Last month, I wrote about preventing whistleblowing: how do you keep employees from blowing the whistle? My short answer was to listen to what employees are saying about safety problems, investigate and take appropriate actions.
Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century
One of the pillars of modern aviation safety, cockpit resource management was introduced to commercial aviation more than two decades ago. Among other things, CRM was meant to draw the curtain on the era of the submissive copilot and flight engineer cowed by an overbearing “gear up, shut up” captain.
The FAA has issued a Notice of New Task Assignment for the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to develop maintenance requirements for aircraft used in commercial air-tour operations as covered in 14 CFR Part 136–Commercial Air Tours and National Parks Air Tour Management.
On November 5, U.S. voters will determine whether Republicans or Democrats have the majority in the House and Senate, and how this pans out has obvious importance to the Bush Administration. In the Senate, where the Democrats enjoy a one-vote majority, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who may have aspirations to run for president in 2004, has been a constant thorn in the side of President Bush by holding up progress on a number of bills.
The last few months have been difficult for a number of aviation players. First, there were several whistleblower complaints from FAA aviation safety inspectors who risked their futures to make serious allegations against their management in the southwest region. These allegations had been under investigation for some time when the U.S. Congress decided to hold hearings and have FAA senior management respond to them in a public forum.
Cutting President Bush’s proposals to reduce taxes by some $726 billion; concern over ever increasing deficits that are now approaching a record $400 billion for this year; raising the government’s debt limits; and how much to spend to cover the cost of the war in Iraq, as well as other emergencies–these were the primary concerns of elected representatives as they tackled this session of the 108th Congress.
The entire air charter industry has been left in the lurch since the FAA initiated enforcement action against AMI over how it was managing its operation.
For some time, the industry speculated that the FAA was looking into the operations of the on-demand charter operators and into the methods used by some Part 135 on-demand carriers and the corporate aircraft often used to provide lift for these operations.
Aside from the cost of military actions against the terrorist factions following the September 11 attacks, the big question is, how the government is going to pay for everything else it wants to do.
With election time nearing, look for presidential candidates to fuss, fret and be defensive about government spending. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report that took issue with President Bush’s promise to cut the budget deficit in half in five years. Bush predicts a budget drop from $521 billion this year to $239 billion in 2009.
The Bush Administration rolled out its FY2007 budget plan early last month, calling for $13.75 billion for the FAA–down from the $14.31 billion for this fiscal year–and doling out a big hit on general aviation airports. Although the proposal does not yet call for user fees, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta warned that the agency will have to “relate revenue sources to the services being provided,” such as ATC.
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