FAA news

If you fly your drone anywhere near a wildfire, you could get someone killed.

Thats the stern warning the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. wildland fire agencies have for pilots of unmanned aircraft (UAS, or more popularly drones) who interfere with fighting wildfires. When firefighting aircraft have to be grounded due to an unauthorized drone flight, there are serious risks not just to first responders but also to anyone in the fires path.

Authorized drone missions by the proper authorities can yield valuable information to firefighters by detecting hotspots, charting a fires spread and the progress in controlling a blaze. But when an unauthorized drone is spotted, they may have to stop all helicopter and airplane operations. Unauthorized drone flights create collision hazards to firefighting aircraft and can distract pilots who are operating in stressful and challenging conditions. Wildland fire agency reports give a sense of how a single errant drone can disrupt operations:

Drone spotted by pilot at eye level during [helicopter] bucket work spotted a drone over fire. All helicopter operations shut downUAS incursion stopped aerial firefighting assets UAS intrusion into TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction). Helicopters disengaged from fire.

If you own a drone, DO NOT fly near or over a wildfire, said FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell. Its against the law, and firefighting aircraft could be grounded, disrupting time-critical firefighting efforts. Your hobby is not worth another persons life.

Most members of the public would never dream of standing in front of a fire engine to stop it from getting to a wildfire, but thats essentially what theyre doing to aerial firefighting aircraft when they fly a drone over or near a wildfire, said Jennifer Jones, spokesperson with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

If unauthorized drone operations interfere with wildfire suppression, law enforcement, or emergency response efforts, those drone operators could face civil penalties that exceed $20,000 and potential criminal prosecution.

Anyone who witnesses or has information about an unauthorized drone flight over or near a wildfire should immediately contact local law enforcement.

Deterring interference with first responders, as well as giving way to other aircraft in the sky, becomes more important as drone use expands exponentially. The FAAs rules for flying unmanned aircraft are clear. Keep your drone away from other aircraft operations, including aerial firefighting missions.

You just might save someones life.

At the request of its Federal security partners, 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 drone operations over national security-sensitive facilities by establishing temporary flight restrictions specific to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

In cooperation with Department of Defense (DOD), the FAA is establishing additional restrictions on drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the following Federal facilities:

  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) West near St. Louis, MO
  • NGA Next West near St. Louis, MO
  • NGA Arnold near St. Louis, MO

These changes, which are highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 8/7350, are pending until they become effective on August 30, 2018. Note that 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.

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

Information on the FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, can be found on our website.To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, this FAA website also provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details. These restrictions also are depicted in the FAAs B4UFLY mobile app.

Additional, broader information regarding flying drones in the National Airspace System, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAAs UAS website.

The FAA continues to consider additional requests by eligible Federal security agencies for UAS-specific flight restrictions using the Agencys 99.7 authority as they are received. Additional changes to these restrictions will be announced by the FAA as appropriate.

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

Heads-Up! Did You Know

  • More than 25 percent of general aviation fatal accidents occur during the maneuvering phase of flight, which is turning, climbing, or descending close to the ground.
  • More than half of the stall or spin accidents occur in the traffic pattern, usually too close to the ground for recovery.

These are ample reasons why you need to brush up on your maneuvering skills.

As a pilot, maneuvering flight operations deserve your full attention, especially during:

  • Take-offs, landings, and go-arounds
  • Stalls and spins
  • Formation, aerobatics, and training
  • Forced/emergency landings
  • Photography

Training is Important

Remember your stall and spin training? You need to revisit it frequently. Try practicing stalls, or approaches to stalls, at a safe altitude with an experienced instructor.

Remember that turns, either vertical or horizontal, load the wings and increase the stall speed.

Other ways to avoid stalls include:

  • Avoid target fixation Focus on flying the airplane, not what is on the ground. Too much focus on the ground can lead to a stall, and you may not recover!
  • No buzzing! Flying low and fast over a target in order to show off your piloting skills is NEVER a good idea and can easily lead to a stall. Buzzing is the cause of 32 percent of maneuvering accidents. Worse yet, theyre usually fatal.

