FAA Advises Airline Passengers to Pack Safely

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 agency’s Pack Safe website ( https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety/ ). 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 FAA’s Hazardous Materials Safety website. ( https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/ )

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

(Image and article shared from today’s FAA Newsletter)

Enjoy your Holiday Laser-light Display-Responsibly

“Each holiday season for the past several years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  ( https://www.faa.gov ) has received reports from pilots who said they were distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays.

The FAA’s concerns about lasers – regardless of the source – is that they not be aimed at aircraft in a way that can threaten the safety of a flight by distracting or blinding the pilots ( https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/lasers/ ) . People may not realize that systems they set up to spread holiday cheer can also pose a potential hazard to pilots flying overhead.

So if you’re going to install a holiday laser-light system, please make sure the lights are hitting your house and not shining up into the sky. It may not look like the lights go much farther than your house, but the extremely concentrated beams of laser lights actually reach much further than most people think.

If the FAA becomes aware of a situation where a laser-light display affects pilots, we start by asking the owner to adjust them or turn them off. However, if someone’s laser-light display repeatedly affects pilots despite previous warnings, that person could face an FAA civil penalty.”

New Certification Rule for Small Airplanes Becomes Effective

On August 30, the final rule overhauling airworthiness standards for general aviation airplanes published in December of 2016 officially went into effect. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects this rule will enable faster installation of innovative, safety-enhancing technologies into small airplanes, while reducing costs for the aviation industry.
With these performance-based standards, the FAA delivers on its promise to implement forward-looking, flexible rules that encourage innovation. Specifically, the new part 23 revolutionizes standards for airplanes weighing 19,000 pounds or less and with 19 or fewer passenger seats by replacing prescriptive requirements with performance-based standards coupled with consensus-based compliance methods for specific designs and technologies. The rule also adds new certification standards to address GA loss of control accidents and in-flight icing conditions.
This regulatory approach recognizes there is more than one way to deliver on safety. It offers a way for industry and the FAA to collaborate on new technologies and to keep pace with evolving aviation designs and concepts.
The new rule responds to Congressional mandates that direct the FAA to streamline approval of safety advancements for small GA airplanes. It also addresses recommendations from the FAA’s 2013 Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which suggested a more streamlined approval process for safety equipment on those airplanes.
The new part 23 also promotes regulatory harmonization among the FAA’s foreign partners, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, Transport Canada Civil Aviation, and Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Authority. Harmonization may help minimize certification costs for airplane and engine manufacturers, and operators of affected equipment, who want to certify their products for the global market.
This regulatory change is a leading example of how the FAA is transforming its Aircraft Certification Service into an agile organization that can support aviation industry innovation in the coming years. AIR Transformation improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the Aircraft Certification Safety System by focusing FAA resources on up-front planning, the use of performance based standards, and a robust risk-based systems oversight program, while leveraging Industry’s responsibility to comply with regulations.

FAA Safety Briefing Explores New BasicMed Rule

“The July/August 2017 issue of FAA Safety Briefing explores several key facets of the new BasicMed rule, which offers pilots an alternative to the FAA’s medical qualification process for third class medical certificates. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete a medical education course every two years, undergo a medical examination every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions.”

Click here to read more!

Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) community’s 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.


Pilots and Medications

Stuffy nose? Fever? Combine these symptoms with over-the-counter meds, and you could have a recipe for disaster in the pilot’s seat.


Just like any other decision that you must make when you fly, you should know all the facts before you take any over-the-counter medications:


  • First, what is your underlying condition? Will it allow for safe flying?
  • -If not, you should not fly until the condition improves.
  • Next, do you know how the medication you are planning to take will affect you, and how your body will react?
  • -You should NEVER fly after taking any medication that you have not taken before.
  • Be sure to consider adverse reactions listed on the label. Key words include “lightheadedness,” “dizziness,” “drowsiness,” or “visual disturbance.”
  • -DO NOT FLY if these side effects are listed or if the label contains any warning signs about operating motor vehicles or machinery while taking the medication.
  • -Some people mistakenly think an over-the-counter medication is weak or non-threatening. That’s simply not true, especially for diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
  • Side effects can occur at any time, even if you’ve taken the same medication in the past without experiencing any side effects.
  • -That is why you should NEVER fly after taking a medication with the side effects listed above.


Heads Up

If you must take over-the-counter medications, please follow these tips before you decide to fly:


  • Read and follow label directions.
  • If the label warns of significant side effects, wait until at least five maximum dosing intervals have passed before you fly. For example, if the directions say take the medication every 4-6 hours, wait at least 30 hours before you fly. Other medications may have longer or shorter intervals which is why it’s important to talk to your Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).
  • Never fly after taking a new medication for the first time until at least five maximal dosing intervals have passed, and no side effects are noted.
  • Do not fly if the underlying condition that you are treating would make you unsafe in the cockpit.
  • As with alcohol, medications could impair your ability to fly, even though you feel fine.
  • If you have a question about a medication, please ask your AME.
  • When in doubt, don’t fly!


