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Latest FAA News and Announcements

We know you’re busy, so here’s an overview of some of the FAA’s most recent news and announcements, courtesy of the November/December 2016 issue of FAA Safety Briefing.

FAA to Require Mandatory Use of the International Flight Plan

In an effort to modernize and streamline the delivery of flight planning services provided by Flight Service Stations and Flight Service contracted service providers, the FAA will require a transition to mandatory use of the International Flight Plan format for domestic and international civil flights starting in early 2017.

With the exception of military flight operations, the international format will be required for VFR flights to Canada, as well as all IFR and VFR flights across the NAS. Delaying the implementation from the original October 1 date gives Flight Service vendors more time to modify software to accommodate some improvements in the international form, as well as develop additional inter-system messaging.

When implemented, several improvements to the international form will increase safety and make it easier for pilots to use. For more information and to become familiar with the International Flight Plan format, visit www.faa.gov/go/flightservice.

Trends in Delivery of Flight Services

The number of turboprops, business jets, and rotorcraft in the active general aviation (GA) fleet will increase slightly while the largest segment, fixed-wing piston aircraft, will decrease over the next 20 years, according to the latest FAA forecast.

While the long-term outlook for GA is favorable, pilots continue to decline by about 5,000 per year with an expected loss of 100,000 pilots. A similar decline occurs in the use of flight services — the FAA noticed a decrease of 83 percent in overall traffic and 80 percent fewer inflight radio calls since 2005.

The FAA is investigating user requirements to identify the proper delivery mechanisms for flight services. A surge in pilot preferences for automated services is leading the transition to self-service.

The FAA will continue to follow trends to deliver more efficient flight services and eliminate those that are obsolete. Learn more about Flight Service program changes at www.faa.gov/go/flightservice.

FAA Changes Evaluation Standard for Slow Flight Maneuvers

The FAA changed the evaluation standard for slow flight maneuvers in airplanes. According to the new standards, pilots should establish and maintain an airspeed approximately 5-10 knots above the 1G stall speed, at which the airplane is capable of maintaining controlled flight without activating a stall warning. For information about training and evaluation of this maneuver, download the FAA’s Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) at http://bit.ly/2bGdaiM.

New Air Transportation Center of Excellence at Embry-Riddle

The FAA has selected Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to lead the new Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for Technical Training and Human Performance.

Embry-Riddle will lead research and development on technical training for air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors, engineers, pilots, and technicians that focuses on human performance, using part-task trainers, modeling, immersive human-in-the-loop simulation, and adaptive learning technologies that are found in other technical workforces. This includes new technologies such as mobile learning and new ways of collecting and managing training data.

The FAA is expected to invest at least $5 million over the next five years in this partnership, with Embry-Riddle heading a team of top-tier academic research institutions and more than 20 industry partners, including the FAA’s NextGen Florida Test Bed at Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach.

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