FAA news

On Wednesday evening, an air traffic controller at the Las Vegas tower became incapacitated while on duty. The FAA is deeply concerned by the incident, is thoroughly investigating what occurred, and is taking immediate steps to modify its overnight shift staffing policies. No safety events occurred during this incident. The controller is currently restricted from working air traffic.

At the request of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations 99.7 Special Security Instructions to address concerns about potentially malicious drone operations over certain, high-priority maritime operations.

The FAA, in cooperation with DOD and USCG, is restricting drone flights near U.S. Navy (USN) and USCG vessels operating in the vicinity of Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia. Drone operations are required to maintain a distance of at least 3,000 feet laterally and 1,000 feet vertically from these vessels.

These special security instructions, provided in an FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), are effective today. The full text of this NOTAM and additional information on these special security instructions, including a visual depiction and geospatial definition of the relevant airspace.

The FAA also warns drone operators in this NOTAM that these USN and USCG vessels are authorized by law to take protective action against drones perceived to be safety or security threats such as those violating the cited FAA special security instructions. This action could result in interference, disruption, seizure, damage or destruction of these drones. Further, operators who do not comply with the FAA special security instructions also may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

Any operator with an overriding reason of public interest or necessity (e.g., conducting a search and rescue mission) to operate their drone in close proximity to the cited USN and USCG vessels must first coordinate with the USN or USCG point of contact identified in the website linked above.

In a separate Special Notice Advisory NOTAM, also effective today, the FAA strongly advises drone operators to remain clear of DOD and Department of Energy (DOE) facilities and mobile assets, as well as USCG vessels. This Special Notice applies nationwide and alerts operators who ignore this caution and conduct drone flights perceived to be a safety or security threat to these facilities and mobile assets could face a reaction by security forces that results in the interference, disruption, seizure, damage or destruction of their aircraft.

Information can be found here on these two NOTAMs, and all of the locations currently covered by 99.7 restrictions. This website also provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAAs UAS website.

Today's Air Traffic Report:

Wind could delay flights today in Newark (EWR), and low clouds are expected in San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA). Afternoon thunderstorms could slow traffic in Phoenix (PHX).

Pilots: Check out the new Graphical Forecasts for Aviation (GFA) Tool from the Aviation Weather Center.

For up-to-the-minute air traffic operations information, visit fly.faa.gov, and follow @FAANews on Twitter for the latest news and Air Traffic Alerts.

The FAA Air Traffic Report provides a reasonable expectation of any daily impactsto normal air traffic operations, i.e. arrival/departure delays, ground stoppages, airport closures. This information is for air traffic operations planning purposes and is reliable as weather forecasts and other factors beyond our ability to control.

Always check with your air carrier for flight-specific delayinformation.

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

A Loss of Control (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.

Medications and Flight

Medicine, whether its prescribed or bought over-the-counter, is designed to solve a problem. However, used incorrectly, medicine may create real hazards for pilots. Some drugs can compromise your ability to control the aircraft. These meds can affect your ability to think clearly and make critical decisions quickly and accurately.

The FAA is concerned with a medications side effects in you as well as whether your underlying medical condition allows you to be fit for flight. Level with your doctor, and your Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), and tell him or her about your condition. He or she may be able to treat you in a way that will keep you safe, and in the cockpit.

Dont Be That Pilot

A pilot may decide that he or she can control a medicines effects on the body, and decide to fly anyway. Since a medicines effects can be exaggerated at higher altitudes, that plan could be disastrous.

Another pilot may choose to withhold information, and not tell his or her AME, that he or he has a condition that could compromise safety. Not only could the undisclosed condition endanger the airman, but the treatment could also create problems through drugs that limit peak performance in the cockpit.

  • You must ensure you are fit for flight, and that means being alert, ready, and free from any limiting medications.
  • You must be honest with your AME and tell him or her about any medical conditions you may have, and any medications you are taking. In some cases, he or she can recommend alternative treatment options that could keep you in the air.

Common Meds to Watch For

The FAA is often asked for a list of approved medications, but the FAA does not publish such a list. The reason is that medications change frequently, and while the FAA may approve medications for some diagnoses, those same medications are not approved for others.

What types of side effects should you look out for in medications? One of the most common side effects is drowsiness, which youll often see in antihistamines, a medication used to control allergies. These meds can have powerful sedating effects. In fact, one of them (Benadryl) is often used as a sedative. The NTSB has found that sedating antihistamines are the most common medications found in the bodies of pilots killed in accidents.

The second most common sedating drugs are cardiovascular drugs, which include medications for high blood pressure. Some less common drugs include those used to treat diarrhea, seizures, smoking addiction, and depression. Avoid opioids at all times. If you are taking any of these drugs, work with your doctor and/or AME to see if you can find an alternative.

  • Dont fly while using a medication with which youve previously experienced a negative side effect.
  • If you are using an FAA-approved medication for the first time, see how it affects you before taking flight. Wait 48 hours after taking it and see if you are fit for flight.

For additional information go to: https://www.faa.gov/pilots/safety/pilotsafetybrochures/media/Meds_brochure.pdf

What if I Have a Medical Condition?

