Federal Aviation Administration News

FAA and EASA Update Aviation Safety Agreement

October 19 Safety in todays global aviation market depends to a great extent on international partnerships between aviation regulators. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fully subscribes to this philosophy, which is why on September 22 the agency updated its long-standing aviation safety agreement with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

The changes in this agreement enhance the risk-based approach to safety by optimizing reliance on each authoritys expertise in aircraft certification through Revision 6 of the Technical Implementation Procedures (TIP). The revision will go into effect six months from the signing date of September 22, 2017.

Typically, the FAA and EASA do not completely duplicate each others certification of aircraft products, instead each entity performs a validation of certification activities. The new TIP revision will permit increased acceptance of approvals without technical involvement by the authority conducting the validation. In certain cases, the revised TIP also will allow a streamlined validation process to expedite issuance of a type certificate without technical review. These changes give both the FAA and EASA the opportunity to have even greater reliance on the regulatory capabilities and the technical competencies of one anothers aircraft certification systems.

When technical involvement is necessary to validate a product, a work plan will now be required to define the extent of the validating authoritys involvement. This provides a structured approach using program management principles to ensure accountability to the bilateral agreement.

Revision 6 of the TIP contributes directly to the FAAs overall vision of global leadership by promoting international partnerships to reduce barriers and leads the advancement of aviation safety across geopolitical boundaries.

Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control

October 19The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) communitys national #FlySafe campaign is designed to educate GA pilots about the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.

Surviving a Crash
Every pilot needs to prepare for the unexpected. Although surviving a crash is one of those I hope it never happens events, its something you need to consider both for yourself, and your passengers. If something happens, your passengers will look to you for leadership and survival.

This edition of FlySafe offers a few important survival tips, but the FAA recommends supplementing this information with the appropriate training and preparation. A number of courses are available, including a one-day, post-crash survival course tailored for GA pilots offered by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI).

This course, and others like it, are designed to introduce you to the knowledge and skills you need to cope with various common survival scenarios. This course also teaches students how to assemble and use a personal survival kit.

Were On the GroundWhat Next?!
The unexpected happened, and you were forced to put your plane down. You survived!! Your passengers appear to be ok, too. Do you know what to do next?

A common acronym that can help is STOP. Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.

Stop: Your adrenaline is flowing. Once you and your passengers are safely away from the aircraft, try to calm down. Avoid panicking.

Think: Prioritize your next moves. First, are there any life-threatening injuries? What resources do you have for first aid? Can you signal for help?

Observe: You need shelter to survive, so start surveying your surroundings. Do you have food or water available? Can you start a fire? Do you know how much time there is before nightfall?

Plan: Conserve your energy. Focus all of your efforts on the common goal of survival and rescue. Plan for your immediate needs of first aid, sheltering from the elements, signaling for help and ensuring all in your party are safe. If possible, stay with or near the aircraft to improve your chances of being found.

Calm, thoughtful action is what will help you survive the time until rescue.

Survival Kit
No matter where you fly, you should always equip your aircraft with a survival kit. There are several that are available commercially, but you can also assemble a personal survival kit that is custom-tailored to your mission.

Some common items youll want to make sure you have in your aircraft include: a multi-tool or knife, a flashlight with extra batteries, rope, a signaling device, a compass, first aid kit, waterproof matches, bug repellant, and gloves. Be sure to have some water and non-perishable food as well in case you might have to wait some time before being rescued. Carrying some of these items in a fishing or survival vest is a good idea, as you may only be able to walk away from the aircraft with the clothes on your back. And dont forget to leave room in your vest for a 406 MHz personal locator beacon. These relatively low-cost devices are a great adjunct to the aircrafts emergency locator transmitter.

Speaking of clothing, this is one area often overlooked when it comes to surviving an aircraft accident. As clothing is your primary shelter in a survival situation, plan your attire accordingly for all areas and weather conditions along your route of flight. Dressing in layers is always a good idea. That way you can adjust as conditions change. Consider cotton or wool outer garments rather than synthetics, trousers rather than shorts or skirts, and closed toe shoes rather than sandals.

If you are traveling over water, or traveling internationally, its a very good idea to have life rafts or life preservers on board. The FAA has no specific requirement for GA aircraft to carry these items, but ICAO requires them when traveling internationally.

Another critical tip for improving your chances for survival is to file a flight plan, even when flying VFR. This enables flight tracking and means that emergency services will be alerted should you not arrive at your destination when expected.

Finally, there is one item that tops every successful survivors list. Its considered by experts to be the prime factor in determining whether one lives or dies. It weighs nothing and its always available. It is the will to survive.

What is Loss of Control (LOC)?
A LOC accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen when the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and quickly develops into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.

Message from FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta:
The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our #Fly Safe campaign. Every month on FAA.gov, we provide pilots with Loss of Control solutions developed by a team of experts some of which are already reducing risk. I hope you will join us in this effort and spread the word. Follow #FlySafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.

More about Loss of Control
Contributing factors may include:

  • Poor judgment or aeronautical decision making
  • Failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action
  • Intentional failure to comply with regulations
  • Failure to maintain airspeed
  • Failure to follow procedure
  • Pilot inexperience and proficiency
  • Use of prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol

Did you know?

  • In 2016, 413 people died in 219 general aviation accidents.
  • Loss of Control was the number one cause of these accidents.
  • Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight.It can happen anywhere and at any time.
  • There is one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.

Learn more:
The FAAs space Medical Institute or CAMI, offers a one-day post-crash survival course for general aviation pilots and passengers. Its designed to introduce you to the knowledge and skills you need to cope with various common survival scenarios. This course also teaches students how to assemble and use a personal survival kit. For more information, visit our Airman Education Programs page.

The FAA Safety Briefing magazine has published two issues on emergency preparedness. For specifics on GA accident survival, check out the articles What Would MacGyver Do? in the July/Aug 2013 issue and Survival 101 in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue.

Check out GA Safety Enhancements fact sheets on the mainFAA Safety Briefing website., including one on GA Survival here.

TheFAASafety.govwebsite has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics, including aviation survival courses. They also host a number GA survival resources, including an Off-Airport Operations Guide here.