Keep Your Priorities Straight

Finally, here are some maneuvering tips to remember:

  • The slower you go, the more you need to focus on flying the airplane.
  • Minimize distractions, especially when taking off, approaching, descending, and landing.
  • Review all requirements, procedures, and numbers BEFORE you need to use them.
  • Watch your airspeed, and keep your head in the game.

Message from Acting FAA 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?

  • From October 2016 through September 2017, 247 people died in 209 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:

This FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) Fact Sheet has more information about maneuvering flight.

The FAA Safety Briefing has two articles on maneuvering flight: Getting It Right in Maneuvering Flight in the March/April 2010 issue http://1.usa.gov/1k4CzBG (pdf page 17) and Slow, Steady, Sure in the March/April 2011 issue http://1.usa.gov/1kOqteO (pdf page 22).

Pilots may think that maneuvering flight only includes hazardous operations such as buzzing. But, when you fly in the traffic pattern youre also performing maneuvering flight procedures. This AOPA Safety Advisorwill explain the risks and show you how to avoid them.

The FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) Wings Pilot Proficiency Program is always worth a second look. You can also get WINGS credit for taking the FAASTeams online course, ALC-34 Maneuvering: Approach and Landing, at http://1.usa.gov/1pAC9W3.

Time is getting short!!The FAAs Equip ADS-B website gives you the information you need to equip now.

Curious about FAA regulations (Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations)? Its a good idea to stay on top of them. You can find current FAA regulations on this website.

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

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.

Drones have really taken off! As of today, more than 100,000 enthusiasts have obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone for commercial and recreational (not qualifying as model aircraft) use since the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) small drone rule went into effect on August 29, 2016.

Under Part 107, the person actually flying a drone formally an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) must have a Remote Pilot Certificate, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. The majority of drone pilots get certified by studying online materials and then passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved knowledge testing center. You should have no trouble if you study the exam success rate is 92 percent.

If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, and have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months, you have the option to take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA to obtain your certificate.

Its important to remember that a Remote Pilot Certificate is valid for two years from the date of issue. Anyone who earned their certificate at the end of August or in September 2016 should review the certification renewal requirements and prepare to take recurrent training or testing. You can find all the information you need to renew your certificate on our website.

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

What does it Mean to Fly the Aircraft First?

Eliminate distraction. How often have we heard that phrase when it comes to operating dangerous or heavy equipment, especially driving a car? How tempting is it to pay less attention to your aircraft and more attention to an air traffic control (ATC) transmission, app, or conversation while in the cockpit?

NTSB data suggests that distraction is a significant cause of accidents. These accidents can be avoided. We remind you to maintain aircraft control at all times. This might mean a short delay in responding to ATC communications or passenger requests. In other words, Fly the Aircraft First!!

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate

Do you remember that lesson from your first days in pilot ground school? Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Three top priorities, but the leader of them all is Aviate. That means to fly the airplane by using the flight controls and flight instruments to direct the airplanes attitude, airspeed, and altitude. The instruments directly in front of you provide important information about your control of the aircraft. They give you critical information about airspeed, attitude, altitude, vertical speed and rate, magnetic heading, and turns and coordination.

Rounding out the top three is Navigate (figuring out where you are and where youre going), and Communicate (talking with ATC or someone outside the cockpit). It seems very simple, but its easy to forget when you become distracted.

Disconnect from Distraction

This example demonstrates how deadly distractions can be. Do all that you can to minimize distractions from every source. Explain sterile cockpit procedures to your passengers. Self-brief if you are alone. Establish the focused, no-nonsense mindset you need for critical phases of flight.

Staying ahead of the airplane is another good practice. That way, if something comes up, youll have more time to assess its impact on safety and determine an appropriate course of action.

Emergency Practices

Finally, if you think you might be in an emergency situation, this is no time to go it alone. Use the pilot-in-commands authority and declare an emergency. Its always better to explain your actions from a safe place on the ground than to have this become your final flight. A good way to prepare for emergencies is to practice your emergency procedures regularly. Brush up on your short and soft-field takeoffs and landings, as well as your power-off approach and landings. And, be sure to practice these maneuvers at your planned mission weight to improve your chances for success should a real emergency occur.

Message from Acting FAA 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?

  • From October 2016 through September 2017, 247 people died in 209 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:

Eliminating Distractions is on the NTSBs Most-Wanted list.

