Recent guidance from the FAA advises pilots that beginning next January 20, when RVSM is scheduled to be implemented in the U.S., ATC will start using the flight-plan equipment block information to issue or deny clearance into RVSM airspace. For both FAA and ICAO flight plans, the letter “W” will signify that an operator has RVSM authorization. Questions about all aspects of RVSM can be directed to the FAA at (202) 863-2175.
Federal Aviation Administration
Nearly three months after being directed by Congress to develop a plan for giving pilots and mechanics a “third party” review process if they lose their FAA certificates for alleged security reasons, the Transportation Security Administration has yet to propose such a plan. To date, there have been no FAA certificates pulled under the regulation, according to AOPA.
At about the same time Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta was announcing plans for a “next-generation air transportation system” to the Washington Aero Club in late January, word was filtering out of the White House that the Bush Administration wanted to cut the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) budget for fiscal year 2005 by almost half a billion dollars.
After more than 15 years and $200 million in development effort, the FAA in late January canceled further expenditures on the GPS Category I local-area augmentation system (LAAS), dropped its proposed 2006 initial introduction and reclassified the project as merely research and development.
“The greatest flaw in the current system is the corporate jet versus the airline,” said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.
The FAA made a hard sell yesterday to offshore oil operators that will soon have the opportunity to receive unprecedented traffic and weather information in the cockpit via ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) technology–if they equip their helicopters with special equipment that can receive and display
Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, described the recently released FAA funding proposal as “one of the greatest threats business aviation has ever faced.” According to Matthew Zuccaro, president of HAI, it is an even bigger threat to the helicopter industry.
The Inspector General of the DOT says that as long as Congress continues to mandate funding the FAA out of general tax funds, aviation taxes can fully pay for ATC modernization efforts. AOPA believes this position is “verification from the federal government” of its financial analysis of the FAA’s current funding structure.
With a disclaimer that the move does not indicate endorsement, Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure officially introduced the Bush Administration’s plan for reauthorizing the FAA.
In his State of the Union message to Congress, President Bush laid out the broad and ambitious objectives and goals the administration hopes to achieve during his second term. Topping the list was social security reform, for which the President sketched out options but acknowledged that it would be up to Congress to thrash out the details of any proposed legislation.