Posts Tagged ‘Federal Aviation Administration’

DOT shakes up FAA with new appointees

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao has announced that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator Daniel K. Elwell will serve as Acting FAA Administrator upon the conclusion of Administrator Michael Huerta’s term. Huerta’s term ended at midnight on Jan. 7, 2018.

“Our nation is grateful for Administrator Huerta’s service to the FAA and his commitment to aviation safety,” Chao said of Huerta.

Elwell

Elwell was appointed the FAA Deputy Administrator in June 2017. Elwell took office at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 7. He was replaced as deputy administrator by Carl Burleson, the deputy assistant administrator for policy, international and environment in an acting capacity. FAA’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Information and Technology Tina Amereihm has taken over as FAA chief of staff, replacing Chris Rocheleau. Rocheleau was recently named as executive director for international aviation.

Elwell has a wealth of experience with the FAA and other agencies, having held various positions such as FAA assistant administrator for policy, planning and environment from 2006 – 2008; senior vice president for safety, security and operations at Airlines for America from 2013 to 2015; and vice president of the Aerospace Industries Association from 2008 – 2013.

Elwell also served the airline industry as a commercial pilot for 16 years with American Airlines. He is also a former U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who saw combat during the Operation Desert Storm conflict.

FAA issued final rule on small airplane safety certification standards

Rule will streamline approval of new technologies

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule that overhauls the airworthiness standards for small general aviation airplanes. This innovative rule will reduce the time it takes to move safety enhancing technologies for small airplanes into the marketplace and will also reduce costs for the aviation industry.

“Aviation manufacturing is our nation’s top export and general aviation alone contributes approximately $80 billion and 400,000 jobs to our economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The FAA’s rule replaces prescriptive design requirements with performance-based standards, which will reduce costs and leverage innovation without sacrificing safety.”

FAA’s new Part 23 rule establishes performance-based standards for airplanes that weigh less than 19,000 pounds with 19 or fewer seats and recognizes consensus-based compliance methods for specific designs and technologies. It also adds new certification standards to address general aviation loss of control accidents and in-flight icing conditions.

“The rule is a model of what we can accomplish for American competitiveness when government and industry work together and demonstrates that we can simultaneously enhance safety and reduce burdens on industry,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The rule responds to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013, which directed the FAA to streamline the approval of safety advancements for small general aviation aircraft. It also addresses recommendations from the FAA’s 2013 Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which recommended a more streamlined approval process for safety equipment on small general aviation aircraft.

The new rule also promotes regulatory harmonization among the FAA’s foreign partners, including the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), and Brazil’s Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC).  This harmonization may help minimize costs for airplane and engine manufacturers and operators of affected equipment who seek certification to sell products globally.

The rule affects airplane manufacturers, engine manufacturers, and operators of affected equipment. Click here to learn more from the FAA and industry about the benefits of streamlined certification.

This regulatory change is a leading example of how the FAA is transforming its Aircraft Certification Service into an agile organization that can support aviation industry innovation in the coming years. The Service is focused on using risk-based oversight to refresh the certification strategy, investing in management systems to improve performance, and improving the overall organization.

The rule will be effective eight months from publication in the Federal Register.

House approves six-month FAA funding extension

faa_logoThe House approved a bill on Monday to extend federal aviation funding, which is currently set to expire on Wednesday, until March 2016. 

The measure, introduced on Friday by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R – Pa.), was approved by the lower chamber on a voice vote Monday afternoon in an effort to prevent an interruption in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) funding midweek. 

The quick House action follows an earlier Senate effort to attach the FAA funding extension to a bill to prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1 that failed last week. 

Read more from The Hill

Senate bill extends FAA funding for six months

faa_logoThe Senate’s bill to prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1 would extend federal aviation funding for six months. 

The measure, which was released by Senate appropriators on Tuesday, Sept. 22, contains language that would extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) funding until March 31, 2016. 

The FAA’s previous appropriations measure, which includes funding for air traffic controllers, is set to expire on Sept. 30, along with funding for most federal government functions.

Read more from The Hill

Pilot shortage is an airline fairy tale

Aviation_CockpitAirlines sell a commodity and buy from monopolies, i.e., the airports that provide landing rights. So it isn’t surprising they have such a tough time making money. Now they have another problem: There aren’t enough pilots and co-pilots willing to work for the low pay offered by regional carriers.

Airlines call this a “shortage” and blame a recent rule from the Federal Aviation Administration that mandates co-pilots have at least 1,500 hours of flying experience, up from 250. At the margin, the rule does reduce the number of people qualified to serve as a first officer on a plane, but that doesn’t mean there is a shortage.

Read the complete story at Bloomberg News.

FAA issues rule on PEDs in the cockpit

Aviation_CockpitThe Federal Aviation Administration Feb. 12 issued a final rule that reinforces that airline pilots cannot use portable electronic devices for personal use in all operations.

