FAA, GA Officials Downplay VLJ Effect on ATC

 - November 15, 2006, 8:14 AM

Testifying last week before the Senate commerce aviation subcommittee, FAA and general aviation officials downplayed the extent to which the introduction of very light jets (VLJs) will challenge ATC services. Jack Pelton, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna, said VLJs will not “darken the skies,” as many have predicted, place an undue burden on ATC or increase congestion at major airports. “I believe that the VLJ market will develop like that of every other turbine-powered GA aircraft–at a rate in which they will be transparently and smoothly absorbed into the system,” he noted. Nicholas Sabatini, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety, and Michael Cirillo, a v-p at the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, agreed and told the committee that the FAA has the capability to safely introduce all aircraft into the system, no matter the size, speed or performance. However, a recent DOT IG critique of the FAA’s oversight of aviation safety states, “VLJs could have an impact on the workload of FAA inspectors and air traffic controllers–a challenge FAA must prepare to address.”