Members of the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS), the labor union that represents more than 2,700 FAA employees who staff the agency’s automated flight service stations (AFSS), are joining with information technology contractor Harris Corp. in a bid to keep their jobs from being outsourced to a private company.
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News about governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace.
The NTSB, which has long called for the FAA to require cockpit voice recorders on smaller turbine airplanes, is now calling for the installation of so-called “video image recorders.” Such recorders obtain not only audio information like that from CVRs and event data like that from FDRs, but also information about the environment outside the cockpit window.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) last month adopted proposed changes to its rules governing the legal rates and timing of travel payments by political candidates, those traveling with candidates and those traveling on behalf of candidates in connection with federal elections on private aircraft, including those operated under Part 91.
Thousands of seat-belt buckles and attachments installed in airliners and corporate jets are the subject of two separate recommendations. The FAA published a special airworthiness information bulletin alleging that D-ring-type fittings can inadvertently release the seat belts attached to them. The agency recommends that all D-ring seat belt attachment fittings be replaced with an improved design fitting.
Some international business jet flights bound for three New York-area satellite airports were diverted to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to clear customs during the recent Orange-level security alert period.
Airservices Australia wants to impose licensing fees to provide data for aeronautical information publications, including Jeppesen charts. If levied, the Englewood, Colo.-based company said the additional charges would be passed along to customers. Jeppesen opposes the fees, viewing them as “multiple taxation” because they would be in addition to Australia’s existing ATC and navigation user fees.
A May 11 trial date has been set for the start of a lawsuit in which four former Flight Options pilots allege they were fired because of their union-organizing activities before the company merged with Raytheon Travel Air. However, a settlement could come sooner. The case is scheduled to go before a mediator early this month. The pilots filed the lawsuit in late 2002.
The FAA proposes replacing the current designee program with a new one that expands the functions that designees may perform, permits non-FAA-certified individuals and organizations to become designees and does away with existing designee categories.
Beginning in mid-February, Congress took a couple of weeks off and returned to business in early March. Nevertheless, there has been no slowdown in the introduction of bills and, at press time, there were 1,133 bills introduced in the House and 533 in the Senate. A number of bills that failed to make the grade in the 108th Congress were reintroduced with the expectation that some could be enacted into law this go-around.
• H.R.2115, the “Flight 100-Century of Aviation Revitalization Act” introduced in May by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), was combined with S.824, the “Aviation Investment and Revitalization Act,” introduced in April by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and approved by unanimous consent in the Senate in late November. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration for four years and provides $59 billion in funding.