Plans to accelerate NextGen benefits unveiled

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FAA and the aviation community sent a plan to Congress last week to show how the FAA will accelerate the benefits of key NextGen initiatives over the next three years.

The agreement is the result of several months of collaboration between the agency and the NextGen Advisory Committee, which includes officials from the airlines, airports, general aviation, pilots, labor unions and safety specialists, manufacturers, international aviation, environmentalists and the Department of Defense.

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New report criticizes NextGen rollout

The FAA’s efforts to modernize the air traffic control system — known as NextGen — has had such a bumpy rollout that costs associated with some of the core technology outweigh potential benefits, according to a report by the Transportation Department’s Inspector General. A story in the Wall Street Journal says the IG’s report “raises new questions about the design, deployment and projected benefits” of ADS-B. The IG’s report predicts that taxpayer investments in ADS-B “now outweigh the projected benefits of the program by as much as $588 million.” Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.

Four alternative fuels to undergo testing

WASHINGTON, D.C – The FAA has selected four unleaded fuels for the first phase of testing at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. The goal is for government and industry to work together to have a new unleaded fuel that reduces lead emissions for general aviation by 2018.

Shell and TOTAL, with one fuel each, and Swift Fuels, with two fuels, will now work with the FAA on phase-one testing, which will begin this fall and conclude in fall 2015.

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Lawmakers lobby to expedite medical reform

Lawmakers are asking the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the administration to expedite a review of the FAA’s proposed rulemaking on third-class medical reform.

In two separate letters, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) and Sam Graves (R-Missouri) wrote to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, urging his department to complete its review of the FAA notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) within the next 30 days and open the proposal for public comment.

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Congress shows support for federal contract towers

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate recently sent letters to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta reiterating congressional support for the preservation of 252 federal contract towers.

Fifty-five senators signed a July 31 letter imploring Huerta to consider “all perspectives” in what appears to be an effort to streamline tower operations as the agency continues to deal with budget pressures, according to a report on the National Business Aviation Association website.

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