TheWINGS Pilot Proficiency Programhelps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.

TheGeneral Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC)is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risk, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of GA accidents. The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers in the FAA, several government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and stakeholder groups. Industry participants include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Flight Instructors, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and the aviation insurance industry. The National Transportation Safety Board and the European Aviation Safety Agency participate as observers.

AOPA has a number of videos and publications on crash survival and resources for crash survival equipment.

Read AOPAs Training for the Unthinkable for a first-person account of survival.

AOPAs Steep Consequences, Life-Saving Tips is another excellent read.

New Commercial Hot-Air Balloon Safety Program

October 13After a July 2016 balloon accident in Lockhart, TX that caused 16 fatalities, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took proactive steps to increase the safety of hot-air balloon tourism. As the result of a year-long FAA Call to Action with the commercial hot-air balloon industry, the Balloon Federation of America (BFA) has developed an Envelope of Safety accreditation program for balloon ride operations.

Consumers can use the program to select a ride company or pilot that strives to reach a higher safety standard a move the agency applauds.

To meet the BFAs program requirements, company pilots of balloons that are capable of carrying more than 4-6 passengers must be commercially certificated for 18 months, have a specified amount of flight experience, and hold an FAA second-class medical certificate. Pilots also must pass a drug and alcohol background check, have attended a BFA-sanctioned safety seminar within the last 12 months, and be enrolled in the FAA WINGS program. The BFA will verify this information annually, and will check the safety background of pilot applicants by researching FAA accident and incident data.

A second part of the program provides balloon ride operators with a choice of three levels of safety accreditation: Silver, Gold, or Platinum. While any size company can achieve the highest level, the tiered structure is designed with different size companies in mind. Each level has increasingly stringent safety requirements including:

  • Meeting the pilot requirements
  • Holding valid aircraft and commercial vehicle insurance
  • Not exceeding a minimum specified number of accidents or incidents within a recent time period
  • Verifying annual aircraft inspections
  • Hosting a forum for passengers to rate the company
  • Notifying local FAA offices of the location of their base of operations
  • Executing and storing passenger liability waivers
  • Conducting random pilot drug screening
  • Developing written policies for crew safety.

The FAA believes the BFA program will enhance safety and professionalism, and will allow consumers to be better informed before they choose a commercial balloon ride operator.

New Quieter Aircraft

Beginning in January 1, 2018, the FAA will require newly designed aircraft to be quieter which will help toward lowering noise around airports and surrounding communities. Called Stage 5 Airplane Noise Standards, this FAA rule ensures that the latest available noise reduction technology is incorporated into new aircraft designs. As a result, new airplane type designs in the subsonic jet airplanes and subsonic transport category large airplanes will operate at least 7 decibels (dBs) quieter than airplanes in the current fleet.

The FAA is committed to reducing aircraft noise through a balanced approach through the reduction of noise at its source (i.e., the aircraft); improved land use planning around airports; and, a wider use of aircraft operating procedures and restrictions that abate noise.

Reducing aircraft noise is important to the FAA because its an important quality of life issue for surrounding airport communities, said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. We will continue to do our best through new technologies, procedures, and community engagement to make aircraft operations quieter.

In 1975, there were about 200 million people flying in the United States, with about 7 million people exposed to what is considered significant aircraft noise. Since then, an FAA study conducted in 2015 showed that the number of people flying in the United States had almost quadrupled yet the number of people exposed to aircraft noise had dropped to around 340,000, or a 94% reduction in aircraft noise exposure.

The FAA continues to meet its reduction in aircraft noise and other environmental aviation goals through the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN)Program. CLEEN is the FAAs principal Next Generation (NextGen) environmental effort to accelerate the development of new aircraft, engine technologies, and advance sustainable alternative jet fuels.

The new Stage 5 rule was published on Wednesday, Oct.4 in the Federal Register.

FAA Restricts Drones over Statue of Liberty, Other Landmarks

At the request of U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 99.7 Special Security Instructions to address concerns about unauthorized drone operations over 10 Department of the Interior (DOI) sites, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore.

The FAA and DOI have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of these sites:

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY
  • Boston National Historical Park (U.S.S. Constitution), Boston, MA
  • Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA
  • Folsom Dam; Folsom, CA
  • Glen Canyon Dam; Lake Powell, AZ
  • Grand Coulee Dam; Grand Coulee, WA
  • Hoover Dam; Boulder City, NV
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; St. Louis, MO
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Keystone, SD
  • Shasta Dam; Shasta Lake, CA

The restrictions will be effective October 5, 2017. There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.

To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, the FAA has created an interactive map online. The link to these restrictions is also included in the FAAs B4UFLY mobile app. The app will be updated within 60 days to reflect these airspace restrictions. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAAs UAS website.

Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

This is the first time the agency has placed airspace restrictions for unmanned aircraft, or drones, over DOI landmarks. The FAA has placed similar airspace restrictions over military bases that currently remain in place.

The FAA is considering additional requests from other federal agencies for restrictions using the FAAs 99.7 authority as they are received.

FAA Supports St. Thomas Commercial Air Service

This morning, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controllers handled the landing of the first commercial air carrier flight in weeks into the Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (TIST). Working from a mobile air traffic tower the FAA moved to the island last weekend, the controllers are now managing a mix of commercial, military, relief and recovery flights to and from the storm-ravaged island.

The FAA continues to support similar operations on San Juan, Puerto Rico where the first commercial air carrier service began a week ago. The total number of flights in and out of Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan (SJU) has increased dramatically over the past week, to more than 400 arrivals and departures yesterday.

U.S. commercial passenger air carriers flew 18 flights in and out of San Juan yesterday, including a mix of relief and revenue passenger service. Another three U.S. commercial cargo flights also flew to the island. The Official Airline Guide, which publishes planned airline schedules months in advance, shows that about 28 U.S. air carriers were scheduled to operate into San Juan on September 28, before the hurricanes hit the island.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been setting priorities for flight operations into and out of San Juan, based on their mission needs.

In addition to Luis Munoz Marin Airport in Puerto Rico, four other airports on the island are open with no restrictions:

Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla (BQN)

Mercedita Airport in Ponce (PSE)

Jose Aponte de la Torre Airport in Ceiba (RVR)

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport (also known as Isla Grande), in San Juan (SIG)

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Airport in Mayaguez (MAZ) is closed.

Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix to expected to be open for commercial service soon.

All other airports on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are open with restrictions and, at a minimum, are accepting military, emergency, and relief flights.

Please check with your airline to find out if it is flying to an airport in the affected area.

Prevent Loss of Control Events

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) communitys national #FlySafe campaign is designed to educate GA pilots about the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.

Returning to the Cockpit

Has it been a while since you sat in the left seat? This month, were not only going to encourage you to consider returning to the command position, were also going to give you resources on how you can do it safely.

There are a few must-dos on your checklist before you consider taking flight again. The first is an assessment of your personal health and fitness. What could have disqualified you years ago, may now be acceptable with revised guidelines. For more information, please see the Aviation Medical Examiner Guide online.

Before you return to the cockpit, youll need to log a few hours of flight time with an instructor who will take the time to help you re-learn those good habits that you once knew. Be sure to review any segments of flying where you feel a bit rusty, including stalls and steep turns.

Finally, you must get up to speed on all the changes that have taken place since you left the cockpit. Be sure to review any regulatory changes, especially those that focus on airspace use. Study up on the Special Flight Rules Areas (SFRA), Flight Restricted Zones (FRZ), and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).

TFRs can occur at any time, so before every flight, check the Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) and the TFR list online, and call the Flight Service Station for updates.

The Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft Rule, implemented in 2004, allows pilots to operate aircraft that fall within certain reduced weight and speed parameters. Pilots are required to have a valid U.S. drivers license. If you have a private pilot certificate, you can legally fly a light-sport aircraft provided you are current, and the aircraft is in the same category in which youre qualified.

Safe Flying is a goal we all share. Please read the additional safety information below. Welcome back!!

What is Loss of Control (LOC)?
A LOC accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen when the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and quickly develops into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot.

Message from FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta:
The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our #Fly Safe campaign. Every month on FAA.gov, we provide pilots with Loss of Control solutions developed by a team of experts some of which are already reducing risk. I hope you will join us in this effort and spread the word. Follow #FlySafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.

More about Loss of Control

Contributing factors may include:

  • Poor judgment or aeronautical decision making
  • Failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action
  • Intentional failure to comply with regulations
  • Failure to maintain airspeed
  • Failure to follow procedure
  • Pilot inexperience and proficiency
  • Use of prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol

Did you know?

  • In 2016, 413 people died in 219 general aviation accidents.
  • Loss of Control was the number one cause of these accidents.
  • Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight.It can happen anywhere and at any time.
  • There is one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.

Learn more:

AOPA has some excellent resources for the returning pilot. Check out Lapsed Pilots and Resuming the Journey for helpful tips.

The FAA has its own Safety Bulletin: Flying After a Period of Inactivity.

TheFAASafety.govwebsite has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics.

Check out GA Safety Enhancements fact sheets on the mainFAA Safety Briefingwebsite, including Flight Risk Assessment Tools.

TheWINGS Pilot Proficiency Programhelps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.

TheGeneral Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC)is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risk, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of GA accidents. The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers in the FAA, several government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and stakeholder groups. Industry participants include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Flight Instructors, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and the aviation insurance industry. The National Transportation Safety Board and the European Aviation Safety Agency participate as observers.

Commercial Airline Service Resumes in San Juan

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hurricane recovery efforts are now supporting more than a dozen commercial passenger flights per day at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As the agency continues to restore radars, navigational aids and other equipment damaged during Hurricane Maria, the number of commercial flights is expected to continue to increase. The airport handled nearly 100 total arrivals and departures yesterday, including the military and relief operations.

The agency has implemented a slot reservation system to manage the demand for ramp space at the airport and to safely separate aircraft in the air.

The FAA also airlifted a mobile air traffic control tower back to St. Thomas over the weekend to support the relief and recovery missions there. The tower at Cyril E. King International Airport on St. Thomas was initially damaged by Hurricane Irma, and the FAA brought in the mobile tower to help manage traffic. However, the FAA removed the tower to the mainland in advance of Hurricane Maria, to protect it during the storm. The agency shuttles the controllers who staff the tower from San Juan to St. Thomas and back every day.

Preliminary FAA damage assessments have identified a number of critical radars and navigational aids that were destroyed or disabled during the storm. The FAA is bringing replacement systems to the islands by air and by sea to restore essential radar, navigation and communication services and technicians are working on many of those systems now. A long-range radar in the Turks and Caicos returned to service this morning, giving air traffic controllers a much better picture of the planes and helicopters operating in the area.

Technicians are making their way to a second long-range radar site today at Pico del Este, which is located inside a National Park in Puerto Rico, on the top of a mountain. The last two miles to the site through the rain forest are impassable, so the technicians are using chain saws to clear a path for themselves and the replacement equipment.

FAA technicians are working around the clock to restore services, but because of the extent of the damage and challenges of the terrain where equipment is located, its difficult to determine a timeline for the full restoration of service.

The FAA continues to work closely with its federal and local partners to rebuild the aviation system in the islands and help the area recover from two devastating storms.

Passengers are encouraged to stay in close communication with their airline if they have reservations on flights in and out of San Juan.

Huerta Lauds NACC Teamwork in Face of Adversity

WASHINGTON FAA Administrator Michael Huerta today drove home the importance of working together in the face of natural disasters that have caused so much devastation in recent weeks, in his final speech before ICAOs North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) Directors of Civil Aviation meeting.

The 2017 hurricane season already has devastated too many of our nations. As if that wasn't enough, our friends in Mexico were struck by two deadly earthquakes as well, Huerta said at the NACC meeting in Washington. Some of our attendees here today have family in Mexico City, where the extent of this weeks quake is still being determined. Please know all of our thoughts are with you during this trying time.

These moments of tragedy bind us together, Huerta said. We grieve for the lives lost. We comfort the displaced. And we vow to rebuild. We are neighbors. What happens to one of us affects us all.

