While the FAA did rescind Notice N8000.336 regarding addition of airplanes to Part 135 certificates, late last year it reissued the policy in a new notice, with only one change. Like N8000.336, Notice N8000.343 requires FAA principal inspectors to obtain concurrence from FAA headquarters before allowing an operator to add a new turbine-powered airplane to its OpSpecs.
Federal Aviation Administration
The final report of the FAA/industry rulemaking age-60 committee is now posted on the agency’s Web site. The committee was unable to reach consensus on whether to increase the mandatory retirement age of 60 for airline pilots. The report can be viewed and downloaded at www.faa.gov/media/Final_Age_60_ARC_Report_11_29_2006.pdf.
In part because of a high-profile charter crash at Teterboro Airport (TEB) early in 2005 and several other accidents involving responsibility for operational control, the FAA late last year released its long-awaited Operations Specification (OpSpec) A008 and related guidance regarding operational control in Part 135 charter operations.
Under an FAA cost-cutting proposal, certain ILS approaches, localizer-type directional aids, microwave landing systems and nondirectional beacons at some 25 U.S. airports would no longer be monitored by ATC or FSS due to their low annual activity or because they are not authorized for alternate airport filing when the control tower is closed. It will therefore be up to pilots to report signal discrepancies to the FAA.
The FAA updated guidance (FAA Notice NJO 7110.456) to controllers for taxi into position and hold (TIPH) procedures, effective February 5. While most of the changes will be unnoticeable to pilots, two of note are: ATC can withhold the landing clearance when another aircraft is holding on the runway; and expect more traffic advisories for TIPH operations on intersecting runways.
The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the FAA signed a bilateral agreement under which they will evaluate simulators for each other. In practice this means that it should be less expensive and troublesome for simulator manufacturers to get their equipment approved for use on either side of the Atlantic. For instance, the CAA will now accept training devices that are certified by the FAA and being used in the U.S.
Three serious near collisions on runways in Boston, New York and Las Vegas this year have prompted the NTSB to again press for quicker action by the FAA to reduce such incidents. This issue has been on the Safety Board’s “most wanted” list since its inception in 1990.
The latest Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on FAA efforts to modernize the ATC system restates that the agency continues to miss cost, schedule and performance targets.
November 25 is the comment deadline for FAA’s proposed guidance on business aircraft wet leases.
The union representing air traffic controllers rejected the FAA’s request yesterday for federal mediation to help the agency reach a labor agreement with controllers, labeling it a “publicity stunt.” A 1998 contract expired on September 30, and the FAA suggests that little progress has been made since it and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association began negotiating on July 13.