The comment period was extended to July 1 for the FAA’s draft environmental impact statement on proposed plans to redesign the airspace in the Northeast, which is intended to improve safety, reduce delays and handle growing air traffic.
Federal Aviation Administration
With the failure of Congress to take any action in the contract dispute between the FAA and the air traffic controllers union, the agency arbitrarily put its last contract proposal into effect as yesterday’s deadline expired. The FAA declared an impasse on April 5 after nine months of negotiations with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association that the agency claimed cost taxpayers $2.3 million.
ADS-B-equipped aircraft will be back on ATC radar screens in Alaska after an absence of several weeks. On March 24, following “misapplication” of separation standards by the Anchorage ARTCC, FAA officials in Washington ordered ADS-B aircraft returns removed from ATC displays.
As the user-fee battle rages, rhetoric from Air Transport Association member airlines is reaching vast audiences. Lost in the debate, however, is a reference made by ATA v-p of operations and safety Basil Barimo late last year, in which he coined the term “commercial airspace” and attempted to connect the user-fee issue with safety in relation to less experienced pilots flying very light jets in so-called commercial airspace.
A recent NTSB decision has sparked action by AOPA on behalf of Part 91 operators. The Safety Board, ruling on a recent enforcement action against a mechanic (Administrator v. Law), seemed to say that aircraft manufacturers could make service bulletins (SBs) mandatory, essentially giving them the same force of law as an AD. “That is not the FAA’s interpretation of the regulations,” said AOPA.
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.
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.