Aviation differs from other forms of transportation in a number of ways. One that stands out is our collection and use of operational data on everything from what we load into the baggage compartment to the weight of the fuel we upload and of the passengers we board.
Federal Aviation Regulations
As the presidential election heated up last month, the blood pressures of many general aviation pilots rose faster than the campaign rhetoric as they attempted to stay abreast of changing temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).
At a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last month, representatives of general aviation organizations spelled out the measures GA has taken to improve security since 9/11.
FAA regulations that would impose numerous new requirements on air-tour operators are one step closer to publication. The rulemaking, proposed in October 2003, is now under review at the Office of Management and Budget. That review and approval is the last step before the FAA can publish a final rule.
In a recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on securing and defending U.S. airspace, the FAA said general aviation pilots accounted for most of the 3,400 restricted-airspace violations recorded between Sept. 12, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2004. The report attributes most of these violations to weather diversions, pop-up temporary flight restrictions or pilots’ failure to check for notices of restrictions.
Though active only in evening and night hours, they will be in effect through December 31 and are likely to be renewed. Originally extending from 12,000 feet to 14,000 feet, they are expected to be changed to extend from 14,000 feet to 16,000 feet. The TFRs were issued in response to U.S. Customs Service and Border Patrol unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance operations.
The cost of having a business aircraft worked on by a certified repair station that also works on airline aircraft may go up as a result of new FAA drug and alcohol testing requirements.
Testifying before the House aviation subcommittee on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), FAA associate administrator for aviation safety Nick Sabatini called UAVs “the next great step forward in the evolution of aviation.” But he warned they must have numerous redundancies in case of loss of link and system failures.