Aviation Groups Call For End To Federal Shutdown
Four advocacy groups sent a letter to government leaders in Washington on Tuesday, asking for certain FAA programs to be reopened immediately to prevent "critical economic, operational and safety issues" for general aviation. The letter, signed by the leaders of AOPA, EAA, NATA, and Helicopter Association International, said the absence of FAA inspectors is affecting the industry's ability to "maintain a safe, operationally efficient and economically viable" industry. Without the inspectors, no safety checks are being conducted, aircraft operators are unable to process changes to their manuals, requests for airworthiness and certification approvals cannot be processed, and aircraft that require field approvals (Form 337) or supplemental type certificates (STCs) are standing idle and cannot be returned to service.
"Of serious concern is that many of these aircraft cannot perform their critical missions that serve the common good such as emergency medical transport, aerial firefighting, law enforcement, search-and-rescue and utilities repair, to name a few," the letter (PDF) says. "Please take whatever steps are necessary to resolve this situation and prevent further calamity within the general aviation sector." Some FAA employees, including air traffic controllers, have continued to work although their paychecks have been suspended. About 800 employees, including some safety inspectors, who had been suspended, have returned to work since the shutdown began on Oct. 1.