The FAA is reviewing another complaint claiming that the town of Norwood, Mass., through the Norwood Airport Commission, is in violation of federal grant obligations for allegedly discriminating against Boston Executive Helicopter’s (BEH) long-planned FBO at Norwood Memorial Airport.
New York resident John Michael Dial was sentenced on October 2 in U.S. District Court, Sacramento, Calif., to two years incarceration and 12 months of supervised release for operating a helicopter without a valid pilot certificate, as well as for operating under a false identity. A federal investigation revealed that from Dec. 16, 2009, to Aug. 4, 2010, Dial operated news helicopters in the San Francisco area under a false identity.
On October 10 an Italian judge found former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini not guilty of international corruption, but convicted the pair for the lesser crime of “false invoicing” and sentenced them to two-year prison terms and fined each €1.5 million. The sentence is suspended pending an anticipated appeal.
To improve situational awareness and gather more specific data about helicopter movements and helicopter noise, the FAA is requesting that pilots of civil helicopters operating under VFR at or below 6,000 feet in the Los Angeles Basin squawk transponder code 1205 between September 1 and Feb. 27, 2015. Law enforcement and other first-responder helicopters have been asked to squawk 1206. However, both rotary- and fixed-wing pilots should continue to squawk 1201 when flying in the L.A. Special Flight Rules Corridor.
According to NBAA, IRS officials recently indicated the agency plans to intensify audits of companies for improperly classifying employees as independent contractors, which could include contract pilots frequently used by corporate flight departments. The independent contractor issue is so concerning and complicated that NBAA issued a Best Practices for Utilizing Independent Contractors guide for business aircraft operators in 2011.
The AirPooler general aviation ride-sharing system has advised pilot-members not to list any flights, pending a discussion with the FAA to clarify AirPooler’s regulatory standing.
After eight years of litigation, a legal battle between ExxonMobil and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over mandatory pilot retirement age has concluded with a ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The appeals panel upheld the previous ruling that the energy company’s policy on mandatory retirement for its corporate pilots at age 60 (later 65) does not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
Kevin Boardman, who was the aviation director/chief pilot for Elmer’s Glue parent company Berwind Corp. from 1998 until earlier this year, was formally indicted by a grand jury of defrauding his former employer to the tune of at least $2.7 million. According to a release issued yesterday by the Eastern Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office, Boardman allegedly “devised numerous methods to embezzle money from his employer” between 2006 and last year.
In the ongoing battle to keep Santa Monica Airport from closing, on June 10 a group delivered more than 15,000 signatures to city hall to place a vote about the airport on the ballot later this year.
I’ve written periodically about FAA enforcement and what I consider to be abuses of the process, along with sanctions that are significantly disproportionate to the safety impact of the offenses charged.
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