Third-class medical reform caught in government maze

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It started two-and-a-half years ago and there is still no clear end in sight. It’s another example of apparent government slow — or no — action.

In March 2012, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) petitioned the FAA to reduce the requirements for a third-class medical certificate and permit certain types of flying with a valid automobile drivers’ license, much like the Sport Pilot license.

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License or certificate?

If you pilot an aircraft, you probably tell friends you have a pilot’s license. Right? Maybe.

What you have now is a pilot’s CERTIFICATEThe FAA issues LICENSES for commercial space transportation.

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NTSB wants your thoughts

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking public comments regarding its proposed changes to rules governing investigation procedures.

The agency proposes to organize its procedures into mode-specific subparts to make the rules easier to access and consult. It also wants to update some terms and procedures, including using the term “event” to describe mishaps, rather than incident or accident.

More information may be found here.

NTSB to study drug trends in aviation accidents

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board will consider a study on drug use trends in aviation Sept. 9. It will examine trends in over-the-counter, prescription and illicit drug use documented from toxicology reports of pilots that died in aircraft crashes for the 22 years between 1990 and 2012.

The meeting on the drug trends will follow a meeting to determine the probable cause of a UPS Airlines accident that killed both the pilot and co-pilot in August 2013 as the flight was making an approach into the international airport at Birmingham, Alabama.

FAA interpretation of cost-sharing flights raises cautionary flags

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A recent ruling by the FAA regarding share-the-expense rides raises a cautionary flag for private pilots to be sure they are in compliance with not-for-hire regulations. The FAA issued a legal interpretation after several groups launched programs that brought together people wanting to travel to a particular place and pilots intending to go to the same location.

In brief, the FAA’s interpretation of regulations permits pilots to accept payment for a share of expenses so long as both the pilot and parties involved as passengers are traveling to a common destination and the pilot does not pay less than the pro rata share of expenses involving only fuel, oil, airport expenses, or rental fees. If a pilot accepts more than a pro rata share of expenses, he or she is in violation of FAA regulations.

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AirPooler wants FAA clarification on ride-sharing interpretation

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Steve Lewis, co-founder and CEO of AirPooler, says the FAA’s announced interpretation of flight-sharing-costs is causing confusion among pilots and urges the agency to clarify what it means.

The FAA’s position, he said, is based on a 1963 ruling that was reversed the following year. Lewis said the FAA is now calling cost sharing “compensation”and should cite examples on which its ruling is based.

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GA issues stalled until after election

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress is now on its summer recess. Members will reconvene Sept. 8 for a session of just two weeks and two days. Once it adjourns Sept. 23, the Congress won’t meet again until after the November election.

This is a short time for a quarreling legislative body to accomplish much of what it was not able to in the previous months and years. However, to some, a short schedule is a good thing.

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China to have effect on GA manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — China will have a greater effect on the manufacture of general aviation aircraft than it will on commercial airliners, a Senate committee was told Thursday at a Congressional hearing discussing. domestic challenges and global competition in aviation manufacturing.

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Why hasn’t FAA acted on ADS-B loan guarantee for GA?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Why has the FAA not taken action on implementing a loan guarantee program for general aviation to prepare for the mandate for ADS-B equipment three years after Congress passed a law approving it? That is a question Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who chairs the Committee on Small Business, asked in a recent letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

During a hearing in June before the committee, Huerta said lack of appropriations was a reason for the failure.

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Texas search group to continue using drones despite FAA court win

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA says a recent court decision regarding the use of drones has no bearing on the agency’s ability to regulate the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), but a Texas organization that brought the action plans to continue using UAS without approval from the government office. Texas EquuSearch had sued the FAA seeking to overturn an order the agency emailed to it in February prohibiting the use of drones.

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