiring, nearly all of the regional airlines that GAO interviewed reported difficulties finding sufficient numbers of qualified entry-level first officers. However, mainline airlines, because they hire from the ranks of experienced pilots, have not reported similar concerns, although some mainline airlines expressed concerns that entry-level hiring problems could affect their regional airline partners’ ability to provide service to some locations.

Airlines are taking several actions to attract and retain qualified commercial airline pilots. For example, airlines that GAO interviewed have increased recruiting efforts, and developed partnerships with schools to provide incentives and clearer career paths for new pilots. Some regional airlines have offered new first officers signing bonuses or tuition reimbursement to attract more pilots. However, some airlines found these actions insufficient to attract more pilots, and some actions, such as raising wages, have associated costs that have implications for the industry. Airline representatives and pilot schools suggested FAA could do more to give credit for various kinds of flight experience in order to meet the higher flight-hour requirement, and could consider developing alternative pathways to becoming an airline pilot. Stakeholders were also concerned that available financial assistance may not be sufficient, given the high costs of pilot training and relatively low entry-level wages.

New From the GAO

February 28, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. School Lunch: Implementing Nutrition Changes Was Challenging and Clarification of Oversight Requirements Is Needed. GAO-14-104, January 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-104
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660426.pdf

2. Defense Transportation: DOD Can Better Ensure That Federal Agencies Fully Reimburse for Using Military Aircraft. GAO-14-189, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-189
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661196.pdf

3. Electronic Health Records: VA and DOD Need to Support Cost and Schedule Claims, Develop Interoperability Plans, and Improve Collaboration. GAO-14-302, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-302
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661207.pdf

4. Financial Audit: U.S. Government’s Fiscal Years 2013 and 2012 Consolidated Financial Statements. GAO-14-319R, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-319R

Testimonies

1. VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Further Program Management Improvements Are Needed, by Daniel Bertoni, director, education, workforce and income security, before the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-14-363T, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-363T

2. Critical Infrastructure Protection: Observations on DHS Efforts to Identify, Prioritize, Assess, and Inspect Chemical Facilities, by Stephen L. Caldwell, director, homeland security and justice, before the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, House Committee on Homeland Security. GAO-14-365T, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-365T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661180.pdf

3. Internet Pharmacies: Most Rogue Sites Operate from Abroad, and Many Sell Counterfeit Drugs, by Marcia Crosse, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-14-386T, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-386T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661178.pdf

4. Oil And Gas Management: Continued Attention to Interior’s Human Capital Challenges Is Needed, by Frank Rusco, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, House Committee on Natural Resources. GAO-14-394T, February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-394T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661173.pdf

Press Release

1. U.S. Government’s 2013 Financial Report Reflects Continuing Financial Management and Fiscal Challenges. February 27.
http://www.gao.gov/press/challenges_governments2013financial_report.htm

2013 Airline Consumer Complaints Down From Previous Year

February 12, 2014 Comments off

2013 Airline Consumer Complaints Down From Previous Year
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Airline consumer complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Division during 2013 were down 14.1 percent from 2012, according to the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

The Department received 13,168 complaints in 2013, down from the 15,338 complaints filed in 2012. In December, the Department received 1,114 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 23.5 percent from the 902 complaints received in December 2012, and up 47.5 percent from the total of 755 filed in November 2013.

For the month of December, airlines reported 10 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and four tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights. Most of the reported tarmac delays involved flights that arrived at or departed from Chicago O’Hare Airport on Dec. 8 that were delayed due to a snowstorm. All of the reported delays are under investigation by the Department.

The larger U.S. airlines have been required to file complete reports on their long tarmac delays for domestic flights since October 2008. Under a rule that took effect Aug. 23, 2011, all U.S. and foreign airlines operating at least one aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats must report lengthy tarmac delays at U.S. airports.

Selection of the Next Generation of Air Traffic Control Specialists: Aptitude Requirements for the Air Traffic Control Tower Cab in 2018

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Selection of the Next Generation of Air Traffic Control Specialists: Aptitude Requirements for the Air Traffic Control Tower Cab in 2018 (PDF)
Source: Federal Aviation Administration (Office of Aerospace Medicine)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) faces two significant organizational challenges in the 21st century: (1) transformation of the current NAS into the Next Generation Air Transportation System (“NextGen”); and (2) recruitment, selection, and training the next generation of air traffic control specialists (ATCSs or air traffic controllers). What aptitudes should be assessed in the selection of future air traffic controllers? This report, the first of three, focuses on the aptitudes required in the air traffic control tower cab. First, the aptitude profile currently required at the time of hire into the ATCS occupation is described based on Nickels, Bobko, Blair, Sands, & Tartak (1995). Second, mid-term (2018) changes in the tower cab are described. Change drivers include increased traffic and the introduction of five decision support tools (DSTs): 1) Airport Configuration; 2) Departure Routing; 3) Runway Assignment; 4) Scheduling and Sequencing; and 5) Taxi Routing (with Conformance Monitoring). Third, the impact of these DSTs on tower cab operational activities, sub-activities, and tasks was assessed. Overall, the activities, sub-activities, and tasks of the controllers in the Ground Control and Local Control positions in the cab will not change with the introduction of these DSTs and associated displays. However, the way the work is performed will change at the keystroke or interface level. Fourth, the impact of the DSTs on aptitudes required of controllers is evaluated. The importance of the following aptitudes will increase in the mid-term: Scanning, across both auditory and visual sources, Perceptual Speed and Accuracy, Translating Information, Chunking, Interpreting Information, Sustained Attention, Recall from Interruption, Situational Awareness, Long-Term Memory, Problem Identification, Prioritization, Time-Sharing, Information Processing Flexibility, and Task Closure/Thoroughness. Two new aptitude requirements were identified: Dispositional Trust in Automation; and Computer-Human Interface (CHI) Navigation. Gaps in current aptitude testing are identified, and recommendations presented for test development and validation to close the gap.

