In a November 7 response to a request by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the DOT Inspector General’s office reviewed a recent series of ATC equipment outages in Southern California, as well as a problem with a runway-incursion alerting system at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Federal Aviation Administration
Citing a serious near collision of two widebodies in Chicago last July, the NTSB at a public meeting Tuesday called again for “effective action” by the FAA to counter the danger posed by potentially catastrophic runway collisions.
In what many observers predicted, the FAA/Industry Age 60 Aviation Rulemaking Committee was unable to reach consensus on whether to raise the mandatory retirement age of 60 for airline pilots. Bloomberg News reported it obtained a copy of the report, which the FAA is studying but has not yet released.
While safety is at the top of her list of priorities, new Transportation Secretary Mary Peters told the third annual FAA International Aviation Safety Forum early last month that President Bush has charged her with modernizing the U.S. ATC system, “including new approaches to funding to deal with our aging infrastructure.”
The two federal government labor unions that represent air traffic controllers and employees of the National Weather Service (NWS) have asked the FAA to reconsider a plan to eliminate on-site meteorologist positions at each of the ATC en route centers. The FAA plans to contract with a commercial weather company to provide forecasts from one remote centralized location.
The User Request Evaluation Tool (URET), a conflict-detection tool that automatically detects and advises air traffic controllers of predicted conflicts between aircraft or between aircraft and special activity in airspace within the National Airspace System, is now operating at all 20 FAA en route centers.
The FAA’s office of aviation safety has been recognized as the first federal agency to achieve certification to the International Organization for Standardization ISO 9001:2000 quality management standard of a single corporate management system that covers multiple services.
On October 30, Dr. Jan Galla opened an aviation medical examination office at the Jet Aviation facilities on Teterboro Airport. Galla, a cardiac surgeon for the past 20 years, decided to become an aviation medical examiner (AME) full-time after five years of offering airman medical exams in his spare time. Galla’s practice is solely for aviation medical exams, primarily for professional flight crews.
Repair station operators have a new option when considering ways to meet the new FAA training requirements. Avstar Media of Addison, Texas, has released a computer-based training program to assist FAA-certified repair stations with the initial and recurrent training requirements set forth in the latest revision of 14 CFR Part 145.
The FAA aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) on the age-60 retirement issue had not completed its work at press time, but the new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) amendment to raise the mandatory retirement age to 65 in multi-pilot crews when one crewmember is less than 60 took effect on November 23.