Warbird Alley

Stay Informed!

Recent News Regarding Issues that Affect
the U.S. Warbird Community, Airshows,
and General Aviation:

The Most Recent News Is On Top
[Click here to jump to the bottom of the page for some useful links.]

 

 


Torrance, California Residents Harass Warbird Team Over Aircraft Noise
 

5 November 2015
A Torrance, California-based warbird flying group has become embroiled in a conflict with local residents over aircraft noise. In addition to airshow work, the Tiger Squadron flies their Nanchang CJ-6 and Yak-52 aircraft for events such as Memorial Day and Veterans' Day flyovers.

The neighborhood group, which calls itself the Southeast Torrance Neighborhood Association, has sent harassing emails and made anonymous phone calls to pilots in the middle of the night, and its members have actually threatened to escalate their actions if pilots continue to fly over their homes.

Research by the Torrance Airport Association has found that more than half of the 352 noise complaints over a 14-month period were filed by only 12 people.

Link to the Article >>


 

 


UK's CAA Announces Display Restrictions following Shoreham Air Show Crash
 

24 August 2015
The Civil Aviation Authority has announced a list of flight restrictions at future events. What follows is the actual news release:
 


The thoughts of everyone at the CAA remain with all of those affected by the tragic accident at the Shoreham Airshow on Saturday 22 August. Following the accident we immediately began an urgent review and have, today, announced a series of immediate restrictions and changes to UK civil air displays.

The CAA has announced the following:

As a precaution, on Saturday 22 August we took steps to ensure no further flights were made by Hawker Hunter aircraft - this temporary restriction remains in place.

Flying displays over land by vintage jet aircraft will be significantly restricted until further notice. They will be limited to flypasts, which means ‘high energy’ aerobatics will not be permitted.

The CAA will conduct additional risk assessments on all forthcoming civil air displays to establish if additional measures should be introduced.

We commenced a full review of civil air display safety yesterday and held an initial meeting this morning.

The safety standards that must be met by all major civil air displays in the UK are among the very highest in the world and are regularly reviewed. All air display arrangements, including the pilots and aircraft, must meet rigorous safety requirements. Individual display pilots are only granted approval following a thorough test of their abilities.

The CAA will continue to offer every assistance to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch as it seeks to establish the cause of the accident. The CAA will also act promptly in response to any emerging indications from the AAIB’s investigation.

Further details will be provided in the coming days and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure the most appropriate action is taken as a result of this review."


 

 


Huffington Post Writer Says 70th Anniversary Flybys "Celebrate Destruction"
 

14 May 2015
A contributor to the Huffington Post's online news website published a grossly misguided opinion piece that criticized this week's mass flyover of over 50 WWII bombers, fighters and trainers in Washington, DC, marking the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

The public's response was instant, vocal, and gratifying.

Link to the Article and Follow-Up Comments>>


 

 


FAA Proposes "Hangar Rule"
Seeks to Restrict Use of Airport Hangars for Flyable Aircraft Only

31 July 2014 The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking public comment for a proposed new rule that would bar hangars at airports that have accepted federal grants for being used for any other purpose than storing and maintaining flyable aircraft.

Several warbird groups have asked the FAA to extend their comment period beyond the September 5th deadline.

It is our position that the Federal Government is overreaching by imposing this type of limitation. Local or airport officials should be the bodies to legislate the use of hangars, not the Federal Government.

We urge you to submit your own comment at the link below:

Proposed Rule>>


 

 


White House Goes After Military Armament
Mentions Re-Imported Military Guns as Being a Contributor to US Gun Violence

29 August 2013 US Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Administration would seek "legislative fixes" that would bar "military-grade" weapons that had been previously donated or sold to foreign nations, then re-imported back to the USA by private individuals.

For warbird owners and operators, language like this strikes a dangerous chord, since the term "weaponry" can, and has been, interpreted by overzealous politicians to mean any weapon, device, vehicle or other equipment formerly used by military forces -- including aircraft.

This issue needs to be watched carefully

More information>>


 

 


FAA Extorts Fees from EAA
EAA pays $447,000 in Air Traffic Control fees in order to save AirVenture 2013

13 June 2013 The EAA has begrudgingly decided to pay nearly a half-million dollars in fees for Air Traffic Control services to be rendered at the annual AirVenture event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA.

