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.
The NTSB is investigating the June 11 crash of a Bell 206 about 90 miles south of Houma, La., while on approach to an oil rig. The accident killed both the pilot and the passenger. Workers on the oil rig deployed a life raft after the accident but found that the helicopter had already sunk into the Gulf of Mexico.
The San Diego Superior Court in California recently ruled that three airplane hangars purchased and occupied on leased space at San Diego Brown Field are “removable trade fixtures.” As such, the court found that the hangars are the sole property of the tenant, Finch Aerospace, which operates the California Flight Museum. Finch subleased the space for the hangars from FBO Lancair, which argued that its master lease with the city gave it control over its tenants’ hangars. Therefore, it prevented Finch from selling or moving the hangars, a situation that led to the lawsuit.
For the second year in a row, the aviation unit of Florida’s Marion County Sheriff’s Office hosted a safety training session for law enforcement, emergency medical, firefighting and electronic newsgathering operations from around the state. The May 21 event drew more than 70 attendees from 23 different organizations and focused on the United States National Grid, combatting complacency and formation flying. During the training session attendees practiced joint search-and-rescue efforts by identifying coordinates using the national grid.
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