Two things that aviation never runs short of are acronyms and numbers. FAA has released a new collection of both, but rather than bog a reader down, they do a bang-up job of highlighting some superlatives that those in the industry every day may take for granted.
The collection of figures is contained in FAA's Administrator Fact Book. Once an agency staple, the small, printed book of black and white tables, charts and the occasional map was discontinued about five years ago. FAA has injected a bit of digital modernization into it and released it as a PDF. (An all-digital format is in the offing.)
Among the airworthiness-centric nuggets from the newly released publication: FAA issued 150 new airworthiness directives and 2,054 type certificates or supplemental type certificates in fiscal year 2016—both increases over the previous year.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) get plenty of attention in the new book. As of Nov. 29, FAA had issued 70,000 remote-pilot certificates and 1,200 Part 107 waivers. The most oft-sought waiver requests: night operations (70%) and operations over people (29%).
The document has detailed breakdowns on runway incursions, air traffic facility operations (ARTCCs and TRACONs), annual accidents, the U.S.-registered aircraft fleet, and the nation's 19,299 airports—5,345 of which are public use, including 537 Part 139 airfields. There's even an update on NextGen, with spotlights on key programs including PBN, ERAM, TAMR, and SWIM.
The repair station world is under-represented—there's no mention of the 5,000-odd facilities that keep the much of the U.S. fleet, and a fair number of foreign aircraft—flying.
FAA's Office of Communications, which produces the compilation, plans to update it monthly. Here's to a new year—and a new set of numbers in January.