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.
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.
General aviation groups pled-ged to work with the Obama Administration when it takes the reins of the federal government early next year, but in the days following the election there was much speculation about how things would shake out on Capitol Hill, in the Transportation Department and in the FAA.
The First Flight Foundation received the $20,000 Annual Combs Gates Award and $20,000 from the National Aviation Hall of Fame in recognition of its restoration of the iconic Kitty Hawk, N.C. monument that honors the Wright Brothers’ first flight there in 1903, and their achievements thereafter.
• When the dog days of August arrived, Congress adjourned for five weeks, leaving a number of major bills hanging fire. Among them were legislation aimed at resolving energy problems. After the House voted to adjourn, a group of feisty Republicans stayed on the floor–no microphones and dimmed lights–and demanded that Democratic leaders come back and take action on energy legislation. Democrats declined.
President Bush has appointed Mark Rosenker vice chairman of the NTSB for a two-year term that began August 9. He has been head of the agency, either as chairman or acting chairman, since March 2005.
The town of Islip, N.Y., said it will not enforce an ordinance adopted in September that would have imposed a “noise surcharge” of $50,000 per flight on all aircraft operations at Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) between 11 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.
In the midst of all the major funding and other legislation, a number of aviation matters were addressed:
While many believe that the FAA will not have a new Administrator until after the next President takes office, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee has been blasting Democrats for blocking the confirmation of acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell to assume the post for a full five-year term.
• The House of Representatives of the 110th Congress adjourned in mid-December. However, to keep President Bush from making recess appointments, the Senate conducted “pro forma” sessions that lasted only minutes. By the time Congress adjourned, there had been 2,531 bills introduced in the Senate and 4,930 in the House. According to the Library of Congress, the 110th Congress passed 155 bills.