Parts 135/125 Rule Revisions Moving Forward
It's been the late 1970s since the FAA made substantial revisions to operating regulations governing on-demand flights under FAR Part 135. Since then, the on-demand industry has exploded, with more capable aircraft, more operators and a wide range of operations never really contemplated under the 25-year-old revisions. Recognizing this, the FAA and industry started getting together in 2003 under the auspices of an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to lay the groundwork for a new regulation recognizing these changes and bringing the FAA's regulations into line with the ways in which the industry works today. Also a part of the ARC are potential revisions to FAR Part 125, which addresses larger airplanes not operated in common carriage. Most recently, the FAA and industry representatives met late last month to continue their work. While few of the ARC's participants are talking about any decisions reached, it's widely known that recommendations from the meetings will include regulatory changes in the areas of payload restrictions for passenger and cargo aircraft, flight- and duty-time rules, international operations, helicopters, all-cargo operations -- well, you get the idea. There has even been discussion of whether Part 125 should exist at all and what, if anything, to do about commercial operation of powered airships. The ARC continues throughout the remainder of 2004, with two more scheduled meetings to be held. After those meetings and the ARC's recommendations are finalized, a series of proposed rules designed to implement the changes will be forthcoming. Don't expect any formal rule changes to be proposed before 2005, however. Indeed, the entire process may take a couple more years before anything tangible is seen. Watch this space.