Prescription Medication

When your doctor prescribes a medication, ask about possible side effects and the safety of using the medication while flying. Many doctors do not think about the special needs of pilots when they prescribe medication, so it’s important for you to ask questions.


When your pharmacy fills the prescription, let the pharmacist know you are a pilot. Pharmacists are experts in the side effects of medication and can often provide important advice. You’ll also want to ask about the potential for drug interactions with any over-the-counter medications you are taking now or plan to take in the future.


Quick Tips


  • Read, understand, and follow the information and instructions that are given with the medication.
  • Discuss any questions with your doctor, pharmacist, or AME.
  • When in doubt, stay safe and don’t fly! 


What is Loss of Control (LOC)?

An LOC accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen when the aircraft enters a flight regime outside its normal flight envelope and quickly develops into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise – the “startle factor” — for the pilot.


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. 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?

Contributing factors may include:

  • In 2015, 384 people died in 238 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:

Learn more about Medications and Flying with this FAA Brochure.


This FAA Fact Sheet will give you more tips on the safe use of medications while flying.


Need more convincing? This FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute report details how drugs and alcohol play a role in aviation fatality accidents.


You can find more research from the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine here.


The AME Guide provides a list of medications that can impact your fitness for flight here. This list tells AMEs when they should not issue, or not allow an airman to fly. It’s a good resource for airmen to help decide what precautions they should take before returning to flight.


Be sure to also check out the article, “From FDA to FAA — How FAA Evaluates Drugs for Aeromedical Use” in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of FAA Safety Briefing.


The FAASafety.gov website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics. (https://www.faasafety.gov/Default.aspx)


Check out GA Safety Enhancements fact sheets on the main FAA Safety Briefing website, including Flight Risk Assessment Tools. (https://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/2013/media/JanFeb2013.pdf)


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. (https://www.faasafety.gov/WINGS/pub/learn_more.aspx)


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 GA accidents. The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers in the FAA, several government agencies such as NASA 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. (http://www.gajsc.org)

FAA Issues General Aviation Medical Rule


“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a final rule (PDF) that allows general aviation pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements outlined in Congressional legislation.

“The United States has the world’s most robust general aviation community, and we’re committed to continuing to make it safer and more efficient to become a private pilot,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “The BasicMed rule will keep our pilots safe but will simplify our regulations and keep general aviation flying affordable.”

Until now, the FAA has required private, recreational, and student pilots, as well as flight instructors, to meet the requirements of and hold a third class medical certificate. They are required to complete an online application and undergo a physical examination with an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner. A medical certificate is valid for five years for pilots under age 40 and two years for pilots age 40 and over.

Beginning on May 1, pilots may take advantage of the regulatory relief in the BasicMed rule or opt to continue to use their FAA medical certificate. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete a medical education course, undergo a medical examination every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions. For example, pilots using BasicMed cannot operate an aircraft with more than six people onboard and the aircraft must not weigh more than 6,000 pounds. A pilot flying under the BasicMed rule must:

possess a valid driver’s license;
have held a medical certificate at any time after July 15, 2006;
have not had the most recently held medical certificate revoked, suspended, or withdrawn;
have not had the most recent application for airman medical certification completed and denied;
have taken a medical education course within the past 24 calendar months;
have completed a comprehensive medical examination with a physician within the past 48 months;
be under the care of a physician for certain medical conditions;
have been found eligible for special issuance of a medical certificate for certain specified mental health, neurological, or cardiovascular conditions, when applicable;
consent to a National Driver Register check;
fly only certain small aircraft, at a limited altitude and speed, and only within the United States; and
not fly for compensation or hire.

The July 15, 2016 FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 directed the FAA to issue or revise regulations by January 10, 2017, to ensure that an individual may operate as pilot in command of a certain aircraft without having to undergo the medical certification process under Part 67 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, if the pilot and aircraft meet certain prescribed conditions outlined in the Act.

The FAA and the general aviation community have a strong track record of collaboration. The agency is working with nonprofit organizations and the not-for-profit general aviation stakeholder groups to develop online medical courses that meet the requirements of the Act.”