Huerta reaffirmed the FAAs commitment to help the region as a whole to recover. The agency has continued to support efforts to get all Florida airports back to full operations including those in the Florida Keys. The FAA brought one mobile air traffic control tower to Key West from Connecticut by truck earlier this week to replace the damaged tower there, and airlifted another mobile tower from Boise, Idaho to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands last week to manage relief flights to and from the island. The agency also sent an airports inspector to St. Martin last week to help assess the readiness of the airfield for non-military relief flights.

In addition, the FAA has issued hundreds of unmanned aircraft authorizations to aid in the response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and anticipates issuing more for the area damaged by Maria in the next few days. Drones are being used to quickly and safely assess damage to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. They help target and prioritize recovery activities.

The NACC meeting gives us an opportunity to come together, share ideas, and find new ways to work together toward our common goals, Huerta said. But what is even more important is that we can use this meeting to reaffirm our partnerships and ask for and receive the assistance that is needed from one another.

Huerta added, As my time as FAA Administrator is drawing to a close, let me say what a privilege its been to work with all of you over the years. We should all be proud of the work that we do to ensure that travelers can continue to take it for granted that they will arrive safely at their destinations. The work we do every day makes that happen and we are successful because we do it together.

Administrator Huerta's remarks can be viewed on our website.

FAA Brings Mobile Air Traffic Control Tower to Key West

September 18-Yesterday, a mobile air traffic control tower arrived at Key West International Airport in Florida after a road trip down the East Coast by trailer from Hartford, CT. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repositioned the fully-equipped tower to provide air traffic services for all of the aircraft operating in and out of Key West that are supporting the relief and recovery of the isolated Florida Keys in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The FAA also has temporarily located many of the towers controllers closer to the airport to reduce lengthy commutes.

In addition to the mobile tower, the FAA has brought a trailer to the site to support the tower controllers with an air-conditioned break room and lavatories. Before the tower arrived, controllers were managing air traffic at the airport from a small tent.

As controllers started working the radios in the new mobile tower at Key West this morning, the FAA was making plans to pack up another mobile tower it airlifted to St. Thomas last week and temporarily relocate it to a safer mainland position in advance of Hurricane Maria. The tower will remain on a military C-17 until the storm passes and will immediately head back to St. Thomas after the storm.

The FAA also has been supporting the Florida recovery effort by authorizing drone operations around the state to aid rapid damage assessment. To date, the FAA has authorized 173 drone operations for the area damaged by Hurricane Irma, and 121 of those are still in effect. The primary authorized drone operations are supporting power and insurance companies.

Government agencies with an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) and private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to fly to support of response and recovery operations are strongly encouraged to coordinate their activities with the local incident commander responsible for the area in which they want to operate.

If UAS operators need to fly in controlled airspace or a disaster TFR to support the response and recovery, operatorsmustcontact the FAAs System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.govto determine the information they need to provide in order to secure authorization to access the airspace. Coordination with the SOSC may also include a requirement that the UAS operator obtain support from the appropriate incident commander.The FAA may require information about the operator, the UAS type, a PDF copy of a current FAA COA, the pilots Part 107 certificate number, details about the proposed flight (date, time, location, altitude, direction and distance to the nearest airport, and latitude/longitude), nature of the event (fire, law enforcement, local/national disaster, missing person) and the pilots qualification information.

The FAA warns unauthorized drone operators that they may be subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations. Many aircraft that are conducting life-saving missions and other critical response and recovery efforts are likely to be flying at low altitudes over areas affected by the storm. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may unintentionally disrupt rescue operations and violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if aTemporary Flight Restriction(TFR) is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

FAA Works with Florida Drone Operators to Speed Hurricane Recovery

September 15-After the widespread devastation Hurricane Irma wreaked on Florida last weekend, unmanned aircraft more popularly, drones have been invaluable in supporting response and recovery efforts in the battered Sunshine State.

When Irmas winds and floodwaters damaged homes, businesses, roadways and industries, a wide variety of agencies sought Federal Aviation Administration authorization to fly drones in the affected areas. The FAA responded quickly, issuing a total of 132 airspace authorizations as of today to ensure the drones can operate safely.

For example, the Air National Guard used drones normally tasked for combat operations to perform aerial surveys. The drones allow the Guard to assess disaster-stricken areas quickly and decide which are the most in need of assistance. Similarly, U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent drones from Corpus Christi to Florida to help map areas in Key West, Miami and Jacksonville, using radar to survey geographic points on infrastructure such as power plants for The Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The private sector is playing its part as well. For instance, Airbus Aerial, the commercial drone services division of Airbus, is helping insurance companies act more quickly on claims coming in from homeowners. The company is combining data from drones, manned aircraft and satellite data to give a clearer overall image of specific locations before and after an incident.

Irma left approximately 6 million Floridians without electric power as temperatures remained in the mid-80s, so bringing the power grid back up is critical. In the northern part of the state, Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) is using drones to assist not only with power restoration, but also to ensure the safety of its crews. JEA said it was able to get all its damage assessments done within 24 hours after the storm passed through.

Drones also have played a significant role in helping Florida Power and Light (FPL) restore electricity especially air conditioning for its 4.4 million customers. The company has 49 drone teams out surveying parts of the state still not accessible by vehicles. Some of the drone operators FPL hired were flying within an hour after the storm winds subsided.

FPL cited the recovery effort as a stellar example of cooperation by local, state and federal authorities, including kudos for the FAA.

The search and recovery effort in Florida followed all too soon on the heels of similar operations in the Houston area, where drones played a vital role as well. The FAA issued 137 authorizations, sometimes within a few hours, to drone operators performing search and rescue missions and assessing damage to roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure. In addition to the direct response and recovery efforts, several media outlets flew drones over Houston to provide coverage to local residents and the world about flooding and damage in the area.

The FAAs ability to quickly authorize unmanned aircraft operations after both Irma and Harvey was especially critical because most local airports were either closed or dedicated to emergency relief flights, and the fuel supply was low. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta neatly summed up the importance of drone operations to Irma and Harvey recovery operations in a speech to the InterDrone conference last week:

Essentially, every drone that flew meant that a traditional aircraft was not putting an additional strain on an already fragile system. I dont think its an exaggeration to say that the hurricane response will be looked back upon as a landmark in the evolution of drone usage in this country.