More information>>


 

 


Warbird Rides Under Scrutiny
FAA Calls For Public Discussion of "Living History Flight Experience" Warbird Exemptions

22 May 2012 The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has called for a multi-day public meeting next month to address the issue of rides being given in non-Standard Category aircraft (warbirds). The FAA's current policy, called the "Living History Flight Experience (LHFE)" exemption, allows operators to sell rides in aircraft such as the B-17 and B-24 which were manufactured before 1947. In the years since the LHFE policy was enacted, operators of warbirds built after 1947 have applied for exemptions under the LHFE rules. The FAA has called for this meeting to discuss the expansion of the policy.

The public meeting will be held on June 26, 27, and 28, 2012, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the FAA Building in Washington, DC.
Due to limited space, attendees are required to please reply (RSVP) to 9-AFS-LHFE@faa.gov. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read the entire Notice in the Federal Register here.


How to Submit Your Comments on the Issue:
(Comments must be received before midnight on 18 June 2012. Please be polite, professional, and thoughtful in your comments!)

Comment Online:
     Submit comments through the regulations.gov web site.

Comment by Mail:
    
Docket Operations, M-30
     U.S. Department of Transportation
     1200 New Jersey Avenue SE.
     West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140
     Washington, DC 20590

Comment by Fax:
     (202) 493-2251
 

 


Another Regulatory Threat to Warbirds
Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) would bar DoD from providing aircraft or parts for flight purposes

18 April 2012 A proposed amendment to a House bill (H.R. 4310) would effectively stop the US Department of Defense from providing aircraft or even spare parts to civilian individuals or organizations, if those aircraft or parts are destined to be part of an airworthy aircraft. The implications for flying museums and other groups that operate vintage aircraft are enormous. The EAA / Warbirds of America, Commemorative Air Force, Collings Foundation, and other organizations are working to fight the legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Michael Turner, (R-OH).

Please contact your representatives and voice your opposition to the "Turner Amendment" to Title 10, Section 2572.

[ More information here >> ]

Update: 24 April 2012
— Intense response by the warbird community has resulted in the Turner Amendment being withdrawn. Congratulations to all the people involved in removing this issue from the table.
 

 


FCC Plans to Suspend GPS-Jamming Data Network
LightSquared would be denied the ability to establish ground network


15 February 2012 The FCC has proposed to suspend indefinitely LightSquared's authority to establish a high-speed, ground-based data network that would have interfered with the GPS service.

[ Full article here >> ]

Great news for all aviators!
 

 


United Nations Proposes "Climate Debt" Reparations (Taxes)

Use of Aviation Fuel Specifically Mentioned


12 December 2011 — The United Nations has proposed that developed countries be required to pay off a "climate debt" toward poorer nations, utilizing an "International Court of Climate Justice" to collect fees and fines paid to reimburse other nations for the "historical responsibility" we are presumed to have for "causing global warming."

[ Read more here, if you can stomach it >> ]

 

 


Jet Warbird Checkrides Delayed

FAR 61.58 requirements pushed back


20 October 2011 — When the FAA re-wrote FAR 61.58 this summer, they included the term "turbojet" in a new rule that would require yearly proficiency checkrides, without realizing that this would apply to Experimental Exhibition jet warbirds as well as the business jets for which the rule was adopted. Thanks to the tireless work of the EAA, the FAA has now relaxed the checkride requirement until October of 2012 for warbirds. There's a lot more to it, so if you fly jet warbirds, you need to completely familiarize yourself with the new regulation.

[ Full article here >> ]

 

 


A New Tax on Jets?

Obama Administration Goes After Aviation Again


19 September 2011 — Barack Obama's Administration, in an effort to trim their monumental budget deficit,  has proposed a $100-per-flight fee on privately-owned turbine-powered aircraft, a fee which would extend to jet warbirds operating in the Air Traffic Control system. Both EAA and AOPA (along with NBAA, GAMA, and other organizations) issued a letter of strong opposition to the proposal. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
 

 


September 16, 2011
The Day Air Racing Changed


16 September 2011 — We have no idea how the tragic accident at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada will affect the future of the air races. But it seems likely there will be changes. It is our hope that warbird operations around the country will not be adversely affected. We will keep this topic updated as information becomes available. 

May 2012 Update: Please see our Warbird News page, April 2012 and May 2012, for more information on some of the proposed changes at Reno.
 

 


FAA Issues Memo Restricting Warbird Airworthiness Certificates
AIR-200 Office Memo is Aimed at "Sophisticated and High-Performance" Aircraft


18 August 2011 — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) AIR-200 (Production and Airworthiness) office has issued a memo, entitled "Restrictions on the Issuance of Airworthiness Certificates for Sophisticated and High-Performance Former Military Aircraft." The memo appears to be directly targeted at certain types of warbirds -- those weighing more than 10,000 lbs and powered by turbojet engines of more than 3,000 lbs of thrust. Essentially, the memo moves the responsibility for issuing airworthiness certificates for these aircraft "higher up the chain," from local level to Washington, DC level -- despite the fact that the local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) generally have far more expertise with operational and licensing matters than do the bureaucrats in Washington, and have been successfully licensing high-performance warbirds for many years.