Drone Registration Marks First Anniversary

“Over the last year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made great strides toward integrating unmanned aircraft – popularly called “drones” – into the nation’s airspace. The first big step took place last December 21, when a new, web-based drone registration system went online.
During the last year, the system has registered more than 616,000 owners and individual drones. As part of the process, applicants receive and must acknowledge some basic safety information. That means more than 600,000 drone operators now have the basic aviation knowledge to keep themselves and their friends and neighbors safe when they fly.
The FAA developed the automated registration system in response to a rule requiring owners of small unmanned aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) to register their drones.
The rule and the registration system were primarily aimed at the thousands of drone hobbyists who had little or no experience with the U.S. aviation system. The agency saw registration as an excellent way to give them a sense of responsibility and accountability for their actions. The agency wanted them to feel they are part of the aviation community, to see themselves as pilots.”
Click here to read more!

Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

“The FAA and #FlySafe, the general aviation (GA) group’s national safety campaign, aims to educate the GA community on the best practices to calculate and predict aircraft performance and to operate within established aircraft limitations.
What is a Flight Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT)?

FRAT is a long name for a handy tool that will earn your respect through its ability to help keep you safe. A FRAT helps you to identify the risk profile as you plan a flight. Factors such as type of operation, environment, aircraft, crew training, and overall operating experience are evaluated by the tool. This helps you determine if the flight falls in a low, medium, or high-risk category. More importantly, after seeing the data, you can develop risk mitigation strategies to ensure your safety as well as the safety of your passengers.

The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC), a government/industry group that analyzes GA accidents and incidents, has found that improved risk assessment before and during a flight can significantly improve your chances of avoiding accidents and incidents. Although a FRAT tool cannot anticipate ALL hazards, it can help you recognize and mitigate the most common ones.

Where Can I Find a FRAT?

The FAA FAAST Team has developed simple, automated spreadsheets that run on Microsoft Windows or Apple operating systems. All you have to do is download the file at http://go.usa.gov/xkhJK. There are also many free FRAT apps available for your mobile device. The FAA hopes to roll out its own FRAT app in the near future.

The FRAT format is pretty basic: In the FAA version, VFR pilots will consider which of the 20 flight, pilot, and aircraft conditions apply to the upcoming flight. IFR pilots have 22 conditions to review. Each condition is assigned a numerical value. Simply click the YES box next to each condition that applies to your flight. When you are finished, the total value corresponds to a risk matrix chart. If you are uncomfortable with the level of risk identified, mitigate the risk by adjusting conditions to improve your chances for a safe flight.

When you begin to use a FRAT, you’ll probably think of additional potential hazards. That’s to be expected and we encourage it because it means you are taking an active role in your Safety Risk Management. Think of each hazard as a potential liability. When you offset those liabilities with assets – good decisions – you will reduce or eliminate hazards and keep your safety account in balance.

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 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…”

FAA Issues Final Rule on Small Airplane Safety Certification Standards

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a final rule that overhauls the airworthiness standards for small general aviation airplanes. This innovative rule will reduce the time it takes to move safety enhancing technologies for small airplanes into the marketplace and will also reduce costs for the aviation industry.

“Aviation manufacturing is our nation’s top export and general aviation alone contributes approximately $80 billion and 400,000 jobs to our economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The FAA’s rule replaces prescriptive design requirements with performance-based standards, which will reduce costs and leverage innovation without sacrificing safety.”

FAA’s new Part 23 rule establishes performance-based standards for airplanes that weigh less than 19,000 pounds with 19 or fewer seats and recognizes consensus-based compliance methods for specific designs and technologies. It also adds new certification standards to address general aviation loss of control accidents and in-flight icing conditions.

“The rule is a model of what we can accomplish for American competitiveness when government and industry work together and demonstrates that we can simultaneously enhance safety and reduce burdens on industry,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The rule responds to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and the Small Airplane Revitalization Act of 2013, which directed the FAA to streamline the approval of safety advancements for small general aviation aircraft. It also addresses recommendations from the FAA’s 2013 Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which recommended a more streamlined approval process for safety equipment on small general aviation aircraft.”
Click here to read more!

New FAA Video Stresses Holiday Drone Safety


“If you’re one of the lucky people who gets a drone as a holiday present, the Federal Aviation Administration wants you to know how to fly it safely. The agency has released a new video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0dogXd89fs&feature=youtu.be) reminding everyone of the rules and regulations that safe drone pilots must follow.

As the video shows, before you fly your drone outdoors, the first thing to do is register it at www.faa.gov/uas. If you’re going to operate according to the model aircraft rules, you’ll receive one identification number to apply to all your drones. Non-modelers must register each of their drones individually.

The video also stresses that whether you fly your drone for recreation or business, safety is everybody’s responsibility. And that means following the rules:
Don’t fly over people and respect the privacy of anyone on the ground.
Don’t fly near other aircraft or in restricted airspace, such as “No Drone Zones.”
The video also tells you how to get the FAA’s B4UFLY smartphone app that provides the latest information about airspace restrictions wherever you intend to fly your drone.
The bottom line: Safe flying is what smart drone pilots do.”