The FAA is also helping with another key part of the Irma recovery by moving a second mobile air traffic tower from Connecticut to Key West, FL to provide a safe, sheltered environment for air traffic controllers to manage relief traffic at the airport. Earlier this week, the FAA shipped another mobile tower to storm-battered St. Thomas by air to support controllers there. The tower for Key West is scheduled to leave Connecticut today on a truck and arrive in Key West in the next few days.

FAA Sends Mobile Air Traffic Tower to St. Thomas

September 13In the wake of Hurricane Irmas destructive path through the Caribbean, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is supporting storm recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands with a fully-staffed mobile air traffic control tower at Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas. The tower was fully operational at 9:40 a.m. this morning and is now supporting relief flights by the U.S. military, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, general aviation and limited commercial flights.

The existing air traffic control tower at the airport was badly damaged by the storm, and controllers were managing air traffic from a tent on the airfield for several days before the mobile tower arrived this morning. The FAA is shuttling controllers back and forth from San Juan, Puerto Rico to St. Thomas every day to staff the facility.

A U.S. Air Force C17 airlifted the tower from Boise, Idaho, to St. Thomas, along with a custom-made trailer and a truck to unload it. The tower is equipped with an engine generator, an air conditioner, four radios for the air traffic controllers and instruments to measure barometric pressure, as well as wind speed and direction. The tower arrived in St. Thomas at 6:15 a.m. and was fully operational in three hours and 25 minutes.

In addition to the air traffic controllers, the FAA has an airport certification safety inspector on site at St. Thomas to ensure the airport is safe before air carrier operations resume. He is working closely with the Virgin Islands Port Authority to ensure that its operation is stabilized, airport safety procedures are in place, all hazards are mitigated and the airport is fully compliant with federal airport safety regulations, so recovery efforts can expand and continue.

Airports and associated facilities including terminal buildings, parking lots and access roads are operated by local organizations that decide when to close to commercial operations and when they can safely reopen. The FAA does not decide if or when airports or other local facilities close or reopen. Some airports in a disaster area may stay closed to the public for several days in the wake of a storm to support the response and recovery effort or because roads to and from the airport are inaccessible. FAA air traffic controllers always are ready to safely resume air traffic control service when airports reopen, and frequently are managing air traffic operations for response and recovery flights while airports are closed to the general public.

Commercial Travelers
Due toHurricane Irma,airlines are likely to cancel many flights in the direct path of the storm and the surrounding area. Flights that are not cancelled may be delayed. Please continue to check the status of your flight with your airline. You can also check the status of some major airports in the storm path by visitingFly.FAA.gov, which is continuously updated.

Drone Users
As of today, the FAA has issued 138 authorizations to commercial drone operators to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, with 24 still active. The FAA has issued 80 authorizations for Hurricane Irma recovery, 44 of which are active.

Government agencies with an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) and private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to fly to support of response and recovery operations are strongly encouraged to coordinate their activities with the local incident commander responsible for the area in which they want to operate.

If UAS operators need to fly in controlled airspace or a disaster TFR to support the response and recovery, operatorsmustcontact the FAAs System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.govto determine the information they need to provide in order to secure authorization to access the airspace. Coordination with the SOSC may also include a requirement that the UAS operator obtain support from the appropriate incident commander.The FAA may require information about the operator, the UAS type, a PDF copy of a current FAA COA, the pilots Part 107 certificate number, details about the proposed flight (date, time, location, altitude, direction and distance to the nearest airport, and latitude/longitude), nature of the event (fire, law enforcement, local/national disaster, missing person) and the pilots qualification information.

The FAA warns unauthorized drone operators that they may be subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations. Many aircraft that are conducting life-saving missions and other critical response and recovery efforts are likely to be flying at low altitudes over areas affected by the storm. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may unintentionally disrupt rescue operations and violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if aTemporary Flight Restriction(TFR) is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

General Aviation Pilots
General aviation pilots should check the FAAsNotices to Airman (NOTAMs)before flying and review the latest information onflight restrictionsin the areas affected by Hurricane Irma. You can monitor TFRs atTFR.FAA.govand@FAANews on Twitterfor the latest information. Regardless of where you are flying, always be aware of the weather conditions along your entire planned route. Contact your destination airport before you take off to obtain the most current information about local weather and airfield conditions. Remember that standard check lists are even more important in and around severe weather. Be aware of weather conditions throughout the entire route of your planned flight. A pilots failure to recognize deteriorating weather conditions continues to cause or contribute to accidents.

FAA's Hurricane Irma Update (ingles\espaol)

September 7TheFederal Aviation Administration(FAA) closely monitors forecasted hurricanes and severe weather events and prepares FAA facilities and equipment to withstand storm damage. We prepare and protect air traffic control facilities along the projected storm path so we can quickly resume operations after the hurricane passes. Enabling flights to resume quickly is critical to support disaster relief efforts.

FAA control towers in hurricane-prone areas are designed and built to sustain hurricane force winds. Each control tower has a maximum wind sustainability. When the winds approach that level, controllers evacuate the tower cabs. They may remain in the building on duty in a secure lower level, and are ready to go back to work as soon as the storm passes.

We also protect communications equipment and navigational aids to the greatest extent possible. As the storm approaches, we disable airport surveillance radar antennas to allow them to spin freely, minimizing potential wind damage. This limits damage to the antenna motors and allows radar coverage to resume quickly after the storm passes.

Airports and associated facilities including terminal buildings, parking lots and access roads are operated by local organizations that decide when to close to commercial operations and when they can safely reopen. The FAA does not decide if or when airports or other local facilities close or reopen. Some airports in a disaster area may stay closed to the public for several days in the wake of a storm to support the response and recovery effort or because roads to and from the airport are inaccessible. FAA air traffic controllers always are ready to safely resume air traffic control service when airports reopen, and frequently are managing air traffic operations for response and recovery flights while airports are closed to the general public.

Commercial Travelers
Due to Hurricane Irma, airlines are likely to cancel many flights in the direct path of the storm and the surrounding area. Flights that are not cancelled may be delayed. Please continue to check the status of your flight with your airline. You can also check the status of some major airports in the storm path by visiting Fly.FAA.gov, which is continuously updated.

