Houston Ellington Field, home to NASA’s C-9 “Vomit Comet” microgravity research airplane, is expanding to attract more general aviation activity by making previously inaccessible property available for development and building a new taxiway to accommodate more business jet operators.
On May 13 Quest Aircraft of Sandpoint, Idaho, made the first public showing of its new Kodiak utility turboprop single, at the Alaska State Aviation trade show in Anchorage. The event marked a significant milestone for the company and the airplane, which first flew on October 16 last year.
It appears that the informational picketing by NetJets pilots, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108, is having the desired effect of putting pressure on company management to hammer out a new contract with the pilot workforce. On May 27 the pilots conducted simultaneous informational picketing sessions at Teterboro Airport, N.J., and West Palm Beach Airport, Fla.
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.
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.