“Implementing recommended safety improvements that address helicopter operations can mitigate risk for thousands of pilots and passengers each year,” said NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman, referring to the recently released NTSB Safety Alert SA-031. “At this week’s Heli-Expo, we are working with HAI to increase awareness and identify voluntary action taken by key stakeholders to improve the safety of helicopter operations.”
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 Sesar Joint Undertaking (SJU) administrative board has named Florian Guillermet to head the Brussels-based organization leading the Single European Sky ATM research effort. Guillermet’s appointment becomes effective April 1 subject to the completion of administrative procedures, the board said.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued two new safety alerts at Heli-Expo 2014 covering maintenance procedures (SA-032) and simulator training (SA-031).
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the government is open to ideas on privatizing the nation’s ATC system, as long as aviation industry “stakeholders” agree on making that transformation. Foxx remarked on privatization after delivering the keynote speech at an Aero Club of Washington luncheon on February 25, his first major address to an aviation audience.
The FAA has released its long-awaited omnibus helicopter rule governing emergency medical services (EMS), Part 135 and Part 91 procedures, operations, training and testing and required equipment. The agency estimates that the new rule is expected to cost operators $311 million to implement over the next decade. It closely mirrors the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) released in 2010.
HAI president Matt Zuccaro gave an upbeat assessment of the helicopter industry on the eve of Heli-Expo 2014. “Air tours are doing well, corporate operations have re-established themselves and offshore oil and gas work is very busy right now, so it’s a pretty positive picture,” he said. Nonetheless, the industry faces challenges including a potential shortage of pilots and mechanics.
“The younger generation has so many options,” said Zuccaro. “We’re starting a sales and marketing campaign to show them being a pilot or a mechanic is a good career path.”
Aviation interests are pleased with a decision issued late Thursday by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that halts an effort by the city of Santa Monica to close its airport (SMO).
In an effort to modernize its distribution of letters to airmen, starting today the FAA will disseminate these letters via its website, rather than through the U.S. Postal Service, email or bulletin board postings as it had been doing. “This is a tremendous step forward in providing [aircraft operators] with this critical information so they can be fully prepared for all conditions affecting their flights,” noted NBAA director of air traffic services and infrastructure Bob Lamond.
NBAA welcomed passage by the House of Representatives of H.R.3578, which compels the FAA to establish a rulemaking process before implementing any mandatory pilot-screening requirement for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a condition for getting a medical certificate. In November, the FAA announced a plan to begin requiring OSA screening for pilots with a body mass index of 40 or greater. “The business aviation community thanks lawmakers for passing this measure seeking a fully transparent process for any consideration of OSA screening,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
Thai Civil Aviation Authority auditors have completed the appraisal of independent complete aircraft spares support specialist AJW Technique’s facility in Montreal. The audit comprised a review of quality systems and processes; no areas were in need of corrective action.