Rules governing the construction of objectsthat could be an obstruction to safe aircraft operations might get a little more bite. Under proposed amendments to FAR Part 77 published last week, obstruction standards for the so-called “imaginary surfaces” of airports would be revised, resulting in more structures that could be classified as obstructions.
Federal Aviation Administration
The DOT inspector general’s office will audit the FAA’s progress in implementing its controller workforce plan for hiring approximately 12,500 new controllers to replace those expected to leave over the next 10 years. The agency watchdog will evaluate the FAA’s progress and assess the effectiveness of other initiatives designed to increase controller productivity.
Platinum Jet Management has been slapped with a cease and desist order for the second time since the Challenger overrun accident at Teterboro Airport on February 2 last year. The June 12 DOT order claims Platinum Jet operated the Challenger and other charter flights without economic or regulatory authority. Further, the order contends that because one of Platinum’s three owners was not a U.S.
DOT Secretary Norman Mineta on Friday announced he will resign July 7 after serving in the Bush Administration for more than five years, saying, “It is time for me to move on to other challenges.” As a member of Congress in 1994, Mineta was credited by NBAA for helping to ensure passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act.
The FAA is proposing to decommission all 54 direction finders (DF) and associated DF approaches in all states other than Alaska. “DFs have been used sparingly over the last nine years and the equipment is beyond its useful life cycle,” the agency said.
The FAA released Notice 8700.49, effective October 11, to guide FAA inspectors in helping operators develop Safety Management Systems (SMS). An SMS advisory circular–AC 120-92–was released on June 22, and since then the FAA has promoted the SMS concept industry-wide, at meetings such as the Bombardier Safety Standdown in early October and the Nascar race team SMS Safety Summit on October 20.
In an October 24 letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, National Air Transportation Association (NATA) president James Coyne asked the agency to form an aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) to address industry concerns regarding its impending rule to require commercial and fractional jet pilots to perform landing distance assessments at the time of arrival.
The Safety Board determined that factors contributing to the Teterboro Challenger accident were Platinum Jet Management’s conduct of charter flights without FAA certification, false representation of itself as a charter operator and its failure to ensure that all for-hire flights were conducted in accordance with Part 135.
On November 23, as previously reported, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will adopt an amendment to increase the age limit for airline pilots to 65, provided another crewmember pilot is under age 60. On September 27, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey established an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on the Age 60 issue. Its principal task is to recommend whether the U.S. should adopt the new ICAO standard.