FAA slowing drone use to fight wildfires

Fire fighters hoping to use drones to “map a fire’s size and speed, and identify hot spots,” are running up against FAA regulation. A New York Times story notes a drone is precluded, “from operating out of sight of a ground-based pilot. If distance or the smoke of a wildfire obscures a drone from observers on the ground, a piloted aircraft must be sent aloft to keep an eye on it.” Fire fighting is but one of many facets of drone use the FAA, federal government and U.S. citizens are debating.

FAA administrator: Sequestration not over yet…

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said at a hearing that while he is grateful for the law Congress passed to end air traffic controller furloughs and stave off contract tower defunding, it “does not end the sequester. We will not enjoy the benefits or the stability that the FAA reauthorization provides until we find a sensible long-term solution.”

A blog post on the Helicopter Association International‘s website notes that Rick Larsen, the top Democrat on T&I’s Aviation panel, also said if a long-term, comprehensive solution to the sequester is not dealt with, “none of our colleagues should act surprised” when the effects are back in October.

Apparently we do need this tower

The “Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013” (H.R. 1765) was introduced on Friday, April 26, by Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa). It was signed by President Obama on Wednesday, May 1.

You see, Congress and the President can get things done…when they want to.

[Read more...]

Contract towers to stay open

On Friday, the FAA announced it will keep open the 149 contract towers  the agency slated for closure on June 15.

[Read more...]

AOPA points out FAA’s flawed process in decision to close towers

In a court filing Monday, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) called the FAA’s decision to close 149 contract control towers “arbitrary, capricious, and fundamentally flawed, leaving the safety and efficiency consequences largely unknown.”

[Read more...]

Flying green

The May/June 2013 issue of FAA Safety Briefing focuses on environmental advances in general aviation. Articles explore ways we can “fly green” through new technology and by following environmentally sound practices.

Feature articles in this issue include:

Lawmakers keep pressure on FAA to keep towers open

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 42 U.S. Senators have sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta calling on the agency to stop the planned closure of 149 contract towers.

[Read more...]

An open letter to the FAA administrator: How can we help?

A third-class medical exemption for pilots operating four-seat, 180-hp (or less) aircraft in daytime, VFR conditions probably is not a high priority item for FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Can you really blame him?

But it is to me, and no doubt a great many current, and potential, recreational pilots. So…Michael — can I call you Michael? — how can we help?

[Read more...]

Challenges ahead for NextGen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA is entering its midterm implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and, while advances have been made, there remain many issues and challenges.

That is pointed out in a new report put together by the Government Accountability Office at the request of leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. [Read more...]

FAA changes Special Issurance medical certification

A major change has been made to the medical certification process for several common diagnoses that previously required a special issuance and a review process by the FAA prior to issuing a medical certificate. According to a report at EAA.org, under the new policy applicants with arthritis, asthma, glaucoma, chronic hepatitis C, hypertension, hypothyroidism, migraine and chronic headache, pre-diabetes, and renal cancer can receive their medical certificates directly from their AME.