The FAA wants to fine Whirlybird Helicopters $55,125 for allegedly violating DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. The agency said Whirlybird failed to conduct pre-employment drug tests on eight employees before hiring them to perform safety-sensitive functions on the company’s helicopters. The agency also alleges three of these employees were not in Whirlybird’s random testing pool as required by DOT regulations. The company has 30 days to appeal the penalty.
Federal Aviation Administration
NBAA joined a coalition of aviation groups this week in calling for the Senate to pass legislation that would require the FAA to get industry input before implementing mandatory testing of pilots and air traffic controllers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before receiving a medical certificate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed an identical bill on February 11 by voice vote.
U.S. airlines and airports fell into opposing camps over the Obama administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request for the Federal Aviation Administration, which would raise the cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC) airports are entitled to collect for every boarded passenger from $4.50 to $8.
In recognition of the benefits of angle-of-attack (AOA) indicating systems, the FAA has revised its policies to allow simpler certification and installation approval for the devices. This applies only to aircraft in which an AOA system is not required, according to the FAA memorandum that outlined the change. “Preventing loss of control in general aviation (GA) is a top focus area of the FAA and the GA community.
On January 27, the FAA announced that it has developed a more streamlined process to help operators with the letter of authorization (LOA) needed for flight in reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) airspace above FL280. A joint industry/FAA task force studied issues with RVSM certification and made recommendations about how to improve the system last May.
The company the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration chose in August 2007 to install the ground infrastructure needed to track aircraft by automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) plans to complete that network in the continental U.S. this month. McLean, Va.-based Exelis, which was called ITT when the FAA awarded it the ADS-B contract, said 658 of the 660 planned ADS-B ground radio stations will enter service this year, including all 601 the company is installing in the lower 48 states.
The DOT’s office of inspector general (IG) wants to know whether the FAA has established adequate regulations governing the use of flight-deck automation. Some current and former ranking members of the U.S. House of Representatives transportation and infrastructure committee and its subcommittee on aviation who are concerned about the growing reliance of flight crews on flight-deck automation approached the IG about conducting an audit, which the IG confirmed it would launch early this month.
I often get the feeling that general aviation is the red-headed stepchild in government’s view of the aerospace industry. With apologies to the late Rodney Dangerfield, GA seems to get no respect from the federal government. There have been three comprehensive studies on aviation in the past quarter century, and a few others on narrower topics.
The long-simmering debate about how best to address the issue of helicopter noise above the Los Angeles basin has come to full boil. The parties that had been trying to collaborate on voluntary abatement measures have seen them become mired in a miasma of mistrust, skepticism, anger and a sense of betrayal on the part of just about everyone who flies a helicopter through the airspace, including–for the first time–law enforcement.
Guarded optimism for the year ahead, despite a number of looming concerns on several fronts, was the dominant theme expressed by leaders of the major general aviation (GA) associations in a town hall forum discussion yesterday morning at Heli-Expo.
Helicopter Association International (HAI) president Matt Zuccaro noted that HAI continues to enjoy robust membership and strong financial health, evidence of a surging rotorcraft community. That said, however, he also expressed concern about restrictive policies targeting helicopter operators.