[ Aero-News Network article  >> ]

 

 


Class Warfare, Using Aircraft As Bait

29 June 2011 President Obama today scolded Republicans for asking for a continuation of tax advantages for business jet purchases, in a move reminiscent of his posturing in 2009 during the auto industry meltdown. Shortly after that crisis, Congress and the President actually approved a stimulus package that featured tax credits for aircraft purchases, spurring an industry uptick that resulted in increased sales and a rosier outlook for aviation in general.

Today, Obama derided Congress over these tax breaks, mentioning corporate jet aircraft owners no fewer than six times in his speech during a White House news conference, despite the fact that the elimination of the "jet tax break" would represent less than one tenth of one percent of the deficit reduction target outlined by the President.

"We're obviously very upset that our industry is being singled out for what we view as political purposes," said Pete Bunce, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

[ Details  >> ]


Editor's Note: Some might ask what this issue has to do with warbirds. Unfortunately, it has a lot to do with them. Aviation is under fire from all quarters, and all segments of it suffer when one suffers. Aircraft ownership is increasingly seen as "rich man's" activity, and as long as politicians see fit to use aviation as a tool in their class-warfare games, any airplane ownership is vulnerable. Today, business jets are under fire. Tomorrow, jet fuel taxes are raised. The next day, 100-octane Avgas taxes increase. Then, Air Traffic Control services are cut back or additional fees for them are levied.
 
It's important that we not allow politicians to define aviation as a bunch of "spoiled rich guys." That definition is a political construct that can easily be used to arouse populist opinion and a negative view of our community. We all know it's a false image, but the majority of the general public does not necessarily know it.
 
Remind them otherwise at every opportunity -- and while you're at it, remind your politicians of this fact, too.

 
UPDATE: 15 May 2012: In a baffling move, the Obama Administration actually announced a $1 billion subsidy package for corporate jets, reversing their previous stance. [Details >>]
 

 


Security and privacy for IFR operators out the window?
FAA Proposes Aircraft Owners Not be Allowed to Block ASDI Data

4 March 2011 — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed severely modifying the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) Program that allows aircraft owners/operators of aircraft to block public access to their real-time position, altitude, airspeed, destination, ETA, and registration information while they are operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). This would mean that aircraft, from business jets to small privately-owned planes, would be able to be tracked by anyone, for any reason, unless there is a "valid security concern," which they define in very narrow terms.  [ Read the Details  >> ]

How to Submit Your Comments on the Proposed Legislation:

(Comments to Docket FAA-2011-0183 must be received on or before April 4, 2011. Comments must clearly identify the docket number.)

Comment Online:
     Submit comments through the regulations.gov web site.

Comment by Mail:
     Docket Management Facility
     US Department of Transportation
     1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE (Room W12-140)
     Washington, DC 20590

Comment by Fax:
     (202) 493-2251
 

 


Higher jet fuel taxes coming?

Senate proposes $0.14 per gallon increase to pay for ATC modernization

5 February 2011 — The Senate Finance Committee released a proposal that would increase the tax on General Aviation jet fuel from 21.9 cents to 35.9 cents per gallon. The funds would go toward updating the nation's Air Traffic Control system, including the proposed NextGen system. Airline fuel would be exempt from the new tax.   

[ Read the Details  >> ]
 

 


FCC Approves GPS-jamming transmitters

Federal Communications Commission gives the green light to 40,000 broadband transmitters that would cripple GPS navigation.

26 January 2011 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a company called LightSquared Communications to install up to 40,000 high-powered, land-based broadband transmitters that would have a disastrous effect upon aviation GPS receivers such as the popular Garmin GNS 430W. In testing, the receivers began to be jammed at 13.8 miles from each transmitter site, and navigation was effectively shut down at 5.6 miles from each site. The approval was moved rapidly through the approval process, and the approval was made despite industry representatives' pleas to evaluate the transmitters further.

[ Read the Full Article  >> ]

More information, including contact numbers for the lawmakers who are involved in the approval process can be found here: GPS Community Urged to Contact Congress.

  
The FCC's Chief of the International Bureau, Mindel De La Torre, was not swayed by the protests of the GPS manufacturers; perhaps she would be influenced by a whole bunch of respectful, concerned citizens who wrote to her at Mindel.DeLaTorre@fcc.gov, or called her office at 202-418-0437.

