Southwest Region Congressional Interest Newsletter - FY2017 - Spring

Message from Southwest Regional Administrator Kelvin Solco

We have a busy spring with lots of outreach planned. We hope to visit each of our Southwest Region states, meet with your offices, and share the latest information on NextGen, Unmanned Aircraft Systems and FAA updates - hope to see y’all soon!

The new year started with a visit to the Louisiana Congressional Delegation staff in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in February. Later in March, we spent time with New Mexico Congressional Delegation staff. Thank you to everyone who came out!

Our next stop will be in Little Rock on April 6, for a meeting with Arkansas Congressional Delegation staff. On April 27, we plan to hold our annual briefing in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and make a stop in Oklahoma City at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center on May 4.

While I would like to save sharing some of our accomplishments for in our in-person briefings, in this newsletter, I want to share some great news that doesn’t get highlighted often. Thanks to innovative education and outreach efforts, we are seeing some wonderful trends in helicopter safety. The FAA is taking the lead in this area to foster a renewed helicopter stakeholder safety culture, streamline rotorcraft approval and certification processes, integrate NextGen technology into the cockpit and make other rule-making changes. As a result, the overall U.S. helicopter accident rate and the fatal accident rate have both fallen for the fourth consecutive year, according to statistics released by the FAA Rotorcraft Directorate.

We are working closely with helicopter companies and individual pilots to promote safety in their workplaces. Efforts include establishing a system where anyone can report an unsafe condition without fear of reprisal; making every employee a champion of safety; designating principal safety representatives; and establishing safety training programs for mechanics, pilots and other employees.

Outreach conducted through recent FAA International Rotorcraft Safety conferences has helped get the word out and share safety best practices. Each year for the past two years, the Rotorcraft Directorate has hosted three day international safety conferences with industry members. These conferences provide valuable information at no cost to participants.

We applaud the extraordinary efforts of our Rotorcraft Directorate to make the skies safer. Please contact us if you or your constituents would like more information about the upcoming Rotorcraft seminars. Additionally, we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events.

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.

Engineering Improves Aviation in the Gulf

This FAA engineer is improving flight safety over the Gulf of Mexico by implementing surveillance broadcast services where radar coverage has never existed.

Dr. J: Engineer, Architect, Innovator

It won’t be long before airport terminals across Louisiana become awe-inspiring works of art – thanks in large part to Office of Airports civil engineer Dr. John Dawson.

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.

ADS-B 101

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.

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.

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