On March 14 the Senate passed the $52.9 billion federal highway bill (S.1803), which contains significant amendments regarding helicopter tour operations over national parks. Of particular concern is a successful amendment to the bill offered by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that would give the director of the National Park Service (NPS) broad authority to regulate helicopter and fixed-wing tour flights over land under its administration as well as tribal lands, a move that the air-tour business nationwide regards as debilitating.
Military awards and decorations
Making a welcome first appearance in Singapore skies, the Smokey Bandits display team is showcasing “Malaysia’s MiGs”–five MiG-29N fighters that are performing an eight-minute routine here at the show.
Wes Clark, 84, a 64-year aviation industry veteran, died on November 23 in Plano, Texas. After serving in the navy in World War II, he spent the next 50 years with various Beechcraft facilities, mainly in sales and sales management responsibilities.
Sydney “Sid” Baker, former head of Eastman Kodak’s flight department and a business aviation veteran for nearly 30 years, died on February 27. He was 63. Baker also worked for Bell Helicopter, IBM’s flight department and served as vice chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation’s corporate advisory committee. A former Marine Corps pilot, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Silver Star for his service in Vietnam.
Bombardier Learjet 60, Westhampton, N.Y., Aug. 23, 2007–The Board attributed the Learjet’s crash on landing to the captain’s failure to align the airplane properly before touchdown. As the captain was completing a night instrument approach into Francis S.
Deborah Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board since June 2004, was nominated by President Obama last month to become the 12th chairman of the board. If confirmed, she will take over the position from vice chair Mark Rosenker, who has been serving as acting chairman since last August, when his two-year term as chairman expired.
The Senate on Thursday night confirmed former Air Line Pilots Association president Randy Babbitt as the next FAA Administrator for a five-year term. During his nomination hearing, several senators referenced the February 12 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y., and asked him about fatigue and crew training for regional airline pilots.
When the new president takes office in January, among the myriad issues to be addressed will be the concerns of the aviation community. Certain to top the pile are FAA reauthorization, air traffic control modernization and selection of a new FAA Administrator.
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