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FAA.gov News and Updates

Latest FAA.gov News and Updates

September 30- As winter approaches, U.S. airports, airline flight crews, dispatchers, general aviation pilots, air traffic controllers, and manufacturers will begin using new Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment (TALPA) methods to improve safety at U.S. airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched a TALPA website with key information the aviation community needs to know to prepare for the TALPA changes, which will be effective tomorrow, October 1. FAA guidance, notices, alerts, videos, and frequently asked questions will help the aviation community reduce the risk of runway overrun accidents and incidents due to runway contamination caused by weather and other factors.

The FAA developed the standards based on the work of the TALPA Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). As a result of the committees work, the FAA has developed a revised method for airports and air traffic controllers to communicate actual runway conditions to the pilots in terms that directly relate to the way a particular aircraft is expected to perform. The TALPA initiative improves the way the aviation community assesses runway conditions, based on contaminant type and depth, which provides an aircraft operator with effective information to anticipate airplane braking performance.

Airport operators will use the new Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM) to assess runway conditions, and pilots will use it to interpret reported runway conditions. The RCAM is presented in a standardized format, based on airplane performance data supplied by airplane manufacturers, for each of the stated contaminant types and depths. The RCAM replaces subjective judgments of runway conditions with objective assessments tied directly to contaminant type and depth categories.

The pilot or dispatcher will then consult the aircraft manufacturer data to determine what type of stopping performance to expect from the specific airplane they are operating.

The airport operator will assess surfaces, report contaminants that are present, and input the information into the Federal NOTAM System in order to generate the numerical Runway Condition Codes (RwyCC) based on the RCAM. The RwyCCs may vary for each third of the runway if different contaminants are present. However, the same RwyCC may be applied when a uniform coverage of contaminants exists. RwyCCs will replace Mu values, which will no longer be published in the Federal NOTAM System.

Pilot braking action reports will continue to be used to assess braking performance. Beginning October 1, the terminology Fair will be replaced by Medium. It will no longer be acceptable for an airport to report a NIL (none) braking action condition. NIL conditions on any surface require the closure of that surface. These surfaces will not be opened until the airport operator is satisfied that the NIL braking condition no longer exists.

Posted: September 30, 2016, 8:40 pm

The FAA Air Traffic Report provides a reasonable expectation of any daily impacts to 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 delay information.

Today's Air Traffic Report:

Gusty winds and low clouds are expected to affect travel in the Northeast today. Flight delays are likely in Boston (BOS), the New York area (EWR, JFK, LGA), Philadelphia (PHL) and the Washington, D.C., area (BWI, DCA, IAD). Thunderstorms off the coasts of Florida may lead to reroutes for trans-Atlantic traffic and flights over the Gulf of Mexico. Morning cloud cover may slow traffic in San Francisco (SFO).

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.

Posted: September 30, 2016, 1:48 pm

September 27 The revolutionary NextGen technology called Data Communications (Data Comm) is now operational at Washington Dulles International Airport.

There is tremendous benefit in this change in the way pilots and air traffic controllers communicate, said Jim Eck, Assistant Administrator for NextGen. Data Comm will allow passengers to get off the tarmac, into the air and to their destinations more quickly. Airlines will be able to stay on schedule and packages will be delivered on time.

The media saw Data Comm in action today during a tour of the Dulles air traffic control tower, a UPS Boeing 767 and a United Airlines Boeing 777. The FAA demonstrated how the NextGen technology enhances safety and reduces delays by providing text-based messaging capabilities between air traffic controllers and pilots.

Representatives from the FAA, UPS, United Airlines, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists were on hand to give their perspective on a technology that is revolutionizing critical communications, beginning with departure clearance services at 56 airports before expanding to enroute airspace.

Leveraging equipment already installed on many aircraft, air traffic controllers and pilots are sending and receiving important flight information using digital text-based messages. At towers with Data Comm such as Dulles, controllers enter flight departure clearance instructions into a computer and push a button to electronically send the information to an aircrafts flight deck. Flight crews view the information, press a button to confirm receipt, and press another button to enter the instructions into the aircrafts flight management system.

Time savings is another major benefit. For instance, when pilots read back a series of complicated waypoints in a clearance with even one mistake called a readback/hearback error they must repeat the instructions until they are correct. A departure clearance using voice communications can take two to three times longer than one via Data Comm and even longer as traffic increases. With Data Comm, transmissions are quickly sent and received electronically to help avoid delays. This benefit becomes even more pronounced during bad weather, when Data Comm enables equipped aircraft to take off before an approaching thunderstorm closes the departure window while aircraft relying solely on voice communications remain stuck on the ground waiting for the storm to pass.

