During this first week of January 2024 many CAT followers and readers from across the globe are returning to their workplaces from well-earned, end-of-year holidays. As the broad civil aviation training enterprise never rests – here’s an opportunity to obtain an update on community developments that gained our attention since mid-December.
Showing FAA the Money – through March 8
A second extension of the five-year FAA reauthorization bill (for fiscal years 2024-28) was passed on December 20 before the US Senate adjourned for holiday recess. In July, the US House version of the bill passed with overwhelming support. This latest Senate action provides short-term extensions through this March 8 for vital FAA functions including improving aviation safety and implementing innovation across the organization. One simulation and training topic in the bill well-suited to long-term, dedicated funding permits the expansion of air traffic controller training capacity and requires the FAA to update the training process for air traffic controllers and the FAA Contract Tower Program. Of further interest, the FY24 FAA reauthorization bill has been stalled in the Senate since last summer because of ongoing negotiations in the Senate over provisions related to pilot training hours and retirement age. CAT will be monitoring and reporting on Capitol Hill’s ability to adequately and fully fund the White House’s FAA budget request.
End-of-Year Safety Focus: Fatigue
Also on December 20, FAA tasked a panel of fatigue experts to identify new ways to address air traffic controller fatigue. Mark Rosekind, PhD, Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD and Erin Flynn-Evans, PhD, will examine among other challenges, potential ways the FAA could better address controller fatigue.
The panel will begin its work this January.
Further, on the topic of fatigue, a reminder that arrived in the author’s email inbox, noted EASA and Austro Control are co-organizing a conference dedicated to Fatigue Risk Management to be held at Austro Control in Vienna, Austria, this January 30-31 https://www.easa.europa.eu/en/newsroom-and-events/events/fatigue-risk-management-frm-conference. The conference’s aims include drawing attention of the aviation authorities of EASA member states, airlines and aircrew associations on aircrew fatigue and the resulting aviation safety risk that needs to be mitigated to a level as low as reasonably practicable.
Turning the Calendar to 2024
The CAT team sends you best wishes for 2024 and looks forward to continuing to provide informative, timely S&T insights and comments on our dynamic community.