Distracting Distractions is the title of this excellent briefing from AOPA.

The Flight Safety Foundation includes this briefing on distractions in its Tool Kit.

This helpful FAA Fact Sheet will give you more information and references about how to Fly the Aircraft First.

The FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program has more information.

Time is getting short!!The FAAs Equip ADS-Bwebsite gives you the information you need to equip now.

Curious about FAA regulations (Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations)? Its a good idea to stay on top of them. You can find current FAA regulations on this website.

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

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.

The Federal Aviation Administration is accepting applications nationwide beginning July 27 from people interested in becoming air traffic controllers. The job announcement may close prior to the listed closing date of July 31 if a sufficient applicant pool has been reached to meet the needs of the FAA.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, speak English clearly and be no older than 30 years of age (with limited exceptions). They must have a combination of three years of education and/or work experience. They are also required to pass a medical examination, security investigation and FAA air traffic pre-employment tests. Agency staffing needs will determine facility assignment, and applicants must be willing to work anywhere in the U.S.

Accepted applicants will be trained at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Active duty military members must provide documentation certifying that they expect to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions no later than 120 days after the date the documentation is signed.

Interested applicants should visit https://faa.usajobs.gov/to start building their applications orwww.faa.gov/Jobsfor more information about air traffic controllers.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to warn drone owners especially hobbyistsabout people offering to help register their drones with the agency. The FAA Drone Zone is all you need and it costs only $5.00.

There are a number of entities that offer to help drone owners and operators file an application for a registration number. Some attempt to mimic the look of the FAAs website with similar graphic design and even the FAA logo, or suggest they are somehow approved by the agency. They arent and you could be wasting your money.

The FAA neither regulates these entitites nor will speculate on their legitimacy. However, we have recently received reports of vendors charging exorbitant fees up to $150.00 for this service. The actual FAA registration fee is $5.00. For that charge, hobbyists receive one identification number for all the drones they own. All others pay the registration fee for each drone they intend to operate.

We strongly advise you to avoid registering your unmanned aircraft anywhere but at the FAA Drone Zone. Its the only way to make sure your drone is legally registered and that youve gotten your moneys worth.

Today's Air Traffic Report:

Afternoon thunderstorms could delay flights in Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (MDW, ORD), Denver (DEN), Miami (MIA) and the New York area (EWR, JFK, LGA). High wind is expected in Las Vegas (LAS), and low clouds are forecast this morning in Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA).

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.

As you celebrate the Independence Day holiday, keep safety in mind. Know the aviation safety rules while flying your drones and celebrating the 4th.

Here are general guidelines for people flying drones:

  • Dont fly your drone in or near fireworks
  • Dont fly over people
  • Dont fly near airports

To learn more about what you can and cant do with your drone, go to faa.gov/uas or download the B4UFLY app for free in the Apple and Google Play store.

There are also strict rules prohibiting airline passengers from packing or carrying fireworks on domestic or international flights. Remember these simple rules:

  • Dont pack fireworks in your carry-on bags
  • Dont pack fireworks in your checked luggage
  • Dont send fireworks through the mail or parcel services

Passengers violating the rules can face fines or criminal prosecution. When in DoubtLeave it out!

For more information on the passenger rules for fireworks and other hazardous materials, please go to www.faa.gov/go/packsafe/. Leave the fireworks at homeFireworks Don't Fly poster (PDF).

If youve registered a commercial drone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to hear from you.

On June 19, the FAA sent a questionnaire to everyone who has registered a commercial drone more formally, an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for anything but recreational or hobby use. Most of these owners fly their drones for commercial purposes, but the survey population also includes government departments and other users. Hobbyists are not included in this survey.

The goal is to collect information on drone flight activities under the FAAs small drone rule (Part 107), data that will help the FAA improve the services it delivers to the UAS community. Responses to the questionnaire are voluntary and entered 100 percent electronically. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.

The questions include areas such as number of drones registered, number and types of missions completed in 2017, primary locations where the operator flies and types of waivers requested. The survey also asks how operators want to get information about drone-related issues from the FAA, and how satisfied they are with the news channels they use now

The questionnaire is completely anonymous, so responses cannot be attributed to an individual.

So if the questionnaire is still sitting on your computer or mobile device, what are you waiting for? We wantand needyour input.

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