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FAA Update on Hurricane Dorian

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FAA Update on Hurricane Dorian9/17/2019

A team of four FAA Technical Operations Specialists and a mobile FAA air traffic control tower arrived in Marsh Harbour, the Bahamas, on a C-17 today. The tower will help the Bahamian government facilitate humanitarian response flights.


9/8/2019

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advises pilots about flight restrictions for Bahamian Airspace. At the request of the Bahamian Government, the FAA has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for U.S. aircraft and pilots entering Bahamian airspace in Hurricane Dorian affected areas in order to reserve airspace for search and rescue and humanitarian assistance.


9/7/2019

All ACA’s are cancelled, except North Carolina: (FDC 9/2806 (PDF)).

Drone pilots should check for flight restrictions before flying.

Now that Hurricane Dorian has passed, the FAA has an important reminder as U.S. government agencies respond to the storm’s damage.

Drone pilots: be aware that you could face significant penalties that may exceed $20,000 if you interfere with emergency response operations. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a TFR is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference. If you are not certified as a remote pilot or do not already hold a COA, you cannot fly. 

Drone pilots must comply with FAA rules and should:

  • Avoid flying in the area unless conducting an active disaster response or recovery mission.
  • Be aware that the FAA might issue a TFR in the affected area. Be sure to check for active TFRs if you plan to fly.
  • Remember that you cannot fly inside a TFR without FAA approval.

Drone emergency operations and response:

During a natural disaster, do not fly your drone in or around emergency response efforts, unless you have special authorization to do so. There are low flying aircraft as part of the storm response — mostly in low visibility areas. If you are flying, emergency response operations cannot. You may be able to get expedited approval to operate in the TFR through the FAA’s Special Governmental Interest (SGI) process as outlined in FAA Order JO 7200.23A. Submit an Emergency Operation Request Form (MS Word) with your existing Remote Pilot Certificate or existing Certification of Authorization (COA) — and send to the FAA's System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at 9-ator-hq-sosc@faa.gov.


9/5/2019

Dorian continues to move north. Airline passengers to check with their air carrier for flight cancellations and delays.

As Hurricane Dorian moves north, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advises airline passengers to check with their air carrier for flight cancellations and delays. Airlines make decisions about their flight schedules. Be aware that flights can stop long before winds reach hurricane strength.

General aviation and drone pilots should continue to check NOTAMs, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), and Aircraft Safety Alerts before flying. 

The FAA has established Airspace Coordination Areas (ACA) over the southeast coast along the projected path of Hurricane Dorian to allow disaster response and recovery flights to operate safely. Pilots flying in the ACAs should be very cautious because many aircraft are operating in the area. Drone pilots should avoid flying in the ACAs without FAA permission. Aircraft and drone pilots should check NOTAMs frequently for the latest information about flying along the coast.

The active ACAs are as follows:

The FAA also issued two Special Advisory NOTAMs for contingency flow operations from Florida to the Bahamas and for Bahamas recovery and response operations.

Ahead of the storm, FAA technicians protect communications equipment and navigational aids to the greatest extent possible to enable flights to resume quickly after the storm passes. FAA technicians fuel and test engine generators and so they can power equipment and facilities if commercial power fails. We switch to engine generator power before the storm in anticipation of commercial power failures. Watch our short video on YouTube to learn more about how the FAA handles hurricanes.


9/4/2019

Some Florida airports are back to normal operations as Hurricane Dorian moves north towards the Carolinas.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working with our government partners and aviation stakeholders to safely manage air traffic affected by Hurricane Dorian. The FAA Command Center is managing the rerouting of flights in the airspace affected by the storm. Many airports in Florida are now back to normal operations. Airlines who fly to other airports in the path of the storm may delay or cancel flights. As always, check with your airline about the status of your flight before you leave for the airport. 

General aviation and drone pilots should check NOTAMs and TFRs. Drone pilots must comply with FAA rules and should:

  • Avoid flying in the area unless conducting an active disaster response or recovery mission.
  • Be aware that the FAA might issue a TFR in the affected area. Be sure to check for active TFRs if you plan to fly.
  • Remember that you cannot fly inside a TFR without FAA approval.

The FAA has established four Airspace Coordination Areas (ACA) over the southeast coast along the projected path of Hurricane Dorian to allow disaster response and recovery flights to operate safely. Pilots flying in the ACAs should be very cautious because many aircraft are operating in the area. Drone pilots should avoid flying in the ACAs without FAA permission. Aircraft and drone pilots should check NOTAMs frequently for the latest information about flying along the coast. The ACA for South Florida (FDC 9/1722) is cancelled.

The active ACAs are as follows:


9/3/2019

The FAA continues to work to safely manage air traffic affected by Hurricane Dorian.

