[Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET] In rare bipartisan accord, normally quarrelsome U.S. lawmakers passed a measure designed to end budget-related air traffic controller furloughs blamed for widespread flight delays.
The House of Representatives approved the legislation, capping a major congressional initiative as delays snarled traffic at airports. The House vote comes a day after unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate.
The measure - which is expected to be signed into law by President Obama - gives the Transportation Department budget planners new flexibility for dealing with forced spending cuts.FULL STORY
Hundreds of flights have been canceled Wednesday nationwide - including in Chicago and Denver - due to bad weather, airport officials said.
Airlines have reported 400 cancellations - out of 1,700 flights daily - at Denver International Airport due to a storm that is forecast to dump seven inches of snow in the area, the airport said at 2:50 p.m. (4:50 p.m. ET). The announcement came before the heavy snow had arrived.
Delays at the Denver airport are averaging just over two hours and 15 minutes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
At O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, meanwhile, more than 300 flights have been canceled due to bad weather.
The Chicago Department of Aviation reported the cancellations at 3:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET), as well as the fact that delays for flights that were still on - both in and out of the busy airport - averaged one hour or more.
Airlines reported delays of 30 minutes or more at Midway, another Chicago airport, the city department said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it will delay the closures of 149 federal-contract air traffic control towers until June 15.
Last month, the FAA announced it would eliminate funding for these regional airport towers to help it meet $637 million in forced spending cuts.
The tower closures had been scheduled to begin April 7, phased in over four weeks. The towers are low- or moderate-volume facilities staffed by contractors
The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday approved a proposed remedy for problems that triggered battery fires and led to the grounding of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, but the company must still demonstrate its approach will ensure safety before those planes can fly again.
The agency said it had signed off on a certification plan by the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer to redesign the wide body's lithium-ion battery system.FULL STORY
After three weeks on the ground, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner soon will return to the skies - but only so engineers can test the plane's troubled electrical and battery systems, the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday.
The FAA approved test flights for the Boeing planes with strict conditions to assure safety: Only essential personnel will be on board, crews must continuously monitor the plane for battery-related problems and tests will be conducted over unpopulated areas.
"These flights will be an important part of our efforts to ensure the safety of passengers and return these aircraft to service," the agency said.
Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said in a statement that the company is "confident" the tests could be conducted safely, and said one Boeing aircraft has been designated for the test.
The Dreamliner is the first commercial aircraft to make extensive use of lithium-ion batteries, which can hold more electrical power in a smaller, lighter space. However, dangerous problems with batteries overheating have caused the 787 fleet to be grounded.FULL STORY
As Boeing and airline officials sought to assure travelers of the overall safety of the world's newest jetliner, federal safety officials Thursday painted a graphic picture of a disaster averted, displaying the charred remnants of a battery that "spewed molten electrolytes" from its container shortly after landing in Boston earlier this month.
"This is an unprecedented event," National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said of back-to-back battery incidents aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the United States and Japan.
"We do not expect to see fire events on board aircrafts. This is a very serious safety concern," she said.FULL STORY
U.S. regulators have ordered airlines to ground all U.S.-registered Boeing 787 Dreamliners until a fire risk linked to batteries aboard the jetliners is fixed.
The move comes on the day that two Japanese airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, grounded their fleets of the 787 Dreamliner. That move came after an ANA 787 made an emergency landing in Japan after a battery alarm signal activated on the plane.
United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier flying Dreamliners. They have six.
"Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration that the batteries are safe and in compliance," the FAA said Wednesday evening.
The Dreamliner has been beset by a string of mechanical and other problems for months, including reports of an oil leak, a fuel leak, engine cracks and a damaged cockpit window. Also, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a January 7 battery fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston.FULL STORY
[Updated at 11:13 a.m. ET] The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is safe to fly, according to U.S. aviation, transportation and industry officials. "We are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we're concerned about these incidents," said Michael Huerta, FAA Administrator at a news conference this morning in Washington. He said a probe would focus on the aircraft's electrical components and how the electrical system interacts with mechanical components.
