Bureaucracy Ready For VLJs
While we still donít know just how the alleged onslaught of very light jets (VLJs), personal jets and family jets will affect aviation as a whole, the FAA appears to be among those who believe the impact will be huge. If you've noticed that VLJs seem to figure in just about every FAA news release on airspace and new technology, thereís a good reason. Itís called the FAA VLJ Cross Organizational Group and it has representation from no fewer than 35 agency departments, all of which believe that VLJs will affect their particular bailiwick. "We started brainstorming, identifying issues that could possibly arise, and looking at what we could do as an agency to [promote safety] while ensuring the smooth entry of these type aircraft into service," Mary Pat Baxter, who heads up the group, told FocusFAA, the agencyís internal newsletter. The diverse interests meet in person and by teleconference about every six weeks, and Baxter says it has put the agency in a better position to handle the little jets when they start showing up in significant numbers. Among the projects underway now is evaluating DayJet's introduction of the Eclipse 500 to the air taxi business that some believe will be the foundation of the VLJ market. "With this, we're going to have Air Traffic involved, so they can actually see how this operation is going to roll out -- before it starts -- so they can work out any kinks," Baxter said. Her group has also become the go-to organization for agency officials who have to speak to Congress or auditing organizations about VLJ-related issues. "If Congress needs a briefing, or somebody's going up to the Hill from our agency, we make up the briefing papers," Baxter said.