• Election Day results delivered a knockout blow to Republican hopes of retaining the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The first blow came as Democrats gained control of the House by the end of the day. Two days later, the last punch came as Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia, considered a shoo-in for reelection, conceded the election to Democrat James Webb, one time Secretary of the Navy.
Special requirements for transport-category airplanes used as business/VIP jets are being developed by the FAA.
In an October 24 letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, National Air Transportation Association (NATA) president James Coyne asked the agency to form an aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) to address industry concerns regarding its impending rule to require commercial and fractional jet pilots to perform landing distance assessments at the time of arrival.
On Thursday, the FAA plans to release a proposed special FAR (SFAR) mandating recurrent training for all Mitsubishi MU-2 pilots. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) will have a short 30-day comment window.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 provides that by Jan. 1, 2008, U.S. citizens and nonimmigrant aliens may enter the U.S. only with passports or such alternative documents as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designates as satisfactorily establishing identity and citizenship.
In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget this week, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) requested the agency's intervention to ensure that the new FAA policy requiring landing performance assessments before landing, including a new requirement for a mandatory 15-percent margin, for fractional and charter jets complies with all statutory requirements.
For the time being, air-taxi and fractional jet operators will not be required to add a 15-percent safety margin to actual landing distance as described in a June FAA policy notice and an impending OpSpec. Trade groups had argued that since the policy notice was to become a requirement, the FAA is obligated to follow the rulemaking process, including, an initial notice of proposed rulemaking asking for comments.
Controversial 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 (OMB). The OMB’s review and approval is the last step before the FAA can publish the regulations as a final rule.
• Congress closed up shop on September 29, and November 13 was set as the date for what might be a lame-duck Congress to reconvene. The long interval freed legislators who are up for election to go to their home districts and do battle for votes. Democrats are hoping that the scandals surrounding Republican congressmen will influence voters to restore the Democrats to majorities in the House and Senate.
Most of more than 35 respondents supported the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking–as is or with a few changes–to permit pilots serving as second-in-command (SIC) to apply for the new “SIC pilot type rating.” The purpose of the rule is to make it relatively simple and economical for U.S. flight deck crews to meet international requirements that both pilots hold type ratings. But there were a few comments against the proposal.