The U.S. Congress moved to relieve the Federal Aviation Administration of its need to furlough air traffic controllers last week after five days of prolonged flight delays at major airports blamed on controller staffing reductions.
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.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is playing a prominent role in shaping the way unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be introduced into the National Airspace System. The Pentagon is already represented on federal interagency and government-industry groups that were formed to facilitate UAS integration with other air traffic in unrestricted airspace. With progress toward that goal lagging and the DOD’s need for airspace access building, the department wants to bring to bear its decades of UAS experience to expedite the process.
Boeing and 787 operators around the world began installing modification kits in their Dreamliners last Friday after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved the manufacturer’s proposed “fix” to their battery systems.
Business aviation consultant Brian Foley, president of Brian Foley Associates, used an intriguing metaphor to explain the issues effecting Chinese business aviation: “Imagine if there was a 22-percent tariff on imported cars, drivers had to ask permission to drive a day in advance and they could drive only to specified cities via a suboptimal route with few services. Driving to a city not on the approved list would require a ‘navigator’ to ride along.”
With the rapid development of China’s economy, business aviation is viewed by many in the country as a so-called “Blue Ocean industry” with vast potential. As estimated by Embraer in its last market forecast, by 2020 China may represent a market for as many as 635 business jets. Bombardier is even more optimistic, projecting a need for almost 1,000 more business jets in the coming decade.
Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) plan to introduce a bill Wednesday morning intended to prohibit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from closing 149 federal contract tower facilities under budget sequestration, an industry source confirmed to AIN. A companion measure is also expected to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A record 223 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to President Obama opposing his continued support of a $100-per-flight fee on commercial and general aviation. “Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress rejected them,” the letter said. “Aviation user fees have been proposed by different Administrations, both Republican and Democrat, and again Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them.”
In an effort to deliver operational improvements more quickly, the FAA has made “trade-offs” in establishing performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures that could limit their benefits in the near term, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Within Six Months
May 23, 2013:
Interest in Restructure of Rotorcraft Airworthiness Standards
Part 135 flight and duty regulations are not yet on the front burner of aviation rulemaking, John Duncan, deputy director of FAA Flight Standards Services, told attendees at the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) safety symposium last month. The agency has a full plate writing new regulations because of congressional mandates included in the “Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010.”