Category Archives: FAA

Federal Aviation Administration Updates

The New Aircraft Charter Rules: A Deep Dive!

After nearly ten years of work, the FAA has finally issued a new set of comprehensive regulations governing “air charter brokers” and how they operate. According to the Department of Transportation, these new rules are intended to “facilitate innovation and growth in the air charter industry while strengthening the legal protections provided to consumers of charter air transportation.” In addition, in 2019, the FAA and DOT will be conducting increased surveillance, oversight, and enforcement of charter operators and brokers. The new regulations, which go into effect on February 14, 2019, come at a time when the aircraft charter market is …

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Agenda Update: The 2019 Aviation Symposium, Feb 5 – 7, 2019 in Tysons Corner

Wow! The clock is ticking and The 2019 Aviation Symposium is rapidly approaching. Our opening panel will focus upon accidents/incidents/events outside the United States. Nimbus Airlines will (in all likelihood), shortly before the Symposium, experience an issue somewhere in the world. Our crystal ball tells us there will be serious injuries, possibly a fatality, a criminal investigation, language and cultural issues, time zone problems and more. So get ready for an energetic and thought provoking discussion/panel.

In the Third Circuit, Preemption Does Not Mean Preemption

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has once again considered whether state law tort claims based on defects in aviation products are preempted by federal law. This time, in a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that an engine manufacturer can be sued over a defective product design even though the aircraft’s design was approved by the FAA and the components had a valid type certificate. Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corporation, No. 17-3006 (October 25, 2018).

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UPDATE: FAA Reauthorization Webinar Postponed!

“Congress Kicks the FAA and our Webinar Down the Road…..Again!!” The seemingly endless FAA reauthorization process looks like it will continue for yet another month.  At the beginning of May, it looked like the bill had finally generated enough momentum for easy passage in the Senate.  The House had already dropped its controversial plans for privatization of air traffic control and passed their version of the Reauthorization Act by a wide margin.  The Senate put their version of the bill on the calendar on May 8, and it appeared to be on an easy road to passage in June. Unfortunately, …

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National Academies of Sciences to FAA: “You’re Being Too Conservative!!”

According to a new Report from the National Academies of Sciences, the FAA’s commercial drone rules are too strict and the FAA’s zero tolerance policy towards commercial air accidents is stifling development of the industry. This report comes on the heels of recent 95-page report by the US Government Accountability Office criticizing UAS policy as being based largely on guesswork over the risks to the airspace, rather than hard facts. The GAO’s Report noted that, while the FAA has collected over 6,000 reports of UAS sightings near manned aircraft or airports. These reports are almost entirely unverified, as the pilots …

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Airplanes Helping Airplanes – Drones in the Aircraft Maintenance World

Given how few airline accidents have occurred over the past 20 years, people rarely give a second thought to whether or not the aircraft they are boarding is mechanically reliable.  If they did look into the matter, they would likely be surprised to see how much work goes into making sure the aircraft is in working order.  Maintenance of an airliner is both time and manpower intensive, and results in each aircraft being unavailable for revenue generation for an extended period of time.  As a result, any technology that can reduce either the amount of personnel or the amount of …

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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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Air Ambulances Services and Preemption

Since the enactment of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA), an issue that continues to receive close legal scrutiny is the extent to which states may regulate the activities of air ambulance services.  This issue has been the subject of numerous federal and state court decisions, U.S. DOT legal opinions, state attorneys general opinions, and was also addressed in a broader U.S. Government Accountability Office report (Air Ambulance: Effects of Industry Changes on Services are Unclear, (September 2010)).  Recently, this issue was also ruled upon in federal district court and state appeals court opinions. Although the precise contours and …

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2017: The Year of Much Ado…But Nothing!

In terms of major UAS rulemaking efforts, 2017 could best be described as “the year that wasn’t”.  While the FAA had big plans to push forward the new rules for flight over people and finalize the Interpretation of the Special Rules for Model Aircraft, neither of those initiatives saw the light of day. Now, however, it appears that the FAA is gearing up the rulemaking process for 2018.  It is reported that in a recent speech at the Singapore Airshow, FAA Acting Deputy Administrator Carl Burleson announced that the UAS remote identification regulations would be out this year. 

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GAO Questions FAA’s Methodology for Determining Shared Industry-Liability Risks for Commercial Space Launch Accidents

For the second time in 10 months, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has questioned the FAA’s calculations in determining the proper balancing of risk between the federal government and the commercial space launch industry. This risk sharing regime was initially established in the Commercial Space Launch Amendments of 1988 (section 5). Under this regime, space launch companies purchase insurance against claims by third parties and for loss or damage to federal property and personnel as a result of a launch or reentry accident, unless companies otherwise demonstrate sufficient financial responsibility to cover the same calculated damages. The amount of …

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