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Latest FAA News and Announcements

Latest FAA News and Announcements, January 2015We 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 2014 issue of FAA Safety Briefing.

Aircraft Certification Process Streamlined

In September, the FAA took an important step in streamlining the aircraft certification process in an effort to help the industry get products to market faster and retain competitiveness.

Project sequencing is being replaced with a new process to prioritize all U.S. aircraft certification projects. While the new process continues to use a project’s safety benefit and complexity to prioritize and allocate resources, the new process offers applicants increased predictability and a commitment to a response time for the review of compliance data.

Once an application package has been accepted, applicants will be able to initiate projects without delay, particularly if they have an Organization Designation Authorization or are using FAA-approved individual delegated engineering representatives.

This new process responds to the recommendations from the Aircraft Certification Process Review and Reform Aviation Rulemaking Committee formed in accordance with Section 312 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

Last year, the FAA certified approximately 10,000 aviation products. There is currently no backlog or queue for certification projects.

Good News from NTSB on Decline in GA Accident Rates

Last September the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released statistics indicating an overall decline in the number of U.S. registered civil aviation accidents.

The number of civil aviation accidents fell from 1,539 in 2012 to 1,297 in 2013. There was also a decline in general aviation accidents, which decreased by 249 in 2013, bringing the number to 1,222.

The number of fatal accidents (221), fatalities (387) and the accident rate per 100,000 flight hours (5.85) also declined from the previous year.

To view the 2013 statistical tables showing accidents, fatalities, and accident rates for major segments of U.S. civil aviation, click here.

Latest Bird Strike Report Available

The FAA, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Wildlife Services, have published their latest annual report on wildlife strikes to civil aircraft.

The report, which includes data from 1990 to 2013, shows that:

  • Strike rates per 100,000 movements have increased in GA operations, from 0.69 in 2000, to 1.20 in 2013
  • Damaging strikes for GA have fluctuated between 0.18 in 2006 and 0.29 in 2013.
  • Most bird strikes (52 percent) occurred between July and October, when birds are migrating and populations are at their annual peak following the nesting season.
  • Sixty-two percent of total bird strikes occurred during the day and 30 percent at night.
  • Almost twice as many strikes (61 percent of total) occurred during the landing (descent, approach, or landing roll) phase of flight compared to 35 percent during takeoff run and climb.
  • The timing for on-land mammal strikes was similar, with most occurring between July and November.
  • Thirty percent of all deer strikes occurred between October and November.

To view the latest annual bird strike report online, click here.

FAA Wants Input from Helicopter Industry for Safety Forum

The FAA Rotorcraft Directorate is asking helicopter pilots, mechanics, flight safety officers, and others associated with personal/private, instructional/training, and aerial application industries about what you would like to see in a safety forum.

The FAA directorate will host a three-day safety forum April 21-23, 2015, in Hurst, Texas. The forum’s purpose is to discuss ways to improve flight safety, particularly among personal/private, instructional/training, and aerial application industries.

Before planning the forum, the FAA wants to know what lectures, displays, events, and programs would encourage you to attend. To submit your comments, please contact Eugene Trainor directly at eugene.trainor@faa.gov.

Helicopter Safety Team Needs More Experts

The United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) is calling for more helicopter safety experts to join their efforts to reduce accidents and fatalities in the industry.

The implementation committee of the USHST consists of industry and government members who are focused on safety management, training, maintenance, and safety technology. They work together to develop educational support documents such as safety toolkits, safety bulletins, and essays to improve and increase safe helicopter operational practices. They also work on enhancing standard practices and requirements within the civil helicopter industry.

To date, USHST experts have created and distributed 18 safety bulletins for helicopter operators that concentrate on topics such as visibility, loss of control, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), autorotations, training, safety management, and hazard identification.

If you are a helicopter safety expert interested in joining the USHST effort, contact Steve Sparks via email at steven.sparks@faa.gov.

New Runway Overruns Advisory Circular Available

A new Advisory Circular (AC) on runway overruns is available, entitled (AC) 91-79A, Mitigating the Risks of a Runway Overrun Upon Landing. The AC illustrates how pilots and airplane operators can identify, understand, and mitigate risks associated with runway overruns during the landing phase of flight.

Runway overruns during the landing phase of flight account for approximately 10 incidents or accidents every year, with many accidents resulting in fatalities.

The AC use a revised version of an earlier runway overrun AC, and now includes current and comprehensive guidance on the risks associated with tailwind landings and landings on wet or contaminated runways. It also provides detailed information that operators may use to develop company standard operating procedures to mitigate those risks. Click here to download the AC.

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