As of this month, FAA’s Flight Standards Service now has a new office focused on issues related to activities conducted under FAR Part 135. The new office is being informally referred to as the “Part 135 Branch, AFS-250”. It will oversee on-demand charter operations, certain scheduled passenger and sightseeing flights, cargo and air transportation of U.S. mail chiefly in smaller aircraft. AFS-250 is managed by Hooper Harris, Manager, Commuter, On Demand and Training Center Branch, AFS-250, 800 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20591; (202)267-3437. Additional FAA staff members in the office include Larry Buehler, Dan Jenkins and Harlan Sparrow.
The establishment of the Part 135 Branch is a timely move by the FAA given that it is currently reviewing 140 recommendations drafted by the Part 135/125 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). The ARC’s proposals cover flight and duty time, Part 23 aircraft certification standards, training, Part 125 cargo operations, airships and a comprehensive miscellaneous rule covering many aspects of Parts 91, 119 and 135. It is expected that the FAA, likely with the input and participation of the Part 135 Branch, will publish proposed rules based upon the ARC’s proposals yet this year.