NATA Compliance Services Blog

The Key to Fixing the Pilot Shortage in the Aviation Industry

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Dec 18, 2014

Last year, the FAA changed the requirements for pilots looking to become First Officers, mandating they must complete 1,500 hours of flight time instead of the previous 250 hours. This significant jump came after the 2009 crash of Colgan Air flight 3407 was found to be caused by pilot error resulting in the death of 50 people in upstate New York. 

While the new rules are meant to improve safety, they also have had the unintentional consequence of adding to an already precarious situation in meeting pilot supply. Retiring boomers, a lost decade of hiring combined with high training costs, and a low initial salary has left the industry with a shortage of qualified pilots needed to fulfill the 4,500 yearly demand for pilots. Without new strategies to fill the gap, the public could be faced with cancelled flights and the industry with reduced revenues. Let’s take a closer look at the problem and underlying cause.

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Tags: Aviation Compliance, Flight Training

Does the TSA Need to Update Security Procedures?

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Dec 11, 2014

In September of this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report criticizing theeffectiveness of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and specifically its Secure Flight program. The report found that while procedures for screening were in place, some screeners did not follow these procedures, causing screening errors, and that the TSA had no system to evaluate the causes of these errors. 

Without a review process in place, the risk of the same errors being made repeatedly is real and could cause security gaps and discriminatory practices, making some question the economic benefit of the TSA altogether. The GAO’s report may have shone a light on the TSA’s need to update its security procedures.
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Tags: TSA, Aviation Security

Lessons from the Chicago Air Traffic Control Tower Fire

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Dec 04, 2014

On September 26, all air traffic in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway international airports were grounded due to a fire in the basement of the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAU) in Aurora, IL. The center covers 91,000 square miles, and its closure resulted in the cancellation of thousands of flights to and from Chicago area airports over several weeks, causing a ripple effect felt throughout the nation. 

The fire is being blamed on a contract employee, Brian Howard, who is facing multiple charges and is currently awaiting trial.  The damage caused when Howard cut cables; early reports suggest that nearly $123 million in economic activity was lost as a result of the cancelled flights.

“This is one of the most challenging situations that air traffic controllers and other FAA employees have faced since 9/11,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. Rinaldi went on to say that it was almost impossible to overestimate the damage Howard caused.

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Tags: air traffic control, NextGen

Preparing Your Staff For The Holiday Season

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Nov 27, 2014

With another the holiday season just around the corner, many travelers are making plans to see friends and family. Serving and protecting these holiday travelers is the job of everyone in the airline industry. Because the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year to fly, now is the time to think about ways to prepare your staff for the crowds, the delays, and the stressed-out, impatient, angry passengers. A little planning can help reduce angry passengers and improve the morale of staff.

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Tags: TSA, air traffic control, staff

Is the Next Generation Air Transportation System a Reality or Pipe Dream?

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General last month is raising concerns about the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) ability to carry out its upgrade of the nation’s air traffic control system. The program, called the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NexGen, began in 2003 and was supposed to conclude in 2020. However, funding issues, doubts, and general uncertainty are creating delays and making the program more expensive than originally conceived. All this is making some wonder, is NexGen for real?

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Tags: next generation, Air transportation System

TSA PreCheck Is Now For Members Only

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Nov 13, 2014

Over the last year, many passengers have been enjoying the benefits of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck program. Recently, however the TSA has been spreading the word that the program will begin limiting its expedited service through airport security screening to paid members only. Let’s look at what the program is and why this change is happening now.

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Tags: aviation news, TSA, Aviation Security

Pilots Found To Be Using More Drugs

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Nov 06, 2014

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a study that found drug use among pilots had increased substantially since 1990. Using data collected from 6,700 pilots killed in plane crashes between 1990 and 2012, the NTSB found pilots’ use of over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal drugs all increased. While the rate crashes due to pilot impairment  as a result of drug use remained steady at about 3%, the increased use of all drugs has prompted warnings about the implications and need for further study.

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Tags: Drug Testing, Aviation Security

Airlines Are Counting on Passengers Bringing Their Own Devices

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Oct 30, 2014

Hundreds of new planes are taking to the skies without the personal entertainment devices we’ve all come to expect. While some passengers may assume that planes without screens in the headrest are old, the truth is a little more complicated, as more and more airlines are counting on passengers bringing their own devices.

Passengers have been carrying laptops and other mobile devices onto planes for years, but up until recently they haven’t been allowed to use them throughout a flight. Then, in October 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expanded the use of personal electronic devices to so they may remaining on during all phases of a flight: so long as it is in airplane mode. With this decision, along with growing rates of wi-fi on planes, passengers can stream content using the devices they already carry, and operators want passengers to use these personal devices rather than the airline providing them.

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Tags: faa, aviation news

Training and Safety Still Not Meeting FAA Expectations

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Mon, Oct 27, 2014

A recent rash of proposed civil penalties is showing that training and safety measures taken by operators is still not meeting the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) expectations or mandates. From allowing mechanics to operate without proper training to gaps in drug and alcohol programs, to improper repairs, aircraft operators have some work to do to in the eyes of the FAA.

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Tags: Aviation Compliance, training for ATC, Aviation Security

Recent Security Breaches at Airports Reveal Need for Improvements

Posted by Brenda Stoltz on Thu, Oct 23, 2014

There have been several stories about security breaches at several national airports recently, from TSA impersonators to stowaways. With professional aviation security personnel working to prevent this from happening, it is surprising these incidents occur in the first place. Let’s take a look at three recent security breaches.

Ticketless Passenger

In early August, Marilyn Jean Hartman was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for flying without a ticket.According to spokesman for San Jose Airport Security, where the flight originated, Hartman was somehow able to sneak through security while a document checker was checking boarding passes for a family. It wasn’t until airline employees conducted a head count that the security breach was discovered.

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Tags: aviation news, Aviation Security

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