If you have a condition that would disqualify or prevent you from flying, talk to your doctor and/or AME. See if any alternatives are available that will keep you safe.

Message from Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell:

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 #FlySafe 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?

  • From October 2016 through September 2017, 247 people died in 209 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:

This FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) Fact Sheet has more information about Pilots and Medications.

Learn more about the possible side effects of common allergy medications in this AOPA bulletin.

This Skybrary article discusses the effects of drugs and alcohol on pilot performance.

Time is getting short!!The FAAs Equip ADS-B website gives you the information you need to equip now including information about the ADS-B Rebate Program.

Curious about FAA regulations (Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations)? Its a good idea to stay on top of them. You can find current FAA regulations on this website.

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

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.

Washington, DCThe U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investing $40.9 million in infrastructure for Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) in Greensboro, NC. The Agency is building a new, 180-foot-tall Air Traffic Control Tower.

The new control tower will accommodate up to eight positions for air traffic controllers in a 550- square-foot tower cab. A 15,650 square-foot base building will anchor the new tower. It will house the Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) with up to 10 radar positions for air traffic controllers. It will be equipped with state-of-the-art automation and communications systems. The base building also will include administrative offices and a training classroom. Construction will begin in early 2019, and the FAA expects to commission the facility in early 2022.

The new tower will allow air traffic controllers to manage flights safely and efficiently at North Carolinas third busiest airport. Greensboro Tower controlled 84,600 flights, and the TRACON handled 155,000 radar operations in the 12 months ending on Sept. 1, 2018.

The FAA awarded the construction contract to Archer Western Construction, LLC, of Chicago, IL. The new facility will replace the existing 90-foot-tall tower that has been in operation since 1974.

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.

Commercial Travelers
Because of Hurricane Michael, airlines are likely to cancel many flights in the direct path of the storm and the surrounding areas. Flights that are not cancelled may be delayed. Once Hurricane Michael makes ground fall, airports may be listed as open but flooding on local roadways may limit access to airports for passengers, as well as the employees who work for the airlines or at the airport. As a result, every aspect of your trip to the airport, including parking, checking in, getting through security and boarding may take longer than usual.

As always, check with airlines about the status of your flight before you leave for the airport. Major carriers provide flight status updates on their website:

Please continue to check the status of your flight with your airline, not the FAA. You can also check the status of some major airports in the storm path by visitingFly.FAA.gov, which is updated regularly. You can also checkcurrent travel advisoriesprovided by most U.S. airlines.

Air Traffic Control
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.

Drone Users
The FAA warns drone operators that they will be subject to significant fines that may exceed $20,000 and civil penalties 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 aTemporary 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.

What DHS and FEMA are Doing

What the U.S. Government is Doing

TheFederal Aviation Administration(FAA) is warning drone owners and operators that they will be subject to significant fines that may exceed $20,000 if they interfere with emergency response operations in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael.

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.

Government agencies with anFAA Certificate of Authorization(COA) or flying underPart 107, as well as private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to support 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 drone 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.govtheinformationthey need to authorize access to the airspace. Coordination with the SOSC may also include a requirement that a drone operator obtain support from the appropriate incident commander.

Heres the information the FAA may require:

  • the unmanned aircraft 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.

If your airspace authorization expired on September 30, 2018, and you did not receive an airspace authorization extension, you can apply for a new authorization via the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) or the DroneZone.

There are two ways to obtain an authorization:

1. The quickest and easiest way is through LAANC. An FAA approved UAS Service Supplier (USS) of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability grants an airspace authorization* in near real time. A list of USSs is available below. Instructions on how to apply are provided by the individual service provider.

2. Through the DroneZone:

To use the DroneZone you must first set up an account. (If youve already registered your drone, you should login using that account.)

  • Select option to register under the tab Fly sUAS under Part 107."
  • Register your drone.
  • Under section Part 107 Waivers and Authorizations, follow the instructions to create an authorization application.

Before you apply make sure your read our tips on how to apply.

*LAANC does not support waiver applications, authorizations that are part of a waiver application can only be made in the DroneZone.

On October 5, 2018, the President signed theFAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The Act establishes new conditions for recreational use of drones and immediately repeals the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

  • Fly for hobby or recreation only
  • Register your model aircraft
  • Fly within visual line-of-sight
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization
  • Fly a drone under 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization
  • Never fly near other aircraft
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts

The agency is evaluating the impacts of this change in the law and how implementation will proceed. The Reauthorization Act cannot be fully implemented immediately, please continue to follow all current policies and guidance with respect to recreational use of drones:

Updated direction and guidance will be provided as the FAA implements this new legislation.

WASHINGTON FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts(WEA) on Wednesday, October3, 2018. The WEA portion of the test, which will be sent to consumer cell phones, will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT.

The test message will appear on consumers phones and read, THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed. Phones will display this national test using the header Presidential Alert. These nationwide alerts, established pursuant to the WARN Act of 2006, are meant for use in a national emergency and are the only type of alert that can be sent simultaneously nationwide by FEMA.

Further details of the event can be found at FEMAs website.

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