Where is the House’s version of the FAA funding bill? That is the question industry is asking as time draws short to get it through committee and passed on the full floor. A spokesman for the Republican minority confirmed to AIN that the current delay stems from the issue of controller staffing. “Committee leaders urged the FAA and NATCA [the controllers’ union] to resolve their differences,” he said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is partnering with the FAA to provide veterans with disabilities on-the-job training as air traffic controllers or technicians installing and repairing ATC equipment.
The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has called for a hearing later this spring on falsified medical certificates after the Transportation Department’s Inspector General found “egregious” cases of airmen lying to the FAA about medical conditions to pass their medical exams.
Operation Safe Pilot, an 18-month federal probe into “the misuse of Social Security numbers by pilots,” ended last month with the indictment of 40 pilots–some with commercial or ATP certificates–on fraud charges. During the investigation of 40,000 FAA-licensed pilots in northern California, federal agents identified numerous pilots with current medicals who were receiving disability benefit payments.
Some 43 pilots in Northern California charged with making false statements on their applications for medical certifications entered plea agreements. But one went to trial and lost. Michael Pennington, a former chief pilot and maintenance director for Mountain Life Flight, an air ambulance service, was found guilty.
Jean Ross Howard Phelan, a pioneering airplane and helicopter pilot, died early last month at the age of 87. During World War II she helped aviation legend Jackie Cochran run a base for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She learned to fly under the Civilian Pilot Training program (which later banned women from its ranks) and, in 1954, became only the eighth woman in the U.S. to get her helicopter rating.
The FAA has mailed out invitations to participate in its 2006 General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey. Those selected will receive a letter containing directions for the Web-based survey, as well as their unique code to complete it.
Aircraft owners and operators should start watching their mailbox for an invitation to participate in the FAA’s 2006 General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey. Those selected will receive a letter containing directions to participate in the Web-based annual survey, as well as their unique code to complete it.
The minimum percentage rate for substance-abuse testing for next year will remain at 25 percent of covered aviation employees for random drug testing and 10 percent for random alcohol testing. The rates will remain unchanged because historical data indicates that the positive rate for drug tests over the last several years has been less than 1 percent.
Proposed amendments were adopted to clarify the FAA’s anti-drug and alcohol-misuse regulations pertaining to testing requirements; reasonable cause for testing; periodic drug testing; the anti-drug program approval process; and drug- and alcohol-abuse prevention programs.