faa

Amazon / Associated Press

A new letter from Amazon to the Federal Aviation Administration indicated the e-commerce giant is getting frustrated with the wait for approval to test package delivery drones.

An Amazon vice president wrote that drone engineering and testing could soon be relocated abroad from the Seattle area.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

New data from the FAA shows the frequency of close calls between manned aircraft and small drones is soaring. Pilots or air traffic controllers logged ten disconcerting incidents in Northwest skies since April. The head of a local pilots group says "near misses" are bound to increase as hobby drones gain in popularity.

AP Images

Judging from holiday advertising, lots of teenagers and grownups will find a drone under the Christmas tree this year. The increasing affordability and popularity of remotely piloted airplanes and choppers is leading to conflict in Northwest skies. 

UK Ministry of Defence

Managers at a military drone maker in the Columbia River Gorge say they see great potential for civil and commercial uses for their best known aircraft. But realizing that promise requires the federal government to finalize rules for drones in the national airspace.

When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled plans for aerial drone delivery of packages last year, many observers dismissed the concept as science fiction or pie-in-the-sky.

Ibagli

A medical examiner in Idaho has confirmed that a United Airlines pilot died from a heart attack he had while flying from Houston to Seattle Thursday night. He passed away in a Boise hospital, after the 2nd officer made an emergency landing. Commercial and private pilots need to undergo regular medical screenings, in order to maintain their flight certifications.

The White House says President Obama will sign a fast-tracked Congressional bill to end the furloughs of air traffic controllers. Operators of smaller Northwest airports hope the measure also stops the planned closure of their control towers.

As of now, more than a dozen of the less busy airport control towers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho remain on a list to be deactivated in early June. They're potential casualties of across-the-board federal budget cuts at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Beth Redfield

Some Northwest cities and counties are exploring whether to use local or private money to keep their airport control towers open. By mid-June, the federal government plans to close the control towers at 13 small to medium sized airports across the region.


According to an airport industry association, control towers at 14 small to medium sized airports around the Northwest will close on April 1 in response to automatic federal budget cuts: Four in Idaho and five each in Oregon and Washington. But regional airlines intend to keep flying to those cities they now serve.