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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Archives

Recreational Drones and Aviation Safety

A growing number of safety incidents involving remote-controlled aircraft has led the Department of Transportation to push for mandatory registration of the devices. Drones have grown rapidly in popularity and are expected to become even more common in the near future. This growth has led to an increase in the number of recreational drones impinging on national airspace. In addition, drones have caused injury and created a nuisance when operated improperly. According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, registration of drones would aid in education efforts and make it easier to match drones with their owners in situations where safety became an issue.

FAA Study Shows Fatigue Problems Among Air Traffic Controllers

Fatigue can have a substantial impact on your ability to complete a task successfully. In the aviation industry, studies on fatigue have often focused on pilots. Fatigue is also a potential safety hazard for others in the aviation industry, including air traffic controllers. A study of controllers completed in 2011 shows that the typical work schedules used in the industry can lead to chronic fatigue.

New Chairman of the NTSB Confirmed

In a unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Christopher Hart as the new chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Mr. Hart has been acting chairman of the NTSB since April, when Deborah A.P. Hersman left to become the president and CEO of the National Safety Council. The confirmation allows Christopher Hart to officially begin his two-year term as the thirteenth chairman of the NTSB.

Sleep Apnea in the Aviation Industry

The sleep disorder known as sleep apnea has safety implications in the transportation industry. People who suffer from sleep apnea suffer from interruptions in their breathing during sleep. These interruptions can occur frequently throughout the night, causing a victim to experience significant fatigue even after a normal-length sleep period. In addition to drowsiness, victims may suffer from headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression, forgetfulness and other side effects. The impact of sleep apnea on pilots, truck drivers and others in terms of safety is difficult to pinpoint.

Airline Personnel And Sleep Disorder Testing

Sleep apnea is a condition that often leads to fatigue and is associated with several health problems. The Federal Aviation Administration has released an order that will lead to sleep apnea testing among many pilots and air traffic control personnel. The measure was likely taken in response to several incidents involving pilots and air traffic controllers sleeping on the job. The policy calls for sleep apnea testing for workers who have a body mass index of 40 or higher and a neck circumference of at least 17 inches. According to the FAA federal air surgeon, sleep apnea is extremely common among people who meet those criteria.

Battery Issues Have Plagued Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Safety regulators have grounded all Boeing 787 Dreamliners until issues concerning the lithium-ion batteries and chargers have been addressed. Battery problems forced an emergency landing of a Dreamliner in Japan earlier this month. That incident followed a battery fire after a 787 landed in Boston. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is broadening the scope of its investigation into the electrical problems of the Boeing aircraft.

Federal Aviation Administration Asks For Extra Checks On Boeing 737s

A federal agency is asking U.S. air carriers to enhance and increase inspections of Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleets. The Federal Aviation Administration is concerned about undetected cracks in the fuselage or bulkhead that could cause dangerous decompressions. The problem first drew the attention of the FAA in 2009, after a Boeing 737 operated by Southwest Airlines experienced cabin decompression at 30,000 feet. The pilots of that aircraft were able to complete an emergency landing and no one onboard was injured.

FAA Makes Changes to Improve Information Gathering

In an effort to encourage air traffic controllers and employees in charge of maintaining radar installations and other airport systems to speak up when mistakes occur, the Federal Aviation Administration has made several changes. The FAA says it will reduce aviation accidents and make air travel safer for everyone by expanding a non-punitive reporting system currently in place only for air traffic controllers. By focusing on gathering the information, and not on punishing an employee for making a mistake, the FAA says it will generate more information and be in a better position to discover dangers before they impact passengers and crew.

FAA Proposes New Regulations Regarding Pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed the first increase in flight hours required to become a co-pilot for a commercial air carrier since 1973. The previous increase raised the minimum from 200 to 250. The latest proposal raises the 250 hour threshold to 1,500 hours, which would match the requirements for pilots. The new threshold was made necessary by a safety law passed after a Buffalo, New York, aviation accident killed 50 people in February 2009. That crash created significant pressure to review the safety measures taken at regional airlines, as well as the hiring, training and working conditions of pilots.

FAA Safety Officials Target American Airlines

Cost cutting decisions by an airline can compromise the safety of passengers and airline personnel. The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered an increase in safety checks of American Airlines and its affiliate to ensure that the company's financial difficulties do not lead to aviation accidents. The inspections are geared toward the areas where an airline might be tempted to save money, such as employee cutbacks during non-peak hours and pilot training. The orders to increase safety checks were given shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy.

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