NBAA welcomed changes announced and enacted yesterday by the FAA to streamline the process for aircraft operators seeking a letter of authorization (LOA) for operations in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace above FL280. According to NBAA senior manager of safety and flight operations Mark Larsen, the FAA’s final policy is in line with recommendations made by a task force to improve the LOA inspection process, while maintaining operational safety in the National Airspace System.
Federal Aviation Administration
The FAA notified Ethiopian aviation officials last week that their country had passed the agency’s five-day-long safety audit, allowing that African nation to retain its Category 1 safety status. The FAA allows foreign-carrier flights to the U.S. only from countries that pass audits measured against ICAO standards. Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to Washington, D.C., and plans to inaugurate service to two other, as yet unnamed, U.S. cities.
The FAA proposed a $150,000 civil penalty against Farmingdale, N.Y.-based Talon Air on Friday. In a news release, the agency said the company allowed four of its pilots to operate its Hawker 4000s “at least 64 times between October 23, 2011, and July 9, 2012, while they were unqualified to serve as on-demand [Part 135] flight crewmembers.”
U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) have introduced legislation–S.1941–to require the FAA to follow the established rulemaking process as the agency tries to implement its obstructive sleep apnea screening rule. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), an original cosponsor of the bill, is a member of the Senate general aviation caucus, along with Manchin and Inhofe.
A first step in developing guidelines to safely integrate UAVs into U.S. civil airspace could come from efforts the FAA recently initiated with the Academy of Model Aeronautics. The organizations signed an agreement on January 12 to ensure continued safe operation of model aircraft that comply with a Congressional directive requiring an organization other than the FAA to help regulate model aircraft flying activities.
A $1.1 trillion spending plan easily passed the House of Representatives yesterday and is awaiting action by the Senate, expected no later than tomorrow. Congress then departs Washington for a week of vacation anchored by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday.
The need for aviation workers to speak and understand English is clearly outlined in FAA regulations, but as Roy Resto points out in his CAVU Café: Royboy’s Prose & Cons blog, understanding how this works in practice takes a little more work. “In most parts of the world,” he noted, “English is the international language of aviation. Flight-deck instruments are in English, as are flight manuals and maintenance instructions.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx named 10 new members to the high-level board that advises the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Several new members have airline industry connections.
The chairman of a U.S. Senate subcommittee overseeing FAA contracts asked the Department of Transportation’s inspector general (IG) to look into the agency’s handling of an $859 million contract to support air traffic controller training required to help prepare 11,700 new controllers by 2021. The recently released report said the subcommittee was not convinced the FAA could or would meet the stated goals of its Air Traffic Control Optimum Training Solution (ATCOTS) program.
A “status quo bias” slows the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in its effort to modernize the nation’s ATC system, according to a new report.