— The Senate and the House closed up shop at the end of July for their customary August vacation. By that time, legislators had introduced 1,552 bills in the Senate and 3,615 in the House of Representatives, a near record. At press time Congress had passed only two of the 13 annual spending bills as the September 30 deadline approached.
Regulations and Government
News about bills, laws, regulations and other governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace. Topics include FAA reauthorizations, taxes on fuel and aviation activities, environmental legislation, ICAO decisions, governmental mediation of labor conflicts and World Trade Organization disputes and decisions.
The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s Office has launched an investigation into charges of fraudulent financial reporting by Boston-Maine Airways, the Portsmouth, N.H.-based airline that flies regional routes with 13 Jetstream 31s as Pan Am Clipper Connection.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the number-one priority quickly became answering “How did it happen?” and “How do we stop it from happening again?”
Four years later, we know how it happened, leaving the matter of how to stop it from happening again, and raising a third question: “How safe are we?”
The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) issued its official proposal to prevent foreign-registered aircraft from being based in the UK “by limiting the time (for example, 90 days) such an aircraft may spend in the UK in any 12 months.”
The Isle of Man, a UK Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea, hopes to have its own aircraft register established by the end of next year. The island will operate the new register in parallel with the UK’s “G” register and market it as an additional benefit to individuals and companies seeking to benefit from the island’s fiscal and legal jurisdiction.
The FAA issued a notice last month reminding operators that satellite processing of distress signals from 121.5 and 243 MHz emergency locator transmitters is scheduled to end on Feb. 1, 2009. Operators will have to switch to ELTs operating at 406 MHz, which are more reliable and provide search-and-rescue agencies more complete information for detection by satellites.
Executive Jet Management’s plan to establish a scheduled airline using business jets took a major step forward on August 16 when the DOT approved EJM’s application.
Despite the precariousness of the legacy airlines and their pension plans, their pilots still narrowly support the FAA’s mandatory age-60 retirement rule for Part 121 airline pilots. But most pilots flying for the lower-cost carriers advocate eliminating the rule or at least modifying it to enable them to remain in the cockpit longer.
The FAA suspended the August 31 date for Part 135 operators to comply with airworthiness bulletin HBAW 04-06E, while it considers proposed rulemaking that would replace the term “type certificated” with “seating configuration.” The revision would allow methods other than a type certificate change to be an acceptable means of altering seating configurations.
Effective September 1, operators are required to use a new set of flight plan aircraft equipment suffixes to indicate advanced navigation capabilities. Pilots must use J, K, L or a newly defined Q to specify advanced Rnav and RVSM capabilities. They should continue to use a W to indicate RVSM capability only. The revised list also contains significant changes to the definitions of E and F.