Although the market for charter and fractional ownership is still strong in the U.S., operators might soon face a shortage of qualified pilots and maintenance technicians.
Pilot licensing and certification
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.
Sixty years ago, with the outcome of the World War II still nearly 12 months in the future, 52 nations met in Chicago to agree on a format for the worldwide development of civil aviation in the post-war environment. As codicils to the Chicago Convention of Dec. 7, 1944, which formalized the existence of ICAO, each operational remit area was amplified by means of a numbered Annex.
Australian regional airline Regional Express (Rex) announced last month that it will offer a 25-percent reimbursement of training costs to new pilots who agree to stay with the airline for at least two years. The announcement comes in response to a “severe pilot shortage [that] has resulted over the last four months in massive disruption to Rex’s operations,” according to John Sharp, deputy chairman of Regional Express Holdings.
More than 615 comments–the great majority negative–were submitted on rules adopted in January that permit the FAA to immediately suspend or revoke the airman certificate of any pilot or mechanic the Transportation Security Administration has “determined to pose a security threat.” The rules establish procedures to appeal the action to the TSA; however, they cannot be appealed to a third party such as the NTSB.
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.
U.S. airmen who misplace their certificates can get back into the air more quickly than in the past, thanks to a new FAA service. Replacement certificates and temporary authority to operate can be requested through an online account with the FAA Civil Aviation Registry Web site, http://registry.faa.gov.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved and sent to the full Senate a bill that would give the FAA six months to issue pilot certificates that include photo identification. AOPA has long advocated such a move but believes that the six-month time frame for implementation is unrealistic. The legislation would require the photo ID for pilots to include biometric data or other unique identifiers.
In the April 23 Federal Register, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued what it called “FairPay” rules that will take effect on August 23. The DOL states, “Under the new FairPay rules, workers earning less than $23,660 per year–or $455 per week–are guaranteed overtime protection.”
To borrow the term “caveat emptor” (Latin for “let the buyer beware”) and mangle it only a bit, flight crews of aircraft that require two pilots should be aware that in some countries both of those pilots need to be type rated in that particular airplane.