Drone Users
The FAA warns unauthorized drone operators that they may be subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations. Many aircraft that are conducting life-saving missions and other critical response and recovery efforts are likely to be flying at low altitudes over areas affected by the storm. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may unintentionally disrupt rescue operations and violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

Government agencies with an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) and private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to fly to support of response and recovery operations are strongly encouraged to coordinate their activities with the local incident commander responsible for the area in which they want to operate.

If UAS operators need to fly in controlled airspace or a disaster TFR to support the response and recovery, operators must contact the FAAs System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing 9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.gov to determine the information they need to provide in order to secure authorization to access the airspace. Coordination with the SOSC may also include a requirement that the UAS operator obtain support from the appropriate incident commander.The FAA may require information about the operator, the UAS type, a PDF copy of a current FAA COA, the pilots Part 107 certificate number, details about the proposed flight (date, time, location, altitude, direction and distance to the nearest airport, and latitude/longitude), nature of the event (fire, law enforcement, local/national disaster, missing person) and the pilots qualification information.

General Aviation Pilots
General aviation pilots should check the FAAs Notices to Airman (NOTAMs) before flying and review the latest information on flight restrictions in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma. You can monitor TFRs at TFR.FAA.gov and @FAANews on Twitter for the latest information. Regardless of where you are flying, always be aware of the weather conditions along your entire planned route. Contact your destination airport before you take off to obtain the most current information about local weather and airfield conditions. Remember that standard check lists are even more important in and around severe weather. Be aware of weather conditions throughout the entire route of your planned flight. A pilots failure to recognize deteriorating weather conditions continues to cause or contribute to accidents.

Spanish Version

La Administracin Federal de Aviacin (FAA) monitorea muy de cerca los pronsticos de huracanes y eventos climticos severos y prepara instalaciones de la FAA y el equipo para soportar el dao de la tormenta. Preparamos y protegemos las instalaciones de control de trfico areo a lo largo de la ruta proyectada de la tormenta por lo que rpidamente podemos reanudar las operaciones tras el huracn. Lo que permite reanudar los vuelos rpidamente lo cual es fundamental para apoyar los esfuerzos de ayuda.

Las torres de control de la FAA en reas propensas a huracanes se disean y son construidas para sostener los vientos huracanados. Cada torre de control tiene una sustentabilidad mxima del viento. Cuando los vientos acercan a ese nivel, los controladores son desalojados/pasan a otras partes de la torre. Ellos pueden seguir prestando los servicios en el mismo edificio, pero en un nivel inferior seguro y estn listos para volver al trabajo tan pronto como pase la tormenta.

Tambin protegemos los equipos de comunicaciones y asistimos a la navegacin en la mayor medida posible. Mientras la tormenta se acerca, desactivamos las antenas de radar de vigilancia del aeropuerto para que puedan girar libremente, y minimizar el dao potencial de viento. Esto limita el dao a los motores de antena y permite una cobertura del radar para que este se reanude rpidamente despus de que la tormenta pase.

Los aeropuertos y los servicios asociados incluyendo edificios terminales, estacionamientos, vas de acceso, etc., son operados por organizaciones locales que decidan cundo cerrar y cundo puede abrir con seguridad. La FAA no decide cuando los aeropuertos u otras instalaciones locales cierran o abren. Los controladores de trfico areo de la FAA siempre estn listos para reanudar el servicio de control de trfico areo con seguridad cuando los aeropuertos estn abiertos y operando.

Viajeros comerciales
Debido a Huracn Irma, las lneas areas suelen cancelar numerosos vuelos en la ruta directa de la tormenta y sus alrededores. Los vuelos que no se cancelan pueden retrasarse. Por favor contine verificando el estado de su vuelo con su compaa area. Tambin puede verificar el estado de algunos aeropuertos importantes en la trayectoria de la tormenta al visitar fly.faa.gov, que se actualiza regularmente.

Sistema Areo no tripulado UAS\Drone
La FAA advierte a los operadores de sistemas areo no tripulado UAS\Droneno autorizados que pueden estar sujetos a multas importantes si interfieren con las operaciones de ayuda a emergencias. Un vuelo de un Drone sin autorizacin en o cerca de la zona de desastre puede violar las leyes federales y ordenanzas estatales, aunque sea un Restriccin Temporal de Vuelos (TFR, por sus siglas en ingls)) no est en su lugar. Permite a los primeros rescatistas salvar vidas y bienes sin interferencia.

Los operadores de UAS que necesitan volar en el espacio areo controlado o un TFR de desastre para brindar el apoyo y ayuda necesaria de recuperacin deben contactar el Sistema de Apoyo del Centro de Operaciones (SOSC) de la FAA enviando un correo electrnico a 9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.gov para determinar la informacin que ellos necesitan proporcionar con el fin de obtener la autorizacin para el acceso al espacio areo.

La coordinacin con el SOSC tambin puede incluir un requisito de que el operador UAS obtenga apoyo del comandante apropiado del incidente. La FAA puede requerir informacin sobre el operador, el tipo de UAS, una copia en PDF de un COA (Certificado de Exencin o Autorizacin) FAA actual, el nmero de certificado de la Parte 107 del piloto, detalles especfico sobre el vuelo (fecha, hora, ubicacin, altitud, direccin y distancia al aeropuerto ms cercano, latitud / longitud), la naturaleza del evento (incendio, aplicacin de la ley, desastre local / nacional, persona desaparecida) y la informacin de calificacin del piloto.

Pilotos de aviacin general
Pilotos de aviacin general deben verificar los Avisos a Aviadores (NOTAMs) de la FAA antes de volar y revisar la informacin ms reciente sobre las restricciones de vuelo en las zonas afectadas por huracn Irma. Para la informacin ms reciente pueden monitorear los TFRs desglosada en TFR.FAA.gov, @FAANews y en Twitter. Independientemente de donde usted est volando, siempre ten en cuenta las condiciones meteorolgicas a lo largo de su ruta prevista. Pngase en contacto con su aeropuerto de destino antes de despegar para obtener la informacin ms actualizada sobre las condiciones locales de clima y aeropuerto. Recuerde que las listas estndar de verificacin son an ms importantes en los alrededores de tiempo severo. Ser conscientes de las condiciones meteorolgicas a lo largo de todo el recorrido de su vuelo planeado. La falla del piloto para reconocer el deterioro de las condiciones de tiempo contina a causar o contribuye a los accidentes.

