When a Mooney strayed to within eight miles of the White House in October, a flight of F-16s reportedly intercepted it and safely escorted the disoriented pilot out of harm’s way.
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News about governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace.
As it searches for 12,500 new air traffic controllers, the FAA extended the eligibility period for college students with training in ATC to become controllers. Previously, graduates of the agency’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) could be hired on an expedited basis only within two years of graduation.
The NTSB believes currently required stall-warning systems are not adequate to cover all critically low-airspeed conditions and has recommended that the FAA require the installation of so-called “low-airspeed alert” systems on all airplanes used in FAR Parts 121 and 135 commercial operations.
H.R.2115, the House of Representatives’ “Vision 100–Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act,” was combined with S.842, the Senate’s “Aviation and Investment Act,” and was more commonly known as the FAA reauthorization bill. The bill made its tortuous way through the House and a joint conference committee, and it was finally approved by the Senate in late November. President Bush signed it on December 16.
The FAA determined that the minimum percentage rate for substance-abuse testing this year will remain at 25 percent of covered aviation employees for random drug testing and 10 percent for random alcohol testing. The rates will remain the same because data indicates that the positive rate for drug tests over the last two years was less than 1 percent and the positive rate for alcohol tests in the past two years was less than 0.5 percent.
January 13 is the closing date for comments on the FAA’s proposal to establish rules covering extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) applicable to Part 121 and 135 operations. The vast majority of the more than 60 comments submitted by press time supported the proposed ETOPS thresholds of 180 minutes for Part 135 and 207 minutes for Part 121.
For the first time since 1975, the number of safety recommendations classified as “open” has dipped below 1,000, the NTSB said last month. Of the 989 open recommendations, 335 are related to aviation and 339 to highway transportation.
Having missed the October 1 deadline for funding nine of the 13 government agencies that had been neglected, a lame-duck Congress made up for that lack of action after the November elections by enacting the Fiscal Year 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act, a $388 billion “Omnibus” spending package, contained in a 3,000-page document that weighed some 14 pounds.
As anticipated, there have been numerous changes in the makeup of President Bush’s cabinet. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Tom Ridge turned in his resignation, effective February 1 or until the Senate names a successor. Ridge had the unenviable task of coordinating and integrating the activities of 22 government agencies with 180,000 employees into one department.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is to be headquartered in Cologne, Germany. The decision was confirmed during the European Union summit meeting on December 13 and 14.