FAA Urges Airlines to Assess Lithium Battery Risks

February 10th, 2016

Beautiful view of silhouette of airplane

February 9- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a safety alert to U.S. and foreign commercial passenger and cargo airlines, urging them to conduct a safety risk assessment to manage the risks associated with transporting lithium batteries as cargo. The FAA also is issuing guidance to its own inspectors to help them determine whether the airlines have adequately assessed the risk of handling and carrying lithium batteries as cargo.

FAA battery fire testing has highlighted the potential risk of a catastrophic aircraft loss due to damage resulting from a lithium battery fire or explosion. Current cargo fire suppression systems cannot effectively control a lithium battery fire. As a result of those tests, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have advised airlines about the dangers associated with carrying lithium batteries as cargo and also have encouraged them to conduct safety risk assessments.

Hazardous materials rules currently ban passenger airlines from carrying lithium-metal batteries as cargo. In addition, a number of large commercial passenger airlines have decided voluntarily not to carry rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries. The safety risk assessment process is designed to identify and mitigate risks for the airlines that still carry lithium batteries and to help those that don’t carry them from inadvertently accepting them for transport.

The FAA’s Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) (PDF) encourages airlines that previously conducted safety assessments to reevaluate them in light of new evidence from the agency’s recent lithium battery fire tests.

Source: http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=84785

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Demand Unprecedented for Pilots and Technicians

January 18th, 2016


Market Outlook from Boeing Airlines:

Demand Unprecedented for Pilots and Technicians

“As global economies expand and airlines take delivery of tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners over the next 20 years, there will be unprecedented demand for people to pilot and maintain these airplanes.

To meet this tremendous growth, the 2015 Boeing Pilot and Technical Outlook forecasts that between now and 2034, the aviation industry will need to supply more than one million new aviation personnel—558,000 commercial airline pilots and 609,000 maintenance technicians. Meeting this exponential demand for personnel will require innovative solutions that rely on the latest digital technology to match the learning requirements of a new generation.

Trainers will thus focus on enabling airplane operators to gain optimal advantage of the advanced features of the latest generation of airplanes, such as the 787 Dreamliner, 737 MAX, and the 777X. And instructors will need to have cross-cultural and cross-generational skills to engage tomorrow’s increasingly diverse aviation workforce.

Economic Expansion Fueling Aviation Demand

Airlines around the world are expanding their fleets and flight schedules to meet the global economic expansion. The aviation industry continues to address these challenges by creating a balanced, sustainable solution to filling the future pilot and technician pipeline.

Regional markets that have relied heavily on recruiting pilots from outside their home locations will increasingly require a strong foundation for developing and training qualified pilots locally. BoeingLogo

Read more: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/market/long-term-market/pilot-and-technician-outlook/

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FAA: A Year of Safety and Continued Modernization

January 4th, 2016

by Michael Huerta for U.S. Department of Transportation

The dedicated professionals at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made significant progress this year as we continued to modernize and streamline the nation’s air traffic system while also preparing the way for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to safely play a growing role in aviation.

In April, we completed the program to replace the aging computer system that had been the core technology in our network of high-altitude air traffic control centers. The new system, En Route Automation Modernization, or ERAM, is now the backbone for our NextGen Air Transportation System, driving the display screens used by controllers to safely manage and separate aircraft.

ADS-B on Google Earth

ERAM almost doubles the number of flights that can be tracked and displayed to controllers. It was designed to be the operating platform for other NextGen technologies, including:

  • Performance Based Navigation (PBN): Controllers are already using ERAM to make use of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures that enable controllers and flight crews to know exactly when to reduce the thrust on aircraft, allowing them to descend from cruising altitude to the runway with the engines set at idle power, saving on flying time and fuel consumption.
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B):  The FAA is moving steadily toward replacing the old system of ground-based radars to track aircraft with one that relies on satellite-based technologies. ERAM already receives information from aircraft equipped with ADS-B and displays that data on controllers’ screens. This technology has made it possible for controllers to provide radar-like separation to aircraft that previously operated in areas where no radar is available, such as the Gulf of Mexico and large parts of Alaska. ADS-B will replace radar as the primary means of tracking aircraft by 2020.
  • Data Comm:  To reduce congestion on radio frequencies, the FAA and the aviation industry are developing Data Comm, which will allow controllers and pilots to communicate by direct digital link rather than voice, similar to text messaging. We began deploying Data Comm in the first of more than 50 control towers this year, and we expect it will be in our large en route centers beginning in 2019.

An unmanned aviation system or drone in flight

We’ve also been devoted to making sure that pilots of small unmanned aircraft are able to safely enjoy their pursuits.

On the recreational front, our most high-profile accomplishment was launching a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

The registration requirement, which went into effect on December 21, is a key opportunity to educate a new generation of airspace users about the rules and regulations they must follow. Registration is free for the first 30 days with a rebate, then $5 after that.