FAA Small Drone Rule Lets Unmanned Aircraft Soar

September 6 A host of new users is changing the world of commercial aviation thanks in large part to the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) small unmanned aircraft rule, Part 107, which has now been in place for a year. Under the new regulations, drones are changing the way countless jobs are done, from movie filming and real estate marketing to agricultural mapping and smokestack inspections.

The numbers tell part of the success story. Since the Part 107 rule became effective last August, more than 80,000 individual drones have been registered for commercial and government purposes. And more than 60,000 people have obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate required to operate a drone under Part 107.

The FAAs Part 107 is making is possible for a broad range of entities to find innovative uses for drones. Take a look at these examples.

Responding to Disaster Hurricane Harvey
Drones have been invaluable in supporting response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Harvey. The FAA has issued 127 authorizations to drone operators performing seach and rescue missions and assessing damage to roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure; sometimes the agency has issued these authorizations within a few hours. In addition to the direct response and recovery efforts, several media outlets are operating drones over Houston to provide coverage to local residents and the world about flooding and damage in the area. All drone flights are carefully coordinated with manned aircraft operations to ensure the safety of everyone using the crowded Soth Texas airspace.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta addressed the agencys response to the transformative role drones are playing in Hurricane Harvey recovery operations in todays remarks to the InterDrone conference.

Commercial use of drones is taking off.
Several major property insurance companies are using drones to examine homes after storms, capturing images and video in crystal clear quality without requiring a person to climb up to a potentially hazardous roof. Dozens of television stations around the country fly drones to bring fresh aerial views of breaking news at lower risk and cost than a typical news helicopter. Other commercial operators of unmanned aircraft are flying them to monitor construction sites, create topographical maps, survey vegetation and drainage on farm land, inspect pipelines and other gas facilities, and many other innovative tasks.

States and municipalities are using drones for infrastructure improvements.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is saving the state hundreds of thousands of dollars by using drones to survey the median of I-10 for a cable barrier project. Officials in Minnesota and Ohio have flown drones to inspect highway bridges. And a company working with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is using a drone to 3-D map the runways in about half the time as teams armed with cameras.

Drones are a valuable tool for first responders.
When combating structure fires, the Wayne Township Fire Department near Indianapolis flies drones to provide a valuable perspective on hot spots and other potential hazards. In the area around Fort Collins, CO, several law enforcement and fire departments have launched a regional drone program to assist in investigations, including serious crashes and backcountry search and rescue operations. The Idaho State Police are using unmanned aircraft to get birds-eye views of crash and crime scenes, including barricade situations, fatal accidents, hazardous materials spills, and natural disasters.

Scientific research gets a boost from drones.
At the U.S. Geological Survey, officials have mounted sensors on drones to gather more accurate data than satellite imagery for the large swaths of land the USGS is responsible for monitoring. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a fleet of 54 unmanned aircraft ranging in wingspan from less than six feet to more than 115 feet; the drones collect data from areas that can be dangerous for humans, such as the poles, oceans, wildlands, volcanic islands, and wildfires. Researchers at Oklahoma State University are flying sensor- and camera-equipped drones into developing storms to acquire measurements during tornado formation that will help improve knowledge of how tornadoes form and increase the confidence in issuing tornado warnings.

Part 107 as it now exists isnt the end of this success story. The FAA is using a risk-based approach to enable increasingly more complex UAS operations, including operations over people, operations beyond visual line-of-sight, and transportation of persons and property. The agency is capitalizing on each incremental step, making sure a framework of performance-based regulations can easily accommodate change while maintaining the United States unmatched aviation safety record. By 2021 just four years from nowthe agency estimates there could be as many as 1.6 million small drones (under 55 lbs.) in commercial operation.

As FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a recent speech, The only limitation seems to be: How quickly we all of us, across the industry can make it happen, safely.

New Certification Rule for Small Airplanes Becomes Effective

On August 30, the final rule overhauling airworthiness standards for general aviation airplanes published in December of 2016 officially went into effect. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects this rule will enable faster installation of innovative, safety-enhancing technologies into small airplanes, while reducing costs for the aviation industry.

With these performance-based standards, the FAA delivers on its promise to implement forward-looking, flexible rules that encourage innovation. Specifically, the new part 23 revolutionizes standards for airplanes weighing 19,000 pounds or less and with 19 or fewer passenger seats by replacing prescriptive requirements with performance-based standards coupled with consensus-based compliance methods for specific designs and technologies. The rule also adds new certification standards to address GA loss of control accidents and in-flight icing conditions.

This regulatory approach recognizes there is more than one way to deliver on safety. It offers a way for industry and the FAA to collaborate on new technologies and to keep pace with evolving aviation designs and concepts.

The new rule responds to Congressional mandates that direct the FAA to streamline approval of safety advancements for small GA airplanes. It also addresses recommendations from the FAAs 2013 Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which suggested a more streamlined approval process for safety equipment on those airplanes.

The new part 23 also promotes regulatory harmonization among the FAAs foreign partners, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, Transport Canada Civil Aviation, and Brazils National Civil Aviation Authority. Harmonization may help minimize certification costs for airplane and engine manufacturers, and operators of affected equipment, who want to certify their products for the global market.

This regulatory change is a leading example of how the FAA is transforming its Aircraft Certification Service into an agile organization that can support aviation industry innovation in the coming years.AIR Transformation improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the Aircraft Certification Safety System by focusing FAA resources on up-front planning, the use of performance based standards, and a robust risk-based systems oversight program, while leveraging Industrys responsibility to comply with regulations.

Additional Resources:

FAA Supports Drone Assessments for Houston Response and Recovery

By Thursday morning, August 31, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration had issued 43 unmanned aircraft system authorizations to drone operators supporting the response and recovery for Hurricane Harvey or covering it as part of the media.

The authorizations cover a broad range of activities by local, state and federal officials who are conducting damage assessments of critical infrastructure, homes and businesses to help target, prioritize and expedite recovery activities.

