President Bush has appointed Douglas Lavin as FAA assistant administrator of the newly created Office of International Aviation, and Sharon Pinkerton as assistant administrator of the Office of Aviation Policy, Planning and Environment.
Air Traffic Organization
Richard Ramsden joined Minneapolis-based Wells Fargo Equipment Finance as a
v-p specializing in corporate aircraft loans and leases. Ramsden came to the company from Bombardier Capital, where he was manager of aircraft finance.
On December 14 the Potomac Consolidated Tracon began operation. The new facility consolidates five former existing Tracons and allows the FAA to redesign the airspace in this area for “more efficient, direct flight routings,” according to the agency. When the consolidation is complete, the Potomac Tracon will have about 300 employees, who will handle about 5,000 flights a day in 23,000 sq mi of airspace covering parts of five states.
“If I talk to ten people, I get ten different versions of what they believe an SMS [Safety Management System] is,” FAA associate administrator of aviation safety Nick Sabatini told attendees at the fourth FAA International Aviation Safety Forum.
Meanwhile, the General Accounting Office (GAO) added its voice to that of DOT inspector general Kenneth Mead, who has repeatedly warned that the FAA cannot sustain continued salary increases for controllers. Average pay for controllers rose from $72,000 in 1998 to $106,000 last year.
The FAA will be able to cope with the loss of almost half of its air traffic controller workforce over the next nine years if it can keep better track of attrition by locale and assess a new controller’s potential to certify at a certain ATC facility level, according to the Transportation Department’s office of inspector general (OIG).
As professionals engaged in business aviation, each of us probably has questions about what lies ahead for our community. Will there be sufficient airspace and runway capacity to accommodate an increasing number of operations without a subsequent increase in delays? Will the ATC infrastructure be improved, and if so, whose voices will dominate the debate for designing a new system?
In January, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) urged its members to press their Congressional representatives to support improved communications and weather services over the Gulf of Mexico.
Former Top Gun instructor-pilot Robert Sturgell, who took over the FAA as acting administrator when Marion Blakey completed her five-year term on September 13, has been nominated by President Bush to run the agency for the next five years.
The U.S. has the finest aviation system in the world. As we enter the 21st century, a major challenge for the FAA will be to maintain its global preeminence in civil aviation in an era of increasing traffic volume and major technological advancements. To meet this challenge the FAA is modernizing the National Airspace System (NAS) and associated regulations. Central to this effort is the development of the NAS architecture.