The rule codifies existing FAA policies and procedures and meets an FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 mandate by prohibiting all commercial airline (passenger and cargo) flight crews from using personal wireless communications devices or laptop computers for personal reasons during all aircraft operations.

The agency’s 1981 “sterile cockpit” rule already forbids pilots to engage in distracting behavior during critical phases of flight, including take-off and landing, and we have previously asked carriers to address the distraction issue through their crew training programs.

The rule reflects current flight deck operating procedures and imposes minimal cost to the airlines. This rule follows a Jan. 15, 2013, proposal and takes effect in 60 days.

New OSHA standards may affect flight attendants

OSHA logo; OSHAThe Federal Aviation Administration has issued a proposed policy statement to establish the extent to which OSHA regulations may apply to flight attendants onboard an aircraft in operation.

An FAA-OSHA memorandum of understanding (MOU) previously established a team to identify factors to be considered when determining when OSHA standards may apply to employees on aircraft in operation.

Section 829 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 instructed the FAA to develop this proposed policy statement setting forth circumstances in which OSHA requirements may be applied to aircraft crewmembers.

The proposed policy statement, subject to amendment following a public comment period, says that because the FAA does not have regulations addressing certain issues, OSHA’s hazard communication, blood-borne pathogens and hearing conservation standards can be applied to the working conditions of flight attendants onboard an aircraft in operation.

The proposed policy statement defines an aircraft “in operation” from the time the first crewmember boards the aircraft to when the last crewmember leaves the aircraft after completion of the flight. The FAA notes that in another MOU, the FAA and OSHA will establish procedures that can be used to identify other conditions where OSHA requirements would apply while ensuring that such requirements would not negatively affect safety.

To read the proposed policy statement, click on the following link:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-12-07/pdf/2012-29631.pdf

FAA proposes raising pilot qualification standards

WASHINGTON – Qualification requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines would be “substantially” raised under a proposed Federal Aviation Administration new rulemaking to be published in the Federal Register Feb. 29.

The agency, in a notice of proposed rulemaking, is responding to a mandate in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010.

The FAA, subject to public comment and publication of a final rule, proposes that first officers – also known as copilots – hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, requiring 1,500 hours of pilot flight time. Currently, first officers are required to have only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time.

The proposed rule also would require first officers to have an aircraft-type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the airplanes they fly.

Other highlights of the proposed rule include:

* A requirement that pilots have a minimum of 1,000 flight hours as a pilot in air carrier operations that require an ATP prior to serving as a captain for a U.S. airline.

* Enhanced training requirements for an ATP certificate, including 50 hours of multi-engine flight experience and completion of a new FAA-approved training program.

* An allowance for pilots with fewer than 1,500 hours of flight time, but who have an aviation degree or military pilot experience, to obtain a “restricted privileges” ATP certificate. These pilots could serve only as a first officer, not as a captain. Former military pilots with 750 hours of flight time could apply for an ATP certificate with restricted privileges. Graduates of a four-year baccalaureate aviation degree could to obtain an ATP with 1,000 hours of flight time only if they also obtained a commercial pilot certificate and instrument rating from a pilot school affiliated with the university or college.

To read the notice of proposed rulemaking, click on the following link:

http://archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/

The public may comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication Feb. 29 in the Federal Register.

 

NMB vote-change rule survives in new FAA bill

NMB logo; National Mediation BoardWASHINGTON – The House and Senate agreed Feb. 6 on legislation authorizing increased future funding for new air traffic control technology and the Essential Air Service subsidy program to rural airports as part of a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lawmakers voted to scrap an attempt by House Republicans to overturn a 2011 National Mediation Board (NMB) ruling making organizing under the Railway Labor Act comport with rules of all other elections in the U.S. 

President Obama says he will sign the bill into law.

The NMB last year revised its rule on representation elections, providing that in all representation elections under the Railway Labor Act (which also covers airline employees), only ballots from those actually voting would be counted. Previously, those not voting were considered to have voted “no” for representation. In changing its outdated 75-year-old representation election rule, the NMB said no other elections in the United States count those not voting as having voted ‘no.’

The legislation does change NMB representation rules by requiring 50 percent of eligible employees sign an authorization card (rather than 35 percent) before a representation election may be held. The UTU has long required more than 50 percent before seeking a representation election on railroad and airline properties it seeks to organize.

The legislation also requires public hearings for future NMB rulemakings, and requires Government Accountability Office audits of the NMB every two years.

While continuing the Essential Air Service subsidy program for rural airports, the legislation does cut service to some rural airports, but not those served by Great Lakes Airlines, whose crews are represented by the UTU.

The legislation provides some $13 billion for airport improvements and $38 billion for Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control operations.

