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James E. Swickard james_swickard@aviationweek.com

James E. Swickard james_swickard@aviationweek.com
GAMA, AOPA Air Concerns on Raising Airllne Copilot Licencing Requirements 

Industry organizations are raising concerns about a new FAA Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) on improving commercial pilot performance, an issue raised by the Colgan Air DHC-8 accident on Feb. 12, 2009, near Buffalo, N.Y. Changing the requirements for the core commercial license could have significant impact on the entire industry, from aerial applications to ad hoc charter operations.

ARGUS Data Shows March Bizav Activity Slightly Up 

Just-released traffic data from the Aviation Research Group/US (Argus) indicates business aircraft activity in March was up 12.9% over the previous month, but a company official says charter actually declined slightly. Reviewing individual market segments, Argus reports Part 91 small cabin aircraft activity increased 20.1%, Part91K turboprop was up 16.3%, with the small-cabin aircraft category having the best overall showing at 16.6 % above February.

FlightAware Notes March Traffic Surge Across the Board 

General aviation flight activity increased by 22.5% in March 2010 compared to February 2010, and increased by 6.6% in March 2010 compared to March 2009, according to FlightAware’s proprietary flight tracking database.

Last-Minute Court Action Keeps Epic Auction in Play 

Late yesterday afternoon, a Portland, Ore., judge gave an association of seven owners of Epic kit-built airplanes, several of which are locked up in the Epic facility in various stages of completion, another chance to present their case for purchasing the assets of bankrupt Epic Air. The assets of the Bend, Ore., plane maker were assumed to be sold to Chinese company, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd. (AVIC) on Friday for $4.3 million by the bankruptcy judge. However, the airplane owners persevered and got yesterday’s hearing.

TSA General Aviation Manager: New LASP Target This Fall, Calls for Partnership 

The Transportation Security Administration’s revised Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) has been passed from TSA to the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), beginning the vetting process prior to being published as an NPRM, possibly this fall, says Brian Delauter, TSA’s general manager for general aviation.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Senate; FAA Bill Bloats, House Balks 

The House is expected today to consider another three-month extension to the FAA’s operating authority, which expires March 31, reports Aviation Week’s Adrian Schofield. The move is expected to allow more time for the Senate to clean up and pass its FAA reauthorization bill, which has become so bloated with amendments -- many having nothing to do with aviation -- that it would likely tie up the Senate for at least the rest of the week.

John L. Baker, Transformational AOPA Leader, Dies 

John Lee Baker, AOPA’s president from 1977 through 1990, and only the second person in that position, passed away early yesterday at his home in Angier, N.C. Baker, a Nebraska native and the son of a pilot, served as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in the Korean War, and then earned a law degree from Creighton University. He served on the staff of Sen. Roman Hruska (R-Neb.), and then was appointed assistant administrator in the FAA’s office of general aviation affairs.

NTSB Meets on Safety of Glass Cockpits in Small Aircraft 

A new National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) internal study shows that the overall accident rate for “glass cockpits” in small general aviation aircraft was lower than that of conventionally equipped aircraft, but the rate of accidents with fatal outcomes was higher.

Effects of BARR Tail Number Court Decision Ripple Through Industry 

Operators in NBAA’s Northeast region are “extremely concerned” about a court decision to make previously confidential tail-numbers, which were previously sequestered by FAA under the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, available through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the organization’s regional representative told Aviation Week this morning.

ACSS First to Certify ‘Change 7.1’ to TSO C119c TCAS Software – Clarifying and Simplifying Commands 

Aviation Communications & Surveillance Systems (ACSS), a joint venture of L-3 Communications and Thales, is the first manufacturer to certify Change 7.1 software for its TCAS 2000 and legacy TCAS II equipment installed on more than 10,000 airline, government and general aviation aircraft.

New Prestwick Center Completes U.K. ‘Twin Air Traffic Centre Strategy’ 

The newest and largest Air Traffic Control Center in Europe has been phasing in control since Jan. 5, and went operational when the controllers at Manchester Center handled the final aircraft from their old operations room before handing off control to their colleagues in Prestwick Scotland at 3 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13., “two-and-a half years ahead of schedule, under budget, on time, working smoothly,” according to Pauline Lamb, Prestwick’s general manager. “. . . the airlines didn’t [even] notice it happening.

January Bizav Activity Up, Says ARGUS 

Year-over-year business turbine aircraft activity was up 5.3 percent overall, with the Part 91 operational market segment having the strongest increase at 8.6 percent, according to Aviation Research Group/US’s January 2010 TRAQPak activity level report released yesterday. This word came as GAMA Chairman Rob Wilson, in his state of the industry address in Washington, reported that flight activity overall for 2009 was down 20-30 percent from 2008.

GAMA 2009 Billings, Shipments Down Across the Board 

Worldwide general aviation deliveries and billings were down across every segment in 2009 versus 2008’s figures, reported Rob Wilson, president of Honeywell’s Business and General Aviation sector and chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today.

Radio Host Don Imus Says Goodbye NetJets, Hello CitationAir 

Greenwich, Conn.-based CitationAir yesterday announced that it has signed on as the exclusive private aviation sponsor of the “Imus in the Morning” nationally syndicated morning radio talk show, beginning this month. The show is also simulcast on the Fox Business cable/satellite network from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

With User Fees Off Table, GA Leaders Hopeful for FAA Reauthorization 

The threat of aviation user fees seems to be dead “at least for this term of Congress,” and National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen is hopeful that FAA’s reauthorization bill could advance within the next “four to eight weeks.” That the Obama Administration’s 2011 budget proposal contained no mention of user fees to help fund the FAA was a “milestone” event, Bolen said.

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