Judge Edwin Neill of the Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition has denied protests by the union representing flight service station (FSS) employees to prevent Lockheed Martin from proceeding with an FAA contract to consolidate FSS facilities. As a result of this decision, next month the FAA is cleared to start closing 38 of the current 61 FSS facilities and handing over 20 of the remaining 23 to the aerospace giant.
Federal Aviation Administration
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.
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.
The FAA said its notice sent last month to tower controllers to review the taxi into position and hold (TIPH) procedure is not intended to end the practice, as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) claims. “Basically, we are seeing a small trend of runway incursions resulting from that procedure,” said an FAA spokesperson. “We wanted to raise awareness and see if it is still required.
While many in general aviation were seeking to modify or eliminate the much-loathed Washington air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the FAA executed a 180-degree course change early last month and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to make the ADIZ permanent.
There are more than 35,000 people living and working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, supported by nearly 650 helicopters flying as many as 9,000 flights each day. HAI worries about limited radio contact with air traffic controllers below 5,000 feet in areas where the minimum en route altitude is 1,500 feet. Also of concern is a lack of access to current weather data, which prevents IFR operations to several major Gulf oil platforms.
Calls to replace the aviation fuel tax with a new user fee structure as a means of funding improvements to U.S. airspace management are not supported by a business case, according to Cessna Aircraft chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton. Speaking to government and industry officials on Friday at the Washington Aero Club, Pelton said too many myths have been created to support calls for new user fees.
The Government Accountability Office has confirmed that the required air-tour management plans which are part of the National Parks Air Tour Management Act have not been completed and the act has had little effect on noise in the parks.
Despite some 20,000 negative comments and calls to abolish the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ), a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill resulted in little progress in making flying in or near the large block of airspace less onerous for general aviation pilots.
The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) Institute has named Stephen Fisher its executive director. A former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, he will oversee daily operations at the institute.
The NGATS Institute is an industry partnership supporting the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) in developing and implementing NGATS, a technologically advanced ATC system for the future.