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July 9, 2012   null   Volume 11 Issue 28

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State Advocacy Network News


Member News

nullFAA Recognizes Airman Testing Standards And Training Reform Plan

The FAA has released the final report from the Airman Testing Standards and Training Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), in which NATA participated. The report makes recommendations that would enhance airman knowledge through the revision of testing and training materials in order to improve safety in all categories of flight.

The ARC was assembled in 2011 to address industry concerns that current airman standards, handbooks and testing materials are not correlating with current aviation training methods and technology, and that unannounced changes made to knowledge exams frequently left students ill prepared to take updated exams. The report highlights concern regarding the FAA’s “piecemeal and often unilateral efforts to revise standards, training material, and testing methodologies.” Rewording questions to ensure relevancy, practicality and efficiency, and the processes to go about updating knowledge test guides were a priority for the ARC.

On June 18, 2012, representatives from the FAA met with the ARC to announce the agency’s implementation of the ARC’s nine recommendations, and stated that the agency would begin the process of forming a “stakeholder body” of industry experts to develop improvements to airman knowledge test methods and the supplements and technology used to write and review test questions. The process should begin before the end of this year.

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nullNATA Comments On Proposed Medical Exemption

NATA submitted comments in support of the AOPA/EAA petition for exemption from FAR Part 61 sections 3(c) and 2(a). The petition seeks to allow pilots of both associations to fly recreationally (day VFR in an aircraft with a 180HP or less engine) without an FAA medical certificate. Those pilots electing to take advantage of the requested exemption, and not obtain a medical certificate, would be required to complete a free online course on flight physiology every two years and complete a medical self-assessment before each flight. 

NATA believes that the exemption could benefit general aviation safety and the public. While an FAA medical exam is a one-time check-up, pilots who have completed the in-depth flight physiology course would be able to provide themselves with a more thorough health assessment before every flight. Eliminating the burden of obtaining a medical certificate would encourage existing pilots to keep flying and would be a great incentive for people to learn to fly. 

Click here to read NATA’s Comments.

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nullFAA Informs Operators Of European Union TCAS Version 7.1 Rule

The FAA has published an Information for Operators (InFO) regarding a European Union (EU) mandate that certain operators use the latest Version 7.1 of the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II) software. Although ICAO requires Version 7.1 software to be implemented in new and existing aircraft by January 1, 2014, and January 1, 2017, respectively for international flights, the EU mandate requires all aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of more than 5,700 kg (12,500 lbs) or with an authorized capacity to carry 19 passengers to install the upgrade by March 1, 2012. However, aircraft with TCAS II Version 7.0 that have been certificated before March 1, 2012, have an extended deadline of December 1, 2015, to comply with the mandate. 

TCAS enhances a pilot’s situational awareness of the surrounding airspace by communicating with other transponder-equipped aircrafts to monitor the threat of collisions and provide conflict resolution if necessary. The Version 7.1 software update includes changes to certain aural warnings as well as the enhanced ability to predict and provide Resolution Advisories (RA) when an intruding aircraft does not comply with its own RA.

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nullSenate Passes “Pilot Bill Of Rights”

Late last month, the US Senate passed Senate Bill 1335 (SB 1335), also known as the “Pilots Bill of Rights.” SB 1335, which was introduced by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), includes provisions to enhance pilots’ rights during FAA enforcement proceedings and also calls for the FAA to implement a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) Improvement Program that would make the NOTAM more efficient and easy to use for pilots.

"This is a big victory for general aviation pilots all across the country," Inhofe said. "Over the course of my years in Congress, I have helped an untold number of pilots facing the pressure of dealing with the Federal Aviation Administration. This bill remedies many of the most serious deficiencies in the relationship between general aviation and the FAA, and ensures that pilots are, like everyone else, treated in a fair and equitable manner by the justice system."

Click here to read SB 1335.

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nullWeekly Regulatory Update

Relevant updates from the FAA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security are compiled each day from the Federal Register. The latest notices, rules and proposed rules can now be found in a single source by clicking here.

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nullAs Pennsylvania Tax Exemption Bill Moves Through Legislature, Continued Support Is Required

On May 22, 2012, the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives passed legislation, HB 1100, exempting taxes on aircraft parts and maintenance in the state. The bill is currently in the state Senate’s Appropriations Committee where its companion bill, SB 1552, is currently under consideration. The Senate bill was introduced by Senator David Argall (R-District 29) on June 26, 2012.

