All posts tagged 'Federal Aviation Administration'

NBAA Supports Sen. Moran's Amendment to Preserve Control Towers Under Sequester

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, March 14, 2013 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) supports an amendment from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), which would halt the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA’s) plan to close a host of air traffic control towers and other facilities.

Noting the integral role of the towers in the nation’s aviation system, and the economic boost that airports with towers play in surrounding communities, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen sent a letter to Moran in support of his amendment, noting: “It is very important to keep as many as possible in operation during these difficult economic times…The Moran amendment will ensure that citizens in every corner of the U.S. continue to have access to our national aviation system.”

Read Bolen’s March 12 letter to Sen. Moran
.

The FAA recently began developing plans for closing nearly 170 control towers and other facilities in response to budget sequestration, or across-the-board cuts to federal agencies required in deficit-reduction legislation passed by Congress in 2011. The FAA’s deadline for industry input on its tower-closure plan is today, and a final announcement of its decision regarding the closures is expected March 18.

Moran's amendment would offset the closures using savings from unobligated FAA research and capital funds provided in prior congressional appropriations bills, so that the facilities targeted for closure can remain open.

Moran plans to offer his amendment for inclusion in a comprehensive funding bill, called a “Continuing Resolution” (“CR”), which Congress is expected to consider this month. That resolution would continue funding for all federal agencies through the end of the government’s fiscal year, in the absence of congressional passage of specific appropriations bills.

Moran has been an outspoken supporter of general aviation, often highlighting the industry’s importance to the nation's economy and transportation system. He emphasized the importance of those contributions when unveiling his amendment related to the air traffic tower closures.

Moran's amendment follows a letter he joined in signing from the Kansas congressional Delegation to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta opposing the planned tower closures.

“We fear these cuts to control towers will compromise the FAA's stated mission of providing the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world,” the letter reads, “and will put the flying public at risk, impair access to rural areas, jeopardize national and civil security missions, and cost jobs.”

This week, NBAA also wrote top transportation officials to express the business aviation community’s pressing concerns over the FAA’s tower-closure plan. "It is clear that jobs in small, medium and large towns across the country will be impacted," stated a letter signed by Bolen.

Read Bolen’s letter to the FAA in its entirety
.

# # #

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 9,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

Members of the media may receive NBAA Press Releases immediately via email. To subscribe to the NBAA Press Release email list, submit the online form

Two Communities Look To Close Airports

Article By: Curt Epstein
Aviation International News

Blue Ash Airport, a part of Cincinnati, Ohio since the 1920s, was slated to close at the end of August following the city’s notification to the FAA, effectively ending a five-year battle between the city and airport users. As recently as last year the city had promised that the airport would continue to operate, albeit in a reconfigured form, but by mid-August crews had begun to remove the tanks in the fuel farm.

“The Cincinnati administration, led by Mayor Mark Mallory, has failed to honor previous commitments to AOPA and the aviation community that Blue Ash Airport would continue to operate as a general aviation airport,” said Bill Dunn, AOPA’s vice president of airport advocacy. With its 3,499-foot runway, the airport was once the busiest nontower facility in Ohio, according to Bill Christian, CEO of services provider Blue Ash Aviation, which plans to relocate to nearby Butler County Airport. Christian said the city of Blue Ash, which owns half the airport, plans to build a park and golf courses on its part of the site.

In another attempted closure, St. Clair, Mo., city authorities are wrapping up the final details requested by the FAA in their four-year process to shutter St. Clair Regional Airport. The city must receive FAA approval to close the airport since the obligations for federal grants used in land acquisition do not expire, and among the requirements specified by the agency was a meeting with interested stakeholders, including tenants and AOPA.

The city asserts the facility has failed to be profitable and is a drain on finances. If the FAA approves the closure, the city hopes eventually to lure retail merchants to the site, but Dunn believes the agency will not approve the closure. “The FAA is required under policy to consider a request to release an airport from federal obligations, but it is not required to grant the request,” he said.

(Image Credit: www.wcpo.com)

So you think User Fees are bad, See what the rest of the world is doing

User Fees – The Issue Compared & Understood

 

Outside of the United States User Fees is a harsh and unnecessary reality for much of the rest of the World. Allow me to take you on a World Tour of ‘User Fees’.

