On October 11, 2022, the Department of Labor released a proposal to redefine independent contractor classifications under the Fair Labor Standards act. The change in definition, if approved, will have major implications for gig workers and companies such as Uber, Doordash, Grubhub, etc. These companies have already had a drop in stock value because of the announcement and the companies are at risk of losing more value as the gig economy destabilizes.
Using a machine to replace human workers is a practice that continues to grow in the electronic age. The logic of drone delivery is to provide a sustainable option for the last-minute shopper or for the caffeinato that wants to order coffee online and receive it at their doorstep within minutes. For many years, drone deliveries have just been mere speculation based on unreliable technology utilized in the drones. However, it seems that technology has advanced once again. Drone companies have recently been cleared to expand their operations across the United States, in cities and rural areas as the technology becomes more reliable and faster. But how soon should we be able to order our daily necessities and luxurious items straight to our doorstep via drone? That all depends on federal regulation.
The recent successful trips to the edge of space by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are predicted to boost consumer confidence in the possibility of using commercial spaceflight as a global transportation system. However, as interest and involvement in commercial spaceflight grows, safety regulations are failing to keep up. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has the authority to regulate spaceflight, but there is currently a moratorium on regulating the industry until 2023 to encourage innovation.
A whistleblower recently called attention to unsafe landing practices at the Detroit Metro Airport. The whistleblower, a veteran air traffic controller, has helped uncover dangerous flaws in the airport’s instrument landing system (ILS). This system emits radio waves that help guide approaching aircraft to the center of the runway. Air traffic control recordings attest to the danger, as many pilots have voiced complaints about the flawed system upon landing. Nevertheless, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has failed to take immediate corrective actions. The U.S. Special Counsel recently notified the President about this lapse in safety, but it remains to be determined whether officials at the Detroit Metro Airport have repaired or replaced the faulty system.
Boeing’s fleet of 737 Max jets remain grounded in the wake of two crashes that occurred shortly after takeoff and within five months of each other. Both crashes killed all passengers on board, a total of 346 people, and the jets’ black box data recorders have revealed many similarities between the two incidents. Both jets were equipped with Boeing’s newly implemented stall-prevention software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The system automatically adjusts the pitch of the aircraft, but it malfunctioned in both crashes when MCAS seized control from the pilots and plunged the jets into the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not yet announced when these jets will be allowed to fly again, although test flights have recently been conducted.
In this day and age, virtually anything can be shipped anywhere. No matter the destination, an item arrives at our door with only a few clicks. Rarely do we stop to think about how it gets to our door. We often overlook the regulations surrounding each package on its journey. The shipping of simple, everyday items, is fairly straight-forward and regulations more relaxed. However, the shipment of complex items, like hazardous materials, carries additional challenges.
The 1500 Hours Rule requires first officers to have at least 1500 hours of total flight time for licensure to fly commercial aircraft. The 2010 regulation boosted the flight time requirement for first officers from 250 to 1500 hours. Due to the heightened experience requirements, regional airlines have grounded flights and reduced their services, as they have not had sufficient qualified pilots to sustain the flights.