A site devoted to aviation law, safety and security.
April 29, 2004
Cape Town Treaty Moving Towards Approval
The U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee approved H.R.
, moving one step closer to approval and ratification of the Cape Town Convention and the Protocol on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment
(Cape Town Treaty).
In order to implement the Cape Town Treaty, the bill would designate the FAA Civil Aviation Registry as the entry point for
authorizing filings relating to U.S. civil aircraft and aircraft engines to the new International Registry. It would also amend
Chapter 441 of Title 49, United States Code by adding references to the Treaty and making changes to registration eligibility to
reflect provisions of the Treaty.
The bill would authorize the necessary processes for registering, deregistering, and protecting interests for when the Treaty
becomes effective and would clarify that the Treaty's provisions would pre-empt inconsistent FAA regulations during the rulemaking
In addition to the United States, the Cape Town Treaty was signed by 28 other nations. Ratification of the Treaty by the U.S.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected within a month.
Posted by Greg
April 27, 2004
Obtaining A TSA Fleet Waiver For International Flight Operations
Part 91 operators seeking a TSA Fleet Waiver to FDC NOTAM 2/5319
have new application guidance. 2/5319 governs all IFR and VFR International Part 91 flights to or from the U.S. If an operator
wants to fly to or from the U.S. using different procedures than described in 2/5319, then the operator must obtain a TSA Fleet
To be eligible for a TSA Fleet Waiver, an applicant must complete a minimum of three single trip waiver flights without incident.
Additionally, applying operators must show a cumulative average of three international flights a month to qualify. International
Waiver Applications should be submitted to the TSA Office of Special Events via facsimile at: Primary Fax: (571) 227-1945 or
Secondary Fax: (571) 227-2948. To ensure adequate processing time, you should submit your waiver at least five (5) days before
your departure date.
Posted by Greg
April 26, 2004
The Department of Labor Maintains Its Postion Regarding Non-Exempt Status of Pilots
The April 23, 2004 issue of the Federal Register contained the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new final federal
under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) implementing the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for
executives, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees. The DOL decided not to apply the "professional"
exemption from overtime pay to pilots who are not otherwise exempt.
Under S13(b)(3) of the FLSA, most pilots including airline pilots are exempt from the FLSA overtime requirement including "any
employee of a carrier by air subject to the provisions of the Title II of the Railway Labor Act." However, the exempt status
of other pilots, such as corporate jet and helicopter pilots, are determined under S13 (a)(1) of the FLSA.
The DOL has taken the position that pilots are not exempt professionals. However, several recent court decisions have ruled to the
contrary, holding that pilots are exempt professionals. As a result of the conflict in the courts, and the lack of uniformity on
the standard educational requirements for the various pilot employment positions, the DOL decided not to modify its position on
pilots at this time. The DOL is keeping its "non-enforcement policy" that has been in place for several years for pilots engaged
in certain flying activities.
Posted by Greg
April 23, 2004
TSA Inspector General Reports That Airport Screeners Perform Poorly
A recent AP article
in the April 22, 2004
edition of the Duluth News Tribune discusses a report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General regarding the
performance of airport screeners. When asked to compare the quality of work between privately contracted and federally employed
screeners, the IG stated that they both "performed about the same, which is to say, equally poorly." Imagine that!
Although the specific results of the inspector general's report were classified, apparetnly the report showed that passenger
screening is no better than it was 17 years ago: Screeners didn't detect 20 percent of the dangerous objects that undercover
agents carried through checkpoints. The report also portrayed the TSA as an "unresponsive inflexible bureaucracy". Big
This report confirms my belief that all of the "enhanced" security checkpoints and procedures are simply window dressing. Despite
the added hassle and inconvenience the public has been
told to tolerate in the name of aviation security, flying with the scheduled airlines is really not much, if any, safer than it
was before. Unfortunately, it appears that passenger profiling and the El Al method of passenger screening are probably what it
takes to truly enhance aviation security. But I leave that discussion for another day.
