General aviation manufacturers enjoyed another record-breaking year last year, with billings totaling $21.9 billion, up 16.5 percent from the previous year, and worldwide shipments reaching 4,272 airplanes, up 5.4 percent. For the first time ever, shipments of jets exceeded the 1,000-per-year milestone, climbing to 1,138 last year.
Pilot certification in the United States
WESTLAND HELICOPTERS GAZELLE AH-MK1, EAST HAMPTON, N.Y., NOV. 8, 2002–The 1974 Gazelle (N911XW), a former British Army helicopter registered in the Experimental category, was destroyed at about 11:25 p.m. EST when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Hampton, N.Y. The pilot, William Smithers, 35, of Sag Harbor, N.Y., was lost at sea and is presumed dead.
Suppose your aviation medical examiner (AME) gives you the little piece of paper that proclaims to the FAA that you are fit to fly, but the paperwork never reaches the agency’s Aeromedical Certification Branch in Oklahoma City. Are you legal? Are you liable? While certainly not routine, the situation has cropped up more often than one might think.
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.
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.