 

 

In Canada

There are Navigation Fees for Airspace Usage in Canada which is billed by NAVCANADA. Their Airspace Navigation Fees average out to about $0.40 per nautical mile; however the following fee calculations are stipulated and must be applied:

 

NAVCANADA charges a quarterly fee to all transient aircraft that uses their airspace. This ranges from $17.00 to $300 per Quarter depending on which aircraft category and weight class your aircraft fits into. They also may decide that a daily fee is appropriate and charge up-to a maximum of $333 per day. On top of this a NAT fee is applied per flight (to/from Canadian destinations and all subsequent hops are all considered separate flights), for a Biz-Jet it is $93.44 per flight. If a position report is to be made (flight following) then an additional charge of $58.24 is also applicable.

 

The calculation for Enroute fees that apply are worked as follows:

 

The unit rate of $0.03445 X Aircraft Weight X Distance Flown.

 

The Aircraft Weight is determined by taking the Square-root of the MGTOW of the aircraft in Metric Tonnes.

 

The Distance Flown is in Kilometres.

The calculation for Terminal fees that apply (Radar Service/Approaches, etc.) are worked as follows:

 The unit rate of $23.90 X Aircraft Weight.

 

In this instance the Aircraft Weight is determined by multiplying the MGTOW of the aircraft in Metric Tonnes by 0.8.

 

Customs charges are also charged to an Aircraft Operator by the Canada Border Services Agency through their Canadian Passenger Accelerated Service System (CANPASS.)

 

 

In Mexico and the Caribbean

There are Navigation Fees for Airspace Usage in and around several of the Caribbean States including Trinidad. These are billed through either the Caribbean Air Navigation and Advisory Services, Ltd. (CANAS) and Air Transit Clearing House Limited (ATCHL.) Other than the following list of fees, most Air Traffic Fees are rolled into Fuel taxes just like the U.S.A:

1) A tax for each time an aircraft crosses into Mexican airspace.

2) A landing fee based on the weight of the aircraft.

3) A per person immigration fee (this can be purchased as a multiple entry and would be good for 180 days.)

All other fees and taxes are local.

 

 

In the United Kingdom and Europe

All IFR flying made on Airways, as well as into, out-of, and through terminal airspace is charged to the aircraft owner/operator. Every instrument approach made comes with a fee. Every airport charges a landing fee regardless of whether you are arriving under IFR, or VFR; many of which charge surcharges based on aircraft weight and as well as noise category too. All weather briefings by telephone are charged like the ‘900’ area code system here, i.e. the cost per minute is charged to the incoming caller, while the fee per minute is captured and split between the telephone company and the government supplying the meteorological information. Basically pay-pay-pay, which is all in addition to some of the highest aviation fuel taxes on the planet...I won’t even start to talk about the Carbon Credit system that is being introduced there. The NAVCANADA user fees look really, really cheap when compared to what is being charged  in the UK and Europe. In April of 2013 the U.K. will extend the Airline Passenger Tax to all 12,500Lbs and up, Business Aircraft then making all passengers pay $288 each for the privilege of landing or taking off from their soil.

 

In Russia

Many control towers in Russia do not have English speaking controllers on staff, therefore it is often a mandated requirement to have a Russian Navigator onboard your aircraft, if you are visiting the country and flying internally. The navigator is billed on a daily rate plus all expenses.

 

Otherwise the user-fee situation there is negligible to none except for landing, parking, handling fees, as well as the occasional attempt made to hold a an aircraft hostage over invented user fees, tariffs, etc. at some of the provincial and remote airports in that country.

 

 

In the Middle East

The Middle East has always tried to mimic the precedents laid down by the Federal Aviation Administration, and therefore the airspace infrastructure is configured much like the U.S. while the infrastructure cost is subsidized by the League of Arab nations.

 

 

In Africa

For African User Fess see the United Kingdom, Europe and Russia. Some African countries have very rigid Fee policies, while others are more like the Wild-West of the 1800’s, i.e. no real governance and an awful lot of bandits.

 

 

In China and the Rest of Asia

China Compensation Fees apply as follows:

 

·         $3,000 for any landing on Chinese Soil from abroad

·         $1,200 for each landing made within China

·         $500 for every Over-flight Permit if transiting through their airspace

 

Additionally per Kilometre Navigation Fees apply as well as Airport specific Landing, Parking and Ground Handling Fees all apply.

In many parts of China, a Navigator is also required to be on-board just like Russia.

 

In Japan, the government there are attempting to privatize all of their airports, so their fee structure will drastically change soon.

 

 

In the Antipodes (Australia and New Zealand)

For User Fees in the Antipodes read the paragraphs that I have written about the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia and China and then combine them into the worst system possible.