======================

UPDATE, 31 March 2011 The FCC will release the results of a GPS interference study on 15 June 2011. After a huge industry uproar, the Agency has promised the the proposed broadband network will not proceed until all concerned parties are satisfied that interference issues have been resolved. We will continue to monitor this situation closely. 

In the mean time, you can also read more about this issue at the Coalition to Save Our GPS website.

======================

UPDATE, 15 February 2012 The FCC has proposed to suspend indefinitely LightSquared's authority to establish a high-speed, ground-based data network that would have interfered with the GPS service.

[ Full Article Here >> ]

Great news for all aviators!
 

 


Atlantic Monthly Goes Over the Top

Magazine
publishes scathing article: "Private Planes, Public Menace"

January 2011 Atlantic Monthly magazine published an article by Jeffrey Goldberg entitled, "Private Planes, Public Menace," in which he describes a flight on a friend's chartered jet from Teterboro, New Jersey to Washington, DC. The author, obviously an aviation-outsider, discusses what he sees as an apparent lack of security, and how easy it would have been for him to to take over the plane and crash it wherever he wanted.

Articles like this are further evidence that we need to continue educating journalists, publishers and lawmakers about the nature of General Aviation. Judging by the huge response (and dozens of reprints of the article on numerous blogs and news websites), interest in this topic is high. However, without some context, the topic of General Aviation security will be legislated by these same kinds of outsiders -- leading to oppressive knee-jerk reactions to non-problems.    

[ Read the Article  >> ]
 

 


More Creeping Bureaucracy

FAA Plans to Require New "Photo Certificates" at Considerable Expense to Airmen, For No Clear Benefit

2 January 2011 — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), FAA-2010-1127, which would "require a person to carry a pilot certificate with photo to exercise the privileges of the pilot certificate. This proposal responds to section 4022 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA)... Additionally, because of the new photo requirements, this proposal modifies the application process and the fee structure for pilot certificates."

Some of the provisions of the proposed rule include:

  • A $50 fee for all new certificates and $25 for all replacements.

  • Testing center fees of up to $42.50 would be required.

  • The applicant pays for the photo (approximately $8).

  • The applicant must, of course, travel to the testing center (FAA's estimate is 50 miles or $29.25)

  • The applicant's time to accomplish the steps is valued by the government at $80.60.

...for a total estimated expense of $210.35, every time a pilot certificate or flight instructor certificate is issued.

Pilot groups across the nation have begun to realize that not only is this NPRM an expensive boondoggle (with most of the direct cost shouldered by the certificate holder), but photo IDs appear to serve no logical purpose. Airmen are almost never asked to display or produce their pilot's certificates. When they do visit their Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or other sensitive security area, they can easily display a driver's license or other government-issued ID as a verification of their identity. Professional pilots almost always have secondary company IDs.

Despite the fact that the FAA claims this NPRM is "not an economically-significant regulatory action," they acknowledge that the direct cost to certificate holders would be $445.8 million over a 20-year period. That's nearly a half-billion dollars out of pilots' wallets, for no apparent benefit, other than fattening the already bloated US government.

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS TO THE FAA:

The public comment period for this NPRM will close on 17 February 2011.

Web: To read the entire NPRM and make your voice heard, go to the Federal Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2010-1127-0001 and follow the instructions.

Mail: You can also send your comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001

Fax: 202-493-2251


[ Read more information at Aero-News Network  >> ]
 

 


FAA Order 8130.2G

Latest proposed version of FAA Order has implications for warbird owners/operators

Fall 2010 — Warbird owners and operators should take the time to get familiar with a new FAA Technical Order which is scheduled to go into effect on April 16, 2011. It's called Order 8130.2G, "Airworthiness Certification of Aircraft and Related Products," and it touches on numerous aspects of warbird ownership, including licensing, the size of exterior markings, limitations on the operation of ejection-seat equipped airplanes, and many, many other topics. Warbird advocacy groups, restoration shops, museums, and aircraft owners are evaluating the Order to see how it will effect the sale, restoration, licensing, and operation of experimental aircraft of all kinds.    

[ Download Order 8130.2G  >> ] (.PDF format, 318 pages)
 

 


EASA Proposes Regulations Effectively Nullifying U.S. Pilot Certificates
European Pilots Who Earned Licenses And Ratings in The U.S. Would Be Required To Obtain European Licenses

6 October 2010 In a move termed "disastrous" by the International Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association (IAOPA), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has proposed rules which will make it impossible for European citizens to fly in Europe on American licenses, render worthless the FAA Instrument Rating and, IAOPA says, blow the bottom out of the market in N-registered aircraft. If they are adopted, the plans will force thousands of pilots to undertake new training courses costing millions of euros and further damage the already-depressed used aircraft market with no real benefit to safety.

