The Colgan Air crash near Buffalo in 2009 continues to cast a shadow over the FAA’s rulemaking, with several legislative measures affecting the industry, according to Leslie Smith, division manager for the agency’s air transportation division, speaking at the National Air Transportation Association’s annual Air Charter Summit in Washington, D.C.
Regulations and Government
News about bills, laws, regulations and other governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace. Topics include FAA reauthorizations, taxes on fuel and aviation activities, environmental legislation, ICAO decisions, governmental mediation of labor conflicts and World Trade Organization disputes and decisions.
After eight years of litigation, a legal battle between ExxonMobil and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over mandatory pilot retirement age has concluded with a ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The appeals panel upheld the previous ruling that the energy company’s policy on mandatory retirement for its corporate pilots at age 60 (later 65) does not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
The EASA issued a long-awaited notice of proposed amendment (NPA) on Thursday that would allow commercially operated single-engine turbine aircraft to fly at night and in IMC throughout Europe. EASA regulators said that some member states, as well as third-country operators, already allow some of their operators to conduct commercial single-engine IFR (SEIFR) flights under an exemption to EU-OPS rules, creating an “uneven playing field.”
This month marks a milestone for NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), the 35th anniversary of its monthly safety bulletin, Callback. Capt. Rex Hardy, a decorated U.S. naval aviator and test pilot, created the publication in 1979. His vision of a short, readable and informal format to present “lessons learned” (selected from the thousands of anonymous ASRS submissions by flight crews, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others) was an immediate success. Yesterday, current editor Don Purdy published Callback issue number 414.
The FAA is “well on track to having all the ADS-B foundational technology completed well before the 2020 mandate for industry to equip with ADS-B out,” associate administrator Michael Whitaker told the U.S. Senate commerce committee’s aviation subcommittee on NextGen air traffic management. “Both the FAA and industry must be held accountable if NextGen is to succeed,” he added, emphasizing that “the 2020 deadline is not going to change.”
After Sir Richard Branson launches the first passenger flight of his Virgin Galactic space venture, possibly later this year, he’s indicated that he will turn his attention to developing a supersonic commercial aircraft that can transit from New York to Tokyo (10,800 km; 5,800 nm) in “less than an hour.” He envisions an orbital aircraft, which could reach speeds up to 30,000 kph (16,200 knots).
Recognizing its potential to become a major industry player, China is finally moving toward greater liberalization of its aviation sector. The announcement followed on the heels of the Third Plenary Session held in November 2013. It was during this time that China’s new leaders, alongside the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), committed to a series of reforms geared to loosen the regulatory grip that has significantly hindered industry growth. Now, eight months later, signs of change are on the horizon.
The UK’s new military air safety regime has contributed to the delayed entry into British service of some new platforms, such as the Airbus A330MRTT Voyager tanker, the Thales Watchkeeper UAS and the L-3 Integrated Systems Airseeker (the UK version of the USAF’s RC-135 Rivet Joint SIGINT aircraft). As a result, some UK aerospace industry managers have expressed dissatisfaction with the Military Aviation Authority (MAA), in off-the-record comments to this editor and others.
NBAA, AOPA, airport businesses, local aircraft owners and a corporate operator have filed a Part 16 complaint with the FAA about California’s Santa Monica Airport. The complaint seeks to settle the issue of when the city, which owns and operates the airport, is no longer subject to grant assurance obligations that require it to keep the airport open. While the city believes that its obligations expire on July 1 next year, the complainants claim that a 2003 request by the city to amend the last grant agreement extended the period of time that the airport must remain open to August 2023.
The European Commission is conducting a user survey of an aviation safety initiative focused on possibly revising EC regulation 216/2008 related to common civil aviation rules and the role of the European Aviation Safety Agency. This online survey asks for informed opinions and suggestions to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the current EU aviation safety system, as well as possibilities for improving safety, competitiveness, environmental protection and the quality of air services.
- Norwood FBO Plans Stalled by Alleged Misconduct at Airport Commission
- NTSB’s Dr. Weener: Genav Accidents Typically Caused by Loss of Control, in Flight and on the Ground
- Rep. Graves Pushes FAA on NextGen Avionics Loans
- FAA Bans U.S. Operators from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport for 24 Hours
- UK Stifles Official Russian Presence At Farnborough