|Topics in this Volume
|CA Avgas Coalition Files Temporary Restraining Order In Federal Court|
NATA announced in a press release late last week that a coalition of fixed-based operators and fuel distributors who sell lead-based aviation gasoline in California has sued the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and the Attorney General of the State of California in response to a notice of an intended lawsuit against coalition members for supplying and using leaded aviation gasoline, allegedly in violation of California Proposition 65. The group has asked a Federal judge to issue a Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction to prevent CEH or the State of California from filing a lawsuit under Prop. 65 because such a suit would “disrupt ongoing efforts by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, who are working with industry groups to identify an alternative to leaded fuel that can be safely and reliably used by piston-powered airplanes.”
The coalition’s lawsuit is in direct response to the May 9, 2011 Notice of Violation issued by the CEH to numerous manufacturers, distributors and retailers of aviation gasoline. In those notices CEH threatens to sue under Prop. 65 unless the noticed parties cease the sale of leaded aviation gasoline, and clean up alleged contamination of water supplies near airports.
According to the Press Release: “The coalition complaint points out that federal law completely preempts the use of local law such as Proposition 65 to block or limit the sale of aviation gasoline in California or elsewhere. According to the complaint, the Federal Aviation Act bars state law from being used to regulate the routes and services offered by air taxi and charter airlines, while the federal Clean Air Act bars states from applying local emission standards to aircraft or engines. The complaint explains how a state prohibition on the sale and use of aviation gasoline would undermine the FAA’s authority over safety certification of aircraft and aircraft engines. Only the FAA may specify what type of fuel may and may not be used by aircraft.”
NATA is working closely with the group to facilitate their efforts to stop this attack by CEH and also providing the group administrative support.
Click Here To Read The Full Press Release.
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|Obama Criticizes General Aviation During Press Conference On Tax Increases |
President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 that the White House is pushing to eliminate or scale back a series of tax deductions, including accelerated bonus depreciation, in hopes of raising as much as $400 billion in new revenue over the next 10 years. The President stated that his proposal “seeks to end tax breaks for corporate jet owners and oil and gas companies” and claimed that “everything from food safety to college scholarships to the weather service could be in jeopardy from revenue taken away from these programs”.
Negotiations have been ongoing between the White House and congressional Republicans over reigning in the nation’s debt but have stalled over the issue of taxes. Republicans want to reduce the deficit in exchange for raising the federal limit on borrowing. The Treasury Department has set an August 2nd deadline for raising the debt ceiling before the nation defaults on its debt.
Obama has called for Congress to take new action to bolster the economy, urging them to extend a payroll tax cut, make loans to build new roads, reform patents and advance trade deals. In addition, Obama has been traveling the country pushing for job creation and investments in technologies that could bolster American manufacturing. On the day prior to his corporate aircraft bashing speech, Obama toured a manufacturing plant in Iowa that makes alloys and wings for airplanes. He cited the plant as an example of the manufacturing jobs the president wants to help create throughout the country.
Make your voice heard – notify Congress and request they block Obama’s plan to repeal bonus depreciation.
NATA’s reaction to President Obama
Inside Washington Blog – Corporate Aircraft Bashing Déjà vu
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|Senate Recess Cancelled To Address Debt Ceiling|
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) confirmed the Senate will work through its scheduled July 4th recess to deal with the looming crisis on the debt ceiling.
Majority Leader Reid said “with liberty comes responsibility and we should take that responsibility seriously. That is why the Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, the day after the 4th of July. We’ll be in session next week, with our first vote July 5th. There is still so much to do to put Americans back to work, cut our deficit and get our economy back on track.”
The decision to cancel comes after President Obama chided the Congress Wednesday for not working hard enough on the debt ceiling problem and urged that the recess be canceled if there was not sufficient progress on the debt negotiations.
