Author Archives: David K. Tochen

The Day the Music Died, February 3, 1959

A long long time ago I can still remember how That music used to make me smile And I knew if I had my chance That I could make those people dance And maybe they’d be happy for a while But February made me shiver With every paper I’d deliver Bad news on the doorstep I couldn’t take one more step I can’t remember if I cried When I read about his widowed bride Something touched me deep inside The day the music died Lyrics from “American Pie,” by Don McLean, 1971, © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management …

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Shutdown Blues at the USDOT, FAA, and NTSB

Now in its third week, the impact of the current partial federal government shutdown has been widely felt and reported. In addition to the impacts on federal employees subject to furlough (defined in Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations as “the placing of an employee in a temporary status without duties and pay because of lack of work or funds or other nondisciplinary reasons”), contractors, and their respective families, significant attention is also focused on federal employees, such as FAA air traffic controllers and TSA security screeners, who are not furloughed but continue to perform their duties in the absence …

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A Full House at the NTSB…

For the first time since April 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board will soon have a full complement of Board members. On July 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed the President’s nominations of Bruce Landsberg and Jennifer Homendy to serve as Board members. This is particularly welcome news because since January 31 of this year when former chairman and Board member Christopher Hart departed the agency, the NTSB has been operating with only three Board Members — the minimum number of members needed to meet the statutory requirement for a quorum to conduct official agency business. Under the statute that …

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Funding the NTSB … A Continuing Government Saga

In previous Plane-ly Spoken blogs (NTSB Reauthorization–Part I, and NTSB Reauthorization–Part II), we discussed and summarized the key provisions of S.2202, the National Transportation Reauthorization Act.  Senator Thune introduced this bill in the U.S. Senate on December 6, 2017, with co-sponsors Senators Blunt, Booker, Cantwell, Fischer, and Nelson.  The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation considered the bill and, on December13, 2017, approved it by voice vote and ordered it to be reported favorably with an amendment by Senator (and Commerce Committee Chairman) Thune. The Committee’s issued its report accompanying S. 2202 on July 10, 2018. Senate Report 115-293 …

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Pipeline Accidents and NTSB Investigations Webinar

We want to thank you for joining in for the Webinar on we hosted on June 13th. While this webinar was not specifically aviation related, we wanted to share it with our readers here at Plane-ly Spoken because it involves the NTSB, which is a frequently covered topic on this blog, and the protocols some of our readers will benefit from when dealing with pipeline accident investigations. During this webinar we also explained how to navigate NTSB investigations to minimize the impact on your company. If you happened to miss it and would like to learn more, please follow this link …

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We Have a Problem on Line 7: NTSB Investigations of Pipeline Accidents

The NTSB increasingly focuses its attention on pipeline accidents and pipeline operators as no major domestic air crash has occurred in nearly a decade. Since January 1, 2008, the NTSB has launched 20 major investigations of pipeline accidents and issued numerous pipeline accident reports. These investigations fuel civil lawsuits, significant public attention, regulatory scrutiny, criminal prosecutions, and political pressure. Join us on June 13 for a complimentary 90-minute webinar where we will explain how to navigate NTSB investigations to minimize the impact on your company. During the webinar, you will gain unique insights from the most recent addition to our …

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Planes, Drones and $…The 2018 Appropriation and Aviation

After four governmentwide short-term stopgap funding provisions since last September, Congress has enacted, and the President has signed, a full fiscal year Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Public Law 115-141, March 23, 2018), a 2,149-page behemoth that provides a total of $1.3 trillion in funding. According to a summary of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, (Division L of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, commonly referred to as “THUD”) prepared by the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, the Department of Transportation (DOT) appropriations include $18 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal …

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Wheels Up for Blockchain Technology in Aviation?

Many of us know something about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Perhaps fewer of us are familiar with the underlying digital technology for these cryptocurrencies — known as blockchain. Likely even fewer of us recognize the role that blockchain can play in aviation.  This post will shed light on ways blockchain is being examined and even introduced in the transportation sector in general, including aviation. First, what is blockchain?

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Summary of Congressional Hearing: “The State of Aviation Safety” Part II

In Part I of this post, we summarized the statements of Subcommittee Chairman LoBiondo and FAA and NASA witnesses at the February 27 hearing on “The State of Aviation Safety” conducted by the Subcommittee on Aviation of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives.  In this Part II, we will briefly discuss the prepared and oral statements from NTSB, USDOT Office of Inspector General (OIG), and Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) officials.

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The State of Aviation Safety and Congress: Part I

The Subcommittee on Aviation of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a February 27 hearing on the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS), including progress made and challenges that still need addressing. Officials form the following organizations provided testimony at the hearing: FAA, NASA, NTSB, the USDOT Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the Airline Pilots Association International (ALPA). Although the following link to the hearing is available on Committee’s website – https://transportation.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=402184 – we are pleased to provide the following summary for our Plane-ly Spoken readers.

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