The FAA will begin formal rulemaking to consider whether to allow private pilots to use a driver’s license in lieu of an FAA medical certificate in some circumstances, the agency announced yesterday. The announcement follows a joint petition by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association to the FAA to expand the third-class medical exemption, as well as proposed legislation, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), that is currently making its way through both the House and Senate.
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.
Never renowned for its ability to fast-track rulemaking, the FAA might be gunning for a new record.
It has been nearly a decade since the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduced an amendment to its aviation rulemaking to require member states to have certified international airports establish a safety management system (SMS). The FAA has said it supports harmonization of international standards and has worked to make U.S. aviation safety regulations consistent with ICAO standards and recommended practices.
Business aircraft passengers flying out of UK airports are facing rate increases for air passenger duty (APD) of between 50 and 58 percent under revisions to the tax the government announced last month.
Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.
The FAA wants input before it updates its drug-and-alcohol-testing rules for some airline maintenance personnel who perform safety-sensitive functions outside the U.S. The agency is seeking input to assess the likely economic impact on the companies affected. Responses must be received by May 16.
On Tuesday the six members of the Santa Monica city council voted unanimously on a plan to prepare to close all or part of Santa Monica Airport. More than 100 attendees spoke during the late-night meeting, with opinions split about evenly between those supporting the field’s future as an airport and those seeking to use its 227 acres for parkland or property development.
An item titled “The Future of Santa Monica Airport” on the agenda for tonight’s Santa Monica (Calif.) City Council meeting is likely to result in a spillover crowd, with both airport proponents and anti-airport groups urging members to attend to express their opinions.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and FAA signed a nine-year deal late last week for the agency to provide ATC service at the EAA’s annual AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wis.
On Thursday, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta named agency veteran Teri Bristol as the new COO of its Air Traffic Organization (ATO), which manages the U.S. ATC system. Bristol was most recently deputy COO and had served in an acting capacity since former COO David Grizzle left in December.
In an op-ed piece, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen challenged the Washington Examiner’s “mischaracterization” of long-standing tax deprecation policies on the purchase of business aircraft as a “loophole.” “Some in Washington are trying to score political points by characterizing business aviation as a convenience, or even a luxury, rather than a necessary tool for competitiveness,” Bolen said. “In fact, for businesses, an aircraft is as much a necessity as a computer.
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