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|CA Flight Training Bill Once Step Closer To Being Law|
Last week, the California Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection passed California Senate Bill 619 with no “no” votes. This approval moves the bill on to the Assembly Committee on Higher Education where it is expected to be heard on July 5th. In the Higher Education Committee the bill will most likely be amended again, with some minor changes to terminology, and also to add an urgency clause. The urgency clause would allow SB 619 to become law immediately upon signature of the Governor of California rather than on December 31, as would be the case otherwise.
SB 619, if approved and signed by the Governor, would provide an exemption from the rules issued by the BPPE for any flight training facility or flight instructor that:
- Does not require upfront payment of fees in exchange for training, and
- Does not require students to sign a contract of indebtedness in exchange for training
However, under SB 619, students will still be able to purchase “block time” in amounts up $2500.
Prior to last week’s hearing NATA issued an action call asking its members to contact members of both the Business and Professions and Higher Education committees.
Click Here to Read The Latest Version of SB 619
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|GAO Report Targets GA Airport Security|
In a recent report, the General Accountability Office (GAO) studied the adoption of security measures, and their effectiveness, at 13 general aviation (GA) airports. The GAO staff evaluated whether airports had, for example, perimeter fencing and lighting, access controls, on-site law enforcement and cameras monitoring the airport, among other provisions.
The review included 10 airports that serve only GA, and three airports that also support some scheduled commercial air service. All airports had lighting around the hangars, and 12 airports had full or partial fencing in place. The adoption of other security measures varied at the airports reviewed. Most of the airports, however, had implemented most of the measures evaluated.
Unfortunately, the GAO made no attempt to quantify how the so-called vulnerabilities it identified actually relate to known threats. Further, the GAO report did not take into consideration security measures implemented by FBO’s, aircraft owners and air charter operators that would also mitigate the ability for unauthorized access to occur.
More information on the GAO report, including a link to download the full report, is available in NATA’s Regulatory Report, available for download here.
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|Exemption Approved For Nav Database Updates|
Last month, the FAA approved an exemption allowing pilots at a Part 135 operator to perform updates of navigation databases. This is a significant exemption in that these updates are considered preventative maintenance and therefore pilots operating under Part 135 are prohibited from performing update functions.
In May 1996, the FAA classification of the navigational database update process as preventative maintenance occurred with the issuance of a final rule. At that time, the majority of navigational databases required removal of the unit from the instrument panel and, in some cases, disassembly of the unit itself. It was the intent of this final rule to adapt federal regulations to the current state of modern technology. As a result of the 1996 revisions, the FAA classified the update process as preventative maintenance allowing, by way of 14 CFR 43.3(g), pilots in a Part 91 environment to perform the database update process. However, pilots operating aircraft under Part 135 were prohibited from performing these updates.
Today, the navigational database update process, due to technological advances, has changed from a complex procedure occasionally requiring parts removal and/or disassembly to a more user-friendly, plug-and-play type of process.
These technological changes were a key aspect of the petition filed by NATA Member NetJets Aviation, Inc., Part 135 certificate holder and Part 91 Subpart K fractional program manager. In granting the NetJets petition, the FAA established several restrictions including limiting the updates to navigation database updates, requiring specific make/model training for pilots, development of written procedures, and appropriate maintenance log entries.
Similarly situated Part 135 operators that would benefit from an exemption permitting pilots to perform navigation database updates are encouraged to carefully review the NetJets petition and the FAA’s letter granting the exemption and establishing restrictions on its use.
The petition, comments received in response to the petition (including comments from NATA) and the FAA’s grant are all contained in the official rulemaking docket. Click here to review the docket. Click here to review only the FAA’s letter granting the exemption.
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|FAA Announces New Study on Needs of General Aviation Airport|
The old saying goes; “if you’ve seen one airport…you’ve seen one airport.” Nowhere is that more true than with General Aviation Airports, which cover a diversity of everything from small rural airports to large complex airports like Teterboro (TEB) in New Jersey. Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has undertaken a new study on the infrastructure needs, roles and functions of General Aviation Airports.
