News and discussion on new FAA regulations.

SeatBack Pocket Nuances

We had written previously about some strange new airline safety announcements asking passengers to keep their belongings out of the seat back pockets. The FAA has now issued an InFO circular clarifying their position, the details of which are covered by ANN but at first glance seem much less constrictive than the airlines are claiming. It appears that as long as the pocket contents don't impede egress, they're ok. Furthermore, this is really only applicable during takeoff and landing, just like the basic carry on rules...

Toward a Passengers' Bill of Rights

A story in today's LA Times reports that the FAA has issued fines totaling $175,000 to three airlines for stranding passengers on board aircraft overnight last August. Three aircraft from Continental, ExpressJet and Mesaba were forced to divert to Rochester, Minnesota, due to weather, but when they got there passengers were kept on the planes for an unreasonable amount of time.

I'm ecstatic to see the FAA trying to combat irrationality in airline practices and government regulations. Hopefully this will get us closer to a "Passengers' Bill of Rights," though we still have a way to go.

FAA and NTSB need to play nice... for everyone's sake

News broke friday that the NTSB has reported yet another crash of the CH-601XL, an aircraft that the FAA has previously issued a safety alert for. The release from the NTSB stops just short of telling the FAA we told you so... but makes sure to detail their recommendation from April suggesting that the FAA ground the entire fleet of CH-601XL aircraft. They were blunt before titling the article "NTSB ASKS FAA TO ‘PROHIBIT FURTHER FLIGHT’ OF LIGHT SPORT AIRPLANE TIED TO IN-FLIGHT BREAKUPS." The FAA chose not to ground the fleet, instead they required all the Zodiac's certified as light sport aircraft to be modified. The NTSB contends that the advisory should have been applied to amateur built aircraft as well.

Designing Your Own Aircraft? Be Sure to Follow the Rules.

There was a lot of hype over Richard Heene's overgrown mylar balloon a couple days ago. Thankfully his son, Falcon, wasn't aboard the aircraft. News agencies trying to make a story of the event termed the balloon an 'experimental aircraft'; however, when they contacted the nation's experts on the subject, the Experimental Aircraft Association, they learned that the object doesn't quite qualify for that title.

New Version of 51% Rule Passed, Kit Builders Happy

The Experimental Aircraft Association has been celebrating lately about the release of new guidance on amateur-built aircraft. As Ted mentioned last year, there was a lot of worry that the new rules would change the definition of what constitutes 51% when constructing a kit aircraft. However, it appears that the final rule assuaged everyone's worries and is being praised.

Get your crap outta the seatback?

Here's a curveball for all you frequent fliers out there, looks like airlines are cracking down on what you can put in your seatback pocket. The New York Times ran an article after their editor was cautioned against putting anything "personal" in the seatback pockets. I wasn't aware that this was an issue, and I certainly haven't been on any flights where the crew made a mention of it. Anyone else heard of this going on?

FAA Still Making the Right Call in Santa Monica

Last May, the fight over jet activity at the Santa Monica airport was extended thanks to a restraining order that prevented the city from enforcing their ill-conceived rules while they made an appeal to the FAA. Now, the LA times reports that the FAA has officially rejected the city's appeal.

Florida Beginning to See the Light!

The state of Florida significantly hurts itself with some outrageous "use tax" laws. Until recently, pilots feared even stopping for fuel in Florida because they expected Florida to slap them with a 6% tax for just contributing to the state economy. The AOPA has been fighting this unreasonable tax, but even just a year ago a letter from Florida Governor Charlie Crist showed that the state was still determined to punish tourists and business people alike for flying to Florida. However, the AOPA just received a new letter from the Florida Department of Revenue that shows someone in the state government has some reasoning abilities.

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