 

 

In South America

Quite similar to Canada in the way user fees are administered and invoiced, however many flights undergo rigorous scrutiny and restriction.

 

 

In Conclusion

There is a darn good reason that statistically more than 60% of the World’s fleet of Business Aircraft are owned and operated in the United States of America and less than 10% in all of the European Union Member Countries put together.

 

Knowing what is being charged around the World outside of the U.S.A., the prospect of a $100 per flight User Fee suggested by our current Commander In Chief: Barack Hussein Obama II, might appear to be quite reasonable. If however, the current Federal Excise Tax (FET – Charged as follows on Jet A: $0.175 per gallon excise tax + $0.043 per gallon Deficit Reduction Tax + $0.001 per gallon LUST (Leaking Underground Storage Tax) tax = $0.219 per gallon) is maintained and charged alongside and addition to the proposed $100 User Fee, then may I be the first to welcome you to the ‘United Socialist States of America’, and we would then have become just like the rest of the intensely over-governed and struggling countries of the World!

 

The plight and dire struggle of an emerging nation is beautifully epitomised in the Declaration of Independence that was drafted, signed and addressed to King George III on the 4th of July in 1776. One of the many grievances that the colonists of what was to later become the United States, had with the then King, was how he continually imposed Taxes on the colonists without their consent.

 

In my opinion, the U.S.A. was founded on the following modern precepts:

 

1. You cannot ‘legislate’ the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

 

I am pretty sure I have stirred up some ire by my ending statement, so please rosin up your fingers and start typing your comments below. By doing so you shall be exercising your right to freedom of speech, another American value that is often under attack as well.

Understanding The FAA's New Aircraft Re-Registration And Renewal Requirements



On July 20, 2010 the FAA published a Final Rule amending the FAA's regulations regarding aircraft registration. As a result, if you own an aircraft that is registered with the FAA's Aircraft Registry (the "Registry") you are going to have to renew the registration for your aircraft.

Background

The Registry is responsible for developing and maintaining the system of registration for United States civil aircraft. One of the Registry's primary responsibilities is to maintain an electronic database for all U.S. registered aircraft. The database identifies each registered aircraft by its registration number (N- number), its complete description, and the name and address of its registered owner.

According to the FAA, "approximately one-third of the 357,000 registered aircraft records it maintains are inaccurate and that many aircraft associated with those records are likely ineligible for United States registration." Although the current regulations require aircraft owners to report the sale of an aircraft, the scrapping or destruction of an aircraft, or a change in the aircraft owner's mailing address, apparently many aircraft owners have not complied with these requirements. As a result, the FAA has implemented its Final Rule to improve the currency and accuracy of the Registry's database.

The Final Rule requires re-registration of all U.S. civil aircraft over a 3 year period in order to update the Registry's database and to enable the Registry to cancel the registrations of those aircraft that are not re-registered. Thereafter, aircraft owners will need to renew their aircraft registrations every 3 years.

The Re-Registration/Renewal Process

Under the Final Rule, aircraft registrations will now be limited to a 3-year period. At the end of each 3-year interval, an aircraft's registration will expire and the aircraft will need to be re-registered. This rule establishes the expiration of registration for all aircraft registered before October 1, 2010, and provides for the re- registration of all aircraft over a 3-year period according a schedule contained in the rule.

For aircraft registered on or after October 1, 2010, the aircraft registration's expiration date will be printed on the registration certificate and will be 3 years from the last day of the month in which registration or re-registration occurred. Once renewed, an aircraft's registration will expire 3 years from the previous expiration date. Replacement registration certificates issued on or after October 1, 2010, will display the same expiration date that was shown on the replaced registration certificate. If the replaced registration certificate did not display an expiration date, the replacement certificate will display an expiration date from the above-schedule based on the month of issue of the replaced registration certificate.

The FAA will issue replacement certificates after an address update, an N-number change, or when a certificate is reported as lost or mutilated. However, it is important to note that a replacement registration certificate will not constitute re-registration or renewal. Similarly, the replacement certificate will not change the registration expiration date applicable to the aircraft at the time the replacement registration certificate is issued.

When an aircraft's registration is approaching expiration, the Registry will send an aircraft owner two reminder notices. The first reminder notice will be sent 180 days before an aircraft's registration is scheduled to expire. This notice will identify the aircraft, its expiration date, and the 3-month filing window during which a registration or renewal application should be submitted. It will also provide instructions for completing the registration or renewal process.

