FAA news

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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