FAA news

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2018, which shows space activity in the United States and worldwide is strong and growing. Specifically, the report finds the global space industry, which combines satellite services and ground equipment, government space budgets, and global navigation satellite services equipment represents about $345 billion in activity.

Acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell discussed the increase in space activity in remarks yesterday at the FAAs annual Commercial Space Conference in Washington, D.C.

The FAAs Office of Commercial Space Transportation produced the document, which contains three primary parts. The first part provides a narrative detail about the space transportation industry, covering topics such as launch vehicles, payloads, and launch and re-entry sites. The second part summarizes worldwide space activities during the previous year and integrates that information with activities that have taken place the last five years. The third part covers policies and regulations relevant to commercial space transportation.

Some noteworthy items in the compendium include:

  • Recognition that the U.S. space industry has begun to make inroads into the existing share of commercial launches now conducted by the Russians.
  • China has made notable increases in government space activity.
  • Suborbital vehicles slated for passenger activity popularly known as space tourism had significant activities in 2016, including several test flights of space vehicles.

For many decades, governments have dominated and primarily conducted space travel. That changed in the mid-1980s with the creation of the Office of Commercial Space Transportation under the Department of Transportation.The office is now located at the FAA with the mission of ensuring the protection of the public, property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States during commercial rocket launches and space vehicle re-entries.Since 1989, it has licensed more than 300 operations and launch sites.

More than 3,500 additional take-offs and landings and nearly 1,000 additional aircraft on the ground are expected for the Super Bowl, which will be held Sunday, February 4, at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Special procedures, including Temporary Flight Restrictions and a No Drone Zone will limit flights around US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis before, during and after the Big Game.

Heads up, stay safe, and heres what you need to know:

Temporary Flight Restrictions

  • The TFR will go into effect Sunday afternoon. It will cover a 30-nautical mile ring, centered over the stadium and from the ground up to 18,000 feet in altitude, before expiring at 11:59 p.m. that evening. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may establish additional TFRs during the week if security needs require them. Pilots are required to be aware of the latest TFR postings, and to check NOTAMs before flight.
  • The parameters of a TFR are dynamic and are subject to change. Be sure to check the TFR before you take off so you can see the latest description and map.
  • All scheduled commercial flights, emergency, medical, public safety or military flights may enter the TFR while it is in place, in coordination with air traffic control. The TFR will not affect regularly-scheduled commercial flights flying in and out of Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport (MSP).
  • The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) enforces TFRs in real time, but the FAA may also take later action against a pilot who violates a TFR.

No Drone Zone

  • Drones are prohibited within a 30-nautical mile radius of US Bank Stadium during the TFR. Pilots are encouraged to check all Notices to determine where drones may fly. Pilots who violate the restrictions may be subject to penalties from the FAA or law enforcement. Drone operators are responsible for complying with all restrictions, notices and other limitations.


  • Controllers at Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport, St. Paul Downtown, Anoka County-Blaine and Flying Cloud towers will handle traffic, as will controllers at Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center in Farmington.
  • FAA electronics technicians also will be on hand at all facilities to monitor and maintain air traffic equipment and on-field navigational aids. All facilities will remain open for 24 hours this weekend.
  • Airports can only accept as many aircraft as they can safely park, and parking spots must be reserved in advance. Overflow traffic will be sent to Crystal (MIC), Osceola (OEO), New Richmond (RNH), Red Wing (RGK), St. Cloud (STC), Rochester (RST), and Mankato (MKT). Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), St. Paul Downtown (STP), Anoka-County-Blaine (ANE) and Flying Cloud (FCM) airports will close runways for additional parking.
  • Most aircraft are expected to arrive between Friday night, February 2, and Sunday morning, February 4. Departures are expected to be heavy immediately after the game through Monday afternoon, pushing air traffic levels to two to three times the normal amount. The FAA has added additional departure routes to quickly funnel air traffic out of the airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) will co-host the 3rd Annual FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Symposium on March 6-8, 2018 at the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD.

The Symposium will bring together representatives from the FAA, other government agencies, industry and academia to discuss the latest issues related to the burgeoning use of unmanned aircraft and their integration into the National Airspace System. There will be panels, breakout sessions, and workshops during the three-day event.

As it did at last years Symposium, the FAA will operate an on-site resource center to help owners and operators with airspace authorizations, waivers, understanding the Part 107 small UAS rule, and other policies and regulations.

