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Author Archives: Sara M. Langston

US: New Statute Outlaws Pointing Lasers at Planes

Source: MoonPatch.com

Shining a laser at an aircraft or its point of travel is now illegal under federal law.

President Obama on Feb. 14 signed into law the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which includes provisions that make it a criminal offense to aim a laser beam at an aircraft or its flight path.

The crime is punishable by a fine of $250,000 and up to five years in prison. [Full story]

FAA Proposes New Airline Pilot Qualification Standards

Source: AIN

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would require first officers to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, requiring 1,500 hours of pilot flight time except under limited circumstances. The proposed rule contains provisions included in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama in August of that year.

Under the present FAA rules, first officers must only carry a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time. The proposal also would require first officers to earn an aircraft type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the airplanes they fly. [more]

 

Federal Register [PDF]

EU will respond to any airline carbon retaliation

Source: Reuters

BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The EU will respond to any retaliation over its law imposing carbon charges on all flights but is working with the United States and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to find a solution, a senior Commission official said.

The EU’s requirement that all airlines buy carbon to offset flights that use the bloc’s airports has stirred threats of an international trade war, with the potential to disrupt global air traffic.

A meeting in Moscow last week of the so-called “coalition of the unwilling” agreed on a basket of counter-measures that countries could activate in response to the EU scheme.

“Retaliation cannot happen, and if it happens we will act immediately and appropriately,” Commission Director General for Climate Action Jos Delbeke told a European Parliament committee in Brussels on Tuesday. [more]

Israel: to sign or not to sign an aviation “open skies” agreement with EU

Source: Haaretz.com

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz Monday directed Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority not to sign an “open skies” aviation agreement with the European Union. Katz wants his office to examine what effect the agreement would have on Israel’s airlines.

Talks on an “open skies” framework, which would replace a number of bilateral aviation agreements with European countries with a single Israel-EU agreement, have been ongoing for several years, but a deal between the sides has proven elusive. [more]

US: Freeing Up Spectrum for Rural Broadband

Source: Business Week

On Jan. 26, Wilmington, N.C., rolled out a wireless network that links security cameras and offers Internet access in public parks. No biggie. Networked cameras and free Internet are common. What’s different in Wilmington is the radio bands the network runs on: unused television channels known as “white spaces” that separate stations.

The Wilmington experiment shows the potential benefit of a measure tucked into the payroll tax cut law signed by President Barack Obama on Feb. 22. The Federal Communications Commission created the white spaces between channels decades ago to prevent stations from interfering with each other, ensuring that, say, The Cosby Show in Washington wasn’t compromised by The Simpsonson the same frequency in Baltimore. The new law opens up the white space channels for “unlicensed” use.

Unlike the spectrum controlled by carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which is reserved for specified companies, unlicensed bandwidth is open to any user with an approved device. Wi-Fi, microwave ovens, baby monitors, and cordless phones all use frequencies that the industry calls the “junk band.” These radio waves can’t easily penetrate walls and are hard to maintain over long distances. The TV frequencies where the white space is located, by contrast, carry long distances and remain strong even inside buildings.[more]

Thales Alenia Space signs ESA contract for third-generation Meteosat weather satellites

Source: Thales Group

Thales Alenia Space today signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to supply Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites for Eumetsat, the European meteorological satellite organization. Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor for this large-scale program, in partnership with German company OHB. The first phase of this program started in November 2010, and has now been definitively approved by the ESA industrial policy committee.

White House Releases ‘Privacy Bill of Rights’ for Consumers

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Source: Government Technology

The Barack Obama administration released on Thursday, Feb. 23, a new set of voluntary guidelines called the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in response to growing concern about how companies are using online data they collect from citizens.

The White House said the bill of rights will serve as a blueprint that gives consumers more control over how their personal information is accessed and used on the Internet. [Full story]

India contemplates law to fight EU carbon tax

Source: Economic Times

NEW DELHI: The government is mulling a law to banIndian airlines from participating in the European Union’s stringent carbon tax scheme.

India is considering its first retaliatory steps in the wake of 26 key nations’ decision – including Russia and China -during a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday to confront the EU for unilaterally imposing carbon taxes on all flights landing or flying out of the eurozone. [Full story]