On July 1, 2015, Santa Monica Airport in southern California may be a completely different airfield, if the city of Santa Monica has its way. On that date, the city wants to end all fuel sales, not renew any aviation-related leases and cut 2,000 feet from the airport’s 4,973-foot runway.
Aircraft operations in Indiana are about to become more affordable after state legislators approved a slate of aviation tax exemptions and restructurings. The measures, adopted at the urging of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) and other aviation groups, remove state sales tax on jet fuel and 100LL avgas and restructure the previously existing excise tax on aviation fuel to a fixed total state tax rate.
A day after revealing its intention to obtain approval to operate its R44 and R22 piston engine helicopters on unleaded fuel (see article on page 10), Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. C23) shared its strategy for doing so. CEO Kurt Robinson and engineering vice president Pete Riedl spelled out the steps required and the technical issues involved.
The aviation industry is slowly headed toward development of an unleaded replacement fuel for avgas-burning piston-powered aircraft, and a recent move by the FAA is an encouraging sign that progress will continue. The FAA recently agreed to open a new Fuels Program Office, according to NATA, that will provide “technical expertise and strategic direction in the planning, management and coordination of activities related to aviation fuels.”
Under the leadership of Scott Ernest, appointed CEO last year, Cessna has accelerated new product introductions. At yesterday’s opening of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show, Cessna announced that the single-engine Grand Caravan turboprop is getting a bigger engine, an 867-shp PT6A-140.
NBAA thanked a bipartisan group of 28 U.S. senators yesterday for sending a letter to President Obama opposing the $100-per-flight user fee proposed in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The senators’ letter emphasized, “We believe the per-gallon tax assessed on aviation gasoline and jet fuel is the most efficient and effective way to generate revenue from aviation users.” A bipartisan group of 195 House members also recently sent a letter to President Obama opposing user fees.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), charging the agency with failure to respond to its 2006 petition requesting the regulation of lead emissions from GA aircraft under the Clean Air Act. In the petition, the group asked the EPA to rule that emissions from aircraft that burn leaded fuel may pose a threat to public health. According to the group, nearly six years later, there has been no final action from the agency.
A House and Senate conference committee compromised late Tuesday on a four-year FAA reauthorization bill that could reach a floor vote in both chambers as early as next week, beating yet another extension deadline set for February 17. The agency has been operating under short-term extensions since the last long-term multi-year reauthorization expired in late 2007. General aviation associations said they are studying the 375-page bill, which would fund the FAA through Fiscal Year 2015 at a total cost of $63 billion.
In a letter to DOT general counsel Robert Rivkin, NATA president and CEO James Coyne asked for federal intervention in a lawsuit filed by San Francisco-based Center for Environmental Health.
The battle over leaded avgas in California took a turn against a coalition of associations representing users, distributors and producers of avgas on October 19 when a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the coalition in an attempt to halt legal action against