Posted by Greg
April 21, 2004
Federal Air Marshal Leaves Weapon In Bathroom At Cleveland Airport
The April 19, 2004 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology contained an AP report that a federal air marshal had "accidnetally"
left her gun in the restroom at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Apparently she placed the weapon on a shelf while
she was washing her hands. She then "forgot" about the weapon and left the restroom. Although the air marshal returned for the
weapon a few minutes later, a passenger had already discovered the weapon and reported it to an airline employee who then notified
It is hard for me to understand how the simple act of washing your hands would require that a concealed weapon be removed and
placed in open view in a restroom, let alone forgotten. The AP report indicated that this particular air marshal will probably be
suspended. Seems like minimal discipline for a lapse in judgment that could have resulted in a tragedy if the weapon was
discovered by a child or someone who decided to use the weapon to harm others. The restroom was beyond the security checkpoints
and someone could have easily taken the weapon on a flight. This makes me seriously question the "caliber" of people supposedly
working to secure the airport and aircraft environments. Where there is one, there is likely more.
This also ranks right up there with the TSA security screeners who thought it would be interesting to run themselves through the
x-ray scanners to see x-rays of their brains. These screeners apparently received "additional training" as a corrective measure
for their impromptu medical procedure. However, their TSA supervisor stated that "at no time was aviation security compromised".
I beg to differ. Just having individuals like that employed in those positions compromises security. Knowing that these types of
individuals are responsible for aviation security installs a lot of confidence. Not!
Personally, I will stick to general aviation transportation any chance I get. By avoiding the "aviation safety" associated with
flying the airlines, I feel safer already.
Posted by Greg
April 17, 2004
FAA Agrees To Hold Public Meetings On Charity/Sightseeing NPRM
Yesterday, three days before the deadline for submitting comments, the FAA announced that it will hold public meetings on the
. Two meetings will be held:
One in Washington D.C. on May 11, 2004 at the Holiday Inn on the Hill, 415 New Jersey Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. and the
other on May 21, 2004 in Las Vegas, NV at the Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, Nevada
89155. The comment period will also be extended to June 18, 2004.
Comments to the rule may be submitted via the internet by going here
entering the NPRM docket number (FAA-1998-4521). You must then click on the comments/submissions button. You may also submit
comments via U.S.Mail to: Document Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room Plaza 401, 400 Seventh Street, SW,
Washington, DC 20590-0001. You need to identify the docket number at the beginning of your comments, and submit two copies of your
comments. Also, mark your envelope as follows: RE: Docket No. FAA-1998-4521; NPRM: National Air Tour Safety Standards.
Posted by Greg
April 16, 2004
Exchange Deadline For Warbird And Turbine Experimental Pilot LOA/LOOA Draws Near
If you hold a Letter of Authorization (LOA) or Letter of Operational Authority (LOOA) to act as pilot in command of U.S. and
non-U.S. surplus military aircraft and certain turbine-powered experimental amateur-built/experimental exhibition aircraft, you
have until July 31, 2004, to exchange your LOA and LOOA for an airman certificate. FAA Notice No. 8700.24
outlines the change for airmen who
operate (LOA) or provide training in (LOOA) for these types of aircraft. (A list of the aircraft subject to the notice is
contained in the notice's Appendix 1 and 2.)
You have until July 31, 2005 to exchange your LOA or LOOA for an airman
certificate that will be issued with the equivalent authorized aircraft listed. If you don't exchange your LOA or LOOA prior to
July 31, 2004, you may not exercise the privileges of your LOA or LOOA after that date. After July 31, 2005, if you don't
exchange your LOA or LOOA, your LOA or LOOA will no longer be valid and will not be reissued as an authorization on your airman
If you have any questions regarding the changes, contact J.D. Martin, the National Program Manager, Vintage and Surplus Military
Aircraft in the General Aviation and Commercial Division, AFS-800 at (847) 294-7150, (847) 921-6370, or J.D.Martin@faa.gov.
Posted by Greg
April 14, 2004
Adhering To Aviation "Truths" Is Good Accident/Enforcement Prevention
In the April issue of EAA's Sport Aviation, the Plane Talk column by Lauran Paine Jr. contains what he calls "self-evident
truths". Although these truths don't technically raise legal issues, ignorance of or indifference to these truths
has resulted in a great deal of FAR violations and
also accidents. For the sake of safety and compliance, it is good practice for pilots to keep the following in mind:
1. Gross stupidity is usually met with a bent airframe.
2. The first chance you take is a precursor to your first mistake.
3. An aircraft in un-airworthy condition is best left on the ground.
4. In airplanes and on ski slopes, stay within your limits.
5. Ice ignored is your first mistake.
6. The sooner you call a halt to a bad situation, the better.
7. A good attitude can overcome many ills.
8. The closer you get to the ground, the more in control you must be.
9. Good planning now means more fun later.
If you understand and follow these truths, you are well on your way to avoiding the wrath of the FAA and/or an accident or
incident. As always, fly safe and fly smart.
