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LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

House and Senate Release Competing Aviation Authorization Bills
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On Thursday June 29th, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved with bipartisan support a bill to reauthorize federal aviation programs for four years. After the adoption of several amendments to a manger’s package,

Trump Administration Releases Complete FY’18 Budget
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Trump Administration Releases Complete FY’18 Budget The Trump Administration released their much anticipated budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018.  Budget requests include: cutting DOT spending by 13% to $16.2B; eliminating the TIGER grant program; ending funding for long-haul Amtrak routes … Read More

President-Elect Trump Taps Former Labor Secretary to Head US DOT
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Secretary-Designate Elaine Chao Will Execute Trump Infrastructure Plan President-elect Donald Trump has picked Elaine Chao, former U.S. Labor Secretary

The Rep. Fitzpatrick Amendment To The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Should Be Opposed
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Rep. Fitzpatrick has filed an amendment with the House Rules Committee that would define veteran-owned small businesses as “disadvantaged business enterprises” or “DBEs”.  While efforts to support the entrepreneurial efforts of former service members are very worthwhile, defining veteran owned … Read More

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FAA NEWS

FAA.gov News and Updates

Latest FAA.gov News and Updates

Today's Air Traffic Report:

Rain showers, fog and gusty winds from Tropical Storm #Jose likely will delay flights in Boston (BOS), the New York area (EWR, JFK, LGA) and Philadelphia (PHL). Low clouds may slow traffic in Chicago (MDW, ORD), Detroit (DTW), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA). Thunderstorms could delay flights along the Gulf Coast (HOU, IAH, MSY).

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 delay information.

Posted: September 20, 2017, 1:31 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted: September 18, 2017, 7:43 pm

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.

Posted: September 15, 2017, 7:01 pm

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.

Posted: September 13, 2017, 8:32 pm

 

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