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.
On March 22 comments are due on draft AC 145-RSTP (Repair Station Training Program). The circular defines the scope and description of the required repair station training manual that is required as the result of new Part 145 regulations. The FAA initially promised the industry that the AC would be available by Aug. 6, 2001, the date the final regulations were published. New FAR 145.163 is scheduled to go into effect April 6.
A meeting late last month between the FAA’s top regulatory officials and business aviation interests will likely result in renewed emphasis on new and existing aviation safety programs rather than any sweeping regulatory changes. The meeting came in the aftermath of six fatal turbine business aircraft accidents since late October.
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.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the JAA have both now validated the FAA’s type certificate for the Gulfstream 500. The dual validation allows the aircraft to be certified and registered in all 38 JAA member states, including the 25 countries of the European Union (EU), for which the EASA now has legal authority for issuing type certificates.
Interested parties will have more time to comment on the FAA’s proposal to require all air-tour operators to be certified under air carrier regulations. Since the proposal was published last October, the FAA has received more than 1,160 comments, many of them asking for an extended comment period and a public forum.
With the notable exception of professionally flown corporate jet operations, which had no accidents, business turboprops and jets posted more accidents and fatalities last year than in 2002 (71 versus 64 total accidents and 60 versus 51 fatalities), according to statistics compiled by Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.
When the national threat level was raised to code orange (high) on December 21, most people in general aviation took it in stride. With New Year’s celebrations just days off, new TFRs were issued for New York City and Las Vegas, followed by one for downtown Chicago, and waivers were suspended for sports stadium overflights and the Washington, D.C. air defense identification zone.
The FAA proposes replacing the current designee program with a new one that expands the functions that designees may perform, permits non-FAA-certified individuals and organizations to become designees and does away with existing designee categories.