All six people aboard a King Air 200 that crashed in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., on February 3 were killed. Witnesses told the NTSB that N266EB, operating under Part 91, had made an initial approach to Runway 23 at Grand Strand Airport and “fishtailed” about 20 feet above the runway.
FAA financing and the prospect of user fees to help pay for modernization of the ATC system is the primary issue facing general aviation in the coming year, said National Air Transportation Association (NATA) president Jim Coyne during an annual industry briefing to the media.
The FAA is reviewing Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC)-recommended revisions to the FAR Part 125/135 rulebook. The industry representatives turned over the recommendations–including possible changes to flight- and duty-time regulations–late last year.
An FAA meeting on March 22 and 23 in Kansas City, Mo., will address continued airworthiness of the U.S. general aviation fleet. The meeting, focusing on small airplanes, comes nearly six years after a similar gathering in 2000. Since then “there have been GA fatal accidents caused by the effects of airplane aging,” the agency said. According to the FAA, the average GA airplane is 35 years old.
The FAA extended through October 28 a flight-reduction program at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, including slot reservations for general aviation operations. The current limitations were scheduled to end April 1. Through several six-month extensions, the program has been in effect continuously since November 2004, and the FAA has concluded an evaluation of comments on a proposal that would extend the program through April 2008.
NTSB preliminary statistics for last year show an increase in aviation accidents for airline and general aviation operations and a decline for on-demand air taxis. The NTSB said there were 1,669 accidents last year involving GA aircraft compared with 1,617 in 2004. The 562 fatalities involved in GA accidents were four more than during the previous year. The NTSB also reported higher GA rates (accidents per 100,000 flight hours).
A new FAA program is intended to improve the use of comprehensible English as the international language of aviation and support new English language proficiency standards that are scheduled to go into effect in two years. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member states must “adopt, and controllers and aircrews must conform to and achieve, new English language proficiency standards” by March 2008.
An ATP corporate pilot who is a Gold Seal CFI and safety counselor is currently working on a rulemaking petition to allow pilots to accomplish the FAR 135.299(a) line operational evaluation in an approved level-C simulator in lieu of a line check in an aircraft.
Despite the installation of runway collision avoidance equipment at many of the nation’s largest airports, recently there has been an increase in the number and severity of runway incursions at three major airports.
The battle lines over FAA funding have been drawn, with general aviation on one side and the airlines on the other. The dueling began in earnest on March 8, with press conferences from both the Air Transport Association (ATA) and several GA groups.