As a result of its investigation into the Montrose accident, the NTSB recommended that the FAA “develop visual and tactile training aids” that show small amounts of contamination on upper wing surfaces, then require all commercial operators to incorporate the aids into their training programs.
Federal Aviation Administration
While pilots agree that ADS-B is the next big thing for the National Airspace System, with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey describing it as the “FAA’s moon shot,” its implementation process has puzzled many. When Blakey last week launched the program with $80 million in FY 2007 funds, agency bureaucrats were still seeking go-ahead approval from the FAA’s top-level Joint Resources Council.
Starting with a session next Tuesday in Van Nuys, Calif., the FAA has scheduled seven more briefings on its proposed guidance policy on air carrier operational control, wet leasing of charter aircraft, charter broker relationships and the use of “fictitious” business names, known as DBAs (doing business as).
An increase in the number and severity of runway incursions at three major airports has promoted an audit by the DOT inspector general (IG). During the period fiscal year 2005 through April, Boston Logan had 18 incidents (one severe), Chicago O’Hare had 12 incidents (three severe) and Philadelphia had 13 incidents (one involving a collision).
The FAA has been working for years to revise Part 121 and 135 flight time, duty and rest rules, but it’s still not close to issuing new proposals or final rules. Meanwhile, confusion persists over interpretation of certain aspects of the rules that pertain to Part 135 on-demand operations. Recently, the agency received several requests for an interpretation of FAR 135.263(d) and 135.267(b), (d) and (e).
The International Council of AOPA (IAOPA) submitted a petition to the International Civil Aviation Organization to modify language proficiency requirements scheduled to go into effect in two years. All ICAO member states must “adopt, and controllers and aircrews must conform to and achieve, new English language proficiency standards” by March 2008.
The FAA postponed until January 1 next year a decision to limit “priority service” for aircraft registration in connection with conducting international flights to allow only one request per aircraft (by N-number) in any three-month period. The original implementation date was June 1.
With the latest deadline in the contract dispute between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) fast approaching, it seems increasingly unlikely that Congress will step into the fray. Both sides walked away from the bargaining table on April 5, with the FAA declaring an impasse. The agency submitted its final proposal along with Natca’s objections to Congress, which has 60 days to review the proposals.
To encourage more industry participation, the FAA is proposing that information provided to the agency from the voluntary disclosure reporting program (VDRP) be protected from public access in accordance with the provisions of FAR Part 193. Under these provisions, the FAA is required to prevent the information from being made available to the public, including under the Freedom of Information Act.
In a first for a Part 25 aircraft, the FAA has approved the Vision 1 synthetic-vision system from Universal Avionics for use in the Challenger 601-3A. Paired with Universal’s EFI-890R retrofit cockpit, Vision 1 creates a virtual view of the world ahead of the airplane on the primary flight displays by culling data from worldwide terrain and obstacle databases.