As the aviation sector awaits the FAA’s final rule on the safety management systems (SMS) process, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has looked more closely at the status of SMS implementation, as well as at some of the key challenges the FAA and industry face in completing that implementation. The agency’s air traffic organization is currently the only FAA group that has completed the SMS implementation process, although five other agency organizations are finalizing their efforts.
Testifying yesterday before the Senate subcommittee on aviation on the status of NextGen ATC implementation, FAA deputy administrator Michael Whitaker told lawmakers that “both the FAA and industry must be held accountable if NextGen is to succeed.”
MRO service provider AAR has become the first MRO operator to agree to share safety information voluntarily with the FAA under a new program. AAR recently signed on to participate in the FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (Asias) program, which is designed to help MRO operators avoid serious and potentially costly safety issues and to help the FAA identify high-risk areas.
An NPRM from the Treasury Department on the assessment of federal excise taxes (FET) in the aircraft management industry could be issued as early as August, according to Jorge Castro, a consultant to the National Air Transportation Association. Speaking at the group’s annual Air Charter Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, he told the audience that dialog has heated up between the Internal Revenue Service and FAA regarding regulation of the FET laws.
The FAA has extended the expiration date of the final rule requiring civil helicopter pilots to use the New York North Shore Helicopter Route when flying VFR along the north shore of Long Island. The current rule was scheduled to expire on August 6 this year but the FAA extended it for two more years to preserve the current operating environment while it determines whether use of the route should be permanently mandatory.
At its annual Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference, held last week in West Palm Beach, Fla., NBAA recognized the 42 recipients of the 2014 Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Scholarship. The association established the program to help business aviation flight attendants/flight technicians develop their careers. Member companies such as AirCare, FlightSafety International, MedAire and Universal Weather & Aviation donate monetary and training awards for the scholarships. NBAA’s flight attendants committee chooses the recipients.
The FAA reauthorization legislation that President Obama signed into law in February 2012 gives the FAA the authority to regulate a model aircraft as an unmanned aircraft if it is flown in an unsafe manner, the FAA states in a policy notice published in the Federal Register on June 23.
Aviation alphabet groups slammed USA Today’s “sensationalistic” story published yesterday about general aviation safety. The story, “Unfit for Flight,” “fails to acknowledge the significant progress general aviation manufacturers have made to improve safety,” noted GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “The reality is that the number of fatal accidents in general aviation aircraft has declined substantially in recent years. In fact, the goal of one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown by 2018 now appears increasingly likely.”
It is way too soon to speculate about what might have caused the Gulfstream IV runway excursion crash at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. on May 31, but the NTSB preliminary report’s focus on the gust lock system raises some questions.
Despite the fact that there were no fatal accidents last year involving commercial air transport fixed-wing aircraft flown by operators based in the member states of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the authority’s executive director, Patrick Ky, has warned against complacency.