Fiscal Year 2013 DOI Annual Aviation Safety Summary

February 10, 2014 Comments off

Fiscal Year 2013 DOI Annual Aviation Safety Summary (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior (Office of Aviation Services)

Based on accumulated flight data in FY13, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) continued to lower the historical DOI aircraft accident rate to an all time low reducing the rate by 0.12 to 7.98 accidents per 100K flight hours. The annual aircraft accident rate dropped to an all time low of 1.62 per 100K flight hours, a decrease of 5.30 from last year and completing the best 8 consecutive years in DOI history . This breakthrough performance reaffirms our belief that zero aircraft accidents is an attainable goal, one that can be obtained with the continued commitment of DOI and Bureau leadership to the principles of Safety Management Systems.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Service Demand 2015 – 2035: Literature Review & Projections of Future Usage

February 10, 2014 Comments off

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Service Demand 2015 – 2035: Literature Review & Projections of Future Usage (PDF)
Source: U.S. Air Force (via USGS)

This report assesses opportunities, risks, and challenges attendant to future development and deployment of UAS within the National Airspace System (NAS) affecting UAS forecast growth from 2015 to 2035. Analysis of four key areas is performed: technology, mission needs, economics, and existing or anticipated challenges to routine use in NAS operations. Forecast effects of emerging technologies as well as anticipating new technological innovations in areas of airframes, powerplants, sensors, communication, command and control systems, and information technology and processing are evaluated. Anticipated mission needs include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as new areas such as stores delivery, cargo transport, search and rescue, and pilot augmentation; example business case models are developed for each of these areas. Challenges to routine UAS usage in the NAS include: absence of legislation and regulations for safe flight in integrated airspace; pilot training and certification; regulatory, policy, and procedural issues; social issues, such as privacy and nuisance concerns; environmental issues, such as noise and emissions; and safety.

Airline Passenger Demand Maintains Historic Growth Rates in 2013

February 7, 2014 Comments off

Passenger Demand Maintains Historic Growth Rates in 2013
Source: International Air Transport Association

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced full-year traffic results for 2013 showing a 5.2% increase in passenger demand compared to 2012. The 2013 performance aligns with the average annual growth rate of the past 30 years. Capacity rose 4.8% and load factor averaged 79.5% up 0.4 percentage points over 2012.

Demand in international markets (5.4%) expanded at a slightly faster rate than domestic travel (4.9%).Strongest overall growth (domestic and international combined) was recorded by carriers in the Middle East (11.4%) followed by Asia-Pacific (7.1%), Latin America (6.3%) and Africa (5.2%). The slowest growth was in the developed markets of North America (2.3%) and Europe (3.8%).

Aviation’s second golden age: Can the US aircraft industry maintain leadership?

January 22, 2014 Comments off

Aviation’s second golden age: Can the US aircraft industry maintain leadership?
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

The US commercial aircraft industry’s stocktaking of its long-term competitiveness comes at a time of revived interest in strengthening the nation’s industrial sector. Critical to achieving this is building a coordinated front among the private sector, educational institutions and government to re-tool an industrial workforce with the skills and technologies to compete and innovate globally. The need for such collaboration becomes more urgent as the US commercial aircraft industry faces competition from countries with ambitious and aggressive industrial policies already swiftly afoot.

Looming questions:

  • What more can the commercial aircraft industry do to collaborate with the public sector and educational institutions to nurture needed talent?
  • How can US companies remain at the vanguard of innovation—and concurrently meet demanding production rates?
  • What are US companies doing to maintain leadership as foreign commercial aviation programs mature?

Recycling Best Practices—A Guidebook for Advancing Recycling from Aircraft Cabins

January 15, 2014 Comments off

Recycling Best Practices—A Guidebook for Advancing Recycling from Aircraft Cabins
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 100: Recycling Best Practices—A Guidebook for Advancing Recycling from Aircraft Cabins describes procedures for recycling airport, airline, and flight kitchen waste and includes action plans designed to improve recycling and reduce waste disposal costs for airports of varying sizes and characteristics.

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