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Briefing

Briefing: June 2012

A Senate Appropriations Committee report says Aeronav should immediately restore the 17-day advance availability of digital charts to the public on its website, and further demands to see a business case supporting Aeronavs claims that it needs to charge fees for digital charts. Sales of paper products have fallen but the FAA should not view the sale of digital products simply as a convenient source of revenue to compensate for the loss of revenue, the…

Briefing: May 2012

The FAA will discontinue the paper application for FAA medical certification. After Oct. 1, 2012, you must use FAA Form 8500-8 application, otherwise known as FAA MedXpress. That virtual form was introduced in 2007 and has evolved considerably, streamlining FAA medical certification into a much more efficient and seamless process, says the FAA. More than 400,000 pilots fill out one of these forms each year, so its understandable a digital system might save a few…

Briefing: April 2012

The FCC will indefinitely suspend LightSquareds authority to carry terrestrial broadband signals on frequencies close to GPS frequencies after receiving a report that concludes the two systems cannot currently coexist. A year of testing demonstrated serious and widespread interference according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. LightSquared says it profoundly disagrees with the findings, which will effectively cancel its plans for a $14 billion high-speed wireless system. However, there may be room in the…

Briefing: March 2012

The White House responded to a 8500-signature petition titled Take Aviation User Fees off the Table with a treatise called Why We Need Aviation User Fees. It concludes that a $100 per flight user fee is an equitable way for those who benefit to bear the cost of this essential service and is signed by OMB associate director Dana Hyde. Hyde has twice called for all users to pay or do their fair share. The…

Briefing: February 2012

The FAA plans to reduce the number of VOR facilities to a minimal operational network by 2020. A minimum network would be enough that an aircraft anywhere in the continental U.S. would have no more than 100 miles to go via VOR to some GPS-independent approach. The FAA is accepting comments on its proposed policy until March 7.…

Briefing: May 2013

With officials in Washington unable to agree on a budget compromise, the stalemate known as the sequester resulted in an announcement that 149 contract towers across the country will be closed, starting in April. Although the budget restrictions apply only to this fiscal year, which ends September 30, its unclear whether any of the closed towers will be included in the next budget. Some local entities have come forward to fund operations, but many are…

Briefing: April 2013

After six weeks of digging in Burma, British aviation enthusiast David Cundall suspended his search for the dozens of pristine Spitfires he believes were buried at an airfield by British troops at the end of World War II. His main backer pulled out when officials limited the crews operations and the initial efforts failed to turn up any supporting evidence. The authorities will not give us permission to dig because of the risk of undermining…

Briefing: March 2013

Jack Pelton, former Cessna CEO and interim EAA president, now is leading a new general aviation business consortium that aims to promote and sell remanufactured aircraft. The Aviation Alliances first product is called the Excalibur, which combines the fuselage of a Cessna 421 with two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-135A turboprop engines, an all-new interior, and Garmin avionics, for about $2.5 million. Weve assembled a whos-who of aviation leaders and resources on this team to ensure…

Briefing: February 2013

Some aviation advocates who are convinced that a pilot shortage is looming, with implications for costs and safety, have asked a government agency to conduct a study to confirm their concerns. About 16 groups, including FAA, AOPA, Boeing, and regional airline operators, told the Government Accountability Office, The aviation industry is entering an era of unprecedented pilot staffing challenges as a result of a struggling economy, bankruptcies, mergers, increasing flight training costs, manufacturing declines and…

Briefing: January 2013

For the second year in a row, the National Transportation Safety Board cited general aviation safety as one of its 10 Most Wanted improvements. Too many pilots and passengers are dying due to human error and inadequate training, the NTSB said. The GA accident rate is six times higher than for Part 135 operations and the GA fatal accident rate has increased 25 percent over 10 years. The board said better training is needed for…

Briefing: December 2012

Trying to avoid bankruptcy liquidation, Hawker Beechcraft has been trying to sell itself. It thought it had a buyer in Superior Aviation Beijing Co, but talks broke down. With no other buyer, Hawker is going to tighten its belt and try to stay afloat on its own. They hope to sell off their line of jets but, again, nobodys buying and the line might just be closed. Hawker will focus its efforts on what it sees as high growth potential markets of turboprops, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft while also relying on parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbs.

Briefing: November 2012

The IMC Club International has announced creation of a Special Membership Group within the IMC Club called the Inner Marker Circle. IMC Club International president Radek Wyrzykowski says he hopes the group will become an aviation safety cult. Members will be granted a special membership card and automatically enrolled into a drawing for an annual subscription to IFR Magazine, an IMC Club BrightLine Flight Bag, and a $1000 Proficiency Scholarship to be awarded annually at AirVenture Oshkosh.