Posts Tagged ‘Federal Aviation Administration’

FAA Ends Probe of Hopkins Snow Removal

July 6, 2021

An investigation into snow and ice removal at Cleveland Hopkins Airport has closed without further action.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was satisfied with changes the airport has made in the wake of a settlement the agency reached with Hopkins five years ago.

 “The city of Cleveland has made substantial improvements in the processes, equipment, staffing, and management of the implementation of the snow and ice control plan,” wrote Susan Mowery-Schiak, the director of the FAA’s airports division.

In 2015 the FAA fined Hopkins $735,000 for failing to adequately staff snow removal teams and deice runways. The resulting conditions led some flights to divert to other airports.

The FAA found that airport officials failed to alert air carriers of the poor conditions and to deter planes from taxiing or landing on slick, hazardous surfaces.

FAA investigators listed dozens of dates between 2013 and 2015 when staffing at Hopkins fell far short of requirements.

This past May, airport officials informed the FAA of improvements they have made and how Hopkins has fully complied with a settlement reached with the agency in 2016.

The FAA had threatened to levy additional fines on Hopkins unless it had taken action.

New South Bend South Shore Station on Hold

March 24, 2021

Efforts to build a new South Shore Line station in South Bend, Indiana, have stalled.

Michael Nolan, president of South Shore parent organization Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said the railroad’s current top priority is completing the double tracking project between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

NITCD also is overseeing construction of a line to Dyer, Indiana, which will link with the mainline between Chicago and South Bend.

Nolan said he hopes that in time one of two competing ideas for a new South Bend station will gain widespread support.

One proposal is to establish a station in downtown South Bend.

That concept has the city’s support but would cost between $112 million to $200 million and involve significant property acquisitions for a new right-of-way, relocation of the city’s Amtrak stop, and demolition of buildings at a public housing complex.

St. Joseph County favors a plan for a new station near the South Bend airport.

That proposal would cost at least $50 million and require the demolition of 40 homes.

It would also need approval of the Federal Aviation Administration because it would require construction of tracks and overhead catenary through a clear zone off one of the airport’s runways.

The advantage of that plan, though, is that it would eliminate a long, indirect looping route to reach the current airport station.

Amtrak, Unions Seek ‘No Ride’ List

January 15, 2021

Amtrak and two labor unions are urging the federal government to create a “no ride” list similar to the “no fly” list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration.

The proposal was made in the wake of rioting on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol in which a mob invaded the building and sent members of Congress and their staffs seeking shelter.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our employees,” Amtrak CEO William Flynn said in a statement.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our dedicated front line employees have kept our trains running, providing a vital transportation service to essential workers,” he said.

“We join our labor partners in continuing to call upon Congress and the Administration to make assaults against rail workers a Federal crime, as it is for aviation workers, and to expand the TSA’s ‘No Fly List’ to rail passenger service.”

The two unions that called for the “no ride” list included the International Association for Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

The unions sent their request seeking an emergency order to the Federal Railroad Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

The unions noted that there are no laws or regulations that penalize those who interfere with or do harm to members of train crews.

Nor is there a screening process for passengers similar to that conducted by TSA agents at airports.

The FAA in the meantime has announced that it is tightening enforcement of its rules for how airlines will handle unruly passengers aboard flights.

That action followed multiple reports of members of Congress being verbally harassed and threatened about flights and in airports.

FAA Modifies Rules for Drone Use

December 31, 2020

Unmanned drones will need remote identification under a rule announced by the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a news release, the FAA said the rules address safety, security and privacy concerns while advancing opportunities for the use of drone technology.

The rules will become effective 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.

There are more than 1.7 million drones registered with the FAA and 203,000 FAA-certified remote pilots.

The railroad industry has tested or uses drones for such things as track and bridge inspections.

Remote ID are used to identify drones in flight as well as the location of their control stations.

That information can be used by national security, law enforcement and other public safety officials.

The FAA said equipping drones with remote ID technology builds on the earlier steps taken by the agency and drone technology developers to integrate the use of drones into the national airspace system.

Under existing federal regulations, drones cannot be operated at night over people without an FAA waiver.

The FAA has proposed allowing small drone operators to have their remote pilot certificate and identification in their physical possession when operating and ready to present to authorities if needed.

The rule also will expand the class of authorities who may request these forms from a remote pilot, FAA officials said.

FAA Proposes That Drones Have ID System

December 31, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed that unmanned aircraft, including drones, have a remote identification system so that law enforcement and federal security agencies can identify them while they are flying in their jurisdiction.

Drones would be required to have the ability to transmit identification and location information to other airspace users and people on the ground.

The rule would apply to all drones that are required to be registered with the FAA, which includes those used by railroads to inspect their infrastructure.

In a news release, the FAA said it proposed the rule due to an increase in the number of drone operations.

This has given rise to the need to provide additional situational awareness to manned and unmanned aircraft, FAA officials said.

The FAA expects the remote identification network to form the foundation for the development of other technologies that can enable expanded operations, like those over people or beyond visual line of sight.

The network will also allow the FAA and drone industry to move toward a traffic management ecosystem.

The proposed rule is expected to be published on Dec. 31 in the Federal Register which will trigger a 60-day public comment period.

Trump Budget Also Targets Air Service, Fees

February 15, 2018

Amtrak is not the only form of transportation with a target on its back in the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019.

