Don’t like an FAA regulation? Now is the time to speak up

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If there is something about FAA regulations that you don’t like, now is the time to make your opinions heard. The FAA is asking for comments from the public “”to identify those regulations currently in effect that we should amend, remove or simplify.””

This action is the third round of regulatory review under a three-year program. In 1992 the President announced a regulatory review to “”weed out unnecessary and burdensome government regulations.”” After going through government paperwork and processes, the FAA published its first request for comments. Eighty-two comments were received. The second round came in July 2000 and resulted in 476 comments.

Association offices will be sending in comments to this request. As an individual, you have several ways to make your thoughts known about FAA regulations:

1. Contact any aviation association to which you belong and make your views known for inclusion — perhaps — in their comments, or

2. Send your comments directly to the FAA to Identify your comments by Docket Number FAA-2007-29291, or

3. Mail your comments to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue S.E., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington D.C. 20590.

Comments must be submitted by Jan. 14, 2008.


Maybe general aviation airports are finally getting some recognition from the non-flying population. The web service AOL recently carried a feature article about how more and more business people are skipping the major hub airports in favor of going to smaller general aviation airports nearer their destinations, without the hassle of airline travel.

The massive forest fires in Southern California also demonstrated the value of local airports. First, the fields were used as bases for aircraft dropping fire retardants. Second, ground firefighters were directed from the air to hit the hot spots. GA aircraft took spotters aloft and when they flew over hot spots, the spotters would radio down to ground fighters telling them exactly where to go.

Unmanned aerial vehicles also flew over the fire areas, photographed the hot areas and sent back digital images so ground crews knew within minutes where to focus their strongest efforts. The jet-powered, unmanned vehicles cruised at two different altitudes. The lower altitude needed FAA approval for flight in the airspace.

Another positive sign for general aviation is a growing recognition by the states that GA airports are important assets for business and industry. The state of Kentucky has recently had a renewed focus on airports. State Aeronautics Director Paul Steeley says aeronautics has recently been given full department status and the budget has been increased. As a result, three counties recently opened airports and a fourth is ready to open. Eight other counties are considering adding airports.

One half of Kentucky’s 120 counties now have airports, which are taken care of by volunteers. (See a separate story on Kentucky’s new airports on page 14).

Missouri also is focusing on the importance of general aviation airports with a reported three or four new ones recently opened.

As far back as 40 years ago, Ohio developed an airport in every county in the state. Many consider that this advanced thinking played an important role in keeping Ohio a vital industrial and business state.

William Piper commented that it took the political and transportation leaders some half century to realize that major highways should not go through towns but on bypasses around populated areas. He added that one day leaders might realize that small airports should be built in convenient places where people want to go.

Maybe that is finally beginning to dawn on some folks.

Charles Spence is GAN’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.

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