[Initial post at 8:05 a.m. ET] Federal regulators will announce Friday that they plan to carry out a "comprehensive review of Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly."
The announcement follows a week of problems for the state-of-the-art airliner and is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET at a news conference with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Conner.FULL STORY
A small plane carrying at least three people crashed into a home in eastern Florida on Friday after reporting a mechanical problem, officials said.
The Beechcraft BE35 aircraft was en route to Knoxville Downtown Island Airport in Tennessee, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta.
The plane was diverting to Flagler County Airport, near the coast about 30 miles north of Daytona Beach, when it crashed a mile east of the airport and into a house, Bergen said. There was no immediate information on injuries.FULL STORY
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Unmanned drones have gotten many readers talking. A Monmouth University poll showed there was strong support for using unmanned aircraft to track down criminals, combat illegal immigration or carry out search missions. On the other hand, respondents oppose using drones to do routine work such as patrolling traffic. Here on CNN.com, the thought of using drones to catch speeders, for example, has made some readers a little nervous.
A commenter using the nickname "Rand Paul" (we don't know if it's really the Kentucky senator) posted what became the comment of the day on Thursday's Mash-up post:
"I saw George Orwell riding on a drone last night. He was waving."
As it turns out, the real Sen. Rand Paul's opinion article about drones got many of our readers talking. Paul writes of the legislation he's introduced:
"This bill protects individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of these drones. The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 will protect Americans' personal privacy by forcing the government to honor our Fourth Amendment rights."
Should we fear drones? Readers who commented disagreed. FULL POST
Go ahead and use drones to track down criminals, to combat illegal immigration or for search-and-rescue missions. But to issue traffic citations?
No way, say Americans.
A recent Monmouth University poll showed there was overwhelming support for using unmanned aircraft in a variety of circumstances, but routine police work was not one of them.
Fewer than a quarter of the 1,708 adults surveyed last week said they would OK the use of drones to issue speeding tickets. Sixty-seven percent said they opposed the idea, and 10% had no opinion. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points (view a PDF here).
Compare that with the approval ratings for other drone applications: illegal immigration (64%), rescue missions (80%) and locating criminals (67%). The poll also indicates that 64% of Americans would be concerned about their privacy if U.S. law enforcement agencies began using drones with high-tech cameras.
Under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which President Barack Obama signed in February, the Federal Aviation Administration is charged with developing a plan “for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system as soon as practicable, but not later than September 30, 2015.”
The act is in response to the strict FAA regulations on drone use. It loosens those restrictions, allowing many government agencies to get swifter FAA permission to operate the unmanned aerial vehicles. It also allows any "government public safety agency to operate unmanned aircraft weighing 4.4 pounds or less," if certain criteria are met.
The FAA has authorized drone use for dozens of entities, including more than 20 universities, the U.S. military, local police forces, the FBI, NASA and the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Interior and Energy.
Drone uses vary greatly, according to an FAA document issued in March that outlines how drones will be used in six test ranges.
Not only can their objectives encompass everything from surveillance to searches to air quality testing, they can take many forms. Wingspans range from 6 inches to 240 feet. Weights run the gamut from 4 ounces to 16 tons.
"One thing they have in common is that their numbers and uses are growing dramatically. In the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs,” according to the FAA.
The agency says it will select the test ranges in late 2012, with the first location becoming operational in 2013. The FAA currently has a test site at New Mexico State University, which it’s been using since June 2011.
There have been few incidents with domestic drone use, aside from an accident this month when a $176 million Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk went down in a marsh outside Salisbury, Maryland.
Outside the U.S., however, there has been widespread opposition to American reliance on drones to take out terrorists. A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that the U.S. was the only country among 20 surveyed that approved of using drones to kill extremist leaders in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
A Delta Air Lines flight made an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Thursday afternoon after encountering an engine problem the pilot said was caused by a bird strike shortly after takeoff.
"We lost our right engine due to the ingestion of birds," the pilot told the control tower.
Delta Flight 1063’s pilots told air traffic controllers of an engine-related problem shortly after the Los Angeles-bound plane took off from JFK around 3 p.m., FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.