Economic prosperity and world class leadership in this country begins with innovation, and the UAS community is leading the way. Dont miss this opportunity to get up-to-the-minute information on government regulations and to participate in hands-on, collaborative discussions with the most innovative minds in the UAS field. Interest in the Symposium is greater than ever, so register now .

Due to a lapse in funding, the FAA will only continue exempt activities such as air traffic control and safety inspections. There will be no impact to safety or safety oversight for the traveling public.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)and the general aviation (GA) communitys national #FlySafe campaign is designed to 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.

Types of Enhanced Vision Systems
Our five senses vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch) are key to keeping us safe. Vision is especially important to a pilot. Vision at night and in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) can be improved with technology, such as Enhanced Vision (EV) and Synthetic Vision (SV) technology.

Enhanced Vision (EV) uses sensors on your airplane to provide a better view. These sensors can be infrared or radar. They are very useful in seeing terrain in weather, or on a dark night. The sensors help you see what is actually in front of the aircraft.

Synthetic Vision (SV) doesnt use sensors. Instead, it relies on GPS information and a database to create a virtual landscape. SV can create a picture of the flight environment and overlay that picture with aircraft instrumentation. The result is a single image that contains the information you need for safe flight operations. Since this information is not based on direct observation, youll need to keep your software and databases up to date.

Display Choices
Most GA systems are displayed through a cockpit Multifunction Display (MFD), or a Primary Flight Display (PFD). A Head Up display (HUD) is a great way of displaying EV/SV information.

Regardless of which display you choose, be sure to become very familiar with it before you use it in real time. Its a good idea to schedule periodic proficiency training with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) who knows the equipment. These training and review sessions will give you the confidence you need to use the equipment effectively.

Message from FAA Acting 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 #Fly Safe 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?

  • In 2016, 413 people died in 219 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:
Read more about Enhanced Vision Systems in Brushing Back the Dark: A Look at the Latest in Night Vision Technology. FAA Safety Briefing Jan/Feb 2014, p. 20.

FAAsAdvisory Circular 90-106, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems, has valuable information.

T=Terrain Avoidance: What does it Take to Use NVGs? FAA Safety Briefing Nov/Dec 2015, p. 28

You can learn more about Enhanced Vision Systems in this GA Safety Enhancement fact sheet

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

Check out GA Safety Enhancements fact sheets on the mainFAA Safety Briefingwebsite, including Flight Risk Assessment Tools.

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.

If you are an airline passenger packing your bags to travel for the holidays, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advises you to take a moment to check out the agencys Pack Safe website. There are many items that people use on a daily basis that are considered hazardous materials when packed to fly on a plane. Flyers should know that e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and spare lithium batteries should NOT be packed in their checked luggage. Spare lithium batteries the kind that are found in personal electronic devices and back-up charging devices can only travel in carry-on baggage.

Electronic devices powered by lithium batteries can catch fire if they are damaged or have exposed electrical terminals. Devices that smoke or catch fire are much easier to extinguish in the cabin than they are in the cargo hold. So, the FAA recommends that passengers keep cell phones and other devices nearby in the cabin, so they can quickly access them, if necessary.

However, even in carry-on baggage, spare lithium batteries should be protected from damage or short circuiting. Ensuring that the batteries are packed properly and are not touching or bumping something that could potentially cause them to spark. If batteries are not sealed in manufacturer packaging, the battery terminals should be protected by covering them with tape and placing them in separate bags to prevent short circuits.

Some of the other common toiletries that passengers may plan to pack, but that could be hazardous include: aerosol cans that may contain hair spray, deodorant, tanning spray or animal repellant; nail polish; artist paints; and glues.

For more detailed information about materials that should not fly, visit the FAAs Hazardous Materials Safety website.

To be on the safe side, when in doubt, just leave it out!

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revised its Advisory Circular (AC) entitled Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities to ensure airport operators of civil use airports comply with the laws and regulations pertaining to individuals with disabilities.

Guidelines for Service Animal Relief Areas (SARAs) are an important part of the revised guidance. The AC provides requirements and recommendations for SARAs at civil use airports, which are required for each airport with 10,000 or more enplanements. It is mandatory for civil use airports that receive federal financial assistance through the Airport Improvement Program or Passenger Facility Charges program to follow the standards.

In addition to the SARAs, airport operators must also ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to adequate communications tools and signage, vehicle and transportations systems, aircraft and air carrier facilities, and boarding assistance.

Airport operators must adhere to the federal accessibility requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.

The AC also provides a list of disability/accessibility organizations that airports sponsors may consult as they are installing SARAs at their airports.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) chartered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June has submitted its report and recommendations to the agency on technologies available to identify and track drones in flight and other associated issues.

