General aviation trade groups based in the Washington, D.C. area have joined with a disparate group of mostly rural communities, organizations and the volunteer-pilot Air Care Alliance in battling the Bush Administration’s plan to hike fuel taxes and institute a series of user fees to help fund the FAA and the NextGen ATC system.
In the first quarter of this year, the U.S. business jet and turboprop fleet experienced 14 nonfatal accidents, five fatal accidents and 11 fatalities compared with 11 nonfatal accidents, five fatal accidents and 15 fatalities in the same period last year, according to safety research firm Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) is placing the burden of the NTSB’s recommendations squarely on the FAA. “Controller schedules were imposed on the controller workforce last September with little to no input [from controllers], let alone negotiations,” said a Natca spokesman. He dismissed FAA statements that controller schedules are “negotiated” with the union and that schedule changes require approval from employees.
The NTSB issued a series of recommendations this week asking the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to tighten regulations and procedures pertaining to controller vigilance, training and fatigue.
Two well known companies that operate and manage charter aircraft and jet travel cards have merged. As reported in AINalerts last month, Berwyn, Pa.-based JetDirect has acquired Weymouth, Mass.-based Sentient Jet. Member travel cards of the two companies will be integrated, and all the charter operations will be unified on one Part 135 certificate with a centralized dispatch center.
A final rule published last Friday harmonizes FAR Part 36 light, propeller-driven airplane noise certification standards with international standards and provides uniform noise certification requirements for airplanes certified in the U.S. and Europe, according to the FAA. This amendment will also simplify airworthiness approvals for import and export purposes, it added.
An NTSB investigation is under way into the crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2 while on an IFR approach to Centennial Airport, Colo., on August 5. The sole-occupant pilot was killed. N454MA, registered to Flight Line of Adams, Colo., was reportedly on an air-taxi cargo flight from Salt Lake City and had been cleared to land when it crashed about 2.5 miles south of the airport.
Cleveland-based Corporate Wings/Mercury Air Centers this week named Richard Michaels as its vice president of marketing. Michaels, a 25-year business aircraft sales veteran, was tapped by company CEO Kenn Ricci to head marketing and sales functions for all affiliated companies.
With a firm order for 10 Eclipse 500s and an option for 10 more, London, Ontario-based OurPlane becomes the first fractional customer for the very light jet, scheduled to enter service early next year. Unlike other fractional operations, OurPlane sells shares only in one-quarter increments. Eclipse 500 share prices start at $349,900, with a monthly fixed cost of $3,500 and hourly operating costs of $369, without a pilot.
Zurich-based worldwide aviation service company Jet Aviation is being acquired by Permira, a European-headquartered private-equity group. With a formal closing expected in late September, the sale will end uncertainty over the fate of the Hirschmann-family-controlled enterprise, which had been informally in play since the family put it on the market in early 2002.