Pilots appointed to House Transportation Committee

Two more pilots are joining the powerful U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when the 114th Congress convenes in January. The Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee will play a vital role in setting long-term spending priorities for the FAA during the 2015 Reauthorization process.

Rep. Todd Rokita, (R-Ind.), is among the 12 new committee members announced on Dec. 10. Rokita is an active pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also an original co-sponsor of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), which reforms the third-class medical certification process, as well as a member of the House GA Caucus and one of general aviation’s staunchest allies in Congress.

Also joining the committee is freshman Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), an inactive pilot and past AOPA member.

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Sequestration dangers national airspace system

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sequestration is a danger to the National Airspace System (NAS). That is the message National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi delivered Tuesday to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for its hearing examining the upcoming FAA reauthorization and issues in modernizing and operating the nation’s airspace.

Rinaldi emphasized the urgent need for funding certainty, to ensure everything from effective NextGen implementation to adequate staffing of air traffic controllers.

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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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