GA garnering more attention from Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. — General aviation now seems to be getting more attention in Congress and from the FAA. This observation comes from the appearance of a Congressman and a deputy administrator of the FAA at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Homecoming Fly-In earlier this month.

Michael Whitaker, FAA deputy administrator with the primary responsibility of developing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), told a crowd of several hundred that he is getting his pilot’s license “to better understand my job and general aviation issues.”

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Possible terrorist threats keep GA vigilant

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When conditions in the Middle East erupted and President Obama unleashed air power on the Islamic State, officials at many general aviation organizations here became jittery over ISIL threats to retaliate on American soil.

If there is retaliation, would aircraft be used? Would the escalation of tensions raise the level of concern to a point that would mean an increase in security at airports? Would it mean limitations on flying?

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Six movie companies given OK to fly drones

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The drones are coming.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta revealed at a news conference Sept. 25 that six aerial and video companies have been granted permission to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the United States, with a seventh company in line for approval.

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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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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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