NBAA2010 Online News Bureau

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FAA, TSA Commit to Continued Partnership With Business Aviation

Atlanta, GA, October 19, 2010

The top officials of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reiterated their desire to work collaboratively with the business aviation community. In remarks made during Tuesday's Opening General Session, TSA Administrator John Pistole and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt pledged to seek industry input on pending regulations and initiatives.

Pistole, a counterterrorism expert and 26-year veteran of the FBI who assumed the top post at the TSA this past July, declared to NBAA Attendees, "I want to ensure there is a partnership [between TSA and business aviation]."

Pistole said he had hoped to unveil details of TSA's revamped Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) proposed rule during the Convention, but admitted, "we are not quite there yet." However, he said that TSA officials "took to heart" the issues that were raised in the 7,000 comments the agency received in response to the original LASP proposal, and he said he understands the need to balance security requirements with the need for business aviation operations to remain mobile, flexible and efficient.

After witnessing the diversity of general aviation (GA) on display at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture held in Oshkosh, WI this past summer, Pistole concluded, "Obviously, a one-size-fits-all [aviation security protocol] doesn't make sense," adding that the TSA plans to pursue a "tailored" solution for general aviation.

One of Pistole's priorities is to engage external stakeholders, and he wants to hear from the industry. "If you have suggestions, let us know."

Randy Babbitt, the former air carrier pilot and Air Line Pilot Association executive who has headed the FAA since June 2009, echoed Pistole's sentiments about the importance of collaboration between regulators and industry.

"I can't stress enough the need for partnership" in moving forward with the introduction of new technologies into the aviation system, said Babbitt, as he explained the benefits of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to NBAA Attendees.

Babbitt said NextGen technologies promise to offer "incredibly enhanced situational awareness," with the potential to eliminate runway incursions. He noted that the precision of new systems will help de-conflict airline airports and nearby business aviation airfields through the use of Required Navigation Performance (RNP). Combined, these new technologies will increase system-wide access and capacity while reducing delays.

The FAA administrator reported that the agency has now published 2,000 WAAS LPV departure and arrival procedures. These GPS-based navaids give some airports an instrument landing capability that they did not previously have, which is good for business airplanes that want to use these airfields.

Babbitt congratulated business aviation on its exemplary safety record, but told operators they must remain vigilant. He noted that the recently issued rule regarding commercial pilot flight and duty times was formulated to take into account the effects of cumulative fatigue and circadian rhythms on pilot performance, and he asked business aviation to remember that when establishing in-house limits, "the science of fatigue applies to everyone."

View the Opening General Session photo gallery.