FAA to Issue New Guidance on Sleep Apnea

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continually works with the aviation and medical communities to ensure that pilots are fit to fly. On March 2, the FAA will issue new medical guidance to Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) that incorporates industry and Congressional feedback balanced with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) safety concerns about pilots flying with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

OSA inhibits restorative sleep. Untreated OSA always has been a disqualifying medical condition and will continue to be disqualifying. The FAA is not changing its medical standards related to OSA; however, it is revising the screening approach to help AMEs find undiagnosed and untreated OSA. The new guidance will improve safety and pilot health by reducing the burdens and disincentives that may have prevented some pilots from seeking an OSA evaluation and treatment. 

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AOPA Objects to Santa Monica’s Claims Over Airport in Federal Appeals Case 

The City of Santa Monica’s efforts to absolve itself from an agreement with the federal government are obviously intended to restrict or end operations at Santa Monica Airport in violation of longstanding federal law and a specific contract it signed, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) argued in a federal appeals court filing Thursday.

That consequence–losing the availability of Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO)–the court filing argues, could have a detrimental impact on air transportation for thousands of Southern Californians.

The amicus brief filed jointly by AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association notes that the city took back control of SMO from the federal government after World War II under the U.S. Surplus Property Act (SPA).

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GAMA Welcomes FAA/U.S. Congressional Focus to Provide Greater Consistency in Regulatory Interpretation 

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) welcomed two developments this week in the effort to provide greater consistency in regulatory interpretation: a U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on the issue and the concurrent release of a detailed FAA plan to implement recommendations resulting from Section 313 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

On Jan. 21, 2015, Duncan Aviation President and CEO Aaron Hilkemann, who is GAMA’s Vice Chairman, testified before the committee on the need for greater consistency in regulatory interpretation and a timely resolution process. Hilkemann discussed the work of the Consistency of Regulatory Interpretation Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which, in Nov. 2012, made six recommendations to improve the regulatory process. In his testimony, Hilkemann highlighted two of these recommendations that would help resolve issues of uncertainty. The first would establish a single master source regulatory database of regulations and all related policy, guidance, and interpretive information in a readily available and searchable format to FAA and industry. The second would set up a Regulatory Consistency Communications Board (RCCB)—comprised of FAA regulatory and policy experts—to provide guidance and independent assessment on the interpretation and application of regulations.

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Red Bull Air Race Back in 2015 with New Stops in Russia, Japan, and Hungary

The eight-race 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship will feature two new stops in Japan and Russia along with a return to Budapest, Hungary. The world’s fastest motorsport series will also be back at five popular locations in 2015 with stops in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Ascot (GBR), Spielberg (AUT), Fort Worth and Las Vegas (USA).

Toshihito Kumagai (Mayor of Chiba City / RED BULL AIR RACE Japan Committee Honorary Chairman JPN , Left ) , Erich Wolf ( General Manager RED BULL AIR RACE , AUT Center ) , Yoshi Muroya (RED BULL AIR RACE Pilpt JPN , Right ) handshake on Red Bull Air Race Press Conference 2014 at Chiba , Japan on November. 26th, 2014. (Naoyuki Shibata/Red Bull Air Races)The new Red Bull Air Race World Championship season in 2015 will feature eight stops spanning the globe that includes five of the most popular locations from the riveting 2014 season, organizers of the world’s fastest motorsport series announced on Nov. 26 in Chiba, Japan. The sport’s eighth season kicks off on Feb. 13/14 with the traditional opener in Abu Dhabi and will include first-ever races in Japan, with a stop in Chiba on May 16/17. The championship then moves to another new country, Russia, with an eagerly awaited stop in the sports-focused city of Sochi on May 30/31. Budapest, Hungary–which hosted seven races between 2003 and 2009–will be back on the calendar with a stop on July 4/5.

The second half of the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship season starts on Aug. 15/16 in Ascot, Great Britain, before it makes a triumphant return to Spielberg, Austria on Sept. 5/6. The 2015 season concludes with two stops in the United States – a return to Fort Worth in Texas on Sept. 26/27 and then the season finale on Oct. 17/18 in Las Vegas.

“We’re always making efforts to bring the sport to our fans and we’re delighted that we can now officially announce that Red Bull Air Race will visit two new countries in 2015. We will race in Japan and Russia, countries full of enthusiastic motorsport and aviation fans and once again Hungary, where the Red Bull Air Race has a great fan base,” said Erich Wolf, General Manager of Red Bull Air Race GmbH.

The Red Bull Air Race World Championship sees the world’s best pilots put to the test in a pure motorsport competition, combining speed, precision and skill. The pilots use the fastest, most agile and lightweight racing planes to navigate a predefined, low-level aerial racetrack of air-filled pylons (Air Gates) with the aim of finishing in the fastest time possible, incurring as few penalties as possible.

Ticketing for the 2015 season started on Nov. 28. For more information, on

2015 Race Calendar:

  1. Abu Dhabi, UAE (February13/14)
  2. Chiba, Japan (May 16/17)
  3. Sochi, Russia* (May 30 /31)
  4. Budapest, Hungary (July 4/5)

*to be confirmed

For more information, please visit


EAA to FAA: ADS-B Mandate Fraught With Hurdles for GA

Cost, Compliance, Lack of Benefits Preventing Adoption

EAA Vice President of Advocacy and Safety, Sean Elliott, told the FAA on Oct. 28 that while the recreational aviation community is willing to work toward a modernization of the national airspace system, mandated ADS-B compliance is still fraught with too many hurdles to motivate general aviation aircraft owners to install the costly equipment.

Speaking at an FAA-sponsored “call to action” summit on ADS-B and NextGen in Washington, D.C., Elliott emphasized that the low installation rate in GA aircraft thus far–only about 6,200 aircraft out of 157,000 in the fleet––is due to a dubious cost/benefit ratio for aircraft owners. The FAA has mandated that ADS-B be installed in those aircraft by 2020 as a cornerstone of the NextGen system.

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