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FAA Seeks Comments on Aircraft Emergency Operations

April 24, 2014

The FAA today issued a Federal Register Notice seeking public comment on a proposed policy change to protect airspace for emergency operations when an aircraft engine fails during departure.  The proposed policy change strikes a balance by providing the option to designate one path for all airlines to use when one engine inoperative (OEI) procedures are needed. 

The FAA evaluates the takeoff path from every airport to ensure it is free of obstructions such as buildings, radio towers, and power lines.  Currently the evaluation only considers the takeoff path for airplanes with both engines operating.  In addition, each airline is required to establish its own flight path to ensure an unobstructed route, in the event that one engine fails during departure.  In some cases, due to obstruction in the takeoff path, operators can only ensure a safe takeoff by off-loading fuel, cargo, or passengers which reduces the efficiency and capacity of the airport. 

The proposed policy change provides stakeholders the option to invite FAA to assist with the planning for a single departure path for OEI operations for all carriers.  It provides a practical solution for airports, airlines, and local communities, including present and future developers, which ensures there is a safe and obstruction-free takeoff route at airports in the event an airplane loses operability of an engine.  It preserves safety, efficiency and capacity for our nation’s airports, while allowing development in the surrounding communities. 

The FAA managed a successful pilot program at five airports (MIA, LAS, PHX, DCS, BOS) that faced constrained departure paths.  The FAA led the stakeholders to solutions that worked for all parties.

You can view the Proposal to Consider the Impact of One Engine Inoperative Procedures in Part 77 Hazard Determinations on the website. The 60-day comment period closes on June 27, 2014.

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