News & Updates
FAA.gov News and Updates
Latest FAA.gov News and Updates
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:
Skies are clear in the West, while cloud cover and gusty winds could mean delays in Boston (BOS), the New York area (EWR, JFK, LGA), Philadelphia (PHL) and the Washington, D.C., area (DCA, IAD). Low clouds also may slow traffic in Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (MDW, ORD) and San Francisco (SFO). Thunderstorms stretching from Virginia to Florida and over the Atlantic Ocean, may affect high-altitude flights this afternoon.
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:
New York John F. Kennedy
New York LaGuardia
Salt Lake City
Windsor Locks (Bradley)
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.
- 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.
- 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 about the FAAs Drug and Alcohol Testing Program. It is designed to keep all of us safe.
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.
September 16- Following a Consumer Product Safety Commission recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the FAA is issuing general guidance to airlines about the rules for carrying recalled or defective lithium devices on board aircraft as cargo or in carry-on luggage.
U.S. hazardous material regulations prohibit air cargo shipments of recalled or defective lithium batteries and lithium battery-powered devices, and passengers may not turn on or charge the devices when they carry them on board a plane. Passengers must also protect the devices from accidental activation, including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks, and must not pack them in checked luggage.
The SAFO urges the airlines: to ensure that cargo and passenger processing employees, and those responsible for cabin safety, are aware of the rules; to ensure that cargo customers are aware of the rules; and to include information and guidance on their websites about damaged or recalled lithium batteries and devices.
The SAFO notes that the hazardous material regulations do not preclude an airline from proactively placing its own restrictions on carrying or using specific lithium battery products on board aircraft, prior to an official government recall or advisory.
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