Beginning in mid-February, Congress took a couple of weeks off and returned to business in early March. Nevertheless, there has been no slowdown in the introduction of bills and, at press time, there were 1,133 bills introduced in the House and 533 in the Senate. A number of bills that failed to make the grade in the 108th Congress were reintroduced with the expectation that some could be enacted into law this go-around.
Federal Aviation Administration
Former Pentagon official Thomas Bloom has been named CFO of the FAA, overseeing the agency’s $14 billion operating budget, as well as the development and FAA-wide application of cost accounting and performance management policies and systems.
Following an acrimonious battle between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association over the recently passed FAA reauthorization bill and a provision to privatize some control towers, the agency and the union signed a two-year contract extension last month that expands pay for performance to air traffic controllers and provides potential savings of several million dollars.
L.J. Aviation of Latrobe, Pa. has been awarded the FAA’s Diamond Award Certificate of Excellence. The award recognizes an organization’s commitment to the highest standards of safety by providing on-going training and education. To qualify, at least 25 percent of eligible employees must participate in the FAA’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Program.
In 1987 the National Parks Overflights Act mandated substantial restoration of “natural quiet” at Grand Canyon National Park. Seventeen years later, the FAA and the National Park Service (NPS) agreed to resolve the overflight noise issues together.
Transcripts released by the FAA early last month reveal that the pilots of the Pinnacle Airlines CRJ200 that crashed in Jefferson City, Mo., on October 18 purposely climbed to 41,000 feet to “have a little fun” before the jet, its 50 passenger seats empty, lost power and began a rapid descent. “We don’t have any passengers on board so we decided to have a little fun and come on up here,” said one of the pilots.
Inconsistent and incomplete FAA oversight of its designee programs limits the agency’s ability to ensure designees perform their work according to federal standards, according to a recent study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO said the FAA needs to develop a better mechanism to improve oversight compliance and upgrade its databases to provide complete and consistent information.
In a rare decision, a federal judge in Jacksonville, Fla., ruled last month that the FAA was more responsible for a fatal accident than the pilot. All four people on board a Piper Cherokee Six were killed on Dec. 12, 2001, when the piston single crashed in heavy fog.
Pilots serving as second-in-command (SIC) would be eligible to apply for an SIC type rating without any additional training required, under an FAA notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published last month. The purpose of the rule is to make it relatively simple for FAA type-rating requirements to conform to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, allowing U.S.
The FAA plans to rule on the noise-compatibility program proposed for Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) by May 17. The public-comment period runs through January 18. As part of its proposed rule, the FAA has determined that noise-exposure maps submitted for the facility meet the requirements of FAR Part 150.