The advocacy organization says the plans fly in the face of every assurance given by EASA's principals that while they wanted European pilots to fly on European registers, they would properly address the reasons why they did not. EASA's Executive Director Patrick Goudou promised in 2005: "We will ensure there are no special advantages to being on the N-register." He has not kept his side of the bargain. Few of the compelling reasons why European pilots are driven into the arms of the FAA have been addressed, and those that have been looked at have been skimmed over in a desultory and unsatisfactory way.

EASA's claimed motivation for changes to the N-register is safety, but IAOPA says there has never been any evidence, or even any credible claim, that the N-register is unsafe. With this move, IAOPA says, EASA has gone far beyond its safety remit and stepped completely into the realms of political protectionism.
[ Read the Whole Article  >> ]

[Reprinted courtesy of Aero-News Network.]

 


Costly California Bill Would Make Independent Instructors Follow Part 141 Rules
Hefty Fees And Annual Renewals Would Come With The Legislation

June 2010 — The California Legislature reauthorized a state Post-Secondary Bureau last year that monitors the quality of post-secondary institutions and protects students from losing pre-paid tuition to a school that closes down. Flight training facilities had been exempted, but as part of the re-authorization of the Bureau (Assembly Bill 48; AB48), the exemption was tentatively removed.

With the exemption lifted, all flight training facilities, from full-fledged Part 141 flight schools to independent instructors, must be certified and operate as though they are a post-secondary institution such as a college or technical school. The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) contends that AB48 was designed to regulate private colleges and technical schools, not the disparate world of flight instruction which varies widely and whose curriculum is already regulated by the FAA.

The NATA says that the rules would affect independent and small flight schools as the cost and infrastructure requirements are quite involved. It would likely force instructors to either leave the profession or try to join a large flight school to avoid the start-up and maintenance costs, and administrative hassles. Small FBOs that offer instruction would also face a hard decision about whether to continue to offer instruction.

If an independent instructor were to want to continue instructing under the new rules they would be subject to additional qualifications for flight instructors before they could teach in California even though they are certified by the FAA. In addition, all instructors would be subject to academic reviews that are designed for colleges and universities.

Along with the annual academic reviews, periodic fees would be assessed on each flight instructor including $2.50 per $1000 which would go toward a state fund that would pay claims to students whose CFI "disappears" with their money. Each instructor would be charged an initial application fee of $5,000 and a $3,500 renewal fee every three years. If the instructor has a second location an additional fee of $1,000 would be assessed. Finally, they would be required to pay an operation fee of three-quarters of a percent of the CFI's income (not to exceed $2,5000 annually).

Public comment on this change closes 7 June 2010.

For more information:
www.leginfo.ca.gov
and
www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3478/ItemId/12448/Default.aspx

[Re-printed courtesy Aero-News.net]

 


GA Braces for Reactions Following Suicide Flight in Texas
STRATFOR publishes article pondering the consequences

18 February 2010
Upon learning that Joseph Stack flew his Piper Dakota into the side of a government office building in Austin, Texas, the nation's pilots, aircraft owners and General Aviation businesses collectively cringed, fearing what regulations and governmental reactions might come next. STRATFOR, the Global Strategy and Intelligence Report, has published an article entitled "General Aviation: A Reminder of Vulnerability" that outlines the possible consequences of this incident. In our opinion, it's a thought-provoking and fair article about this very sensitive issue.  [ Read the Article >> ]
 

 


Foundations and Charities Under Fire
How Changes Could Affect Warbird Organizations

10 February 2010
It's not always initially obvious how regulation changes will affect the warbird community and General Aviation. Here's an example of some threats that are subtle, but could eliminate or change the very Cockpit of the CAF's B-24, Diamond Lil'.nature of the organizations affected. These particular threats come from sources as diverse as the Federal government, the IRS, state governments and sometimes even the charitable sector itself. We present this article as an education to anyone who cares about warbirds and General Aviation.

As many people know, many warbird aircraft collections and museums in the USA are actually set up as educational and charitable foundations. This structure allows for the legal protection of an aircraft collection, as well as allowing certain financial and tax benefits that help to keep the collection flying. Without this structure, many collections would simply vanish, as their owners would not be able to own and operate them while carrying the full burdens imposed by our nation's tax laws and liability regulations.

