The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to vote July 31 on Michael Huerta's nomination for FAA Administrator. If approved by the Committee, the nomination heads to the Senate floor. There is talk that Republicans may try to hold up the nomination as they hope to gain control of the White House in November. If you'll recall, the FAA Administrator serves a 5-year term independent of the president. Huerta has been Acting Administrator since December 2011, when Randy Babbitt resigned the post after an DUI arrest (charges were later withdrawn).
Fun fact: Huerta and presumptive GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney worked together on the Salt Lake City Olympics.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on Wednesday during a transportation security hearing that identified weaknesses in the TSA's procedures for ensuring foreign flight students do not pose a security threat.
DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III told Members of Congress that privately operated air traffic control towers are cheaper to run than those staffed by the FAA. And, while their safety records are similar to FAA towers, the agency could do a better job overseeing the private towers. The IG's recommendations include better incident reporting and periodic inspections.
Just an FYI- the House Transportation and Infrastructure's Aviation Subcommittee is hosting a hearing on Wednesday, July 18 to review the cost-effectiveness of the FAA's contract tower program. The Inspector General is updating its 2003 audit of the program that compared the safety and cost-effectiveness of contract towers and FAA-controlled towers.
FAA Takes a Fresh Look at GA Airports By Scott Spangler on May 29th, 2012
Taking “A fresh look at the many roles General Aviation Airport play in the National Air Transportation System,” the FAA recently released the 34-page report of its in-depth, 18-month study of roughly 3,000 airports, General Aviation Airports: A National Asset.
By activity level, the study groups GA airports into four categories: national, regional, local, and basic. Each more clearly defines an airport’s functions and economic contribution to its hometown, and the nation as a whole.