According to the FAA: “Defining these airports simply as [General Aviation] does not adequately describe the many diverse roles these airports play in their communities. General aviation airports provide a variety of functions, ranging from access for emergency medical services, disaster relief, aerial firefighting, law enforcement and border control, to agricultural functions, flight training, charter passenger and time-sensitive air cargo services, among others.”
The FAA in cooperation with stakeholder groups, including NATA, hopes to present a final report that outlines the differing roles and classifications of GA airports in January 2012.
Click Here To Read The Full Announcement From the FAA
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|Northup Grumman Highlights Receipt of NATA Aviation Maintenance Technician Employer Recognition Award|
Last week, Northup Grumman Corporation highlighted the company’s Rolling Meadows facility for its recent selection of the Five Star Award for achieving 100 percent employee participation within NATA’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Employer Recognition Program.
"Earning the Five Star Award is a concrete indication of Northrop Grumman's dedication to its AMT employees, customers and the industry in general," said James Coyne, president of NATA. "NATA has long believed in the value of education and training to aviation businesses. This value is often expressed not only in superior performance from employees, but also in customer satisfaction as a direct result of high employee morale."
"Having an FAA Certified Repair Station at our facility, along with 100 percent employee training participation, demonstrates our commitment to our customers and an understanding of their needs," said Carl Smith, vice president of infrared countermeasures for Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems Division.
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|Second Fuel Quality Control Webinar in Series on July 20|
Recording of June 29 Webinar Available for Purchase
NATA's summer series of webinars is led by a panel of industry experts to help ensure that your team is equipped with the latest tips, techniques and knowledge on Fuel Quality Control. Learn how to put Fuel Quality Control into practical use. You may purchase single webinars or receive special pricing on packages to access the entire series.
The Fuel QC webinar series lineup includes:
June 29, 2011, 1300-1400 Eastern (recording of this webinar is available in webinar packages)
The Basics of Aviation Fuel Filtration And Mandatory Specifications by Frank Clark with Facet International, and, Fuel Receipt Procedures by Reed Fuller with Ascent Aviation
July 20, 2011, 1300-1400 Eastern
Contaminants In Fuel And How To Detect Them by Frank Clark with Facet International, and, If You Didn't Write It Down, Did You Actually Do It by Walter Chartrand with Air BP Aviation
August 3, 2011, 1300-1400 Eastern
Filtration And Separation Options by Frank Clark with Facet International, and, The Straight Scoop On Additives by Carl Hammonds with Hammonds Companies
August 17, 2011, 1300-1400 Eastern
Filter Equipment Maintenance Procedures: How And Why - What ATA-103 Requires by Frank Clark with Facet International, and, An Aircraft Operator's View Of QC by Trace Talley with Flight Options
Visit www.nata.aero/webinars to view individual webinar and package pricing and to register today.
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|Fact of The Week – Aviation Fuel Quality Control|
Last week, NATA held its first, in a series of four, webinars on aviation fuel quality control and one of the topics that were addressed was fuel receipt procedures. Unfortunately, this is an area that I think sometimes does not receive the attention that it should. It reminds me of something I heard a delivery truck driver say once; “hey, once it’s in your tank, you own it!” The truth in that statement is staggering. When you turn on the pump to take fuel off a delivery truck and pump it into your tank, it now becomes your problem! If you or your staff haven’t properly verified the grade or quality of that fuel and a quality or contamination problem arises, you must pay to remedy the problem (assuming you are using the appropriate QC procedures in fuel farm management and catch the problem before you pump that fuel into an aircraft.)
Spending 10 to 15 minutes examining the paper work and performing the appropriate quality tests before you pump the fuel into your tanks can save a lot of headaches down the road! Remember; “once it’s in your tank, you own it!”
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|NATA Offices Closed Today, July 4th|
In observance of the July 4th holiday, NATA Headquarters will be closed today. Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, July 5th.
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