The best of times, the worst of times…

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness.”

So said Charles Dickens in “The Tale of Two Cities.” Little did he know he was writing about general aviation in 2013 — and possibly the year 2014.

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Waiting for FAA action

WASHINGTON, D.C. — There’s a quip here that asks: Why don’t government workers look out of the windows in the morning? The answer is: If they did that they wouldn’t have anything to do in the afternoon.

Things are not that bad in all offices, but two examples at the FAA lend credence to that bad joke.

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Congressman calls for early start on FAA reauthorization

Rep. Bill Shuster

WASHINGHTON, D.C. — Now is the time to begin laying the groundwork for reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said during a speech before the International Aviation Club Dec. 11. Although reauthorization isn’t due until September 2015, the aviation system must evolve and modernize, he said, and there are many questions to be asked and answered to achieve a true path to the future.

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House Committee moves to slow proposed sleep apnea policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress took the first step Wednesday, Dec. 4, toward slowing the FAA from testing overweight pilots and air traffic controllers for sleep apnea.  The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring the FAA to go through the normal rule-making process. The action is in response to the efforts of FAA’s Air Surgeon Fred Tilton to require medical tests for sleep disorders.

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A ‘baaad’ rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This could be the beginning of something big: The FAA has followed recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board and announced a program to check the weight of pilots in order to produce safer flight. The announced reason is that overweight people have a tendency to be more liable to suffer sleep apnea.

Officials at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says no data supports the NTSB/FAA claim that apnea is a problem in general aviation, [Read more…]

Drone ‘road map’ unveiled

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA has released its 72-page “road map” for determining how to permit unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — more commonly known as drones — to share the skies with other aircraft by 2015, but early indications show many problems to overcome before the air has a mixture of vehicles.

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