Last month Congress passed and President Bush signed legislation that raises the mandatory retirement age for U.S. airline pilots from 60 to 65. That means that pilots at or near age 60 will not have to wait for the FAA to complete its cumbersome rulemaking process.
Pilot certification in the United States
After denying requests for an extension of the comment period on proposed new rules involving U.S. border crossings by general aviation aircraft, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency reversed course last month and extended the comment period until December 4.
While AOPA seeks an extension on the comment period for new security rules for private aircraft arriving and departing the U.S., NBAA released the “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Guide for Private Flyers” on its member Web site.
Doctors and pilots. Hard to find a group more at odds. Doctors, in the person of aviation medical examiners (AMEs), put aviators holding Class I medical certificates through thorough examinations every six months. Aviators view these exams as one of the stiff prices they pay for the privilege of flying for pay.
The subject of contract pilots always seems to come up with little warning, like five minutes after someone in the company books a trip in the middle of a regular pilot’s vacation or training. A department manager’s reaction to this kind of crisis ranges from a look of deep confusion to a smile because the solution is already in hand. The solution usually means finding a qualified pilot–now.
Some flight schools have gone out of business since September 11 though the actual number is elusive. A National Air Transportation Association spokesman said a member survey taken two weeks after the terrorist attacks yielded shocking results. NATA’s membership conservatively lost between $300 million and $500 million during the period when all flight instruction and VFR flying were banned.
Twenty medical conditions that are serious enough to require special issuance (SI) first- and second-class medicals can now be cleared by an aviation medical examiner (AME) after an initial review by the FAA. This means that once the FAA issues an SI medical certificate, pilots can then go to their AMEs for a renewal, provide all of the necessary medical reports and, if the condition has not changed, leave with another valid SI medical.
Universal Weather & Aviation (Booth No. 7666) has received FAA approval to become an aircraft dispatcher training course provider and is now offering the course to the general public.
The first public six-week course began September 10. The next is scheduled to start November 5.
New technology and tactics are changing flight training against the backdrop of a declining pilot base, fewer student pilot starts and a shortage of flight instructors.
The National Business Aviation Association presents Pilot Safety Awards each year to member-company pilots with exemplary safety records. To be eligible for an award, a pilot must have flown corporate aircraft 1,500 hours without an accident, but the actual number of safe hours flown by many of the top pilots comes close to 30,000 hours.