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Friday
Feb132015

EAA Clears Confusion Over Training in Restricted Category Aircraft

Uncertainty surrounding flight training in restricted category aircraft, and potentially experimental exhibition aircraft, has been clarified following EAA efforts to reach out on behalf of those who own these unique aircraft and train pilots to fly them.

EAA received reports from specialty aircraft examiners of restricted category aircraft that the FAA was considering policy changes that would prohibit the aircraft from being used for initial type rating exams, recurrent proficiency exams, and other flights necessary to operate as pilot in command of the aircraft. The restrictions would have put owners in the awkward position of not being able to qualify pilots to fly their unique airplanes.

While aircraft in the restricted category are generally not associated with EAA members, such as agricultural and firefighting aircraft, any policy change could have an unintended effect on experimental exhibition category aircraft, including warbirds and unique vintage airplanes.

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Friday
Feb132015

DOT Sets Date to Complete Review of Proposed Medical Reforms

 By Elizabeth A Tennyson, AOPA

The Department of Transportation has announced plans to complete its review of proposed third class medical reforms on Jan. 26, allowing the FAA’s draft rule to move to the Office of Management and Budget for another round of mandatory reviews. Meanwhile, AOPA has pledged to keep pushing for legislation to relieve thousands of pilots of the third class medical requirement.

“The general aviation community has waited too long for medical reform,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We will keep pushing for action on every possible front, including seeking a legislative solution with help from our friends in Congress.

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Friday
Feb132015

FAA Funding Secured Through September 2015

Money Included for ADS-B, Avgas Research, and Certification Reform

By Elizabeth A Tennyson, AOPA

Congress has passed an omnibus-spending bill that keeps the FAA, and other government agencies, funded through the end of the fiscal year in Sept. 2015. The funding bill, which avoids a government shutdown, passed the Senate over the weekend, following passage by the House earlier in the week.

The omnibus includes $12.4 billion for the FAA, approximately $17 million less than the FAA’s 2014 funding level. The bill also covers full operation of the air traffic control system, as well as $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, which funds infrastructure repairs and improvements at airports, including general aviation airports.

The agreement also includes a provision that allows small airports to continue contributing five percent of the total cost for unfinished phased projects that were underway prior to the passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

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Friday
Feb132015

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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Friday
Feb132015

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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