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Drones — U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces FAA Exemptions for Commercial UAS Movie and TV Production

September 30, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces FAA Exemptions for Commercial UAS Movie and TV Production
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has granted regulatory exemptions to six aerial photo and video production companies, the first step to allowing the film and television industry the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System. Secretary Foxx made the announcement on a conference call with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Chris Dodd, chairman and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.

Secretary Anthony Foxx also determined that the UAS to be used in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness based on a finding they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

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FAA Approves First Commercial UAS Flights over Land

June 12, 2014 Comments off

FAA Approves First Commercial UAS Flights over Land
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has given approval for energy corporation BP and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment to fly an AeroVironment Puma AE for aerial surveys in Alaska—the first time the FAA has authorized a commercial UAS operation over land.

Fact Sheet – The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet – The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

The FAA requires airport sponsors to maintain a safe operating environment which includes conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments and preparing Wildlife Hazard Management Plans, when there has been a wildlife strike. The Wildlife Hazard Management Plan identifies the specific actions the airport will take to mitigate the risk of wildlife strikes on or near the airport. The FAA’s wildlife hazard management program has been in place for more than 50 years and focuses on mitigating wildlife hazards through habitat modification, harassment technology, and research.

Selection of the Next Generation of Air Traffic Control Specialists: Aptitude Requirements for the Air Traffic Control Tower Cab in 2018

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Selection of the Next Generation of Air Traffic Control Specialists: Aptitude Requirements for the Air Traffic Control Tower Cab in 2018 (PDF)
Source: Federal Aviation Administration (Office of Aerospace Medicine)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) faces two significant organizational challenges in the 21st century: (1) transformation of the current NAS into the Next Generation Air Transportation System (“NextGen”); and (2) recruitment, selection, and training the next generation of air traffic control specialists (ATCSs or air traffic controllers). What aptitudes should be assessed in the selection of future air traffic controllers? This report, the first of three, focuses on the aptitudes required in the air traffic control tower cab. First, the aptitude profile currently required at the time of hire into the ATCS occupation is described based on Nickels, Bobko, Blair, Sands, & Tartak (1995). Second, mid-term (2018) changes in the tower cab are described. Change drivers include increased traffic and the introduction of five decision support tools (DSTs): 1) Airport Configuration; 2) Departure Routing; 3) Runway Assignment; 4) Scheduling and Sequencing; and 5) Taxi Routing (with Conformance Monitoring). Third, the impact of these DSTs on tower cab operational activities, sub-activities, and tasks was assessed. Overall, the activities, sub-activities, and tasks of the controllers in the Ground Control and Local Control positions in the cab will not change with the introduction of these DSTs and associated displays. However, the way the work is performed will change at the keystroke or interface level. Fourth, the impact of the DSTs on aptitudes required of controllers is evaluated. The importance of the following aptitudes will increase in the mid-term: Scanning, across both auditory and visual sources, Perceptual Speed and Accuracy, Translating Information, Chunking, Interpreting Information, Sustained Attention, Recall from Interruption, Situational Awareness, Long-Term Memory, Problem Identification, Prioritization, Time-Sharing, Information Processing Flexibility, and Task Closure/Thoroughness. Two new aptitude requirements were identified: Dispositional Trust in Automation; and Computer-Human Interface (CHI) Navigation. Gaps in current aptitude testing are identified, and recommendations presented for test development and validation to close the gap.

FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research

December 30, 2013 Comments off

FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

After a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states, the Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators across the country.
In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.

A brief description of the six test site operators and the research they will conduct into future UAS use are below:

University of Alaska. The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation. Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations.

State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen. Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.

New York’s Griffiss International Airport. Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.

North Dakota Department of Commerce. North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey.

Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) Roadmap

November 18, 2013 Comments off

Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) Roadmap (PDF)
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

A key activity of the FAA is to develop regulations, policy, procedures, guidance material, and training requirements to support safe and efficient UAS operations in the NAS, while coordinating with relevant departments and agencies to address related key policy areas of concern such as privacy and national security. Today, UAS are typically given access to airspace through the issuance of Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to public operators and special airworthiness certificates in the experimental category for civil applicants. Accommodating UAS operations by the use of COAs and special airworthiness certificates will transition to more routine integration processes when new or revised operating rules and procedures are in place and UAS are capable of complying with them. The FAA has a proven certification process in place for aircraft that includes establishing special conditions when new and unique technologies are involved. This process will be used to evaluate items unique to UAS. In those parts of the NAS that have demanding communications, navigation, and surveillance performance requirements, successful demonstration of UAS to meet these requirements will be necessary.

The process of developing regulations, policy, procedures, guidance material, and training requirements, is resource- intensive. This roadmap will illustrate the significant undertaking it is to build the basis for the NAS to transition from UAS accommodation to UAS integration.

Government and industry stakeholders must work collaboratively and apply the necessary resources to bring this transition to fruition while supporting evolving UAS operations in the NAS. The purpose of this roadmap is to outline, within a broad timeline, the tasks and considerations needed to enable UAS integration into the NAS for the planning purposes of the broader UAS community. The roadmap also aligns proposed Agency actions with the Congressional mandate in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Pub. L. 112-95. As this is the first publication of this annual document, the FAA will incorporate lessons learned and related findings in subsequent publications, which will include further refined goals, metrics, and target dates.

FAA Issues Final Rule on Pilot Training

November 6, 2013 Comments off

FAA Issues Final Rule on Pilot Training
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance safety and put the best qualified and trained pilots in the flight decks of U.S. airplanes, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a final rule that will significantly advance the way commercial air carrier pilots are trained.

In addition, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is inviting the nation’s commercial aviation safety leaders to Washington, D.C. on November 21, to discuss additional voluntary steps that can be taken to further boost safety during airline operations, including pilot training.

The final rule stems in part from the tragic crash of Colgan Air 3407 in February 2009, and addresses a Congressional mandate in the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 to ensure enhanced pilot training. Today’s rule is one of several rulemakings required by the Act, including the requirements to prevent pilot fatigue that were finalized in December 2011, and the increased qualification requirements for first officers who fly U.S. passenger and cargo planes that were issued in July 2013.

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