Congress left Washington for its annual break without taking any action on FAA funding for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins October 1. Many other government agencies–including the rest of the Department of Transportation–also are awaiting appropriations.
Federal Aviation Administration
Pilots planning for a career that requires certification to airline transport pilot (ATP) standards will need to set aside thousands of dollars to pay for additional training mandated by new FAR 61.156. The training is required before the candidate can take the ATP written and practical tests (beginning August 1 next year), and the portion that will cost the most is 10 hours of simulator training, including at least six hours in a full-flight simulator (FFS) meeting Level C standards and replicating a multiengine turbine-powered airplane weighing at least 40,000 pounds.
The alphabets are angry. Reflecting the growing frustration of their members, presidents of the trade associations tasked with representing general aviation interests showed up at this year’s EAA AirVenture with both barrels loaded full of criticism for the FAA and for the congressional oversight of the agency. The rhetoric was a marked shift from the traditional message of cooperation with the FAA.
FAA enforcement cases tend to focus on the front-line employees, usually pilots or mechanics, who allegedly violate federal aviation regulations. Occasionally other certified airmen, such as aircraft dispatchers, parachute riggers or air traffic controllers at contract towers, face enforcement action.
The 2013 annual General Aviation Awards Program, a joint industry/FAA effort that recognizes excellence in general aviation, announced its winners at AirVenture. Honorees were Bill Fifles of Honolulu, Hawaii; Bruce Lundquist of Willis, Mich.; Dean Eichholz of Soldotna, Alaska; and Mark Madden of Anchorage, Alaska.
The FAA released its final policy last week regarding the procedures for allowing aircraft owners and operators to have their flight information blocked from online flight tracker sites.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has delivered new precision departure release capability (PDRC) software to the FAA; it is designed to improve the flow of air traffic from the moment an aircraft leaves the ground until it reaches cruise altitude.
The Federal Aviation Administration named a top former U.S. Air Force general as its new assistant administrator for NextGen, the agency’s ambitious and costly program to modernize the nation’s ATC system.
The FAA has begun initial deployment of a new time-based flow management (TBFM) system that the agency says will optimize the flow of aircraft into busy airspace. TBFM, which was recently installed in all 20 en route air traffic control centers, supersedes the three-year-old traffic management advisor “as a time-based scheduling tool that meters aircraft through all phases of flight to deliver the correct number of aircraft to airspace sectors and down to the runway at the exact pace at which the aircraft can be accommodated.”
NBAA said the FAA “responded quickly” to its concern about restrictive disclaimers that technically made it not legal to use notices to airmen (Notams) and other aeronautical information from some government websites. “The current language has not only warned visitors that the sites are not considered official sources,” NBAA said, “but also raised concerns that third-party sources used by pilots to retrieve Notams might not be considered Part 91 compliant.” The FAA said the disclaimers will be modified this week to legally allow the use of the information found on these websites.