Posted by Greg
April 13, 2004
Final Rule Reorganizes Air Traffic Security In FAR Part 99
The FAA issued a final rule
reorganizing its regulations
governing the security control of air traffic (See FAR Part 99
). According to the FAA, the reorganization was necessary "to reflect the changing environment and the increased role of [other] Federal agencies in advising the FAA about matters related to the security of air traffic operations...." The rule is effective on April 29 and was issued without seeking public comment "because the changes are minor and for the most part non-substantive."
The revised rule reflects the increased roles of the Department of Defense, federal security and/or intelligence agencies, and law
enforcement agencies and their roles in advising and influencing the FAA in all matters related to the security of the National
Airspace System and the aircraft that fly in it. Unfortunately, the rule does not affect NOTAM's that establish flight security
procedures for the Washington, D.C. or that areas ADIZ.
Since the national security landscape changes on almost a daily basis, stay tuned. Hopefully new rules containing reasonable
procedures and expectations will be implemented in the near future to re-open the D.C. airspace to business and general aviation.
Posted by Greg
April 07, 2004
Federal Bonus Depreciation Not Recognized By All States
The 50% bonus depreciation of aircraft purchased after May 5, 2003 and placed in service before January 1, 2005 allowed at the
federal income tax level has not been recognized by all states. Taxpayers taking advantage of the bonus depreciation will need to
check the laws of their particular state to determine whether their state has chosen to follow the bonus depreciation rules. In
states that do not follow/recognize the bonus depreciation schedule, business owners must keep two sets of records for any assets
being depreciated under the bonus depreciation schedule.
Wisconsin and Iowa are two Midwest states that do not recognize the bonus depreciation. Although Illinois also does not recognize
the bonus depreciation, in Illinois a taxpayer does not need to keep separate records. In Minnesota, taxpayers also do not need
to keep a separate set of records. However, Minnesota taxpayers will need to add back 80% of the bonus depreciation claimed, but
then they may deduct the portion added back in equal parts over the next five years.
If you live in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota or Iowa, you will need to determine the appropriate steps necessary to comply with
the tax laws of your state.
Posted by Greg
April 06, 2004
Signature Alone Will No Longer Be Good Enough For FAA Registry
Effective June 1, 2004, all aircraft registration applications (AC Form 8050-1) submitted to the FAA Registry will need to contain
both the signature and the typed or printed name of the person signing. Although the form has a place for the printed/typed name,
up until now the FAA has not rejected applications omitting the printed/typed name. The Federal Aviation Drug-Enforcement Assistance Act (49 USC
requires that the FAA reject applications that do not contain the signing person's printed or typed name in order to
allow easy identification of the signing person's name.
Not sure what difference this will actually make when the Registry does not require any proof of identity or other verification
from person's signing registration applications. But, if it will help in the fight against drugs, it doesn't seem to be much of a
burden. It is simply just another "t" to cross or "i" to dot.
Posted by Greg
April 05, 2004
Extension of Bonus-Depreciation Tough Sell
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)
is facing opposition to its
efforts to lobby congress for an extension of the 50% bonus-depreciation tax break included in the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief
Reconciliation Act of 2003. The deadline for taking advantage of the bonus-depreciation requires that new equipment, including
aircraft, be placed into service by January 1, 2005.
Congress is arguing that extending the deadline would result in a $12 billion dollar reduction in revenue over the next ten
years. However, GAMA believes that the $12 billion dollar number is overstated and incorrectly calculated. In support of the
extension, GAMA argues that, within the first three months after the bonus-depreciation was increased to 50%, general aviation saw
a 43% increase in orders of new aircraft. When asked, most of the aircraft purchasers indicated that the bonus-depreciation was a
deciding factor in the purchase.
Also, the aircraft-manufacturing industry has a significantly longer manufacturing cycle than most industries. On average, it
takes anywhere from eight to fourteen months from order to completion. The effect of this manufacturing cycle is that an order
must be placed well in advance of the January 1, 2005 deadline. GAMA argues that this results in aircraft purchasers losing out
on the bonus depreciation well in advance of purchasers of other capital equipment.
As a fall back, in case congress does not extend the bonus-depreciation, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has an amendment drafted
that would at least extend the "placed-in-service" deadline to beyond January 1, 2005. I hope they are successful one way or
another. From personal experience I can definitelysay that the bonus-depreciation has been a very important consideration for my
clients purchasing new aircraft. It has definitely had a positive effect on an industry that currently can use all the help it
Posted by Greg
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