Visitors and benefactors support these organizations with donations and funding. Their generosity is often what keeps warbirds flying. America is by far the most charitable country in the world, with yearly donations to charity topping $300 billion, twice what we spend on consumer electronic equipment (iPods, cell phones, DVD players, TVs, etc.), three times the amount we spend on gambling, and ten times the amount we spend on professional sports. There is no other country that comes close.

But this freedom to give is now under serious threat. You can read about it in the following article, entitled "The Generosity of America," by Adam Meyerson.

[ Read entire article >> (.pdf format)

Sections of this article were excerpted from "The Generosity of America," by Adam Meyerson, President of The Philanthropy Roundtable, and reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.
 

 


TSA Pledges Changes to LASP
Will work with GA on a more reasonable approach to GA security

5 February 2010
Based largely on the negative response from the general aviation community, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) signaled major changes to the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), in an interview that aired Friday on National Public Radio. TSA also publicly acknowledged its intent to work with GA stakeholders to come up with a more reasonable approach to GA security through the formation of a General Aviation Working Group under the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, on which EAA has been invited to participate. [ Read more >> ]

[News reprinted courtesy EAA.]
 


 


Aviation Attorney says 'TSA Still A Substantial Threat to General Aviation'

30 December 2009
Noted aviation attorney Alan Armstrong recently wrote an article in which he shows evidence of the perils still facing GA by the Transportation Security Agency. The article illustrates many of the ways the TSA's actions continue to seriously threaten to our aviation freedoms, and warns of their plans to implement even more.
 
  Link: [ TSA Still A Threat ]
  Link: [ Alan Armstrong's "Resources for the Public" page. ]
  Link: [ TSA Testimony on General Aviation Status ] 
  


 


New NPRM Would Affect Maintenance Facilities

18 November 2009 The TSA/DHS has released a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would create security procedures for repair stations (Docket No. TSA-2004-17131, Aircraft Repair Station Security)


From the text of the NPRM:

"TSA is proposing to issue regulations to provide for the security of maintenance and repair work conducted on aircraft and aircraft components at domestic and foreign repair stations, of the aircraft and aircraft components located at these repair stations, and of ... repair station facilities.

For purposes of this rulemaking, “repair stations” are those facilities certificated by the FAA to perform maintenance, repair, overhaul, or alterations on U.S. aircraft or aircraft components, including engines, hydraulics, avionics, safety equipment, airframes, and interiors. According to the FAA, there are 4,227 domestic repair stations located in the United States and 694 foreign repair stations located outside the United States that have an FAA certificate under part 145 of the FAA’s rules."

This NPRM has the potential to drastically affect the operation of thousands of smaller maintenance and repair facilities across the nation. Under the new regulations, the TSA could essentially enact any kind of security measures it deems necessary at the nation's maintenance shops, causing financial, operational and logistical burdens that would be far beyond many businesses' ability to cope.

In other words, maintenance shops located on even the smallest of rural airports might be required to have security procedures similar to large international airports for all employees and visitors. Every package, inbound or outbound, might be required to be tracked and x-rayed. All employees could be subject to searches and background checks. All work performed might be subject to inspection by TSA employees. Security issues could result in immediate revocation of a shop's operating certificate. The list goes on and on. Use your imagination.

A public comment period of 90 days has been established. [NOTE: the comment period has been extended to 19 February 2010.] 

Read the text of the NPRM here. (.pdf format)

Add your comments on the NPRM here: Regulations.gov.
Be sure to enter the docket number, TSA-2004-17131.

(See other submitted comments here.)

.


 


NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) threatens operators of classic jets

November 2009 NPRM 91.58, issued by the FAA, is intended to improve safety in the VLJ (Very Light Jet) community. Unfortunately, it would also adversely affect Experimental Exhibition Jets (EEJs), otherwise known as jet warbirds.

 

Among other things, the new rule would lump all jet warbirds in with VLJs for pilot-currency issues (including requiring annual proficiency checkrides), costing owners and operators perhaps tens of thousands of dollars per year in checkride expenses for each type they fly. It would also void jet many aircraft's Operating Letters, and it proposes safety guidelines that only apply to VLJ operations.

 

The full text of the NPRM is available here: NPRM 91.58 (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file)

 

The Classic Jet Aircraft Association (CJAA) has written a document to help you formulate a useful and intelligent response to the FAA regarding this NPRM. Please download it and read it.

 

HOW TO COMMENT: The comment period has been extended due to the level of response! For the time being, you can still file comments online by clicking here. Do it now!

 

Need some help developing your comments? You can read other people's comments here.

 

Please don't let this opportunity pass. It is vitally important that EEJ operators not be subject to the same rules as VLJ operators. They are two VERY different types of aircraft, and the pilot requirements are vastly different. 

