AAMS commends congressional efforts to pass FAA reauthorization
Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) officials are pleased that the U.S. Congress has agreed on a four-year authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), running through fiscal year 2015. "This legislation is critical to all United States Aviation, and we are proud that much of the language specific to air medical operations originated from AAMS,” says Timothy Pickering, JD, CMTE, and current AAMS president. "We have worked tirelessly since 2006 to ensure that this language get incorporated into the final package to address significant issues that face our industry."
“Enacting this four-year authorization will provide the FAA with the stability needed for better long-term planning and investments on such things as implementing the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System and badly needed investments in infrastructure improvements,” says a spokesperson.
“Most importantly, the legislation includes language that specifically addresses the safety concerns of the air ambulance community. AAMS has been working with Congress on this language for the past several years and many of AAMS’ concerns and suggestions are appropriately reflected in this package. The bill requires the FAA to complete the rulemaking to address such things as:
Abiding by Part 135 criteria whenever medical crew is on board
Flight request and dispatch procedures
Operational Control Centers
“Also of note, Section 317 of the bill requires the FAA Administrator to conduct a review of off-airport, low-altitude aircraft weather observation technologies and submit a report to Congress within a year. The insufficient state of off-airport weather reporting, particularly in rural areas, has been a primary agenda item for AAMS' advocacy efforts for the past several years. The required study is a laudable first step in identifying and correcting the inefficiencies of the current weather reporting system.
“Similarly, Section 318 requires the Administrator to study the feasibility of requiring pilots of helicopters providing air ambulance services to use night vision goggles during nighttime operations, again with a report to Congress due within a year.”