As reported in NATA’s Action Call, Pennsylvania is known as a “closed for business” state, where aviation industry and related services are being unnecessarily taxed, causing a barrier for new industry business and job growth in Pennsylvania. Representative Peter Daley (D-District 49), HB1100’s sponsor, held a press conference regarding the House bill’s importance and urged his colleagues to support the legislation and move it forward. Thanks to the advocacy efforts by constituents and the persistence by Representative Daley, the bill passed by a 179-19 vote.

Now, the state Senate needs to hear from Pennsylvania’s citizens in support of SB 1552. NATA urges its members to contact their state Senators as soon as possible and reiterate that passage of this bill would mean that Pennsylvania would become more inviting to out-of-town operators and businesses and would ultimately provide more jobs and opportunities for generating personal income, property and fuel tax revenues.

For additional information and to ask questions, email or call (703) 845-9000.

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nullApplication of Commercial Taxes To Private Flights
A Three-Part Webinar Series Starting July 11

NATA will host a three-part webinar series in July on this topic. The webinars may be purchased separately at $99/each or together as a package for only $249. All Webinar revenue will be applied to NATA's advocacy and communications efforts in opposition to the expansion of commercial excise taxes to private flights.

About the Issue
Congress created different taxes for commercial and non-commercial aircraft operations. In both cases, taxes collected are for the benefit of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The commercial federal excise taxes are imposed on amounts paid by passengers on the airlines and other commercial air carriers. Non-commercial excise taxes are applied on the fuel used in private or general aviation operations. The IRS has generally chosen to ignore how the FAA regulates operations and, instead, makes its own determination (IRS Revenue Ruling 78-75).

At issue is that, after decades of prior audits, guidance (IRS Revenue Ruling 58-215) and enforcement that have consistently deemed operations conducted with the assistance of an aircraft management company to be private and thus subject to the noncommercial taxes, the IRS is now attempting to reverse course and deem all such operations as commercial. 

This course reversal from the IRS is most recently shown in a Chief Counsel Advice (CCA) memorandum issued in early March. Although this communication cannot be used or cited as precedent, this information is already being widely discussed among IRS auditors and is influencing their approach to audits.

The CCA reviews three scenarios wherein the IRS Chief Counsel determines that the fees paid by an aircraft owner to a company for contracted aircraft management services makes the operations commercial and, therefore, those fees are subject to the commercial federal excise taxes. By deeming these situations to be commercial aviation, the IRS position equates flights by a private individual, flying on his or her own aircraft, to and from locations of the owner's choosing, at times determined by the owner as essentially the same as those of someone who bought an airline ticket.

If allowed to stand, the probable result of this IRS position is that aircraft owners will be less likely to use management companies, particularly when services are provided by an air charter operator, and will establish total "in-house" flight departments. This will cause owners to miss out on the safety and compliance benefits of working with contracted expertise, while also decreasing the number of aircraft available in the on-demand charter market. This loss of aircraft supply would lead to higher charter costs and some air carriers laying off employees or shutting down entirely due to the loss of available aircraft in the marketplace.

To assist members in fully understanding the impact that this CCA is already having on the aircraft management community, NATA has developed a three-part webinar series featuring leading subject matter experts. This series will provide a comprehensive overview of the issues in the CAA, how members can prepare for an audit, how aircraft management agreements could be revised and how to achieve balance between IRS FET issues and FAA operational control issues for managed aircraft that are also utilized in Part 135 operations.

July 11, 2012, at 12:00 EST - The Audit Process - Nel Stubbs, Conklin & de Decker
July 18, 2012, at 12:00 EST - Prospective Preparation and Planning Opportunities - Keith Swirsky, GKG Law, P.C.
July 25, 2012, at 12:00 EST - Achieving Balance - Kent Jackson, Jackson & Wade, LLC
For information on each individual webinar, and to register for one or more, please click here

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nullFeeling The Weight Of Taxes? COTS Can Help!
Commercial Operator Tax Seminar, Scottsdale, AZ, August 7-8

NATA and Conklin & de Decker Associates, Inc. continue to offer the only tax seminar for commercial operators. The Commercial Operators Tax Seminar (COTS) deals with taxes that you, the commercial operator, face every day in your operations. Federal excise taxes, fuel taxes, sales and use taxes, personal property taxes, depreciation, international fees and more are covered in this seminar. In addition, a comprehensive review of the Federal Aviation Regulations and topics that should be included in charter/management and management agreements is included. Ample time will be allowed for questions and answers during each session as well as prior to the conclusion seminar. Click here to register now.

