Aviation Stories We Have Been Following This Past Week

Here are some of the news stories we have been following this past week, July 22 – 26, 2013.  Most these were posted on Taber Law Group, P.C.’s Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter account.  Please follow us on one or more of those social media sites!

Monday, July 22, 2013

When Dreams Turn to Nightmares.

As if last week’s fire was not enough, now there are reports that a Japan Air Boeing Dreamliner had to turn around and land at Boston’s Logan Airport because of a faulty fuel pump indicator as a “precautionary measure”   http://usat.ly/12O9X6i .  To make matters worse for Boeing, AirBus is trying capitalize on Boeing’s problems with the Dreamliner saying “it’s pretty obvious that this airplane is not reliable and does not have mature systems  . . .You can keep it flying but it’s going to cost you a lot of maintenance.” http://bit.ly/131U8nQ

“And I’ll Mount The Head Right Next to my 12 Point Buck . . .”

In case you missed it last week, Deer Trail CO is considering an ordinance drafted by one of its citizens that would allow hunting unmanned flying drones within the city limits.  Of course, you would have to purchase a drone hunting license from the city.  http://bit.ly/124pws2.  Just so there is no doubt, however, the FAA issued a statement saying that people shooting at drones will be prosecuted and reminded the public that the FAA, not Deer Trail City Council, regulates the nation’s airspace, including the airspace over cities and towns and private property.  http://wapo.st/154GjZX

The Return of The Birds.

Although not precisely a story about the dangers of bird strikes, the San Jose Mercury News ran a story over the weekend about how an explosion of the sea gull population is causing problems, including increased strikes at Mineta San Jose International Airport.  http://bit.ly/1bRHAqZ  As pointed out before, this is an aviation safety issue that has not been adequately addressed by the FAA, or its partner in crime in this matter, the USDA’s Wildlife Services.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Everything Old Is New Again.

While the general public looks at the collapsed landing gear of the #Southwest #Boeing 737 at #LaGuardia ( http://reut.rs/14AqX1P ) as the latest in a string of mishaps for Boeing, let us not forget that just over two years ago #FAA mandated that Southwest inspect its older 737s for wear and tear. In addition, in 2009 Southwest was fined $7.5 million by the FAA after the agency found that Southwest operated 46 of its Boeing 737s on nearly 60,000 flights without performing mandatory inspections for fatigue cracks in their fuselages. See, e.g., http://bit.ly/gdG3IC

American Eagle’s White Christmas.

DOT announced yesterday that on Christmas Day, 2012, American Eagle had 10 flights with delays of more than 3 hours in Dallas.  Although 8 of those flights were exempt from the FAA’s tarmac delay rules, 2 flights, one from Baton Rouge and one from Sioux Falls, S.D., resulted in a $200,000 fine to the airline.  The airline and the DOT came to an agreement on the fine.  American Eagle was the first airline fined under the tarmac delay rules having been fined $900,000 for delays at O’Hare on May 29, 2011.  http://usat.ly/15dCr9e

Looming Trade War.

Lurking on the horizon is a trade war between Europe and the U.S. over greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft.  An EU delegation met with the Obama Administration to talk about an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) resolution for a market-based plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft.  If no resolution is agreed to, the EU could impose its previously passed emissions trading system on airlines, which may set off a trade war.  ICAO’s general assembly meets in Sept/Oct to consider the options.  http://reut.rs/138c3u6 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

EAA’s AirVenture In Court May Be Over? 

Politico is reporting that Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has been told that new Secretary of Transportation Foxx is considering reversing the FAA’s request for payment for air traffic controllers at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s extremely popular  AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, also known as the “Oshkosh Fly-In.”  EAA recently sued the FAA claiming that the air traffic controllers were already paid through fuel excise taxes and that the EAA should not be required to pay for a required governmental service.  “He is considering this. He’s going to look at this and maybe consider just going ahead and paying, as they should for this,” Inhofe told Politico’s Kevin Robilard.  http://politi.co/1dXusil

Boeing’s Land Purchase Scrutinized by FAA. 

FAA is looking over Boeing’s purchase of airport property from the Charleston International Airport, near where Boeing assembles its 787 Dreamliner.  Because of federal grant assurances and restrictions on use of airport revenues, sales of airport property for use by private businesses that do not benefit the airport’s operations are strictly scrutinized to ensure that all of the regulations are complied with. Apparently, there are issues with the price as well.  http://bit.ly/1434dIMhttp://bit.ly/18y9o1j

Friday, July 26, 2013

Senators Offers Aviation Amendments to Slow Moving Transportation Appropriations Bill.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) proposed a provision releasing St. Clair, MO from its grant obligations so that the financially strapped town can close the airport, which it has been trying to do for several years now.  Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) proposed an amendment that would limit Essential Air Services (EAS) funding to airports located over 90 driving miles from either a medium or large hub airport.   Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) submitted an amendment that it is the “sense of Congress” that the Department of Transportation “should continue the process of drafting regulations on the integration of unmanned aerial systems [i.e., drones] into the national airspace system.”  http://1.usa.gov/169no1v

Will Chicago’s Third Airport Finally Take Off? 

After years of wrangling as to who will control the construction and operation of an airport to be built on the far south side of Chicago near a small town called Peotone, IL, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation putting Illinois’ Department of Transportation in charge of building and managing the airport, called “South Suburban Airport” by the FAA and “Abraham Lincoln National Airport” by former Rep. Jesse Jackson.  Despite the signing of the bill, there is still many questions to be answered before the airport actually gets built and begins operations. http://cbsloc.al/167sbAy 

DOT/FAA and GAO Do Not See Eye-to-Eye on Future of Aviation Recommendations. 

On July 25, 2013, the General Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report to Congressional Requesters on the Status of DOT’s Actions to Address the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee’s Recommendations.  In that report the GAO examined 10 of the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee’s 23 recommendations to see what progress is being made on those recommendations, if any.  While the FAA believed that it had addressed 7 of the 10 recommendations, the FAAC members saw it differently.  They told the GAO that only 1 of the 10 recommendations had been addressed.

The ten recommendations examined were:  (1) Exercise strong national leadership to promote U.S. aviation as a first user of sustainable alternative fuels; (2) Establish a harmonized approach for aviation carbon dioxide emission reductions; (3) Support extending the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption for airport private activity bonds; (4) Fund accelerated Next Generation Air Transportation System equipage of aircraft; (5) Review eligibility criteria for the Airport Improvement Program and Passenger Facility Charge Program; (6) Promote the global competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry; (7) Ensure coordination and focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs; (8)Seek legal protections for safety data; (9) Support predictive analytic capabilities for safety data; (10) Review and reprioritize FAA’s rulemaking initiatives.

FAA proposes $2.75 Million Civil Penalty Against Boeing for Quality Control Violations.

Late in the afternoon on Friday, July 26, 2013, the FAA announced that it was fining Boeing $2.75 million in civil penalties for allegedly failing to maintain its quality control system on its 777 airplanes.  FAA says that Boeing failed to implement plans for taking corrective actions to remedy certain nonconforming fasteners in a timely manner.  Boeing has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.  http://1.usa.gov/1brpSNp

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