State Advocacy Network News
|House Subcommittee Holds Hearing On Flight Training Security|
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Homeland Security held a hearing on July 18 to discuss the security of U.S. flight training. The hearing was in response to the report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP).
When comparing the number of foreign national flight students recorded in the databases of the TSA and the FAA, the GAO found a discontinuity between the databases, indicating there were foreign national flight students who had not obtained a Security Threat Assessment (STA) by the TSA. In some cases, foreign flight students who had been vetted were discovered to be in the United States illegally.
During the hearing, lawmakers called for the TSA to work more closely with the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify the legal status and criminal history of applicants going through the AFSP. As requested, the TSA will update the subcommittee in 90 days on the corrections that will be made in response to the GAO report.
Additionally, during the question and answer portion of the hearing several lawmakers expressed concern that current regulations allow U.S. citizens who are on the “No Fly List” to begin flight training.
The following day, Subcommittee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) introduced H.R. 6159, the “Flight School Security Act of 2012.” According to a press release from Thompson, H.R. 6159 would require the TSA “to check each person seeking instruction from a flight school in an aircraft or aircraft simulator against the No Fly List and provide the school with information on whether that person has been positively vetted as a non-threat to aviation security. The vetting would occur before the individual begins training.”
NATA is concerned with H.R. 6159’s turn away from the idea of risk-based action. Screening all U.S. citizens prior to beginning flight training would greatly increase the cost of the TSA’s screening program as well as impose a significant burden on flight training providers and students while providing only limited security benefit. NATA will continue to work with the TSA and Congress to find solutions that address lawmakers’ concerns but retain a proven risk-based approach to security.
Testimony and video from this hearing can be viewed by clicking here.
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On July 18, members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing to review the FAA’s Contract Tower Program and the findings of and future plans for the Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG)’s ongoing audit of the program. The witnesses before the subcommittee agreed that congressional support, full funding for the program in 2013, and continued preservation of the current contract tower locations are critical to the safety and viability of the industry.
Under the Contract Tower Program, the FAA contracts with private businesses to provide air traffic control services at small and medium-sized airports. The program is intended to reduce the cost of services provided by air traffic controllers and to enhance safety by providing air traffic services at airports where federally-staffed towers would not be cost effective. Currently, of the 250 FAA Contract Control Towers, 89 locations serve general aviation exclusively.
The 2003 report conducted by the IG on the Contract Tower Program emphasized safety and cost efficiency as high priorities in its analysis. The report found that operational error rates at contract and FAA-operated control towers were below overall averages and that the program saved the FAA nearly $173 million through annual salary benefits and staffing requirements as a result of fewer controllers. In his testimony, Inspector General Calvin Scovel emphasized that contract towers are as safe as and cost nearly $1.5 million less to operate annually than a comparable FAA-staffed tower.
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|Senate Subcommittee Reviews Competitiveness Of U.S. Aviation Industry|
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing on July 18 to review the competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry and its status as a global leader. Witnesses addressed the subcommittee on the critical competition issues facing the aviation industry, including workforce, regulatory issues, and access to rising aviation markets.
Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) submitted remarks, stating that aviation is a key contributor to our nation’s success. He pointed out that the FAA estimates that civil aviation contributes to more than 10 million jobs and is responsible for more than 5 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. “Aviation is a leader in U.S. exports, contributing more than $75 billion towards the U.S. trade balance through sales of aircraft engines, equipment and parts to foreign countries,” Chairman Rockefeller said.
Witnesses from Boeing, the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, Aerospace Industries Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and Airlines for America praised the subcommittee for recognizing the importance of civil aviation and the impact it has on the nation’s economy, job growth and relationships with global markets and assured continued work with Congress on initiatives to strengthen the world’s leading transportation system.
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NATA has published a regulatory report that summarizes the FAA’s recent proposed rule to combine drug and alcohol testing programs. Under the proposed rule, Part 135 operators who also operate commercial air tours would be able to combine drug and alcohol testing programs into a single program.
Businesses that provide both Part 135 air charter and conduct certain air tour operations must today maintain separate drug and alcohol testing programs. NATA supports the proposed rule as it would relieve much of the financial and administrative burden experienced by these operators by permitting use of only one drug and alcohol testing program. Click here to download the NATA Regulatory Report.
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|FAA Issues SAFO On SOPs|
The FAA released a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) pertinent to all Part 135 and 91k operators. The SAFO emphasizes the use of Standard Operating Procedures during all phases of flight; both normal and emergency. The document references a 2008 crash involving a Hawker 800 during a go-around attempt that killed two pilots and six passengers. An investigation suggested that the pilots deviated from SOPs following an aborted landing.
The SAFO not only recommends the use of SOPs by flight crews during all phases of flight, but calls on the certificate holders to establish a culture that promotes SOPs. The FAA recommends Advisory Circular (AC) 120-71A to develop, implement and update SOPs.
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|Weekly 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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|Washington State Releases 2012 Aviation Economic Impact Study|
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division released its 2012 Aviation Economic Impact Study in which the agency reviewed analysis on the economic and fiscal impacts of each public use airport, how the aviation industry creates economic value for people and communities across the state, and how the aviation system supports economic development and competitiveness at the local and state levels.
Washington is home to 135 airports, 45 of which offer general aviation services. Aviation supports nearly 250,000 jobs and provides $50.9 billion in total economic activity, of which more than $791 million in tax revenue is generated by aviation activities. These findings are significantly higher than those of the previous report released in 2000, which found just over 171,000 jobs were supported by aviation and $18.6 billion in economic activity attributed to the industry.
