The FAA lowered the boom on airports serving mainly GA, business and regional airline traffic, announcing on March 22 that it will close 149 ATC contract towers as part of its effort to slash spending by more than $600 million in the current fiscal year under the federal government’s “sequester” mandate. The action could spell the end of the agency’s 30-year-old contract tower program.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to close 149 contract ATC towers serving small and regional airports beginning April 7 as part of its plan to cut costs by more than $600 million under the federal government’s “sequester” mandate. Republican lawmakers accused the White House of blocking a measure that attempted to keep open the contract towers by funding them through the end of the fiscal year.
A celebrity pilot who advocates for general aviation and a determined senator were no match this week for the FAA’s plans to close the towers at up to 238 U.S. airports in an effort to trim costs required under the budget sequester. The FAA planned to announce a finalized closure list on Monday, but the agency delayed its release until tomorrow due to the overwhelming number of appeals to keep the towers open.
Is the FAA’s billion-dollar-a-year NextGen program devolving into a patchwork of technology demonstrations, refined routings to discrete airports and reduced aircraft separations over mainly water? Is the agency’s promised comprehensive overhaul of the National Airspace System chasing its predecessor grand vision—Free Flight—into oblivion?
Enhancing aviation and surface safety remains the top priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation, concluded the department’s Inspector General in a recent report of the agency’s top management challenges.
In its Question of the Month, the International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP) asks cockpit crews and instructors, “How does a flight training organization manage compliance?” While regulatory agencies around the world issue standards, you can’t manage safety, according to IAFTP. “You can manage and measure only compliance to specific standards that the industry believes should ultimately result in acceptable levels of safety,” the group concludes.
Although the precise reason for the Boeing 787’s battery overheating problems has not been identified, “there is growing scrutiny of the FAA’s practice of letting manufacturers self-certify the safety of critical aircraft systems,” according to a March 4 story in Roll Call. The FAA began a push for more self-certification in 2005 to allow agency personnel to make better use of limited available resources.
With the FAA set to announce its finalized cost-cutting plan under sequestration on Monday–which could result in the closing of nearly 170 air traffic control towers and other agency facilities–NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to outline the business aviation community’s “significant concerns” with the plan and offer proposals for mitigating the situation.
After a “thorough” review, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday approved Boeing’s certification plan for a redesigned battery system for the 787 Dreamliner.
If there is a drawback to the Internet, then it is the overwhelming amount of information being created and disseminated. Anyone interested in anything can find more articles, blogs, e-newsletters, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Instagram photos, Pinterest pins etc. about any subject, more than one person could possibly consume in a lifetime. For those who work on aviation safety issues, this presents a problem.