March 23, 2012
By Jim Moore
The FAA will not begin imposing fees on third-party providers of digital chart products April 1, as had once been contemplated. The agency announced March 23 that there is no definite timetable to implement a new fee structure.
The FAA has been required by law to recover the cost of chart production for many years, and revenue has fallen short. The FAA announced last year that it is developing a plan to generate $5 million in annual revenue from digital chart products, and met with vendors and industry groups to discuss the options. Some were clearly untenable.
AOPA has worked closely with the agency, vendors, and industry organizations to provide feedback to the FAA to ensure that any proposal protects access to critical information for pilots, while allowing the FAA to meet its congressional mandate.
“Just yesterday, in anticipation of this update from the FAA and as part of our dialogue, we launched a survey of our membership,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA vice president of air traffic services and modernization. “That data will be used as we continue to have dialogue with and provide input to the FAA.” The survey is available here.
“The FAA is now verifying costs and pricing for AeroNav products to help develop a final proposal,” the FAA announced March 23. “Although the FAA has not set any dates for completion of the final proposal or a timeline for implementation, the agency will keep the aviation community informed about its progress.”
Williams said AOPA will continue to work closely with the FAA to ensure access to critical information by pilots is preserved in the final policy and that any costs associated with the products are reasonable to members.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office has revealed problems with the FAA medical certification process, including delays, technological issues, and lack of clarity.
The Michigan Aeronautics Commission is asking the FAA and the state’s congressional delegation to support legislation that would let more pilots fly without medical certification.
Pilots in Hawaii have a chance to help shape revisions to rules governing hangar use.
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