The study found that aviation plays a critical role in the state’s transportation infrastructure, supporting local and state economic success. “The value derived by individuals, communities, and businesses from their access to and use of aviation services far exceeds even the direct job, wage, and output impacts,” the study notes. Aviation needs the appropriate funding to strengthen the state’s economic and fiscal impacts further.
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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). Despite decades of accepted practice, the IRS is now attempting through a Chief Counsel Advice (CCA) memorandum issued in early March to expand the scope of operations covered by commercial taxes to those that are clearly private in nature.
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 with 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.
All webinars will feature ample time for attendee questions. 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.
July 11 - The Audit Process (Webinar Recording)
July 18 - Prospective Preparation and Planning Opportunities (Webinar Recording)
July 25 at 12:00 EST - Achieving Balance
Click Here to Register for All Three Webinars ($249) – If you register for all three webinars, you will receive a link to the recordings of the July 11 and 18 webinars as well as information on attending the upcoming webinar on July 25.
Webinar 3 of 3 - Achieving Balance $99.00
The third webinar in our series will provide a summary of the prior issues and questions discussed and provide operators with an understanding of the need to ensure that proper FAA operational control standards are adhered to while operators at the same time endeavor to position their business best for potential IRS audits.
Webinar Speaker: Kent Jackson, Jackson & Wade, LLC - Bio
Date: July 25, 2012 at 12:00 EDT
Click Here to Register for Webinar 3 Only
Click here for more information on NATA webinars .
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|Gleimer To Speak At Commercial Operators 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.
Eileen Gleimer, Crowell & Moring LLP, Partner
Eileen Gleimer, a Partner at Crowell & Moring LLP in Washington, DC, specializes in aviation law with emphasis in business aviation. She represents and advises large and small businesses as well as individuals owning, operating and managing corporate aircraft and fractional interests in commercial transactions involving, among other things, the purchase, sale, lease and financing of business and commercial aircraft and the regulatory issues relating to the operation of the aircraft. Eileen participated in the FAA Part 135/125 Aviation Rulemaking Committee established by the FAA administrator to review and revise existing regulations governing Part 135 air carriers and the Fractional Ownership Aviation Rulemaking Committee that developed the recommendations that form the basis of the regulations governing fractional ownership.
Kent Jackson, a previously featured COTS speaker, will host the third in a series of webinars on the Application of Commercial Taxes to Private Flights. His webinar (on July 25) is called "Achieving Balance." 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 register today, click here.
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|NATA’s Safety 1st De/Anti-Icing Training – Never Too Early To Prepare For An Icy Winter!|
It’s time to think about the deicing season, as hard as it is to imagine it’ll ever be cold again given the heat of this summer! Winter weather training programs, like NATA’s Safety 1st De/Anti-Icing module, are designed to familiarize your line service specialists with the responsibilities of their job and give an overview of the skills necessary for safe aircraft departures. The De/Anti-icing training module was first released in 2010 and has been viewed by more than 300 students, new and experienced alike, to prepare for the icing season.
- De/Anti-Icing fluid types
- De/Anti-Icing application procedures
- De/Anti-Icing safety requirements
- Responsibilities for final preparation and departure procedures
- Quizzes to highlight main concepts
- Exams to confirm learning
To learn more about De/Anti-Icing and other training modules, click here. Pricing for the online training is based on a sliding scale so you can save and train everyone. Check out the demo video and view firsthand what is covered throughout the module.
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|Big Savings On NATA Publications For A Limited Time Only|
Order now during the Summer Sale and save!
Your chance to get the new Will-Not-Carry Operator Hazardous Materials Training Manual for only $75 ends soon!
The Will-Not-Carry Operator Hazardous Materials Training Manual 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. The sale on the Will-Not-Carry Operator Hazardous Materials Training Manual only lasts until July 31, 2012, so click here to order your copy before the price goes up.
NATA also has steep discounts on FBO Publications through August 31, 2012.
The Community Relations Toolkit ($99 for members) 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) 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) 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 three publications come as a bundle in the FBO Managers Resource Kit, which is only $469 for members until August 31, 2012.
All NATA publications are available for purchase at the NATA Store.
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|ACSF Announces New Vice Chairman|
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) is pleased to announce the selection of Jeff Baum, president and CEO of Wisconsin Aviation, as the new vice-chairman of the ACSF. He succeeds Bill Haberstock, president of Keystone Aviation, whose term expired June 30, 2012.
Baum is a founding member of the ACSF, and has served on the ACSF Executive Committee and Board of Governors since the foundation's inception.
"Jeff has been an invaluable member of the ACSF Executive Committee, and I'm delighted to have him as the new vice chairman," said ACSF President Bryan Burns. "With his knowledge and experience as president and CEO of Wisconsin Aviation and a leader in the aviation industry, he will help support and sustain the foundation's ongoing and future activities."
To read the full ACSF press release, click here.
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|ACSF July Newsletter Available Online|
The July issue of the Air Charter Safety Foundation Newsletter is available online. This issue includes:
- ACSF Recommends Review of Stabilized Approach Criteria
- Register for Free FltPlan.com SMS Seminar
- First Operators Undergo Training for ACSF ASAP Demonstration Program
- Save the Date – 2013 Air Charter Safety Symposium
To view this newsletter, click here.
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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
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Alexandria, VA 22302