The FAA is “well on track to having all the ADS-B foundational technology completed well before the 2020 mandate for industry to equip with ADS-B out,” associate administrator Michael Whitaker told the U.S. Senate commerce committee’s aviation subcommittee on NextGen air traffic management. “Both the FAA and industry must be held accountable if NextGen is to succeed,” he added, emphasizing that “the 2020 deadline is not going to change.”
Federal Aviation Administration
The FAA is proposing a $295,750 civil penalty against SkyWest Airlines for allegedly violating DOT drug-and-alcohol testing regulations. The agency alleges SkyWest failed to include more than 150 safety-sensitive employees in its random drug-testing pool. Further, SkyWest allegedly failed to receive verified negative drug test results for two other employees before hiring one for and transferring the other to safety-sensitive positions.
Wichita-based emergency medical transport operator EagleMed achieved Level 3 of the FAA’s safety management system on July 7. EagleMed president Larry Bugg said, “We are committed to every practice and principle of SMS and are determined to achieve SMS Level 4 status, which represents the pinnacle of aviation safety.” EagleMed is one of two FAA Part 135 certificate holders in the FAA’s Central Region to achieve Level 3 status.
By the end of this year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration expects to release a long-delayed draft rule that will begin to establish the conditions under which individuals and companies can fly small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes. But concerns over potential privacy infringements could postpone the release of a final “small UAS” regulation until well into 2016. Routine flights by larger UAS will follow when standards become available to properly equip them for collision avoidance and command and control from the ground.
This has got to stop. We all know that FAA inspectors at the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) level are overworked and that FAA regulations, policies, procedures and programs impose impossible requirements on agency personnel. But when a drop-dead simple piece of paperwork that needs an approval signature hits the desk and gets delayed for some obscure confounded reason, causing the grounding of a multimillion-dollar jet, well, this simply has got to stop.
The FAA last month released Safety Info for Operators document 14009 to explain a new data-gathering system on implementation of safety enhancements to Part 121 air carriers. The informational notice says all data gathered is only for the evaluation of industry-wide safety-related issues and is not intended to reflect regulatory compliance.
The FAA published the document as part of its support for the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (Cast), of which the agency is a participant along with air carriers, manufacturers and aviation labor organizations.
The FAA used International Civil Aviation Organization standards during a recent inspection to determine that Serbia’s aviation safety rating should be upgraded to Category 1 from Category 2. Serbia’s safety rating had been at Category 2 since 2006, indicating the country either lacked laws or regulations to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority was deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping or inspection procedures.
The FAA’s Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) have a backlog of applications for certificates that concerns the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s Office. As of last October, 1,029 new air operator, flight school and repair station applicants awaited certificates from FSDOs across all eight FAA regions, with 138 applications delayed longer than three years, the IG reported to Congress on June 12.
Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has released a draft of a new Pilot’s Bill of Rights. “The goal of Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 is to continue addressing unfair practices and regulations toward the aviation industry,” Inhofe said.
A June 11 Congressional House hearing on the FAA’s “2020 NextGen Mandate: Benefits and Challenges for General Aviation” reviewed the agency’s requirement that all U.S. civil aircraft carry ADS-B out units by Jan. 1, 2020, along with the vexing–to the FAA, at least–issue that aircraft owners are not rushing out to install them.