FAA deputy administrator new pilot

FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker, who is responsible for helping to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the National Airspace System, recently took his private pilot checkride — and told officials with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association that he “felt the pressure,” noting it “wouldn’t be acceptable” not to pass. In a blog post at AOPA.org, Whitaker relates that he was motivated to learn to fly for his own edification and because of his job — so he could understand technologies beyond the intellectual level and so he could better understand general aviation issues. Read the full report here.

FAA reauthorization struggles begin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — FAA reauthorization is up for renewal next September and an indication of upcoming struggles over it was highlighted in a House of Representatives committee hearing in late November.

A major disagreement will be over air traffic control (ATC). The airline industry is urging swift action to implement the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), a satellite-based system to replace the ground stations that requires aircraft owners to equip with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment. Many in general aviation consider the cost too high for the ADS-B equipment and are concerned about its reliability.

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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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