“As a measure of caution, the pilot chose to turn around” and landed the Boeing 757 at JFK, Delta spokesman Anthony Black said. All 172 passengers and seven crew members were OK, he said.
Delta needs to examine the engine before a bird strike could be confirmed, Black said.
Ali Velshi, CNN's chief business correspondent, was on the plane. He said he heard “a horrible grinding noise” after the plane took off.
The JetBlue pilot arrested after an apparent midair meltdown last week was taken to the federal courthouse in Amarillo, Texas, Monday morning, a court official said.
Authorities transferred Clayton Osbon, the captain of JetBlue Flight 191, from a hospital where he has been treated since last Tuesday to the courthouse. A court clerk said he probably would appear before a judge.
Osbon has not made an initial court appearance since he was arrested and charged with interfering with a flight crew.
His remarks and erratic behavior on the planned five-hour flight from New York's Kennedy International Airport to Las Vegas led the co-pilot to lock him out of the cockpit, according a federal criminal complaint.FULL STORY
A small plane with five people on board crashed in Lincolnshire, Illinois, on Monday night, authorities said.
Two people are believed dead, said Elizabeth Isham Corey of the Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman. The others were hospitalized, she said.
The Piper Navajo plane left Jessup, Georgia, and was five miles away from Chicago Executive Air Park when the pilot reported fuel problems, Corey said.
It crashed in the Riverwood neighborhood in Lincolnshire.FULL STORY
Yelena Shmulenson works two jobs in Manhattan, and is sleep-deprived.
She says her workload is nonstop and she can go a week working as an administrative assistant at a boutique law firm without getting up for lunch.
At night, she pursues an acting career, often getting home late. What suffers is her sleep. So for the past two years, she pays to go to what she calls her "oasis" in the city, a spa which offers nap rooms for clients. For $17, she can take a 20-minute power nap that keeps her going for the rest of the day. Shmulenson says, "It really does the trick."
Her company, like a majority nationwide, frowns upon employees dozing off at work. In fact, in many cases napping on the job is a fireable offense. But new research from the Society of Human Resource Management shows this year more employers are slowly building nap rooms for workers to get some shut-eye during the day.
Tax Day: Today is the deadline to file your federal income taxes for 2010.
The Internal Revenue Service has a free electronic filing service available for those who make less than $58,000 a year. Get details on that service here. Other electronic filing options are also available from the IRS as well as information on how to file extensions.
For those filing on paper, the U.S. Postal Service is extending hours at locations around the country so taxpayers can meet the midnight deadline.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Sunday that the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Traffic Controllers Union have reached an agreement to make changes in the aftermath of recent incidents involving sleeping air traffic controllers. The changes will be effective immediately.
Controllers will now have a minimum of nine hours off between shifts. Currently they were getting as few as eight. Controllers will no longer be able to swap shifts unless they have a minimum of nine hours off between the last shift they worked and the one they want to begin. They will no longer be able to switch to an unscheduled midnight shift following a day off.
FAA managers will schedule their own shifts in a way to ensure greater coverage in the early morning and late night hours.
On Saturday, the FAA suspended another traffic controller caught sleeping. The incident occurred at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center during the midnight shift early Saturday morning, the agency reported.
The Federal Aviation Administration official in charge of operating the air traffic control system has resigned amid revelations that several controllers have fallen asleep on the job this year, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said Thursday.
The resignation comes after the latest reported incident of an air traffic controller falling asleep on duty. According to the FAA, "a controller fell asleep while a medical flight carrying an ill patient was trying to land" Wednesday morning at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada.
It would be the sixth incident this year involving a sleeping controller that the FAA has disclosed. One occurred at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, another at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, and three incidents involving the same person occurred at Boeing Field/King County International Airport in Seattle.
The FAA said it also suspended two controllers in Lubbock, Texas, for an incident in the early hours of March 29 in which they failed to hand off control of a departing flight to the Fort Worth Air Traffic Control Center, and responded only after several attempts by the same center to hand them control of an arriving flight.
The FAA statement did not indicate whether the Lubbock controllers were thought to have been asleep.