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2_b_or_not's picture

Twenty near misses fly over Saudi Arabia a year

Incidents of aircraft passing too close to each other in Saudi airspace have increased to reach at least seven times the international rate, with around 20 incidents annually.

The international average of such incidents is one to three cases maximum a year. Quoting sources of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Makkah Daily reported on Monday that Saudi air traffic controllers have been warning about this for more than 13 years but have received no real response.

Since 2002, the controllers have been writing numerous letters to the concerned authorities warning of decreasing air safety in the Kingdom. The sources said the controllers were particularly worried that an early warning system that detects when aircraft pass close by each other in the air had not been working for four years now. According to sources, the number of air controllers in the Kingdom has decreased while pressure on them was increasing.

Passenger plane and THREE US fighter jets escape 'near miss' at 33,000ft

The Boeing 737 and the F15s came "too close" after radio confusion during a training exercise.

The fighter jets avoided what was described by experts as a potentially "very serious incident" after a communication breakdown.

The near-miss involving the F15s and the Boeing 737 occurred after radio problems with military air traffic controllers.

A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman said the F15 pilots made procedural errors and they did not have clearance to fly in the airspace.

He said: "The potential for a very serious incident had been present."

The incident happened in upper airspace (around 33,000ft) above Montrose in Scotland on April 7.

It was detailed in a report published by the UK Airprox Board today. An Airprox is otherwise known as a near-miss between planes.

loulou's picture

FAA off course on air traffic controllers

This year, U.S. flights experienced their worst rate of delays in 20 years, with nearly 1 in 4 domestic flights being delayed.

Now the federal government is going to make matters even worse. The thousands of air traffic controllers who were hired during the 1981 Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike are reaching mandatory retirement.  

Over the past several years, the FAA bewilderingly has not hired or trained enough new controllers to make up for these well-documented and impending mass retirements. Further, the efficacy of the FAA’s current controller workforce has come into question even more, as the FAA actually reduced controller hiring, which now requires them to play catch-up with a surge of new training over the next two years to fill critical soon-to-be vacant controller positions.  

Giorgos's picture

Ryanair planes' wings collide at Dublin Airport

Two Ryanair planes came into contact with each other at Dublin Airport this morning, leading to minor delays.

The wing tips of the two aircraft clipped each other as one was taxiing to a stand.

No passengers were injured in the incident.

Fire tenders were deployed as a precautionary measure.

A spokesperson for the Dublin Airport Authority said the airport is fully operational, although there were "minor" delays to some flights.

She said the incident happened on a taxi-way area and the main runways are not affected.

The spokesperson said this section of airport would be off-bounds for aircraft for a time, and it would mean departing and arriving planes would take a slightly longer route to and from runways.

In a statement this afternoon, Ryanair said: "Two of our aircraft were taxiing slowly to the runway at Dublin Airport this morning.

Alert Qantas pilots dodge mid-air collision

A NEAR-miss between two Qantas planes would have been even closer had the pilots waited for a confused RAAF air-traffic controller to respond to the collision alarm, a safety report has found.

The two Boeing aircraft came too close in October 2012 while flying near the shared civil-military airport at Darwin.

Due to a transponder coding mistake, the RAAF approach controller was unable to properly track the 717 twin-engine on the radar.

That meant when a predicted collision alarm went off, the RAAF controller had “a significant level of confusion” as to the most reliable information - resulting in a 15-second delay.

Fortunately the pilots of the 717 had already identified the potential threat from their own computer systems.

Jean46's picture

Chicago flights halted by fire 'set by air safety worker'

A fire in an air traffic control facility that grounded all flights in and out of Chicago's two major airports was set by an employee, officials say.

Authorities found a man in the basement of the building with burns and self-inflicted stab wounds. Investigators say he used petrol to light the blaze.

By Friday afternoon flights in and out of the airports were slowly resuming.

More than 850 flights have been cancelled in Chicago alone and many already in the air were redirected.

Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which was taking part in the investigation, told the Associated Press news agency the 36-year-old man suspected of lighting the fire had been taken to hospital.

"We believe he set the fire and he used some kind of accelerant," Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas said in a news conference on Friday.

2_b_or_not's picture

The Economist: Free flight

In a windowless industrial building on the outskirts of Madrid a group of people are watching a series of coloured symbols move steadily across a bank of computer screens. Each icon represents an aircraft flying over southern Europe. In an adjacent room another group are monitoring flights over part of Asia, and next door all eyes are on South America. These flights are not “live” but are simulated by Indra, a Spanish technology company, to train controllers in the operation of a new generation of air-traffic-management systems that promises to make flying more efficient by shortening flight times and reducing delays.

dallas's picture

Bahamas ATCOs Union Says Staff Victimised After Warning Of Health Risk

Gray, president of the Bahamas Air Traffic Controller’s Union, said BATCU will go “as far as it needs to go” to combat the Department of Civil Aviation’s “victimisation” of two employees who had “brought relief” to staff whose health and safety were threatened by departmental “negligence.”

At a press conference yesterday at Labour House, Ms Gray said BATCU “will not accept” disciplinary action against two members who “operated fully within their supervisory right of responsibility to protect the health and safety of their co-workers and themselves”.

The employees had proposed a temporary suspenion of air traffic services because of the conditions in which workers were placed.

World Record for NATS Controllers at Gatwick Airport

Air traffic controllers at Gatwick Airport handled a total of 906 movements on 29 August, breaking their own world record for air traffic movements in a day from a single runway.

The record was broken at the end of the busy summer season and the last weekend of the school holidays, with 906 movements equating to a take off or landing every 63 seconds. 

NATS is the only air traffic services operator in the world to have ever achieved more than 900 aircraft movements in a single day from one runway – a feat it achieved four times in August. It set the previous record of 895 in 2008 and has consistently set the benchmark for the number of movements from a single runway.

Over the past two years, NATS has worked to increase Gatwick’s declared capacity to deliver seven hours of 55 scheduled movements per day, although even more are not uncommon at peak times.

World Record for NATS Controllers at Gatwick Airport

Air traffic controllers at Gatwick Airport handled a total of 906 movements on 29 August, breaking their own world record for air traffic movements in a day from a single runway.

The record was broken at the end of the busy summer season and the last weekend of the school holidays, with 906 movements equating to a take off or landing every 63 seconds. 

NATS is the only air traffic services operator in the world to have ever achieved more than 900 aircraft movements in a single day from one runway – a feat it achieved four times in August. It set the previous record of 895 in 2008 and has consistently set the benchmark for the number of movements from a single runway.

Over the past two years, NATS has worked to increase Gatwick’s declared capacity to deliver seven hours of 55 scheduled movements per day, although even more are not uncommon at peak times.

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