Updates from the HAI Government Affairs team on Biden’s nomination for FAA administrator, SAF incentivization in California, and more.

FAA Hosts 3rd Roundtable Discussion on 5G
The FAA hosted a third 5G roundtable meeting on Friday, Jun. 3, to discuss planning and developments related to the radio altimeter retrofit schedules. The voluntary mitigations agreed to by Verizon and AT&T are set to expire on Jul. 5, approximately one month from now. These voluntary agreements limit power levels and tower locations to help minimize disruption to the National Airspace System.

The FAA is working with aircraft manufacturers, radio altimeter manufacturers, aviation associations, and other stakeholders to establish a plan to retrofit radio altimeters to further mitigate interference from 5G technologies. Regional and legacy airlines are currently in the process of retrofitting their fleets with newly produced filters that will reduce harmful 5G interference with radio altimeters. This process requires more time than is available before the voluntary mitigations are set to expire. It is expected that the telecommunications companies will extend some of these mitigations while the retrofits are taking place. Some of the radio altimeter filters being manufactured present workable solutions for helicopters. However, production is limited by several factors, including supply chain issues. Retrofits to airliners take priority since helicopter operations as a whole face less severe restrictions.

HAI remains committed to working with the FAA and other industry stakeholders to find near- and long-term solutions for the helicopter community.

Letter of Support for SAF Incentivization in California
Last week, HAI partnered with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) to write a letter supporting legislation that would incentivize sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production and utilization in California. The bill, AB 1322, sponsored by assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), would direct the California Air Resources Board to develop and implement a statewide incentivization plan for SAF. The letter encourages the California legislature to vote in favor of the bill.

Read the full letter here.

 Upcoming FAA Advanced Aviation Advisory Committee Meeting
The FAA released a Federal Register notice that the next Advanced Aviation Advisory Committee (AAAC) meeting will take place on Jun. 30, 2022, from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm EDT. The meeting will be held at the William F. Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland. Only members of the AAAC and selected FAA support staff are invited to attend in person. Members of the public can view a livestream of the meeting on the FAA’s social media platforms on the day of the event. Copies of the meeting minutes and any additional information will be available on the AAAC website.

FAA Facebook page
FAA YouTube channel

President Biden Soon to Nominate Next FAA Administrator
President Biden is set to announce Phil Washington, CEO of Denver International Airport, as the nominee for the next FAA administrator. The nomination will not be final until the Biden administration makes an official announcement, which is expected to occur this week or early next week.

If nominated and confirmed, Phil Washington would join the FAA with several years of experience in the transportation industry. Washington led the Biden/Harris transportation team transition where he advised on the direction of federal transportation policy and agencies. He also co-chaired the Biden/Harris Infrastructure Policy Committee. Additionally, Washington served for six years as CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and earlier as CEO of the Denver Regional Transportation District.

HAI awaits the president’s formal announcement of his nominee for the next FAA administrator and looks forward to working with the new head of the agency in the future.

House to Mark Up Spending Bills
The House Appropriations Committee is set to begin marking up spending bills next week. Among the bills being considered is the Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which funds the FAA and other transportation agencies. Top House and Senate appropriators have tried in recent months to reach a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on top-line defense and nondefense spending numbers but were unsuccessful at reaching an agreement. The House made the decision to move forward with markups without a bipartisan spending framework, although the bills may not receive much support from Republicans. Top-line spending numbers closely align with the Biden administration spending proposals released earlier in the year.

President Biden has submitted several amendments to his fiscal year 2023 budget proposal in response to complaints that funding for popular programs had been cut. The president seeks to increase spending amounts from the original plan by $278 million.

Authors

  • HAI’s VP of government affairs, Cade Clark has directed association advocacy programs for over 20 years. Growing up, he worked at an FBO where Cade learned to fly, washed planes, got in the mechanics’ way, idolized the old-timers and their stories, and deepened his love for all things general aviation.

  • John Shea joined HAI as director of government affairs in 2019. He came to HAI from the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), where he was interim president in 2018 and lead government affairs representative since 2017. Previously, as a legislative staffer, John advised multiple members of Congress on transportation policy.

  • Emma Taylor joined HAI as a policy analyst in 2020. She graduated cum laude from Villanova University in December 2019 with a major in political science. Driven by her passion for public policy and advocacy, Emma is thrilled to start her career at HAI and has since developed a deeper appreciation for the vertical lift industry.

Cade Clark

Cade Clark

HAI’s VP of government affairs, Cade Clark has directed association advocacy programs for over 20 years. Growing up, he worked at an FBO where Cade learned to fly, washed planes, got in the mechanics’ way, idolized the old-timers and their stories, and deepened his love for all things general aviation.