FAA produces videos educating aircraft crew about how to suppress fires caused by lithium batteries.

Image for post
Image for post
A 5000 cell lithium-ion battery fire test at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center.

By Jim Tise, FAA Office of Communications.

Sit in any airport terminal and count the number of people talking on their mobile phones, reading on their tablets, listening to tunes on their media players, or checking the time on their watches.

Each of those portable electronic devices (PEDs) is powered by a lithium battery, as is aircraft equipment, such as emergency lighting and automated external defibrillators. They also power the electronic flight bags, manuals, and personal devices that flight crews carry with them onboard the plane. And all of these devices are potential fire hazards.

This case is another example of the FAA’s long-standing cooperative relationship with all branches of the U.S. military.

Image for post
Image for post
A Coast Guard H-65 helicopter.

By Jim Tise, FAA Office of Communications

Engineers at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center are the world’s leading researchers into aviation fire safety. Their work is confined mostly to the extensive laboratories at the center’s Atlantic City, N.J. headquarters, so when they get a chance to put their knowledge to use in a real-world scenario, they jump at the chance.

One such opportunity came in early September when the U.S. Coast Guard approached the FAA’s Fire Safety Branch to help in the investigation of a fire that damaged one of its MH-65 helicopters.

The helicopter had been deployed to Louisiana to assist in the Coast Guard’s hurricane response effort. As it was preparing to take off on its third flight of the day, it was discovered that a fire erupted in one of the engine compartments. The Coast Guard operates 87 H-65 variants on its many missions; besides responding to disasters, they include operating search and rescue flights, aiding law enforcement, and providing environmental and marine protection. Although the fire did not ground its fleet, the service wanted to find out quickly what the issue was to ensure safety. …

As we navigate through the airspace together, it’s important to remember some basic rules of airline passenger travel.

Ed. note: Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, there are more things to consider. If you must fly, visit flyhealthy.gov to learn about important changes and considerations.

Animation of two masked passengers on a flight.
Animation of two masked passengers on a flight.

By Allen Kenitzer, FAA Office of Communications

In the great Nat King Cole classic, we’re told to “Straighten up and fly right!”

But then again, life as an airline passenger in the 21st Century can be stressful. Health concerns, unruly fellow passengers and flight delays can be nerve-wracking for any traveler.

As we navigate through the airspace together, it’s important to remember some basic rules of airline passenger travel.

✈️ The first rule is something we’ve always called common courtesy. Once we are aboard the aircraft, the way we behave impacts those around us. …

While Flight Program Operations personnel in Alaska are getting ready for the North Pole’s busy holiday season, another Flight Program Operations team is just getting back from the polar opposite, their annual mission to Antarctica.

Flight Program Operations team members Jason Hill, Jay Sandwell and Brad Elliott.
Flight Program Operations team members Jason Hill, Jay Sandwell and Brad Elliott.
Flight Program Operations team members Jason Hill, Jay Sandwell and Brad Elliott mask up during one of their night shifts at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Photo: FAA)

By Brad Elliott and Kate Knorr, FAA Air Traffic Organization

Through an inter-agency agreement with the National Science Foundation, the FAA’s Flight Program Operations organization provides flight inspection services for navigational aids and instrument procedures that support McMurdo and South Pole stations in Antarctica. Flight inspection ensures the instrument approaches and airway procedures in our National Airspace System — and those that are part of our international commitments — remain operational.

While this mission is always lengthy and complex — planning starts in April in order to have all of the pre-mission work completed for a fall mission — this year was especially complex due to the patchwork of public health restrictions in the countries the crew must pass through to get to Antarctica. …

The Department of Transportation and FAA are working with federal and transportation partners to detect, deter, and disrupt human trafficking across all modes of transportation.

Put the brakes on human trafficking.
Put the brakes on human trafficking.

The President has proclaimed January 2021 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual observation of National Freedom Day on February 1, 2021. The Presidential Proclamation states, “While we have reached new milestones in this fight for freedom, we must remain steadfast in our pursuit to end the evil practice of human trafficking and slavery. This month, we restore our commitment to bring human traffickers to justice and to preserving the dignity and worth of every person.”

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. It is the third largest crime industry in the world, behind drug dealing and arms trafficking. …

We close out 2020 by celebrating some of the many achievements in aviation and aerospace that occurred this year.