The ARCs 74 members represented a diverse array of stakeholders that included the aviation community and industry member organizations, law enforcement agencies and public safety organizations, manufacturers, researchers, and standards entities involved with UAS.

Overall, the ARC provided the FAA with a substantial amount of useful data, including very detailed technology evaluations and a comprehensive list of law enforcement needs and preferences. The ARCs recommendations and suggestions, which are fully detailed in the report, cover issues related to existing and emerging technologies, law enforcement and security, and implementation of remote identification and tracking. Although some recommendations were not unanimous, the group reached general agreement on most. Highlights of the recommendations include:

  • The FAA should consider two methods for remote ID and tracking of drones: direct broadcast (transmitting data in one direction only with no specific destination or recipient) and (2) network publishing (transmitting data to an internet service or group of services). Both methods would send the data to an FAA-approved internet-based database.
  • The data collected must include a unique identifier for unmanned aircraft, tracking information, and drone owner and remote pilot identification.
  • The FAA should promote fast-tracked development of industry standards while a final remote ID and tracking rule is developed, potentially offering incentives for early adoption and relying on educational initiatives to pave the way to the implementation of the rule.
  • The FAA should implement a rule in three stages, with an ultimate goal that all drones manufactured or sold within the United States that comply with the rule must be so labeled. The agency should allow a reasonable grace period to retrofit drones manufactured or sold before the final rule is effective.
  • The FAA should coordinate any ID and tracking system with the existing air traffic control system and ensure it does not substantially increase workloads.
  • The FAA should exempt drones operating under air traffic control or those operating under the agencys discretion (public aircraft operations, security or defense operations, or with a waiver).
  • The FAA must review privacy considerations, in consultation with privacy experts and other Federal agencies, including developing a secure system that allows for segmented access to the ID and tracking information. Within the system, only persons authorized by the FAA (e.g., law enforcement officials, airspace management officials, etc.) would be able to access personally identifiable information.

While the ARC reached consensus on most issues, there were dissenting opinions, primarily over to which drones the ID and tracking requirements should apply. Many of these dissenting opinions expressed concerns that exempting model aircraft operating under Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 would undermine the value of an ID and tracking requirement. Other dissenting opinions touched upon issues such as privacy and a lack of detail or consideration for ATC involvement.

The FAA will use the data and recommendations in the ARC report in crafting a proposed rule for public comment.

At the request of U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies, 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 unauthorized drone operations over seven Department of Energy (DOE) facilities.

The FAA and DOE have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of these sites:

  • Hanford Site, Franklin County, WA
  • Pantex Site, Panhandle, TX
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
  • Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID
  • Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC
  • Y-12 National Security Site, Oak Ridge, TN
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

The airspace restrictions are shown in an FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and the details about where drone flights are restricted are here.

These UAS National Security restrictions are pending until they become effective on December 29, 2017. There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.

To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, the FAA has created an interactive map online. The link to these restrictions is also included in the FAAs B4UFLYmobile app. The app will be updated within 60 days to reflect these airspace restrictions. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAAs UAS website.

Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

This is the first time the agency has placed specific airspace restrictions for unmanned aircraft, or drones, over DOE sites. The FAA has placed similar airspace restrictions over military bases that currently remain in place, as well as more recently issued UAS flight restrictions over 10 Department of Interior facilities, including several large dams and iconic landmarks.

The FAA is considering additional requests from other federal security agencies for restrictions using the FAAs 99.7 authority to support national security and defense, as they are received.

The text of the NOTAM is as follows:


Tomorrow at 2 p.m. Eastern Time is the deadline for Lead Applicants to submit Volume I and Volume II for the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP).

The UAS IPP is an opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to accelerate the safe integration of UAS operations. Entities that wish to participate in the program must submit proposals to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly more advanced UAS operations, such as beyond visual line-of-sight or over people.

There are two ways to participate in the program, as a Lead Applicant and/or an Interested Party.

Lead Applicants must be state, local or tribal government entities. They will serve as the primary point of contact with the FAA.

Interested Parties are prospective public and private sector applicants/partners or Lead Applicants. They may submit a request by 2 p.m. ET December 13 to be on the Interested Parties List to facilitate the formation of Pilot Program teams. Interested parties can be private sector companies or organizations, UAS operators, other stakeholders or state/local/tribal government entities, including those that are designated Lead Applicants and those that are not.

The UAS IPP is expected to provide immediate opportunities for new and expanded commercial UAS operations, while fostering a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to UAS integration.