The FAA continues to work with our government partners and aviation stakeholders to safely manage air traffic affected by Hurricane Dorian. The FAA Command Center is managing the rerouting of flights and is helping airlines as they add some flights to aid evacuation efforts. As of 1:00 p.m. ET today, more than 2,000 U.S. airline flights have been cancelled due to the storm. As always, check with your airline about the status of your flight before you leave for the airport. Major carriers provide flight status updates on their websites:

The agency has established three Airspace Coordination Areas (ACA) over the eastern coast of Florida (FDC 9/1735 and FDC 9/1722) and the Georgia coast (FDC 9/2301). The ACAs allow a safe environment for disaster response and recovery flights. Aircraft pilots flying in the ACAs should be very cautious because many flights are operating in the area. Pilots should avoid flying in the ACAs without FAA permission. The ACAs are effective until 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday, September 5. However, the FAA can cancel the ACAs at any time. Aircraft and drone pilots should check NOTAMs frequently for the latest information about flying along the coast.


9/1/2019

Hurricane Dorian has strengthened and changed its projected path. Travelers should check with their airline before heading to the airport.

The FAA is closely monitoring Category 5 Hurricane Dorian which is expected to remain a catastrophic hurricane during the next few days. 

The agency has a team ready to to go to the Bahamas after the storm passes to assess any damage to FAA communications equipment. We are preparing our facilities and equipment in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. 

Airline passengers who plan to travel near the storm’s projected path, from Florida to North Carolina, should check flight status with their airline before heading to the airport. Airports make decisions about closing their facilities and may remain ‘open’ even after commercial flights have stopped. Airport status and general airport delay information is available at fly.faa.gov.

Follow us on Twitter @FAANews for updates and aviation safety information.


8/30/2019

Travelers, pilots and drone users! Stay informed about Hurricane Dorian's impact on aviation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is monitoring Hurricane Dorian closely and preparing FAA facilities and equipment along the southeast coast of Florida to withstand potential damage so flights can quickly resume after the storm passes. Restoring air carrier service is critical to support disaster relief efforts.

Travelers 

Airlines make decisions about their flight schedules. Flights can stop long before winds reach hurricane strength. Travelers should check with their airlines before heading to the airport for a flight to or from the southeast coast of Florida. The FAA does not direct or advise airlines about cancelling flights.

Airports in the area of potential impact make decisions about closing their facilities. In many cases, airports remain open and do not officially close even when flights have stopped. The FAA does not direct or advise airports to open or close.

The FAA maintains air traffic control radar coverage and provides service to flights for as long as possible. FAA control towers in hurricane-prone areas are designed and built to sustain hurricane force winds. Each control tower has a maximum wind sustainability, which can range from 55 to 75 miles per hour. When winds approach those speeds, controllers evacuate the tower cabs.

Ahead of the storm, FAA technicians protect communications equipment and navigational aids to the greatest extent possible to enable flights to resume quickly after the storm passes. FAA technicians test engine generators and ensure they are fully fueled so they can power equipment and facilities if commercial power fails. We switch to engine generator power before the storm in anticipation of commercial power failures.

After the storm, we assess damage to FAA facilities and navigational aids. We set priorities to quickly re-establish critical equipment. The FAA has equipment, supplies and people ready to move into the affected areas as soon as the storm passes to restore air traffic control facilities that may be damaged by Hurricane Dorian. Teams of technicians and engineers from other locations travel to the affected areas to assess damage and begin restoring equipment and facilities working closely with the local technical teams.

General Aviation Pilots 

Standard checklists are even more important in and around severe weather. Be aware of weather conditions throughout the entire route of your planned flight. A pilot’s failure to recognize deteriorating weather conditions continues to cause or contribute to accidents. Be sure to check NOTAMs, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), and Aircraft Safety Alerts before you go.

Check out the FAA’s Hurricane Preparedness Guidance.

Drone Users

Drone users should check NOTAMs and TFRs and avoid flying in areas where drones are prohibited.

Drone pilots must comply with FAA rules and should:

  1. Avoid flying in the area unless conducting an active disaster response or recovery mission.
  2. Be aware that the FAA might issue a TFR in the affected area. Be sure to check for active TFRs if you plan to fly.
  3. Remember that you cannot fly inside a TFR without FAA approval.

Drone emergency operations and response:

  • During a natural disaster, do not fly your drone in or around emergency response efforts, unless you have special authorization to do so. There are low flying aircraft as part of the storm response — mostly in low visibility areas. If you are flying, emergency response operations cannot.
  • You may be able to get expedited approval to operate in the TFR through the FAA’s Special Governmental Interest (SGI) process as outlined in FAA Order JO 7200.23A. Submit an Emergency Operation Request Form with your existing Remote Pilot Certificate or existing Certification of Authorization (COA) — and send to the FAA's System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at 9-ator-hq-sosc@faa.gov.

Don’t Be That Guy!

Be aware that significant penalties that may exceed $20,000 if drone operators interfere with emergency response operations. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a TFR is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

If you are not certified as a remote pilot or do not already hold a COA, you cannot fly. 

Follow the FAA on social media for the latest aviation news!

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