• Congress took a three-week break on November 16 to allow lawmakers to ponder the results of the election. On December 5 lame-duck lawmakers limped back into session but ran like race horses on the way to the finish line and ended the business of the 109th Congress four days later.
Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), considered the most knowledgeable member of Congress on aviation issues, will lead the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when the 110th Congress convenes this month. The ranking Republican on the committee will be Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who was most recently chairman of the House aviation subcommittee. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) is in line to chair that subcommittee.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a new office at Santa Maria Airport (SMX) on December 4, with operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Jim Kunkle, president of FBO Central Coast Jet Center, said that Santa Maria is a frequent launch point for business jet flights to Hawaii. The first customer to use the new customs service was a BBJ flying from Asia early last month.
Fractional ownership operator NetJets has increased its flights to Le Bourget airport by 70 percent since the last Paris Air Show in 2003, the U.S.-based company announced here on Monday. NetJets figures show a jump from 1,400 movements over the five first months of 2003 to 2,400 movements over the equivalent period this year.
On October 30, Dr. Jan Galla opened an aviation medical examination office at the Jet Aviation facilities on Teterboro Airport. Galla, a cardiac surgeon for the past 20 years, decided to become an aviation medical examiner (AME) full-time after five years of offering airman medical exams in his spare time. Galla’s practice is solely for aviation medical exams, primarily for professional flight crews.
The French Ministry of Employment has launched an investigation into NetJets Europe flight crews at French airports, after an association of air charter operators alleged the fractional ownership giant is breaking the country’s employment law.
Dole Food and its affiliate Castle & Cook have purchased three Eclipse 500 very light jets (VLJs) that will join a current corporate aircraft fleet. Dole’s flight department is based in Van Nuys, Calif., and includes a Global Express. “The decision to purchase these jets was made based on safety, performance and economics,” said Dole Food owner David Murdock.
Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), the ranking minority member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is no fan of aviation user fees. General aviation interests should be heartened because he is expected to become chairman of the committee that is responsible for FAA funding when the 110th Congress convenes early next month.
Competition, it is said, brings out the best–and worst–in companies.
Underwater Projects Group (UPG), part of the Singapore-based faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is developing an airdrop-capable underwater vehicle. The Trident Mk1 is said to be modular, allowing several kinds of payload to be accommodated. Either thrusters or water jets, both vectoring, power it.