 

.

 

 


New Homeland Security Bill addresses LASP
[Excerpted from an AOPA news release.]


24 June 2009 A committee report accompanying a new House bill (H.R. 2892) addresses several issues relevant to general aviation pilots, including the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP). In the report, lawmakers urged the TSA to minimize adverse affects on General Aviation and to carefully examine LASP's financial burdens on aircraft operators and airports. Similar language is reported to be in the Senate version of the bill.


  Link: [ AOPA News Release ]

.

 

 

 
General aviation presents limited security threat, IG finds
[Reprinted from GovernmentExecutive.com]

17 June 2009 The Homeland Security Department's inspector general said Wednesday the national security threat posed by general aviation is "limited and mostly hypothetical."

General aviation accounts for 77 percent of all domestic flights and includes air cargo transport, emergency medical flight operations, flight school training, and corporate and private aviation.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, asked the IG to investigate after a Houston television station alleged "security breaches" occurred at three local airports when reporters were able to approach airfields or aircraft without identifying themselves.

In a direct reference to the television report, titled, "Is Houston a Sitting Duck for Terrorism?" the watchdog's report contains a section titled "Houston Is Not a 'Sitting Duck for Terrorism.' "

"We reviewed the allegations and determined that they were not compelling," wrote Homeland Security IG Richard Skinner. Reporters were unaware of some passive security and monitoring measures the airports had taken, such as 24-hour video surveillance, locked or disabled planes, and controlled fuel access.

Guidelines and alerts the Transportation Security Administration issued, "coupled with voluntary measures taken by owners and operators of aircraft and facilities, provide baseline security for aircraft based at general aviation sites," Skinner wrote.

Besides the three Houston-area airports approached by the television reporters, the IG's staff visited a number of large and small, public and privately owned general aviation facilities in metropolitan areas where people could be at risk in the event of a terrorist attack launched from the airports.

The IG noted TSA has tailored its security strategy to the range of airfield environments and classes of aircraft and operators, rather than introducing overly broad regulations that are costly to implement. The agency also analyzes credible intelligence information to prioritize existing threats and identify practical, targeted measures to reduce risks in the aviation sector.

"Although [TSA's Office of Intelligence] has identified potential threats, it has concluded that most [general aviation] aircraft are too light to inflict significant damage, and has not identified specific imminent threats from [general aviation] aircraft," the IG stated.

"Significant regulation of the industry would require considerable federal funding," Skinner added.

The watchdog did not make any recommendations to TSA, and agency officials did not submit formal comments in response to the report.

"The current status of [general aviation] operations does not present a serious homeland security vulnerability requiring TSA to increase regulatory oversight of the industry," the IG concluded.


.

 


List of Affected Airports Released


9 June 2009 The EAA has released a list of 454 airports in the USA and its territories affected by the TSA's new Security Directive SD-8, effective 1 Jun 2009. (This list may or may not be all-inclusive, since the exact text of the directive is still secret).


  Link: [ List of affected airports ]

.

 


Congress Passes Amendment Limiting TSA

4 June 2009 An Amendment to the TSA Authorization Act, sponsored by U.S. Congressmen Mica (Florida), Graves (Missouri), Ehlers (Michigan), and Petri (Wisconsin) has passed 219-211. The Amendment will limit the time period in which the TSA may implement emergency security procedures (180 days). After this time, the TSA must comply with provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.

This means changes to security measures would have to undergo the same public scrutiny as other legislation. This legislation is a big win for General Aviation, and our thanks go out to the sponsoring Congressmen.  

 


TSA Relaxes Security Directive

29 May 2009 The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has released a modified version of its recent security directive that would have severely limited the ability of transient pilots and their passengers to access the parking areas of airports with commercial air service. The new directive (SD-8G) appears to allow transient pilots and passengers at these airports to access their aircraft without a background check and security badge. Based pilots might still be required to obtain the badges. The list of airports that would be affected by the new directive is still secret, (two days before the implementation date), and the text of the directive itself is still secret. 

  [AOPA Press Release here.]
  [Visit StopLASP.com for more details and commentary.]

 


Warbird Impounded
EAA Warbirds of America Offers Assistance

15 May 2009 — The Department of Homeland Security recently notified a pilot, an EAA Warbirds of America (WoA) member and owner of a Douglas AD-4N Skyraider, that it intended to confiscate his recently imported aircraft. The Department alleges that necessary forms were improperly filed. Last week federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized and threatened to destroy this rare piece of our nation’s aviation heritage. The airplane remains in a secured hangar at the member’s home airport. 

