The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published a long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Enhanced Consumer Protections for Charter Air Transportation” on Sept. 30, 2013, and then the federal government promptly shut down.
Earlier this year on a red-eye flight from China, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a highly intoxicated and unusually talkative German. As the sun rose and breakfast was served, the flight attendant cheerfully passed him another Guinness. He was happy. She was happy. I was not. Was the FAA?
The political math is not complicated. The U.S. government and most of the states are broke. Most people don't own aircraft. So, there won't be a populist revolt if in their quest for more revenue the IRS and counterparts at the state level target business aircraft for audits.
The market adage, “Don't try to catch the falling knife,” was born of hard experience. But in the used aircraft world, the knife seems to have finally hit the floor, and buyers are gradually emerging from the shadows of recession. There is no doubt that buyers and sellers are wary now, but are they smarter?
An Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) is a reporting program that allows employees of participating air carriers and repair station certificate holders to identify and report safety issues to management and to the FAA for resolution, without fear that the FAA will use reports accepted under the program to take legal enforcement action against them, or that companies will use such information to take disciplinary action.
Rumors of the death of aircraft finance were greatly exaggerated. Aircraft finance is still around. Like everything else in the industry, aircraft finance has grown a little older, a little wiser and much more timid about taking risks.
For U.S. operators, charging someone for a ride in the company jet is a subject thick with claims and counterclaims, ignorance and outright bad behavior. The arguments are old, but some of the consequences are new. Today, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be more likely than the FAA to punish practitioners of any "Part 134½."
For many communities, building a heliport means new business opportunities, additional revenue and a new type of transportation. For the airport director, it's one more meeting with the FAA and one more stack of paperwork. As daunting as constructing or “renovating” a defunct heliport may seem, the process is easily divided into three manageable steps.
The construction and alteration of airports is governed by 14 C.F.R. Part 157. Notifying the FAA in a timely manner is a key part of the process.
For many companies, the security provided by a private jet is as important as its utility. But what are the benchmarks for security? Since corporations can take tax deductions for security expenses, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) created a standard for a “bona fide business-oriented security concern” to measure against personal flights being written off as necessary for security.
The February 3rd crash in Boise, Idaho, that took the life of Micron Technology CEO and Chairman Steve Appleton was yet another executive/pilot accident — the list is long and keeps growing, unfortunately — that draws attention to the subject and to the risks, rewards and fundamental responsibilities of those involved. Should a corporate board of directors place limitations on the business and/or personal flying of the company's chief executive? In my opinion, the answer is, Yes — a wildly unpopular response for many entrepreneurial aircraft owner/pilots.
Should you have a security program even if the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn't require one for your operations? Of course. And most corporate flight departments have at least informal security measures that would prevent a stranger from boarding their aircraft. However, ramp access at smaller airports does not seem to have changed enough in the decade since 9/11. Punching in “6736” will still open far too many airport gates. Why is 6736 so common? It spells “OPEN” on the keypad.
In 2009, the DOT ordered CSI Aviation Services Inc. to cease and desist from acting as a broker of air charter services for the federal government. The company appealed, and on April 1, 2011, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals granted CSI's petition for review, finding that the DOT failed to justify its authority to issue the contested order.
In the litigation following the crash of Comair Flight 5191 on Aug. 27, 2006, a federal court allowed into evidence some of the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) reports prepared by the two pilots involved in the crash. Some opponents of Safety Management Systems (SMS) point to this fact as evidence that such programs should not be implemented because they create documentation that can be used against an operation after an accident.
Since 1993, the FAA has prohibited executives from reimbursing their companies for personal use of company aircraft. The genesis of this policy was a legal interpretation requested on behalf of Charles Schwab. The FAA took a very narrow view of FAR Part 91.501(b)(5), concluding that the rule was designed to allow reimbursement for business flights, and therefore personal flights were not covered.
Simply stated, the man named Charles Schwab could not write a check to Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. for a personal flight in the company airplane.
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