Steve Dickson New FAA Administrator
On August 12, 2019 Steve Dickson was sworn in as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator after being confirmed for a five-year term by the U.S. Senate July 24. Dickson recently retired from Delta Air Lines as the senior vice president of Flight Operations where he was responsible for the safety and operational performance of Delta’s global flight operations, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling and regulatory compliance. He also flew in line operations as an A320 captain, and previously flew the B727, B737, B757 and B767 during his career. A former United States Air Force Officer and F-15 fighter pilot, Dickson is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, as well as a graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law, magna cum laude.
After Senate approval of Dickson’s nomination, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen stated, “NBAA has had a close working relationship with Steve for many years, and we’re confident he’s the right man for the job. Having a permanent administrator at the FAA is key to ensuring the continued advancement of important work being done on aviation-system modernization, equipment certification, workforce development, safety and other top priorities.”
NBAA also pointed out that Dickson has leadership experience on Federal Advisory Committees, providing him with a comprehensive understanding of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system. He served as chair of a task force that made key recommendations to advance ATC modernization goals while creating a business case for investing in NextGen technologies. This work led to formation of the NextGen Advisory Committee, which Dickson served on until his retirement from Delta.
Aviation Groups Support PLANE Act of 2019
In mid-July, the bipartisan bill Aviation’s Next Era Act of 2019, also known as the PLANE Act of 2019, S.2198, was introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine). Inhofe, an avid pilot, stated, “The Plane Act truly sets a positive path for the future of the aviation industry.”
The bill received strong backing from many GA and other aviation groups in which 13 sent a letter in support of the bill in agreement with Inhofe by stating that the bill “sets the stage for the future of general aviation by empowering the voices of pilots, investing in airport infrastructure, and ensuring more opportunities for a trained aviation workforce.”
The NBAA was one of the groups that participated in the endorsement letter and more specifically identified in a release that the PLANE Act would:
- Ensure fairness for pilots by expanding the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, enhancing protections for the aviation community and guaranteeing timely resolution of investigations.
- Encourage investment in general aviation infrastructure including hangars and tarmacs by establishing public-private partnership programs at general aviation airports. Also, this legislation recognizes the important role that airports play in national disaster relief efforts, as well as providing new access to funding for airport development and other projects.
- Provide fair distribution of aviation federal fuel tax receipts, a portion of which are currently diverted to the Highway Trust Fund. With this change, it ensures aviation-generated user fees are fully distributed to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to support aviation-related projects.
- FAA Adopts International Flight Plan Format
As part of its NextGen initiatives, the FAA has adopted the international flight plan format. Starting Aug. 27, pilots planning civil VFR and IFR domestic and international flights must use the new format.
Aligning the flight plan similar to the ICAO format will allow integration of new capabilities such as Performance Based Navigation (PBN). For domestic operations and aircraft without sophisticated navigational capabilities, many of the data fields are not required. When using FAA and FAA-contracted flight plan filing services, the departure and destination fields will now accept up to 11 alphanumeric codes; any airport, fix or coordinate may be entered.
The new format appears on FAA Form 7233-4, FAA International Flight Plan (Revision 7/2015).