NBAA2013 News Bureau

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FAA Officials Update Operators on RVSM, ADS-B, Maintenance Initiatives

October 23, 2013

Four FAA officials came to NBAA2013 on Oct. 22 to answer operators’ questions and update them on a variety of initiatives within the agency that will affect business aviation. The popular "Meet the Regulators" session offered some good news for flight departments, which was that FAA officials are making progress on a number of efforts that will benefit business aviation.

Madison Walton, an aviation safety inspector in the FAA Flight Standards Service who is an expert on oceanic and RVSM issues, reported that the agency is moving forward with efforts to streamline RVSM approvals to reduce operators’ workloads and address the lack of standardization and clarity in the process. Walton also briefed attendees on the datalink mandate for operation on the North Atlantic tracks.

Tim Shaver, manager of the Avionics Maintenance Branch of the FAA’s Aircraft Maintenance Division, noted that a final rule on FAR Part 145 repair stations is now expected around the end of this year, and that rulemaking regarding contract maintenance programs is in internal review now. Also, Advisory Circular (AC) 120-78A, which covers electronic signatures and electronic manuals, is being revised.

Mark Valette, who works in the Air Carrier Training Systems and Voluntary Safety Programs Branch, explained what pilot training would be required as a result of the new air transport pilot certificate requirements that were mandated by Congress following the 2009 crash of a Colgan Air flight near Buffalo, NY. AC 61-138, which is expected to be available next summer, will define the upset and stall recovery instruction that pilots of aircraft weighing 40,000 pounds or more will have to undergo.

Roger Sultan, a specialist in aviation weather policy and ADS-B, explained the letters of authorization process for ADS-B operations, which involves the need to obtain local, regional and FAA headquarters approval. He estimated that AC 90-114, which defines what type of training is needed for ADS-B operations, would be updated by early next year.