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?

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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.

Pilots file suit to stop controller furloughs

Pilots and an airline group have filed a lawsuit to stop the federal government from cutting work hours for air traffic controllers, saying the furloughs will lead to travel delays of up to an hour across the country. A report in the Los Angeles Times notes that the lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to prevent job furloughs called for under sequestration. The report quotes Nicholas E. Calio, president and chief executive of Airlines for America, as saying: “The FAA plan is irresponsible and unnecessary.”

Senate committee questions tower closings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan group of 30 senators have sponsored a bill to prevent the FAA from closing any air traffic control tower in fiscal years 2013 or 2014, while the chairman of the Senate committee concerned with aviation warns all the progress made by the FAA is at risk because of sequestration.

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Congressional leaders express safety concerns about tower closings

Washington, D.C. – Leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sent a bipartisan letter today to the head of the Department of Transportation and the FAA expressing disappointment with the FAA’s “unprecedented decision” to close 149 air traffic control contract towers to meet the sequester’s budget reduction requirements.

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Sequestration’s silver lining

The news last week that the FAA will delay closing 149 contract control towers should come as a bit of a relief to the folks at SUN ’n FUN, since Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport was among the first slated to close.

That meant SUN ’n FUN had to come up with the money to pay controllers during the week of the fly-in. The FAA’s latest decision, however, doesn’t let SUN ’n FUN off the hook.

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