Just a few years ago, no one in the aviation safety business anywhere on earth would have seriously asked if the FAA is losing its safety edge. For more than half a century, the FAA was the unquestioned leader in airline safety around the globe, the one all other nations looked to for leadership in setting the safety bar.
The FAA has extended until June 4 the period to submit “clarifying questions” about the final rule that amends the existing flight, duty and rest regulations applicable to certificate holders and their flight crewmembers. In the rule, the FAA created a new Part 117, which replaces the existing flight, duty and rest regulations contained in Part 121 Subparts Q, R and S. As part of this rulemaking, the FAA also applied the new Part 117 to certain Part 91 operations.
With Congressional differences resolved, the FAA Reauthorization Bill has been signed by the President and is now a formal government act. A done deal, right? Well, perhaps not totally done. Those who read the October report of the FAA-sponsored Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on implementation strategies for ADS-B in were certainly surprised to see that the bill called for in to be mandated in 2020, at the same time as ADS-B out.
NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman, keynote speaker at today’s HAI Membership breakfast and meeting here at Heli-Expo 2011, praised HAI for its creation of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) and its new Safety Accreditation Program. And she also challenged the HAI membership to continue its efforts to promote Safety Management Systems (SMS) through IHST’s SMS Toolkit.
In an attempt to curtail the number of audits currently competing for the FBO and charter industry’s business, the National Air Transportation Association has launched a single industry-wide standard that it hopes will eventually replace them all. The NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard is designed to promote industry best practices and the development of safety management systems.
The U.S. aviation industry won’t be getting a final rule on the aircraft repair station security issue until the fourth quarter of this year, the Department of Homeland Security announced. The issue dates back to a 2004 public meeting held by the TSA in response to the Vision 100 Century of Aviation Act passed by Congress in 2003.
The DHS made the announcement after 20 industry leaders sent a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano asking that the rule, which has been under consideration for eight years, be finalized before the end of last year.
DEA and FBI agents yesterday arrested 22 employees and former employees of Boeing’s Ridley Park, Pa. plant, and one non-employee, in an undercover sting aimed at prescription drug abuse at the manufacturing plant, according to Vito Guarino, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge.
Flight, duty and rest regulations currently being finalized for Part 121 airlines “can very well migrate over to the Part 135” on-demand sector, John Allen, head of the FAA’s flight standards office, warned charter operators at last month’s National Air Transportation Association Air Charter Summit.
“It’s likely that future rulemaking efforts will propose extending Part 121 [regulations] to Part 135,” he told attendees.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has formally responded to the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would create a requirement for all commercially served airports as well as some serving large on-demand charter aircraft to develop and implement a safety management system (SMS).