The Federal Aviation Administration New England Region successfully completed the winter season with its reputation for unpredictable weather. From the depths of Northern and Down East Maine’s record snowfalls to the mixed precipitation hazards of the southern coastline, we maintained our commitment to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.
This was demonstrated very dramatically on Oct. 20, 2016 at Boston Tower, when controllers Eric J. Knight and Ross Leshinsky acted quickly to correct an air carrier flight that was coming in lower than usual, without its landing lights on, and was lined up to land on a taxiway. Leshinsky quickly issued “go around” instructions, and the aircraft pulled up, avoiding another air carrier aircraft that was on the taxiway waiting to depart. As a result of their quick thinking, the team received the National Air Traffic Controllers Association highest recognition, the President’s Award for the most outstanding safety performance in 2016. We are proud of their accomplishment.
We continued to meet our pledge to community outreach on issues that concern the public. We attended public meetings in South Burlington, VT and in the Boston area, engaging with community leaders and residents on their concerns about aircraft noise.
FAA/Massport MOU-Winter Meetings Update
We participated in a public meeting hosted by Massport, the Massport Community Advisory Committee (CAC), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and consultants Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH) in late February. The purpose of this meeting was to inform the public about the “technical team” that we formed to look at potential noise mitigations for communities around Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and to solicit new ideas that the team might consider.
Massport briefed attendees about the history of Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), its economic impact, runway use, and the effects of new technology on aircraft operations. They reviewed the historical changes in aircraft noise and the effects of satellite-based flight procedures over the communities surrounding Boston. Massport also reviewed its comprehensive noise abatement program. MIT also presented information on satellite-based procedures and how they affect community noise, including flight tracks and data that can be used to better manage the effects of noise. FAA’s involvement with the “technical team” will begin after they have assessed potential noise mitigation. More information and the full presentation may be found at this web link: https://www.massport.com/in-the-community/
South Burlington, VT
We also traveled to South Burlington, VT in February to address community concerns about aircraft noise, solutions, and to answer questions about noise mitigation. Richard Doucette, Environmental Program from the Airports Division outlined Noise Compatibility Programs. The Vermont Army National Guard (VTARNG), the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG), and Burlington International Airport (BTV) also answered questions about aircraft noise and airport programs for mitigating noise.
Doucette explained that the FAA will work with local leaders and the airport community to respond to public concerns. The meeting was videotaped and can be found here: http://www.btv.aero/airport-guide/neighborhood-connection/
Panel members of the public meeting in South Burlington included (left to right): VT Army National Guard, Air National Guard, FAA, BTV Management, and aviation consultants
New England Regional NASAO Meeting
We also hosted a National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) meeting for the six New England states at our Regional Office in January. This day-long event covered Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), airport condition reporting, and airport projects.
Airports Deputy Division Manager Bryon Rakoff briefed state aviation officials on 2016 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) statistics for the region and took a look into 2017 funding. Lead Airport Certification Safety Inspector Laurie Jane Dragonas reviewed the nuances of the airport Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM) and how it works. Dragonas also addressed Runway Condition Codes (RwyCC) and how these are translated in Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS).
FAA Senior Attorney Dean Griffith gave an update on UAS legal issues, and Aviation Safety Inspector Bill Gianetta gave a presentation on Federal Aviation Regulation Part 107, which covers UAS, and Remote Pilot Certification. Gianetta clarified many of the terms used for UAS, explained how to navigate the FAA UAS website, and discussed regulatory requirements that must be followed to safely fly through controlled and uncontrolled airspace. We followed the open discussion with an analysis of local drone activities by the Massachusetts law firm of Anderson & Kreiger.
State aviation representatives gather at the FAA New England Regional Office for the NASAO Meeting.
Data Comm @ NY/NJ Airports
Data Comm, the NextGen technology that enhances safety and reduces delays by dramatically improving the way air traffic controllers and pilots talk to each other, is up and running at five airports in the New York metropolitan area: JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Teterboro and Westchester. These airports were among the first to receive the critical system upgrade.
The Future of Flight Service
New national flight service functions will leverage automation to save time and enhance safety.
FAA Forecasts Continued Growth in Air Travel
The FAA released its annual Aerospace Forecast Report Fiscal Years 2017 to 2037, which projects sustained and continued growth in nearly every aspect of air transportation.
The FAA Aerospace Forecast 2017-37 is developed to support budget and planning needs of the FAA. The forecasts are developed using statistical models to explain and incorporate emerging trends of the different segments of the aviation industry. This year's document contains updated forecasts for US airline traffic and capacity, FAA workload, General Aviation activity and pilots, as well as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) fleet and remote pilots.
NextGen Arrives for UPS
UPS pilot Capt. Gregg Kastman describes the benefits his company is experiencing as a result of NextGen.
With the approaching January 1, 2020 deadline to equip with ADS-B Out, pilots and owners are looking for more information. Learn more about what it is, and how it will benefit the general aviation community.
True Stories of Air Traffic Control
Listen to a pilot’s grateful words after a recent close call in Fort Worth Center airspace.
U.S. Helicopter Accidents Decrease
The U.S. helicopter accident rate and the fatal helicopter accident rate have fallen for the third consecutive year, according to Federal Aviation Administration data.
FAA Issues General Aviation Medical Rule
The FAA has issued a final rule that allows general aviation pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements outlined in Congressional legislation. Beginning May 1, pilots may take advantage of the regulatory relief in the BasicMed rule or opt to continue to use their FAA medical certificate.