Polly Vacher is preparing for a May bid to become the first pilot to fly solo around the world via both the North and South Poles. She plans to depart from the UK’s Birmingham International Airport in her Piper Dakota piston single. The “Wings Around the World” flight will raise funds for the Flying Scholarships for the Disabled charity.
In a cooperative agreement announced last month, ChevronTexaco Global Aviation (CTGA) employees will sponsor 22 children from around the world. After extensive research, the employees chose Childreach/ Plan, a nonprofit organization that promotes children’s well being, rights and interests around the world.
The Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) is disappointed in the latest U.S. government budget proposal, which seeks nearly $1 billion in cuts from the FAA Airport Improvement Plan in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget. The proposal for 2009 would reduce airport improvement plan spending by $765 million compared to 2008 but also by $1.1 billion compared to numbers in the FAA reauthorization bill pending in Congress.
Yonkers, N.Y.-based Crestwood Technology Group (CTG) has intoduced a so-called Authent-Assure program to ensure that military, defense and aerospace contractors receive genuine parts and equipment in response to a marketplace that has become “flooded with counterfeit parts.”
The pilots of Dallas-based CareFlite have approved a new contract including a pay hike, ending more than a year of work (and grueling negotiations) without a contract. The new three-year contract includes expanded pay and benefits for the pilots, including guaranteed overtime, annual pay increases of up to 6.2 percent and an average starting salary between $47,561 and $66,000.
With FAA reauthorization still bogged down in the Senate over user fees, staff members are drafting a bill to extend the current aviation excise taxes until after the November presidential election. The House passed a four-year FAA funding bill in September that continues existing fuel taxes–adjusted for inflation–and contains no user fees. The general aviation community supports this legislation.
Eleven subcontractor employees have been arrested on charges they used fake immigration documents and lied about their pasts to get security clearances at Sikorsky Aircraft. Those arrested included eight illegal aliens who were accused of using false Social Security numbers and forged alien-registration cards to get jobs with as-yet unidentified Sikorsky subcontractors, according to U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor.
“I’m from the FAA and I’m here to help you” will probably remain a dubious phrase, if the results of an FAA customer-satisfaction survey are any sign. In the fourth annual survey of U.S. commercial pilots conducted by the University of Michigan and its partners, the FAA gained nine points in its overall rating, up to 64 (out of 100).
The FAA determined that the minimum percentage rate for substance abuse testing this year will remain at 25 percent of covered aviation employees for random drug testing and 10 percent for random alcohol testing. Data received in the last two years indicates that the positive rate for drug testing is less than 1 percent and the positive rate for alcohol testing has been less than 0.5 percent.
Gulfstream Aerospace agreed to pay $2.1 million to 61 former employees–none of them company pilots–in an age-bias settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but denied that it “engaged in any discrimination based on age, or committed any other violation.” In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged the Savannah, Ga. manufacturer targeted employees 40 years of age or older during a spate of layoffs in 2000.