FAA touts 2015 'year of safety' in aviation.


New York (AirGuide - Inside Air Travel) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) touted 2015 as a "year of safety and continued modernization" on Monday as lawmakers are expected to resume consideration of a new funding bill for the agency. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a blog post on the transportation department's website that "the dedicated professionals at the Federal Aviation Administration made significant progress this year as we continued to modernize and streamline the nation's air traffic system while also preparing the way for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to safely play a growing role in aviation." He cited the agency's efforts to require drone users to register their devices with the federal government and the completion of an airplane navigation system known as En Route Automation Modernization as examples of improvements that were made to the nation's aviation system in 2015.

"In April, we completed the program to replace the aging computer system that had been the core technology in our network of high-altitude air traffic control centers," Huerta wrote. "The new system, En Route Automation Modernization, or ERAM, is now the backbone for our NextGen Air Transportation System, driving the display screens used by controllers to safely manage and separate aircraft. "On the recreational front, our most high-profile accomplishment was launching a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras," Huerta continued. "The registration requirement, which went into effect on December 21, is a key opportunity to educate a new generation of airspace users about the rules and regulations they must follow," he concluded. "Registration is free for the first 30 days with a rebate, then $5 after that." The comments come as Congress is expected to work quickly in the new year on crafting an FAA bill, which is currently set to expire on March 31. The measure, which authorizes funding for air traffic controllers, is...

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