Congress bailed out of Washington in early December and was scheduled to land back in place on January 20. The recess provided ample time for reviewing legislative accomplishments and failures during the first session of the 108th Congress and for taking a look at what might happen in the second session.
The FAA has revised FAR Part 91.321 to clarify that private aircraft operators can transport candidates on campaign travel for state and local elective offices and accept payment for the flight in accordance with state and local election laws. The new rule will take effect on March 2.
• After the November elections, House Democrats vowed to pass the “Six for ’06” bills (minimum wages, stem cell research, energy and so on) in the first 100 legislative hours of the 110th Congress and, to their credit, they did so in 87 hours. However, when those bills were sent to the Senate, three met resistance, one appeared to be destined for a veto by the President and two were subjected to heavy criticism from outside groups.
Part 135 on-demand operators and Part 145 repair stations will soon be
President Bush Tuesday signed into law a homeland security spending bill that includes language directing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work with industry to expand the transportation security administration access certificate (TSAAC), a voluntary general aviation security program.
• So, President George W. Bush won the election and will serve four more years in the White House. Cabinet changes are the subject of speculation, but Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta’s name has not surfaced as of press time. Troubled by back problems, Mineta may or may not stay on.
GA groups generally welcomed the Senate confirmation of Judge Michael Chertoff to be Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, replacing Tom Ridge, who resigned. But his positions on general aviation are still unknown.
Last month, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) introduced bills to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Transportation to draw up regulations to re-open Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to general aviation. Such regulations would have to be prepared within six months of the bill becoming law.
As the result of requests to extend the deadline for comments on the FAA’s proposal to establish regulations governing flights that go beyond certain distances from an adequate airport (extended operations, or ETOPS) by multi-engine airplanes, the FAA has expanded the comment period. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) was published on November 13, and comments were due by January 13. The new comment period extends to March 15.
Revisions to the service difficulty reporting (SDR) requirements in FAR Parts 121, 135 and 145 (air carriers and repair stations) set to have gone into effect on January 16 have been delayed until Jan. 30, 2006. As a result of several unresolved issues raised by the industry, the agency has delayed the effective date of the revisions on four separate occasions since the final rules were adopted on Sept. 16, 2000.