We also have rolled out a broad array of educational initiatives with our government, industry, and model aircraft community partners. This includes the Know Before You Fly campaign, which has grown to include more than 20 member organizations. Visit Know Before You Fly[external link] to get the information and guidance you need to fly your UAS safely.

And, we’re working on a rule that will allow for routine commercial operations of small UAS, and we expect to have that rule finalized in the late spring of 2016. In the meantime, we have been authorizing commercial operations on a case-by-case basis, with more than 2,700 authorized to date.

We’ll continue working with our partners to identify new outreach opportunities to instill the same priority on safety that has been the hallmark of aviation since Wilbur and Orville Wright took to the skies 112 years ago.

In the meantime, always observe these rules when you fly your UAS:

  • Fly below 400 feet altitude.
  • Keep your unmanned aircraft in sight at all times.
  • Never fly near manned aircraft, especially near airports.
  • Never fly over groups of people, stadiums or sporting events.
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts.

At FAA, everything we do is about making our national airspace as safe as possible. And as hard as we worked in 2015 to do exactly that, we’ll be right back at it in 2016.

Source: https://www.transportation.gov/fastlane/faa-year-safety-and-continued-modernization

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SpaceX Makes History with Reusable Rocket

December 22nd, 2015

photo Elon Musk/SpaceXElon Musk’s SpaceX rocket makes history! On December 21, 2015, The Falcon 9 successfully deployed 11 satellites into low-orbit and then landed back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida making it the first reusable rocket to enter space and return to earth! The trip took a little over 10 minutes.

Check out the video of the perfect landing:

Last month, Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, had a successful flight with a different type of rocket that went to the edge of space and then back to earth. Unlike the Falcon 9 which is for cargo and satellites, the Blue Origin rocket is for one day carrying passengers. See more: http://www.aviationschoolsonline.com/blog/first-reusable-rocket-blue-origin

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FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

December 15th, 2015

Registration Begins on December 21, 2015, First 30 Days are Free

December 14, 2015logoFAA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft.  Under this rule, any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system.  Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.

Owners may register through a web-based system at www.faa.gov/uas/registration

Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.

Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016).

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.”

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

The full rule can be viewed here:www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/20151213_IFR.pdf

Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette
Phone: (202) 267-3883


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FAA: Fly Safe With Your Drone

December 9th, 2015

You’re heading to the stores to buy that shiny new camera-equipped drone you’ve been yearning for. You can’t wait to get into the sky and let loose your inner high-flying aerial photographer, right?

Did you know you’re also going to become a pilot?

When you fly your drone anywhere in the nation’s airspace, you automatically become part of the U.S. aviation system. Under the law, your drone is an aircraft. So while the rules for drones may be different, you have the responsibility to operate safely, just as a Cessna or 747 pilot does.

The FAA has developed this safety checklist that you, as a pilot, should use whenever you send a drone into the Wild Blue Yonder. We want you to fly safe, fly smart – and have fun:


Here is a little more fun from Jeff Dunham & Bubba J about Drone Safety from KnowBeforeYouFly.org!

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SABRE: Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine

December 4th, 2015

What Is a Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE)?skylon:sabre

Is it a plane? Is it a rocket? Well, actually it’s both! The hybrid of a jet and rocket engine may be the future star of the aerospace industry. It is a ground breaking technology that will combine an ultrasonic jet able to travel more than 3,800 miles per hour or five times the speed of sound, with a rocket engine with enough power to send the same aircraft to space.

What Will It Be Able to Do?

Capable of hypersonic speeds, the SABRE could potentially get a traveler to anywhere on the globe within four hours. BAE Systems, a UK based company invested in Reaction Engines, a company that has been working for 20 years on SABRE.

The engine uses air breathing technology to burn hydrogen fuel like an ordinary jet. When the plane gets up to MACH 5, or five times the speed of sound, it can then go into its rocket operation and travel into space. On its return to earth, SABRE would have the capability to change rocket power back to jet power and land just like a conventional aircraft on a standard runway. This feature would do away with the enormous expense of replacing single-use disposable rocket stages that are in use today.

The Future and Some Challenges

In addition to the 32 million BAE has invested in the Reaction Engine, the government of the UK will come to the table with 90 million for research and development and a testing program for the engine. It is planned that by 2020, there will be an engine prototype demonstrator on the ground and a flying prototype by 2025. The hope is that barring any major roadblocks to the project, we could possibly see a SABRE spacecraft making flights within about 10 years. Hypersonic global travel, although exciting, is more of a challenge than is the space travel. Complex technological and safety concerns put this idea further in the future.

Animation showing the features of the SABRE engine and the Precooler

Animation showing some of the operational capabilities of the SKYLON spaceplane.

Videos: http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/video_gallery.html





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The First Reusable Rocket by Blue Origin!

November 24th, 2015

On November 23rd, 2015, Jeff Bezos’ private space company, Blue Origin, launched an unmanned rocket to the edge of space and returned the rocket to Earth making it the first reusable rocket in history!

“Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle successfully flew to space, reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pillaOxGCo

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Ground-breaking Aircraft Crash Avoidance System Enhances Runway Safety

October 29th, 2015

Introducing Aerial, Landing, & Takeoff Aircraft Crash Avoidance System (ALTACAS)

COLUMBIA, S.C., Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — ALTACAS TECHNOLOGY today announced the latest patented innovation in aircraft crash avoidance technology primarily designed to target and provide an effective, practical solution to enhance runway safety during takeoffs and landings, while preventing collisions during climbs, mid-flights, and descents.

Latest data from www.planecrashinfo.com shows 20% of fatal accidents occurred during takeoffs and initial climb, while 46% occurred during initial approach, final approach, and landing. The majority caused by human errors. The present day use of drones may increase these alarming statistics. For example, on March 22, 2014, US Airways Flight 4650 nearly collided with a drone while landing at the Tallahassee Regional Airport.

Among these statistics, runway incursions are the most prominent, which are incidents where a takeoff or landing aircraft is threatened by an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle, or person on a runway. In theUSA alone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported 1,264 runway incursions in 2014, a noticeable increase from 966 in 2010. Also, latest statistics from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nation Specialized Agency, shows runway related issues as the highest among “Occurrence Categories” at nearly 60%, and that runway excursion and incursions accounted for 19% of all accidents and serious incidents.

Several years ago, inventor and the company’s chief engineer Bryan Smalls was informed by associates that the US government was looking for ways to reduce runway incidents. This information led him to conceptualize and patent ALTACAS, which employs LIDAR radar and remote sensing technology along with GPS tracking technology. Its automated systems allows individual aircrafts to particularly monitor runways and airways of initial climbs before takeoffs while allowing inbound aircrafts to monitor airways and runways before landing, thereby minimizing runway incursions.  The existing crash avoidance system mainly targets mid-flight aircrafts. ALTACAS also effectively monitors mid-flight aircrafts.

ALTACAS pinpoint accuracy detects, warns, and tracks aircrafts of possible collision while providing evasive course of action. Its automated systems provides imagery, distance, speed, and direction of oncoming aircrafts and non-aircrafts vehicles, while simultaneously opening a three-way communication between pilots and air traffic controllers to defuse crisis. Sensor activated lightings alongside runways allows takeoff aircrafts to identify runway usage to incoming aircrafts and warn others on intersecting runways. Aircrafts in the vicinity receive audible warning that runway is in use.

ALTACAS reduces aircraft incidents caused by human errors and provides pilots and air traffic control additional reaction time to prevent collisions. Mr. Smalls says, “Every second is indispensible when aircrafts are on a collision course. Any safety system providing additional time may help avert a catastrophe and save the loss of lives and property.”

Mr. Smalls believes ALTACAS technology can be retrofitted into existing aircrafts’ safety systems, and may prove useful to trains and ships in the near future. He knows this venture will take a concerted effort by the government and private companies to implement. Consequently, he thinks it would be best to make this concept and patent available to others for licensing or sales. Additional information and a demo video can be seen at www.altacas.technology or www.altacas.com. For further information, please call (803) 724-1233 or 1-866-875-1101, or contact us by email at info@altacas.technology, or by mail at ALTACAS TECHNOLOGY, P.O. Box 24615, Columbia, SC 29224.

Video - https://youtu.be/vcH8mPTxQA8


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NASA, Global Aviation Leaders Talk Green Aviation and More at Annual Summit

October 8th, 2015

nasaImages NASA - routes of air navigation in EuropaWASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Representatives from 21 aviation research organizations around the world came together this week at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California to explore solutions for many of today’s most significant aviation challenges.

Hosted this year by NASA, the sixth annual International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR) Summit, which wrapped up Thursday, provided a non-competitive environment where global aviation leaders evaluated the progress of technical collaborations on issues. These included the environmental impacts of aviation; alternative fuels research; developing a global approach to air traffic management research; supersonic aircraft; and wind tunnel testing. The IFAR Steering Committee also proposed a strategy to ensure the group’s long-term sustainability.

“IFAR membership is growing and the group is maturing with every passing year,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington and current IFAR chair. “More and more countries understand that forming a cohesive group to leverage our respective resources can make real progress on solving many of the global aviation issues we all face.”

IFAR participants commended NASA for its leadership in alternative fuels and air traffic management research and development, and its supersonics working groups. They agreed these working groups should continue their important work for the foreseeable future. Research into aircraft efficiency, noise and weather, which is led by the German Aerospace Center, French aerospace lab ONERA, and Netherlands Aerospace Centre also were highlighted as focus areas warranting innovative collaborations.

In addition to its scientific and technical expertise, IFAR promotes exchanges among young aviation scientists and engineers. During a Young Researchers Conference held at this year’s summit, 18 participants from a number of countries, including the United States,Germany, Japan, and South Africa exchanged views on the future of aviation as contributions to IFAR’s own vision.

The next IFAR summit will be hosted in the fall of 2016 by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute in Daejeon, Republic of South Korea.

For more information about IFAR, go to:

For more information about how NASA is with you when you fly, visit:

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