Data Comm is expected to save operators more than $10 billion over the 30-year life cycle of the program and the FAAabout $1 billion in future operating costs.

The first Data Comm-equipped airports Salt Lake City and Houstons George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby received tower departure clearance services eight months ahead of schedule in August 2015. TheFAAand its industry partners are on target to deliver Data Comm to 56 airport towers by the end of the year.

Data Comm is operational at these airport towers:

Fort Lauderdale
Houston Bush
Houston Hobby
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
New Orleans
New York John F. Kennedy
New York LaGuardia
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose
Santa Ana
Washington Dulles
Washington Reagan
Westchester County
Windsor Locks (Bradley)

Posted: September 27, 2016, 7:40 pm

September 27- The FAA and General Aviation (GA) groups #FlySafe national safety campaign aims to educate the GA community on best practices for calculating and predicting aircraft performance, and operating within established aircraft limitations. Impairment may cause a pilot to exceed these limitations and lose control of the aircraft.

Are You an Impaired Pilot?
Of course not, you may say. But, impairment doesnt just cover illegal drugs and alcohol. Fatigue and over-the-counter or prescription drugs can lead to impairment, too.

  • Have you flown tired, because youre eager to get home, thinking youll rest later?
  • Have you had a drink at dinner, and thought you were fine to fly home?
  • How about your cold medicine? Did you know it can cause impairment too?

Its important to know the risk of taking risks with your safety and the safety of those who fly with you.

Fit to fly means free of ANY impairment, including drugs, alcohol, or fatigue.

What Do the Regs Say?
The Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) require full fitness for flight. You must be well-rested and free of distraction, and you must be free of drugs and alcohol.

Eight hours bottle to throttle is a minimum. Do not fly if you feel a little bit off. The FAA does not hesitate to act aggressively when pilots violate the alcohol and drug provisions of the FARs.

Fatal Results

  • According to the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, between 6 and 14 percent of pilot fatalities are alcohol related. The FAA calculated those statistics by analyzing blood and tissue samples from pilots who have died in aviation accidents.
  • Further analysis of pilots who died in an accident shows some used prescription drugs such as common sleep aids and cold remedies, without realizing that these drugs could make them unfit to fly.
  • A number of studies have found that a pilots performance can be impaired by only a few drinks, even after the pilots blood alcohol content (BAC) has returned to zero. In fact, these lingering effects can be detected up to 48 hours after consumption, and they can leave you at increased susceptibility to spatial disorientation, hypoxia, and other problems.

Do You Need Help?
The Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) is a recovery program for pilots that major airlines and pilot unions support. More than 5,500 pilots have undergone treatment for alcohol use or dependency since 1975 and have been returned to the cockpit. Most pilots enter the program through self-disclosure.

General aviation pilots may not have access to HIMS, but there are a number of effective community programs available. Please work with your personal physician to identify what type of treatment would be good for you. Self-help groups such as Rational Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous can be a critical source of support and treatment.

It may be hard to admit that you need help, but you can recover. Find treatment, stick with it, and dont fly until you are safe to be in the cockpit.

And Finally

  • Let your aviation medical examiner know every medication you take on a regular basis.
  • Make sure anyone prescribing medication for you knows that you are a pilot.
  • DO NOT FLY if you are feeling sleepy, out of it or jittery.
  • DO NOT FLY if you are using illegal drugs.
  • DO NOT FLY if you have recently consumed alcohol.
  • GET HELP for drug or alcohol abuse.

Make sure you are fully fit to fly so you and your passengers reach your destination safely.

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

Contributing factors may include:

  • Poor judgment/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 prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal drugs or alcohol

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. Each month on FAA.gov, were providing pilots with a Loss of Control solution developed by a team of experts. They have studied the data and developed solutions some of which are already reducing risk. We 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.

Did you know?

Last year, 384 people died in 238 general aviation accidents.

  • Loss of Control is 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 LOC every four days.

Learn more
Learn more about the FAAs Drug and Alcohol Testing Program. It is designed to keep all of us safe.

Help is available. Please dont hesitate to reach out. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Rational Recovery are two valuable resources that are available in many communities.

The HIMS program is specific to commercial pilots, but its website has good information on the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse.

The NTSB has published a Safety Alert about the dangers of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

The FAASafety.gov website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics.

Check out the 2016 GA Safety Enhancements (SEs) fact sheets on the main FAA Safety Briefing website, including Flight Risk Assessment Tools.

The WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program helps 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.

The General 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 accidents in GA.

An FAA fact sheet outlines GA safety improvements and initiatives.

The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers across different parts of the FAA, several government agencies, and stakeholder groups. The other federal agencies are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which participates as an observer. 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 European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also participates as an observer.

Posted: September 27, 2016, 4:39 pm

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