The theme of this year’s annual New Jersey Aviation Conference, held at Newark Liberty International Airport recently, was “Revitalizing New Jersey Aviation,” but state issues composed only half the conference’s agenda. General aviation is in the process of reinventing itself, and a procession of experts focused on the changes that are reshaping business and personal flying.
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) has asked President Bush to replace FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker because they have not grounded the Mitsubishi MU-2. Early last year Tancredo asked the FAA to ground the turboprop twin “due to its shockingly high accident rate.” In lieu of grounding the aircraft, Tancredo agreed with Mitsubishi that the FAA should mandate a type rating.
In its latest update, issued last month, the NTSB said the number of people killed in all aviation accidents last year dropped to 616 from 652 in 2004. Airline fatalities increased from 14 to 22, while Part 135 deaths dropped sharply from 64 in 2004 to 18 last year. Part 91 fatalities last year ticked up slightly to 562 from 558 in 2004. Foreign/unregistered aircraft contributed to the difference, with 16 fatalities in 2004 and 14 in 2005.
The FAA last month issued a proposed order to extend through at least next September the high-density rule at New York La Guardia Airport (LGA), including the general aviation slot reservation program, which is now scheduled to expire on January 1. The agency last month proposed a new rule for public comment to maintain the high-density rule at LGA.
The City of Chicago settled an FAA enforcement action that arose after it bulldozed Meigs Field’s runway on March 30, 2003. The city agreed to pay $33,000, assessed for failure to provide advance notice of changes to the airport, although under terms of the settlement the city admits no violation.
• General aviation operations will be limited to 24 arrivals and 24 departures each day.
• Pilots must be pre-certified under a program similar to the Twelve-Five program.
• Flight plans and crew manifests must be filed 24 hours in advance.
• Aircraft will be swept and crew, baggage and passengers will undergo screening at the gateway airports before departure.
Henry Schubach, founder of San Diego-based on-demand charter company Schubach Aviation, received the “Neighbor of the Year Award” from Father Joe’s Villages and the Daily Transcript. The award recognizes individuals who have consistently assisted people in need in the local community.
John Walton, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and a member of the company’s board, died in the crash of his experimental ultralight airplane in June. He was 58. Walton, a medic in the U.S. Army’s Green Berets during the Vietnam War, earned a Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his unit while under intense enemy fire.
• The House of Representatives approved appropriations for Fiscal Year 2006 for the Department of Transportation. The House bill allocates to the FAA $14.4 billion for operations, $3.6 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, $25 million to hire some 600 new air traffic controllers and $8 million to add more safety inspectors in the aircraft certification and flight standards offices.
It used to be Signature’s busiest location– by far. The FBO at Ronald Reagan Washington National has seen on its ramp everyone from presidents, ex-presidents and captains of industry to weekend pilots with their families visiting the nation’s capital.