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FAA, TSA, Air Traffic Control Would Continue to Operate in a Government Shutdown

FAA, TSA, Air Traffic Control Would Continue to Operate in a Government Shutdown

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, government employees whose jobs involve air safety will continue to go to work even if the government shuts down this week due to the much-talked about budget stalemate. The Washington Post reported that although many non-critical functions of the FAA would be suspended, an official from the agency has reassured them that they “will retain all employees necessary to keep the national airspace system operating safely.”

TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) employees would continue to work as well; the same going for Air Traffic Controllers.

However, some administrative services that the government provides for aircraft, such as aircraft certification, will be suspended — if the government actually shuts down, that is.

NextGen, the satellite-based FAA project we reported on last year that is designed to increase the safety and dependability of air traffic over a period of years, would be suspended in the event of a temporary shutdown as well.

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Many Aircraft Assisting with Rescue Missions in Japan; May Assist with Nuclear Crisis

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The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday have, together, proven to be one of the worst natural disasters of our time. Over 10,000 people in Japan are already believed to have been killed since Friday. Millions of people are without heating or power as they try to deal with the loss of their homes and loved ones. Up to 450,000 people are staying in temporary shelters.

Temperatures at night are still freezing in Japan. Roads, rails, and all kinds of ports, including airports, have been washed away or become inoperable/inaccessible. Japanese television shows citizens speaking of low supplies of water, food, milk, and medicine.

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Doctors Say Girl Needs Air Ambulance for U.S. Operation

WTVF-TV in Nashville, Tennessee reports that the adoptive family of an Armenian girl is in need of an air ambulance flight to the United States for a critical operation. Getting an air ambulance could be the young girl’s only chance to survive.

Karine Hardin, an Armenian orphan who the Hardin family has just completed adopting after a two year long battle with red tape, has a congenital disorder called Spina Bifida. The cerebral shunt that she lives with to drain excess fluid from her brain has recently become infected, and she must undergo surgery by this Sunday to survive.

The infection occurred while she was waiting for her adoption to be finalized, after the process was delayed by the U.S. Embassy, according to the Hardin family. She has been staying at a hospital in her home country for the past 11 days, but the underfunded facility does not even have enough resources to provide her with adequate fluid or nutrition to help her get stronger.

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FAA Hit with New Suit Following 2008 Medical Helicopter Crash

FAA Hit with New Suit Following 2008 Medical Helicopter Crash

According to a new story from the Washington Post, the mother of a teenage girl killed in the 2008 crash of a Maryland State Police medical helicopter has come forward to join other parties in suing the FAA over the incident. Her suit claims that inattentive air traffic controllers were largely to blame for her daughter’s death, as well as the deaths of three others who were on board at the time of the accident. The mother, Stephanie Younger, claims that the controllers were negligent and unresponsive, and failed to guide the pilot of the medical chopper safely in bad weather conditions.

Younger filed the lawsuit, which does not cite monetary damages, on Monday in U.S. District Court. It follows four other suits filed since 2010 against the Federal Aviation Administration in connection with the crash of the Maryland State Police helicopter “Trooper 2.” The Baltimore Sun reported that Younger’s suit will, most likely, be the final suit lodged against the FAA regarding the 2008 accident.

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Green Lasers Targeting Air Ambulances: a Problem that Needs Solving in 2011

Green Lasers Targeting Air Ambulances: a Problem that Needs Solving in 2011

A very important topic in the air ambulance industry for 2011 is the burning issue of ground-to-air laser targeting of aircraft by civilians. In particular, February has seen no shortage of incidents regarding ordinary people carelessly endangering the lives of air medical crews and patients by pointing hand-held laser devices at aircraft.

Traveling at the speed of light, a laser beam in the aircraft gives no warning before it appears “out of nowhere,” making it a serious danger for air medical crews, who literally have no time to react to the situation.

“There is a general anger that someone could be so stupid to do such a thing to any aircraft, let alone the air ambulance,” says Carl Hudson, an air ambulance paramedic in the UK. (BBC News)

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