Transport labor urges ‘no tinkering’ with RLA

WASHINGTON — The UTU and 17 other transportation labor organizations urged Congress Jan. 30 to pass a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization without making what they called “drastic and unnecessary changes to the Railway Labor Act.”

Historically, any changes to the Railway Labor Act have been jointly agreed to by labor and management – a primary reason the law has been so effective in ensuring uninterrupted commerce and keeping paychecks flowing in the airline and railroad industries.

In fact, when the Railway Labor Act was passed by Congress in 1926, it was the product of joint agreement by labor and management – and that collaboration has continued since.

In this instance, the House Republican leadership is seeking to use FAA reauthorization as a vehicle to overturn a National Mediation Board (NMB) ruling that made union-representation elections in the airline and railroad industry conform to the rules of virtually every other election tally in America.

The House Republican leadership, at the instigation of airline management, is seeking to overturn that National Mediation Board ruling that updated the agency’s union-representation voting rule. Previously, those not casting a ballot in a representation election were considered to have cast a “no” ballot. Nowhere else in American society does such a rule exist.

The NMB changed the rule to provide for a majority vote of those actually voting in a union representation election. That change was affirmed by a federal appeals court after airline carriers challenged it in court. Failing in court, the carriers turned to their friends in the House.

The transportation labor organizations told Congress in their joint statement:

“A rewrite of long-standing labor law deserves proper and due consideration through the normal deliberative process. Acting otherwise directly conflicts with the non-partisan recommendations of the 1994 report of the Dunlop Commission on the Future of Worker-Management negotiations. Unilaterally changing that law without labor’s input and without due deliberation threatens to unravel its carefully balanced goals of labor stability and uninterrupted commerce.

“Rewarding the House Republican leadership’s desire to rewrite decades of long-standing labor law in a flash by inserting an unrelated and controversial labor provision in a much needed aviation safety and security bill, without notice, hearing or debate, sets an extremely dangerous precedent.

“We urge the Senate to delete the provision of the bill that would amend the RLA and pass the clean FAA reauthorization that all concerned recognize this country sorely needs and supports.”

FAA announces new pilot fatigue rules

WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced new rules aimed at preventing dangerous fatigue among passenger aircraft pilots. The rules do not affect all-cargo aircraft pilots.

The new rules are in response to a Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009 that killed 50 people. 

Under the new rules:

• Flight-duty times would range from nine to 14 hours. Additionally, rather than just counting flight time and rest time, flight-duty time would include the time spent flying to the job, which, as in railroading, is called deadheading;

• Flight-time limits will be eight or nine hours, depending on the start time of the pilot’s entire flight duty.

• Minimum rest periods will be 10 hours between shifts. The pilot must have an opportunity for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep during that rest period.

• Pilots must have 30 consecutive hours of rest each week, which is a 25 percent increase over current standards. 

The new rules do, however, allow pilots to sit at the controls for an hour longer per day, from eight hours to as many as nine. 

Also, pilots flying late at night, across multiple time zones or on schedules involving numerous landings and takeoffs, will work shorter shifts than those flying during the day. 

The rule also requires pilots to sign paperwork verifying that they are rested before each flight, in an attempt to educate them and highlight the need for personal responsibility. 

The National Transportation Safety Board has urged safety enhancements to reduce pilot fatigue for decades. Although the board didn’t blame fatigue as a cause in the Colgan crash, it found that neither pilot appeared to have slept in a bed the night before the accident. 

The rules will take effect in two years, and cost passenger airlines $297 million over 10 years. The rules will, however, save airlines $247 million to $470 million in reduced accidents and lower health-care expenses for pilots, according to the FAA.

Bus, transit and EAS funding extended

WASHINGTON – Federal Transit Administration bus-project and other transit funding – in danger owing to political squabbling — will remain in place at least through March 31, 2012, following House and Senate action to extend temporarily, for the eighth time since 2009, highway taxes that fund transit programs.

The House and Senate also agreed Sept. 15 to a new four-month extension of Federal Aviation Administration taxes that fund the Essential Air Services program vital to regional airlines that employ UTU-represented pilots and flight attendants. It was the 22nd temporary extension for this program since 2007.

The president said he will sign the temporary extensions into law, allowing more time for the House and Senate to continue attempts at reaching compromise on a permanent extension of transit and EAS programs that have been stalled for years.

The highway bill extension ensures that more than $4 billion from the Highway Trust Fund for Federal Transit Administration formula and bus programs will remain available for spending through March 31. Disagreement between the House and Senate on the number of years to authorize a new highway/transit spending bill is the reason for that stall.

A permanent FAA reauthorization, which includes the EAS program, is stalled over an inability to agree on future EAS subsidies, and an attempt by House Republicans to include in the bill a provision overturning a 2010 National Mediation Board rulemaking. That rulemaking changed the rules for representation elections from counting those not voting as “no” votes, to determining outcomes based only on those voting.