AVIATION / FAA issues revised regulatory analysis to new (as of a year ago) flight crew duty and rest regulation that apply to Part 121 (passenger airline) operations, and allow application to cargo-only on a voluntary opt-in basis. Meanwhile litigation to strike down new rule continues in DC Circuit.

Who is affected? Mandatory for all Part 121 certificate holders and their flight crews. Voluntary for those cargo-only operations who “opt in” with the FAA for voluntary compliance.

(December 12, 2012, Availability Of Initial Supplemental Regulatory Impact Analysis ):

This is a release of analysis by the FAA to head off a courtroom defeat of the FAA’s rule on flight crew duty and rest requirements issued a year ago. Continue reading

AVIATION / New minimum altitudes for use of autopilots for “transport category” airplanes (e.g., airliners under Part 121 carrying paying passengers).

Who is affected? Airlines, their pilots, and presumably their passengers.

(December 4, 2012, Notice of proposed rule making .)

“The FAA proposes to amend and harmonize minimum altitudes for use of autopilots for transport category airplanes. The proposed rule would enable the operational use of advanced autopilot and navigation systems by incorporating the capabilities of new and future autopilots, flight guidance systems, and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) guidance systems while protecting the continued use of legacy systems at current autopilot minimum use altitudes. The proposed rule would accomplish this through a performance-based approach, using the certified capabilities of autopilot systems as established by the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) or as approved by the [FAA] Administrator.”

AVIATION / FAA rule on updating databases used in specified avionics equipment – some must be done by maintenance department, others may be done by pilots. The point: Ensure that pilots using such specified avionics equipment have the most current and accurate data.

Who is affected? Parts 121, 129, and 135 air carriers – and their pilots and maintenance departments.

(November 29, 2012, Final rule):

“On May 1, 1996, the FAA issued regulations (61 FR 19498) categorizing pilot-performed updates of navigation databases as preventive maintenance. Pilots operating aircraft under parts 121, 129, and 135 by regulation are not permitted to perform preventive Continue reading

EMPLOYMENT & AVIATION / Where pilots sought compensation from defendant airlines under Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) based on Kansas City being “single site of employment” for them, and where such pilots were not physically located at Kansas City, held: Physical connection required to qualify for home base status.

In re Global Aviation Holdings, Inc., 2012 WL 5958491 (Bankruptcy E.D.N.Y. November 26, 2012). Free copy available here.

Who is affected? Airlines that are subject to the WARN Act – Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act announcing lay-offs of pilots and the pilots themselves.

“Plaintiffs are airline pilots who were furloughed by World after the commencement of this bankruptcy case. Plaintiffs claim that World ordered a ‘mass layoff’ without giving 60 days notice as required under the WARN Act. This claim is premised on the assumption that the Kansas City, Missouri airport (‘KMCI’), which they allege is World’s pilot base, constitutes a ‘single site of employment’ for WARN Act purposes. Continue reading