The FAA issued eight of the approvals to a railroad company to survey damage along a major rail line running through the city. Five others were issued so oil or energy companies could look for damage to their facilities, fuel tanks, power lines, and other critical components of the local power grid.

A local fire department and county emergency management officials are operating drones to check for any damage to local roads, bridges, underpasses, water treatment plants, and other infrastructure that may need immediate repairs.

State environmental quality officials are flying drones to understand the impacts of flooding and drainage, and cell tower operators are conducting damage assessments of their structures and associated ground equipment. An operator supporting a number of different insurance companies has started on damage assessments of residences and businesses to speed up the claims process.

In addition to the direct response and recovery efforts, four media outlets are operating drones over Houston to provide ongoing coverage to local residents and the rest of the world about flooding and damage in the Houston area.

Operating Drones in the Response and Recovery Area
If you need to operate an unmanned aircraft system or drone in direct support of the Hurricane Harvey response and recovery, you must contact the FAAs System Operation Security Center (SOSC) to operate in any areas covered by a Temporary Flight Restriction.

Qualifying applicants of public UAS operations should contact the SOSC at 202-267-8276 for assistance. A backup request should be sent to the SOSC via email at: 9-ator-hq-sosc@faa.gov.

Qualifying applicants of civil UAS operations must:

  • Secure support from a governmental entity participating in the response relief, or recovery effort, to which the proposed UAS operations will contribute.
  • Contact the SOSC at 202-267-8276 for assistance.
  • Send a backup request to the SOSC via email at 9-ator-hq-sosc@faa.gov.

Requests should be initiated with the SOSC as far in advance as practicable.

The FAA Prepares for Hurricane Harvey

Air Traffic Control
The Federal Aviation Administration closely monitors forecasted hurricanes and severe weather events and prepares FAA facilities and equipment to withstand storm damage. We prepare and protect air traffic control facilities along the projected storm path so we can quickly resume operations after the hurricane passes. Enabling flights to resume quickly is critical to support disaster relief efforts.

FAA control towers in hurricane-prone areas are designed and built to sustain hurricane force winds. Each control tower has a maximum wind sustainability. When the winds approach that level, controllers evacuate the tower cabs. They may remain in the building on duty in a secure lower level, and are ready to go back to work as soon as the storm passes.

We also protect communications equipment and navigational aids to the greatest extent possible. As the storm approaches, we disable airport surveillance radar antennas to allow them to spin freely, minimizing potential wind damage. This limits damage to the antenna motors and allows radar coverage to resume quickly after the storm passes.

Commercial Travelers
Because of Hurricane Harvey, airlines are likely to cancel many flights in the direct path of the storm and the surrounding area. Flights that are not cancelled may be delayed. Please continue to check the status of your flight with your airline. You can also check the status of some major airports in the storm path by visiting Fly.FAA.gov, which is updated regularly.

Drone Users
The FAA warns unauthorized drone operators that they may be subject to significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is not in place.Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

General Aviation Pilots
Standard check lists are even more important in and around severe weather. Be aware of weather conditions throughout the entire route of your planned flight. A pilots failure to recognize deteriorating weather conditions continues to cause or contribute to accidents.

FAA Administrator Huerta dedicates new Taos runway

Culminating a two-decade-long effort, FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta today joined local and state officials in dedicating the new, 8,600-foot runway at Taos Regional Airport.

The new runway is perpendicular to the original runway. It will enable pilots to operate more safely at times of year when wind directions make the airfield more challenging.

The project also comes with important provisions aimed at protecting the lands and lifestyle of the Taos Pueblo.

An airport is a treasure. It is the lifeblood of a community, an asset that must be nurtured, Huerta said. The result of our collaborative efforts is a project that will improve both the safety and utility of this important regional transportation link, while respecting the traditional values and unique culture of the Taos Pueblo.

Federal grants totaling about $25 million paid for most of the project cost.

The environmental review for the project included extensive government-to-government consultation with the Taos Pueblo, Town of Taos and numerous state and federal agencies.

This resulted in a number of mitigations, including the installation and operation of a passive noise monitoring system. The system, which began operating in 2014, will support a pre-project and post-project comparison of flights over the Taos World Heritage Site and adjacent lands.

Additionally, the FAA raised the voluntary minimum flight altitude above the World Heritage site from 2,000 feet to 5,000 feet.

We got this project right because all of the stakeholders approached this in a spirit of collaborative partnership, Huerta said. Without tenacity, dedication and determination we would not be standing here today.

Launching a More Agile and Efficient FAA Flight Services Service

August 22 The Federal Aviation Administrations Flight Standards Service (AFS) plays a vital role in making the U.S. aviation system the worlds safest. But even the best can get better.

On August 20, AFS made organizational adjustments that will enable it to operate with greater accountability, better use of resources, and more readiness to adapt to change. The FAA expects the Flight Standards restructuring to yield benefits to both the agency and the U.S. aviation community. It will strengthen the organizations ability to keep pace with changes in the aviation industry, increase the Services ability to derive maximum benefit from the fixed resources allocated to the agency, and make sure AFS employees develop and interpret regulations and policy consistently across the organization.

To enhance the AFS safety culture, interdependence, critical thinking, and consistency will now embedded in every AFS employee's work requirements. And to facilitate a more agile, efficient, and consistent organization, the service is reorganizing from today's structure, see current org chart, to one based on function, see new org chart.

The FAA issued an Information for Operators bulletin (InFO) on July 26 to provide industry with information to help prepare for the AFS reorganization. The agency has also established a web page to give the aerospace community more detail on the AFS changes.

FAA Safety Briefing Explores New BasicMed Rule

August 9The July/August 2017 issue of FAA Safety Briefing explores several key facets of the new BasicMed rule, which offers pilots an alternative to the FAAs medical qualification process for third class medical certificates. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete a medical education course every two years, undergo a medical examination every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions.

Feature articles include:

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FAA Safety Briefing is the safety policy voice for the non-commercial general aviation community. The magazine's objective is to improve safety by:

  • making the community aware of FAA resources
  • helping readers understand safety and regulatory issues, and
  • encouraging continued training

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