In order to receive a new registration certificate before the old certificate expires, an aircraft owner will need to file the re-registration or renewal application within the assigned window. However, once an aircraft has completed re-registration and is approaching a required renewal, the aircraft owner may submit the required renewal information as soon as the first reminder notice is received.

The Registry will send a second reminder notice at the end of the 3-month filing window if the aircraft owner has not yet re-registered or renewed the aircraft's registration. The 3- month filing window will close 2 months prior to the scheduled expiration date for the aircraft's registration to allow the Registry sufficient time to process the application and mail the new certificate. If an aircraft owner files an applications after the filing window has closed, the application will still be processed; however, the new certificate may not arrive until after the current certificate has expired.

To avoid confusion between the normal registration process and the re-registration process, the Aircraft Registration Application, AC Form 8050-1, will not be used for re-registration. The Registry has created a separate application form that will be available online, here. Aircraft owners should be aware that the re-registration/renewal application does not grant any temporary authority for operation of an aircraft, unlike that provided by retaining the pink copy of Form 8050-1. As a result, if a re-registration/renewal application is filed late and a new registration certificate is not received by the time the current registration certificate expires, the aircraft owner would not be able to operate the aircraft between the time when the current certificate expires and when the new certificate is received.

The Final Rule provides for both online re-registration and renewal when no changes are required. However, if changes to the registration are required (e.g. address change, etc.), then the re-registration/renewal application may not be submitted online and must be mailed to the Registry. According to the Final Rule, the Registry will post information on its website identifying aircraft as they move through the various stages of re-registration and renewal so aircraft owners and other interested parties can track the process.

Aircraft owners will need to pay $5.00 to re-register their aircraft and then another $5.00 each time the aircraft's registration is renewed. (Although this doesn't seem like a lot of money, unfortunately the registration and administrative fees may increase over time, depending upon whether the latest version of the FAA reauthorization bill passes. Under that bill, the FAA would be required to increase fees to $130 for initial registration and $45 for renewals.)

Consequences For Failure To Re-Register/Renew

If an aircraft owner fails to re-register or renew an aircraft's registration, the registration will not end immediately. Rather, the Registry will wait 30 days to ensure that any late filed requests from the aircraft owner have been processed. In the absence of such requests, and assuming the Registry has a good address on file for the aircraft owner, the Registry will then send a letter to the aircraft owner providing notice of the pending cancellation of the aircraft's registration. The aircraft owner will then have 60 days within which to reserve the N-number or register the aircraft. If the Registry does not receive a reply within 60 days, the aircraft's registration will then be cancelled. If the Registry does not have a good address for the aircraft owner, cancellation of the aircraft's registration will be scheduled for no sooner than 90 days from the date of expiration. Once an aircraft's registration is cancelled, the N-number will be unavailable for assignment for a period of 5 years.

Conclusion

The Final Rule is effective October 1, 2010. Thus, all aircraft owners will need to comply. How can you minimize the hassle associated with the Final Rule? First, since the re-registration notice will be sent to the address on file with the Registry, verify now that your address in the Registry is correct. If you need to update the information, you can do that directly with the Registry or through an aviation attorney. Second, submit your application as early as possible once you receive your first reminder notice to allow the Registry time to process and mail your new registration.

If you follow these steps, hopefully the re-registration/renewal process will be nothing more than a minor inconvenience. And, as always, if you have problems contact an aviation attorney for help.

Compliance With The Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program Can Protect An Air Carrier Employee's Certificate



© June, 2010 All rights reserved.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated an NTSB decision in which the Board refused to allow the employee of an air carrier to assert compliance with the Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program ("VDRP") as an affirmative defense to an FAA order of suspension. As a result, employees of air carriers and other applicable certificate holders, including mechanics, will have the opportunity to prove compliance with the VDRP to avoid civil penalties or other sanctions in an enforcement action.

The VDRP

Under FAA Advisory Circular AC 00-58A, Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program, the VDRP provides a waiver of enforcement action to certificate holders, including those holding certificates issued under FAR Parts 21, 119, 121, 125, 129, 133, 135, 137, 141, 142, 145, 147, Production Approval Holders ("PAH") and for program managers of qualified fractional ownership programs operating under Part 91K, when the certificate holder meets the requirements of the VDRP. Generally, the certificate holder must detect a violation before the FAA, promptly disclose the violation to the FAA after discovery, and then take prompt corrective action to ensure that the same or similar violation does not recur.