Featured Speaker:
Kent S. Jackson, Jackson & Wade, L.L.C., Managing Partner

Kent S. Jackson is founder and managing partner in the law firm of Jackson & Wade, L.L.C. His practice focuses on airport funding and legal issues, structuring aircraft transactions and a broad range of aviation regulatory advice. He assists clients in establishing appropriate operating structures for Part 91, Part 135, Part 375, Part 380 and complex hybrid operations. He has assisted clients in obtaining Part 135, Part 125 and Part 380 authority. He has represented companies and individuals in Department of Transportation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and FAA enforcement proceedings and Internal Revenue Service excise tax audits. Jackson’s clients include corporate jet owners, lessors, investment banks, manufacturers and government agencies. Jackson is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, Kansas, Missouri and New York. He was a principal participant on the FAA’s Fractional Ownership Aviation Rulemaking Committee and the Part 125/135 Aviation Rulemaking Committee. Jackson is a type-rated airline transport pilot, flight instructor and repairman with flight experience in Part 91 and 135 operations. Jackson received his Bachelor of Arts with Distinction and Departmental Honors in English from the University of Kansas in 1985 and his Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas in 1988.

(Nel Stubbs, last week’s featured COTs speaker, will host the first in a series of webinars on the Application of Commercial Taxes to Private Flights. Her webinar (on July 11) called "The Audit Process" will also include some information on COTS, if you are interested in more details on this webinar or others in the series click here.)

This year's COTS seminar takes place August 7-8 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. To take advantage of the Early Bird Registration Rate ($100 off per registration), click here.

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null2012 NATA Schedule of Events

August 7-8 - Commercial Operators Tax Seminar
Co-Sponsored with Conklin & De Decker
Scottsdale Plaza Resort, Scottsdale, AZ

September 10-11 - Fall Committee Meetings
Wyndham Dallas Love Field, Dallas, TX

September 12-1 - Line Service Supervisor Training (LSST) Seminar
Wyndham Dallas Love Field, Dallas, TX

September 12-14 - FBO Success Seminar
Business Jet Center FBO, Dallas, TX

September 14 - Safety 1st Trainer Seminar
Wyndham Dallas Love Field, Dallas, TX

October 1-2 - Airline Services Council Meeting
DoubleTree Crystal City, Arlington, VA

October 10 - Flight Training Committee Meeting
In conjunction with the AOPA Summit
Palm Springs, CA

November 12-13 - Aviation Business Roundtable
Ritz-Carlton, Arlington, VA

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nullWill-Not-Carry Operator HAZMAT Training Manual And Other Titles On Sale
Get These Helpful Publications At Great Rates Before Time Runs Out

NATA's Newest Publication - The Will-Not-Carry Operator Hazardous Materials Training Manual (Special - $75 until July 31, 2012) is a downloadable and easily customizable publication that can be used to satisfy FAA requirements for will-not-carry operators to have a HAZMAT training program. Once purchased and downloaded, the operator simply updates the information in the highlighted fields with company-specific details and follows the straightforward guidance on complying with provisions of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), Title 49 Code of the Federal Regulations (49 CFR) and Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). The regulations have changed. If you haven't updated your manual recently, you should download your copy today.

NATA is offering the next three books separately or together as an FBO Managers Resource Kit. The FBO Managers Resource Kit offers the best discount price for these publications: Only $469 for members.

The Community Relations Toolkit ($99 for members, if purchased separately from the FBO Managers Resource Kit) was developed to help airports expand community outreach efforts to airport neighbors and key stakeholders. This handbook has been developed to provide a guideline for community relations efforts.

Negotiating Aviation Agreements: A Guidebook for Building and Protecting Your Business($299 for members, if purchased separately from the FBO Managers Resource Kit) is a resource for fixed base operators and specialized aviation service operations doing business at general aviation airports. Sample provisions and practical tips are included in this guidebook.

Refueling and Quality Control Procedures for Airport Service and Support Operations($109 for members, if purchased separately from the FBO Managers Resource Kit) provides airport fuel service providers a comprehensive review of the many complex standards and requirements for the handling of aviation fuel in a way that is easy to understand. The incorporation of full-color photographs adds to the usefulness of the 2011 revision as a teaching tool for new and seasoned fuel handling technicians alike.

These publications and additional products are available at the NATA Store at Hurry. The special rate for the Will-Not-Carry Operator Hazardous Materials Training Manualis good until July 31, 2012, and the special rate on the other listed publications is good until August 31, 2012.

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NATA E-Learn Webinars

Click here to view a listing of archived webinar recordings.




NATA is the National Air Transportation Association

Founded in 1940, NATA aggressively promotes safety and the success of aviation service businesses through its advocacy efforts before government, the media and the public as well as by providing valuable programs and forums to further its members' prosperity.

National Air Transportation Association
4226 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone: 800-808-6282
Fax: 703-845-8176




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