In 2008, after a trans-Atlantic flight, this aircraft cleared customs and proceeded to its new home base in Bessemer, Alabama. Last September, the FAA inspected the aircraft and issued the Skyraider its new Experimental and Exhibition operating certificate and U.S. registration number.

The member has retained legal counsel, solicited the assistance of EAA member and WOA board member Congressman Sam Graves, and has been in contact with WoA President Rick Siegfried.

EAA and Siegfried are staying apprised of the situation. As this AD-4D Skyraider owner requests or is in need of additional assistance, EAA stands ready. Updates will follow.

For specific details regarding this aircraft please visit www.savetheskyraider.com.

[News reprinted courtesy EAA.]
 

 

A Plea for Action:
6 March 2009

Whether you are a pilot, aircraft owner, serious airplane enthusiast, or just someone who occasionally likes watching airplanes, you need to be aware of an astonishing new development from the United States' Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If you thought the recent Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) issues were huge, you haven't heard anything yet.

As reported recently by several major aviation news outlets, it seems that the DHS/TSA have plans that could potentially cripple recreational aviation (General Aviation) in the United States with a series of new policies that are apparently supposed to be implemented very soon! These policies, should they be allowed to happen, would require all aircraft, regardless of size/weight, to comply with drastic new security measures when operating at airports served by scheduled air service (airlines).

Pilots and passengers not based at the airport (and therefore not possessing an airport-specific badge) would have to be escorted across the ramp by security personnel. Transient pilots who happen to leave their airplane unescorted, for any reason, would be in violation of Federal Law and subject to huge fines. Pilots who fly at more than one airport would have to pay for badges and personal background checks at each of the airports they ever plan to visit. The background checks would be paid for by the pilot. If the pilot does not pass the background check for whatever reason, that might be the end of his/her flying days. Expensive security screening for everyone entering the airport would become the norm.

Say goodbye to hundreds of public aviation events that are held at larger airports. Say goodbye to the tens of thousands of pilots and aircraft owners who will simply quit flying rather than deal with the new expenses and hassles. Say farewell to the hundreds of aviation-related businesses and services that will likely fail as a result.

Are you getting nauseous yet? There's more, but we really don't know many details, because the DHS/TSA have kept the 14-page document secret thus far, and have not released any firm guidance or answers to questions posed by irate pilots attending their informational "road-shows" around the country.

The security of our commercial aviation system is clearly important, but this kind of un-thinking affront to our our Constitutional rights cannot be left alone, or met with apathy. It IS happening, right under our noses, and it will be finalized soon unless we immediately contact our lawmakers and express our displeasure. This is not a drill. We must take aggressive action NOW. This disease will quickly spread to every other aspect of aviation if we allow it to happen.

Here's what to do:

(1). Immediately: Call, email, or fax your elected representatives, and politely but firmly advise them that the DHC/TSA's secret, 14-page Security Directive SD 1542-04-08FT has the potential to destroy a vast segment of aviation, one that is important to our nation's economic well-being. Without being technical, tell them how it will affect you, personally. Tell them you feel the directive is being rushed into effect without a proper public comment period. Politicians answer to, and serve, you and me. Don't you forget it.
[Contact Your Senators]  [Contact Your Representatives]

(2). Listen to the archived broadcast of the 12 March 2009 edition of the 25 Zulu show on Gold Seal Live, the aviation talk show on the internet. Get familiar with the details of the issue.

(3). Voice your opinions: If you are a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), contact them and voice your opinion. If you're an EAA member, and you have information about any recent revisions in the security policies at your airport, send EAA an email and tell them about it. They need to know. You are their eyes and ears.

Please participate. Don't just assume everyone else will call or e-mail about this matter. This is not just another minor issue. This is vitally important to the future of warbirds and all of General Aviation.

Thanks for your time.


[More information: Aero-News report]

 


Please send us any aviation-related news involving TSA, DHS,
and/or other government agencies. We'd like to disseminate them here,
and to other interested groups.


 

How to Contact your
U.S. Senators and Representatives:


Contacting the Congress
(A very current database of contact information):
 

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
 
 

Write your Senator:
 

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
 

Write your Representatives:
 

https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
 

 

Organizations:

EAA Warbirds of America: http://www.warbirds-eaa.org/
AOPA: http://www.aopa.org/
CAF (Commemorative Air Force) http://www.commemorativeairforce.org/
 
Stop LASP
(Large Aircraft Security Program)
http://www.stoplasp.com




 

 

 


[ Back to Warbird Alley's Main Page ]
 

© 2017 The Doublestar Group
All Rights Reserved