The VDRP also applies to individual airmen and agents of the certificate holder if the following occurs:
  1. The apparent violation involves a deficiency of the certificate holder’s practices or procedures that causes the certificate holder to be in violation of a covered violation of an FAA regulation;

  2. The airman or other agent of the certificate holder, while acting on behalf of the certificate holder, inadvertently violates the FAA’s regulations as a direct result of a deficiency of the certificate holder that causes the certificate holder to be in violation of the regulations. (The VDRP does not apply to the airman or other agent when his or her apparent violation is the result of actions unrelated to the certificate holder’s deficiency);

  3. The airman or other agent immediately makes the report of his or her apparent violation to the certificate holder; and

  4. The certificate holder immediately notifies the FAA of both the airman or other agent’s apparent violation and the apparent deficiency in its practice or procedures.

The Case

In Moshea v. NTSB, an air carrier with whom the airman was employed voluntary disclosed the airman's failure to make certain required maintenance logbook entries pursuant to the VDRP and the FAA concluded that the air carrier and a number of its employees would receive no penalty. However, the FAA subsequently issued an order suspending the airman's airline transport pilot certificate for 60 days based upon alleged violations of FARs 91.7(a) (aircraft must be in airworthy condition for operation), 135.65(b) (requiring pilot to enter any mechanical irregularities into aircraft logs), and 91.13(a) (careless and reckless).

The NTSB Denies The Airman's VDRP Affirmative Defense

The airman appealed the suspension to the NTSB. At the hearing before the administrative law judge ("ALJ") the airman attempted to raise an affirmative defense based on his compliance with the VDRP. However, the ALJ refused to allow the airman to admit evidence bearing on his compliance with the program. The ALJ concluded that the NTSB lacked the jurisdiction to review the discretion as to how the FAA implements the VDRP (i.e. who the FAA lets off the hook and who the FAA decides to go after). As a result, the ALJ upheld the airman's suspension (although the ALJ did reduce it from 60 to 50 days).

The airman appealed the ALJ's decision to the full Board. However, the Board agreed with the ALJ. The Board ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the airman's affirmative defense and it affirmed his suspension. The airman then appealed the Board's decision to the United States Court of Appeals-D.C. Circuit.

The Court of Appeals Reverses The NTSB

On appeal, the airman argued that he should have been able to offer evidence to support his affirmative defense that he complied with the VDRP as an employee of the air carrier certificate holder. However, the FAA and the NTSB argued that the VDRP was unavailable to the airman because it purportedly "does not relate to the sanctions to be imposed," as required by 49 U.S.C. § 44709(d)(3), even though the VDRP provides that no sanctions will be imposed in cases of voluntary disclosure.

The Court rejected what the Court characterized as the FAA's/NTSB's attempt to "evade" the VDRP. The Court stated that when the VDRP says no sanction will be imposed in a case of voluntary disclosure it is "quite obviously 'related to sanctions'" and, as a result, the Board's analysis was unreasonable and contrary to the statute. The Court also found that the NTSB's decision was inconsistent with its handling of a prior case, Administrator v. Liotta, in which the Board allowed an employee of an air carrier to assert an affirmative defense based on the VDRP. According to the Court, this failure to follow precedent without an explanation was arbitrary and capricious and provided an independent basis for vacating the NTSB's decision.

The Court concluded that the NTSB did have jurisdiction to decide whether the FAA's suspension of the airman's certificate was in compliance with the VDRP. It then vacated the NTSB's decision and remanded the case to allow the airman to offer evidence of compliance in support of his affirmative defense.

Conclusions

It is nice to see the Court requiring both the FAA and NTSB to comply with their policies and rules. Keep in mind that this decision applies to all airmen employed by certificate holders, including mechanics. Mechanics and the certificate holders with whom they are employed should take advantage of the VDRP. If the FAA pursues enforcement action against an individual mechanic when the mechanic and his or her employer have complied with the VDRP, the mechanic should be able to assert compliance with the VDRP as an affirmative defense to defeat the FAA's claims.

Of course, mechanics should file their individual ASRS/NASA Forms in addition to compliance with the VDRP. That way, if the FAA/NTSB determines that the mechanic or its employer did not comply with the VDRP, the mechanic may still be able to avoid sanction if he or she has filed the ASRS/NASA form and meets the requirements of that program. You can download the mechanic ASRS/NASA form or file it online here.

End of content

No more pages to load