While the national intelligence reform law President Bush signed in December carries a provision for photo IDs for “pilots”, confusion reigns over which airman certificates are included. An FAA spokesman told AIN that the law would include any U.S.-issued license, including that for pilots, A&Ps, air traffic controllers and dispatchers. But the law only refers specifically to improved pilot licenses.
Air traffic control
As it searches for 12,500 new air traffic controllers, the FAA extended the eligibility period for college students with training in ATC to become controllers. Previously, graduates of the agency’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) could be hired on an expedited basis only within two years of graduation.
Traditionally, air traffic controller training has been a dry-as-dust classroom learning process, with piles of documents to study, rules to absorb and procedures to learn, interspersed with occasional breaks to watch the professionals at work in Centers, Tracons and towers.
H.R.2115, the House of Representatives’ “Vision 100–Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act,” was combined with S.842, the Senate’s “Aviation and Investment Act,” and was more commonly known as the FAA reauthorization bill. The bill made its tortuous way through the House and a joint conference committee, and it was finally approved by the Senate in late November. President Bush signed it on December 16.
Whether pilots notice any difference remains open to debate, but anyone cruising in the upper flight levels over North America should at least be aware that they are passing much closer to other airplanes now that the mandate for reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) is in force.
Why, when the safety record of professionally flown turbine twins is so impressive, did four business aircraft experience fatal accidents during a five-week period late last year? Three were fan-powered–a Learjet 35A, a Gulfstream III and a Challenger 601–and one was a King Air 200. There was a highly qualified two-person crew at the controls of each aircraft. Three of the four airplanes were operating in accordance with Part 91.
Plans are under way to form a Greater Washington Business Aviation Association, patterned after other regional groups affiliated with NBAA across the nation. Companies using airports and airspace in the Washington area should contact GWBAA@ phaneufaviation.com.
The FAA is taking what the Transportation Department inspector general (IG) calls a “long overdue step” with regard to its standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), trying to decide how best to salvage a program begun in 1996 and still not fully deployed.
The FAA has scheduled several “fact finding” informal meetings to solicit information from operators and others concerning proposed revisions to Los Angeles Class B airspace. Meetings will be held at various locations in the Los Angeles area on January 20, 22, 27 and 29. For more information, contact the FAA’s Debra Trindle at (310) 725-6611.
The FAA has finally released its study of Part 135 air-taxi operators, mandated by Congress more than four years ago in the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21). Because it took the agency four years to publish the report–in part because of 9/11–the charter industry is questioning the value of the data.