At Capitol Hill on Thursday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) was joined by NBAA, ALPA, GAMA, NATA, HAI and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (Pass) in a rally against the government shutdown. Heavy rain, as well as Capitol security, dampened attendance to about 150 people, who were supplied by Natca with matching signage and shirts.
Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta asking him to deem the FAA’s aircraft registry an essential service. The closure of this office during the government shutdown has all but halted aircraft sales transactions.
As the U.S. government shutdown enters its eighth day, the FAA announced this morning that it is recalling 800 employees from its office of aviation safety this week to provide oversight across the country. These recalls are part of a contingency plan that would see up to 2,500 employees recalled over a two-week period, but only if their positions provide for “the protection of life and property.”
Every decade or so, sometimes more often, someone or some organization proposes “privatizing” the U.S. air traffic control system. In 1985 it was the Air Transport Association (ATA), now renamed Airlines for America, which released a study calling for a self-supporting federal ATC corporation.
Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon’s largest supplier, has joined forces with Bell Helicopter on the V-280 being proposed for the DoD’s joint multi-role (JMR) technology demonstrator program. The move by Lockheed Martin comes one month after the company announced it is developing a “universal” avionics and weapons package for the Army’s JMR aircraft even before selection of an airframe. As many as 4,000 helicopters could be acquired under the program.
Even as French aircrews began training in the U.S. on the Reaper UAS, EADS Cassidian announced that it had received a one-year extension to its support contract for the Harfang UAS that the French air force intends to replace with the American drone. Cassidian also noted that the similar Heron UAS operated by the German air force and supported by the company has logged 15,000 hours over Afghanistan. The Germans are also considering a Reaper buy as a replacement for the Israeli-origin UAVs.
NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman and vice chairman Christopher Hart have been renominated by the White House to new terms as members of the agency. In addition, the Obama Administration has also nominated Hersman to her third term as chairman.
The Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority has approved Duncan Aviation’s location in Provo, Utah, as an aircraft maintenance organization. In addition, the company’s location in Battle Creek, Mich. recently received approval by Argentina’s Civil Aviation Authority. In addition to their FAA and EASA approvals, Duncan Aviation’s locations in Lincoln, Neb., Battle Creek and Provo hold certificates for 10 more civil aviation authorities, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, China, Gambia, Mexico, South Africa and Venezuela.
The long-running dispute over President Obama’s signature health-care initiative led to the first federal government closure of “non-essential” services in 17 years at 12:01 a.m. EDT today. For the FAA, however, it is business almost as usual. Of a total of 46,070 FAA positions, 30,556 are considered exempted and those employees reported for work as usual.
In ceremonies at the Seville factory and at Orleans airbase on September 30, Airbus Military and the French Air Force celebrated the entry into service of the A400M airlifter. No new aircraft were handed over, but delivery of the second aircraft for France and the first for Turkey will occur by the end of October.