The U.S. Senate has passed a legislation package addressing many of the 9/11 Commission’s aviation security recommendations that have not yet found their way into law. Notably, the proposed rules would give the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) one year to develop a threat assessment program for general aviation airports, as well as conduct a study on the feasibility of providing grants to these airports for security upgrades.
• Congress dodged the dog days of August by taking a six-week recess beginning July 22, but not before legislators increased their bills introduced count to 2,772 in the Senate and 5,001 in the House of Representatives.
The House Appropriations Committee has added a directive to a report on FAA funding for Fiscal Year 2005 that would require the agency to ensure that pilots continue to get the best possible flight briefing and en route information services without user fees.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly is expected to take action later this month on legal guidance for member states to protect safety-data-
collection systems while allowing for proper administration of justice.
The guidance would help nations protect from unwarranted use information collected under systems such as flight operational quality assurance programs and line operations safety audit programs.
Interested parties are getting more time to comment on the FAA’s controversial proposal to require all air-tour operators to be certified under Part 135 or 121, with an extension of the comment period from April 19 to June 18.
After meeting with industry representatives over several days in early March, the FAA launched a new ATC plan designed to head
off gridlock by “sharing the pain” around choke points such as New York, Chicago and Atlanta.
Federal guidelines for improving security at the nation’s more than 18,000 general aviation airports remain bottled up in the Transportation Security Administration almost six months after a GA airport security working group made its recommendations to the agency.
It is good news that the joint program and development office (JPDO), formed recently at the direction of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, is crafting a national policy on air transportation. Many voices, among them mine when I served as president of NBAA, called for a vision and mission statement by the U.S.
In one of its longest investigations into a general aviation accident, the NTSB released its final report last month on the Oct. 10, 2000, crash of a Canadian-registered Bombardier Challenger 604 during a manufacturer’s test flight at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The two pilots and flight engineer died as a result of injuries sustained from the accident.
Scientists and engineers at NASA’s Langley, Va., Research Center are evaluating the integration of a number of separate systems and techniques which, when combined, could achieve significant safety improvements in the approach and landing phase.