Image for post
Image for post

1) A Record Number of Licensed Space Launches

The FAA is researching the use of ADS-B data to predict in-flight turbulence, with the hope to help controllers and pilots avoid bumpy skies.

An airline plane flying in front of a cluster of clouds.
An airline plane flying in front of a cluster of clouds.

By Callie Dosberg, FAA Office of Communications

Most of us would describe 2020 as a turbulent year. And while there’s not much to be done about that bumpiness, FAA researchers are now closer to helping pilots and controllers avoid turbulence in the sky using Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data.

This research shows promise to bring an additional level of safety to the flying public and flight crews, like flight attendants who are actually injured by turbulence more often than passengers,” said Tammy Flowe, an FAA Research Meteorologist.

The research originated from an FAA employee’s submission to an FAA-wide challenge for innovative ideas to solve agency data challenges. He proposed using ADS-B data directly from aircraft to understand when it is experiencing turbulence. That information could then be shared with air traffic controllers, pilots and airlines to better assist in forecasting and planning to avoid turbulence. With approximately 133,000 U.S. aircraft already providing ADS-B reports, there is no need for airlines and pilots to buy additional equipment, and repurposing ADS-B data that already exists removes the subjective, and often intermittent, nature of pilot turbulence reports. …

End the year unlike any other with a roundup of our most popular blog posts.

Image for post
Image for post

By: Maia Lee Sang

Thank you to all of our followers and readers of the FAA Blog, Cleared for Takeoff! We put together a list of five of our most popular blog posts of 2020.

1) No-Go On the Radio

“So, what does a long-gone reality show have to do with GA?” Inspired by the fashion-savvy reality show, What Not to Wear, FAA Safety Briefing magazine editor Susan K. Parson does an aviation-themed take with “What not to say.” The general aviation pilot and flight instructor highlights the dos and the don’ts in a list of what not to say during aviation radio transmission.

2) Save Story: Air Traffic Controllers at FAA Denver Center Help Locate Pilot after Crash

Air traffic control is all about making sure things go right in the skies, but these controllers are also essential when things happen to go wrong. When a Piper Lance II single-engine aircraft descended rapidly and disappeared from the radar coverage of Albuquerque Center in a remote, mountainous part of New Mexico, the pilot emerged safe but with limited knowledge of his location and limited signal. Thanks to the innovative thinking and quick action by a trio of supervisors at Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZDV), the stranded pilot was rescued with the help of smartphone apps. …

We’ve made a list, checked it twice, and we’re making aviation spirit bright…with viewers like you! We are sharing five of our best performing videos from 2020.

Image for post
Image for post

1. From the Flight Deck - National Trailer

The FAA’s From the Flight Deck series launched to provide pilots with airport taxiway & runway approach footage, captured with cockpit cameras to identify hot spots & location-specific safety information at airports across the U.S.

2) Controlled Flight Into Terrain in 57 Seconds

The FAA’s safety team acquaints viewers with the precursors of General Aviation Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents and highlights technological advancements and safety awareness solutions in 57 seconds.

3) Ice Induced Stall Pilot Training

This training aid helps pilots understand the phenomenon of tailplane and wing stall while flying in icing conditions. …

Since we launched ‘Cleared for Takeoff’ in March, 2020, we have published nearly 200 stories. As we close out the end of our first year, our editors and contributors reflect on their favorite stories so far.

Image for post
Image for post

Celebrating a Centennial of Flight Service

This year marked an impressive milestone in the history of flight, as we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Flight Service operations. What I love most about this blog post in particular is that it’s a great primer on our country’s aviation history. It draws a throughline from those first Flight Service Stations — originally called air mail radio stations and largely used to assist aircraft delivering mail across the country — to today’s stations, which largely serve the complex aviation environment in Alaska. This one’s great to share with all of the history buffs in your life who don’t yet know that they’re a future aviation geek. It was hard to pick just one story from this year, so I’d like to give an honorable mention to Save Story: Controllers’ Composure, Helpfulness, Knowledge Save Pilot. If you’ve ever wondered what air traffic controllers really do, read this. It will give you goosebumps. …


Federal Aviation Administration

Welcome to the official Medium account of the FAA. Following, mention or comment does not mean endorsement. Have a question, we’ll answer it!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store