Federal Aviation Administration News

FAA Enhances China Aviation Safety Partnership

October 27 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) today announced the signing of an implementing agreement under the U.S. China Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) recognizing each others regulatory systems with respect to the airworthiness of aviation products and articles.

The Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness (IPA) document allows each authority to leverage approvals completed by the other with respect to design, production, and airworthiness as well as continued airworthiness. The agreement uses the compatibilities of the two authorities certification systems and fulfills the commitment that the U.S. and China made in 2005 with the establishment of a BASA. This IPA also allows both the FAA and the CAAC to submit applications for validation for all categories of aviation products and addresses globalization challenges such as complex business models separating design and production.

This agreement supports the FAA Aircraft Certification Services refresh of certification strategy by responding to stakeholder needs and promoting the seamless transfer of products and approvals globally.

President Trump and Secretary Chao Announce Drone Integration Pilot Program

October 25WASHINGTON President Donald J. Trump directed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today to launch an initiative to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in select jurisdictions. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program implements a directive signed by President Trump today, and the results will be used to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and to realize the benefits of unmanned technology in our economy.

The program will help tackle the most significant challenges in integrating drones into the national airspace while reducing risks to public safety and security. The program is designed to provide regulatory certainty and stability to local governments and communities, UAS owners and operators who are accepted into the program. In less than a decade, the potential economic benefit of integrated unmanned aerial systems into the nations airspace is estimated to equal up to $82 billion and create up to 100,000 jobs.*

The program will help the USDOT and FAA develop a regulatory framework that will allow more complex low-altitude operations; identify ways to balance local and national interests; improve communications with local, state and tribal jurisdictions; address security and privacy risks; and accelerate the approval of operations that currently require special authorizations.

This program supports the Presidents commitment to foster technological innovation that will be a catalyst for ideas that have the potential to change our day-to-day lives, said Secretary Chao. Drones are proving to be especially valuable in emergency situations, including assessing damage from natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes and the wildfires in California.

The pilot program will evaluate a variety of operational concepts, including night operations, flights over people, flights beyond the pilots line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies, counter-UAS security operations, and the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft. Industries that could see immediate opportunities from the program include commerce, photography, emergency management, precision agriculture, and infrastructure inspections and monitoring.

Stakeholders will have the opportunity through this program to demonstrate how their innovative technological and operational solutions can address complex unmanned aircraft integration challenges, said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. At the same time, the program recognizes the importance of community participation in meaningful discussions about balancing local and national interests related to integrating unmanned aircraft.

Prospective local government participants should partner with the private sector to develop pilot proposals.

After evaluating all of the applications, the U.S. Department of Transportation will invite a minimum of five partnerships. In the coming days, the Department will publish a Federal Register Notice with more details about how applications will be evaluated and how the program will work.

For more information:

FAA Hosts Fifth General Aviation Summit

October 24 Were pleased with where general aviation safety is headed. The numbers arent final, but it looks like 2017 will end up being our safest year yet. Working together with industry to meaningfully address safety is making a difference and were going to continue our collaboration to make GA even safer.

Its an issue that needs to be approached from many angles some regulatory, some technological, some educational. And thats the driving force behind the fifth annual General Aviation Safety Summit we held with our government and industry partners today.

Weve made substantial progress since last years gathering. The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) continues to implement targeted safety enhancements. We finalized the Part 23 rule that will help decrease the time to get safety-enhancing technologies for small airplanes to the marketplace. The Fly Safe educational campaign has reached millions of our social media followers with information on how to avoid loss of control accidents. And in collaboration with aviation training community experts, last summer we updated key elements of the airman certification system to include an enhanced focus on risk management.

Theres no silver bullet when it comes to making GA safer. We have to remain vigilant and keep finding new ways to advance our shared safety mission. The GA community has been willing to roll up their sleeves and ask, How can we fix this together? With that kind of attitude, I know we can tackle anything that comes our way and get ever closer to the day when general aviation fatalities are a thing of the past.

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.

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