Although the current FAA reauthorization and federal aviation programs do not expire until September 2015, follow-on legislation is already on the radar screens of government and the aviation industry. In a House aviation subcommittee hearing last week on the state of American aviation, chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), whose district includes the FAA’s technical center in Atlantic City, noted that it took five years and 23 short-term extensions to pass the current reauthorization bill.
Federal Aviation Administration
NBAA has criticized the FAA’s proposed action on sleep apnea among pilots. Doug Carr, the group’s vice president for safety, security and regulation, last week condemned as “unacceptable” FAA flight surgeon Dr Fred Tilton’s plan to require some pilots and air traffic controllers to undergo screening for obstructive sleep apnea. Opponents of the policy claim it is not supported by research.
The U.S. air traffic management (ATM) system outperforms Europe’s more fragmented system on both cost and operations, according to two reports issued by the Eurocontrol Performance Review Commission (PRC).
The Civil Aviation Medical Association (CAMA), a group that represents aviation medical examiners (AMEs) in the U.S., is opposing the FAA’s newly proposed policy “that would task AMEs to determine body mass index (BMI) on all pilot applicants.” A BMI exceeding a set value–initially 40–would require evaluation by a board-certified sleep specialist to determine if the pilot applicant has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The FAA announced last week that it proposed fines against both Great Lakes Aviation and Southwest Airlines for unrelated FAR violations. The FAA claims that Great Lakes flew a Beech 1900 on 19 different occasions when the aircraft’s de-icing fluid was heated to temperatures exceeding the 180-degree limit that could possibly damage the aircraft. Southwest Airlines was accused of incorrectly wiring a windshield heater switch on a Boeing 717 and operating that aircraft on 1,140 passenger flights before the error was detected.
In an article in the October issue (“ADS-B Coming Soon to Asian Airspace”), AIN provided details about the upcoming ADS-B out mandates in Australia, some Asian countries, Europe and the U.S. An alert reader pointed out that there is a wrinkle that operators should be aware of: some of the mandates in Asia require equipment that meets DO-260 or -260A standards, which are less stringent than the DO-260B standards required in the U.S. and Europe.
As government mandates for equipage with ADS-B out avionics begin this month (generally above 29,000 feet in some countries’ airspace), FlightSafety International has launched an ADS-B online training program. The FAA-approved 45-minute course costs $165 per person and is available at FlightSafety’s eLearning website. Subjects covered include operating principles and procedures, flight planning, MEL issues, phraseology, emergency codes, incident reporting and more.
AOPA, GAMA and NBAA hailed the signing of the Small Aircraft Revitalization Act of 2013 by President Obama on Wednesday. His signature formally enacts legislation to enhance–and, the industry hopes, to reduce the cost of–the certification process for new general aviation aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds, their avionics and other equipment.
The White House released a report on the impact and cost of the October 2013 federal government shutdown, estimating costs anywhere from $2- to $6 billion in lost output for the overall economy.
Among the hardest hit by the 16-day furlough of non-exempt government employees was general aviation. The move closed the FAA Registry office and delayed other certification activities, imposing widespread hardship on general aviation manufacturers. The Registry must approve each certificate of registration that is required for the sale, export and import of an aircraft.
A group of California politicians wants the FAA to move faster to address the helicopter noise issue in the Los Angeles basin.
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