In a program that started more than 10 years ago, the FAA is now in the final stages of its northeast airspace redesign project, which involves “a wholesale restructuring” of the cruising, departure and arrival routes and procedures in more than 31,000 sq mi of airspace encompassing 21 major airports in five states. The purpose of the redesign is to improve air traffic efficiency and reduce delays, particularly at LGA, EWR, JFK and PHL.
Federal Aviation Administration
For many years, companies such as Space Expeditions, Space Adventures and even some airlines have been seriously talking about lofting paying passengers into space on privately operated (non-governmental) vehicles. When Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne won the X-Prize on Oct. 5, 2004, it dawned on people that this idea was a real near-term probability.
As Congress began hearings last month on the Bush Administration’s plan to fund the FAA, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey attempted to do what one lawmaker called “defending the indefensible.”
Early indications from Capitol Hill signaled that the White House proposal for increased taxes and user fees to provide the necessary money to run the FAA and modernize the ATC system would have rough sledding in Congress.
Riley Aviation of Kirsch Municipal Airport in Sturgis, Mich., has received FAA certification as a Part 145 repair station for limited instrument and limited radio aircraft. The company also offers major and minor phase inspections, complete interior refurbishment, full-scale helicopter maintenance and maintenance management. Riley Aviation is also a full-service FBO offering charter and aircraft management.
Ed Bolen, president and CEO of NBAA, described the recently released FAA funding proposal as “one of the greatest threats business aviation has ever faced.” According to Matthew Zuccaro, president of the Helicopter Association International (HAI), it is an even bigger threat to the helicopter industry.
Smyrna, Tenn.-based RegionsAir had to suspend all service indefinitely on March 9 after the FAA for the second time in a week halted operations for inadequacies in its line check airman and certification program. The action affected all 12 of RegionsAir’s routes, nine of which it flew with 19-seat BAe Jetstream 32s as an American Connection affiliate from St. Louis and the remaining three as a Continental Connection partner from Cleveland.
The FAA revised its controller hiring plan early last month to adjust for greater retirement numbers and revisions to staffing requirements at each of the agency’s 314 staffed facilities. The plan provides a range of authorized controller staffing numbers, giving the agency greater flexibility to match the number of controllers with traffic volume and workload.
President Bush has named Kerry Long, a self-described “aviation enthusiast” with nearly three decades of experience in aviation law, to serve as chief counsel for the FAA.
Although the FAA has finally acquiesced to allowing commercial pilots to fly past their 60th birthday, a group of legislators has introduced a bill that would move the process along at what passes for “warp speed” in Congress.
The FAA extended the deadline from this April 12 to April 30 next year for Part 121 regional and major airlines to equip automated external defibrillators (AED) with approved batteries. Despite several years’ notice, Phillips Medical, the primary manufacturer of AEDs for airliners, only recently applied for TSO C142 approval for its batteries.