In the same way that the budget seeks to slash funding for Amtrak, particularly its long-distance trains, the administration wants to cut funding for essential air service to small airports.

The budget proposed cutting expenditures for the EAS program from $150 million to $93 million.

The budget would also raise fees related to transportation security, and customs and immigration fees paid by airline and cruise passengers. The federal air traffic control system would be privatized.

Amtrak funding would fall from $1.5 billion to $738 million. The budget proposal said Amtrak’s long-distance trains suffer from poor on-time performance and carry just 4.7 million of Amtrak’s nearly 32 million annual passengers. It also said the long-distance trains lose more than $500 million annually.

These proposals are not new. Most of them were in the FY 2018 budget, but Congress did not heed them.

The Trump administration budget proposal calls for appropriating $15.6 billion for the Department of Transportation, a cut of 19 percent from what Congress gave it in FY 2017.

The most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, dated October 2016, shows that the federal government funded commercial airline flights to 120 communities in the continental U.S and Hawaii.

The program, which began in 1978, also makes 237 Alaskan communities eligible for funding.

The rational for the EAS program was to enable remote towns to remain in the national air traffic network following airline deregulation, which resulted in scores of airports losing commercial service.

“However, today many EAS flights are not full and have high per-passenger subsidy costs. Several EAS eligible communities are relatively close to major airports,” the budget proposal says.

The recommendations were part of the $4.4 trillion budget proposal the administration sent to Congress on Monday.

Among the travel security-related fees that the administration wants to increase are the 9/11-passenger security fee that is assessed on airfare from the current $5.60 per one-way trip to $6.60 in 2019 and then to $8.25 beginning in 2020.

Although the 9/11 fee is supposed to fund Transportation Security Administration airport operations, Congress has sent about a third of it to items unrelated to security.

The administration said raising the fee would result in the traveling public paying for the full cost of aviation security.

The custom inspection fee would increase from $5.65 to $7.75. This fee is assessed on air and cruise ticket prices for people arriving in the United States.

The immigration fee, which is also assessed on tickets held by air and cruise passengers entering the U.S., would go from $7 to $9.

The proposal includes ending an exemption on that fee for passengers arriving via sea from Canada and Mexico.

The budget proposal said that the customs fee and immigration fee were last increased in 2007 and 2001, respectively.

Air traffic control is now overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration, but the Trump administration wants to shift it to an independent private organization.

Doing this, the administration believes, would speed implementation of a satellite-based NextGen system while removing air traffic control from contentious appropriation debates in Congress.

Critics have said doing this would reduce public accountability and harm the interests of private aviation.

An ATC privatization bill has twice made it out of the House Transportation Committee, but has failed to pass either the full House or the Senate due to bi-partisan opposition.

Akron-Canton, Youngstown-Warren Airports Will Screen Private Planes Bound for Cleveland During RNC Convention

July 8, 2016

If own your own plane and plan to fly to Cleveland during the Republican National Convention your first stop may be in Akron or Youngstown.

The Federal Aviation Administration has decreed that the skies over Cleveland will be restricted airspace and private planes must stop at Akron-Canton Airport or Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport for security screening before being allowed to land at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport or Burke Lakefront Airport.

Akron-Canton AirportOfficials expect about 750 private and charter flights to bring delegates, VIPs and visitors to Cleveland during the convention, which runs from July 18-21.

The FAA said the restrictions for Cleveland during that time will be similar to those imposed at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Planes that depart from one of the 160 airports in the U.S. that can provide security clearance before takeoff will be permitted to fly to Hopkins or Burke airports.

But flights originating elsewhere must be inspected at Akron-Canton or Youngstown-Warren airports.

The security procedure involves identification checks, physical screening of passengers and crew, and aircraft inspections.

Eric Berg of Avflight at Akron-Canton Airport expects a stream of planes to be touching down during the convention.

In some instances, passengers landing at Akron-Canton or Youngstown-Warren will park their plane there and drive to Cleveland.

The Transportation Security Administration will provide the security checks and plane owners must make an appointment.

Officials said that Akron-Canton and Youngstown-Warren were selected as security checkpoint gateways because of their expansive ramp space for parking aircraft, particularly in cases in which passengers will finish their journey by highway.

Hotels near the Akron-Canton and Youngstown-Warren airports  also expect to cash in on that business because rooms in Cleveland are sold out.

During the convention, planes towing banners will not be permitted in the skies over Cleveland and some other flight activities will be prohibited.

The restrictions will be enforced between July 17-23 and include a 30-nautical mile radius or about 34.5 miles on the ground from Quicken Loans Arena where the convention is being held.

Within an “inner ring” of either 3 nautical miles or 10 nautical miles of the Q, depending on the specific time, all flights will be prohibited except for:

■ Scheduled commercial flights operating under standard procedure.

■ Law-enforcement and Department of Defense operations.

■ Air ambulances.

■ Flights headed to or from Hopkins International or Burke Lakefront airports that have been cleared by the Transportation Security Administration.

In the “outer ring,” meaning the rest of the 30 nautical mile radius, aircraft must have a filed flight plan and maintain radio communication with air-traffic controllers.

Planes operating in that zone must be flying to or from airports within the zone, although “work load permitting,” controllers may allow transits.

Model aircraft, drones and model rocketry will all be prohibited throughout the entire restricted airspace, as will be crop dusting, hang gliding or balloon flights.