Over the last couple of years, we have seen an increase in state regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A recent report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) titled “A Guide to State Laws Impacting UAS/UAV Operations” identifies the restriction of operations near critical infrastructure among the leading trends in state regulation of UAS. Notwithstanding the emergence of state regulation in this field, the enactment of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act, 2016 (the “Act”), indicates that Congress intends to vest the authority to protect critical infrastructure from UAS with the FAA. In light of this development, states that have enacted laws or are considering regulating in this field, should consult with the FAA in order to promote a unified national framework that addresses local concerns.
On July 15, 2016, Congress enacted the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act (the “Act”), which among other things, directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a process to enable applicants to petition the FAA Administrator to “prohibit or restrict the operation of an unmanned aircraft in close proximity to a fixed site facility.” Congress tasked the FAA with establishing a process for designating fixed site facilities no later than 180 days from the date of enactment. Below is an outline of the key problematic provisions in Section 2209 and a proposed path forward for establishing a process that meets the Congressional directive while not unnecessarily restricting industry.
This morning, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the highly anticipated rules governing the operation of small UAS (sUAS) for commercial purposes. The new rules are scheduled to take effect in late August – until that time, commercial operators may continue to operate under Section 333 exemptions. As expected, Part 107 generally follows the proposed rules that were contained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that was issued by the FAA in February 2015.
On May 7, 2016, a group of model aircraft hobbyists gathered at Walt Good Field in Boyds, Maryland to celebrate the D.C. Drone Day. The small airfield, situated some 22 miles outside of Washington, D.C., where rows of suburban housing developments transition abruptly to farmland, is home to D.C. Radio Control, a 65-year-old association of local hobbyists and a charter club of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Across the country, other model aircraft clubs took part in similar events to mark the second annual International Drone Day.
The FAA has ruled that everyone who flies a drone must register. Since an estimated 700,000 drones are expected to be sold in the U.S. for the holiday gift-giving season, the registration process is streamlined and will be online as of December 21.
With the holiday season approaching, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that up to one million new drones will be entering U.S. airspace, creating potentially dangerous situations for unmanned and manned aircraft. A new study released by The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College offers a comprehensive examination of incidents involving drones and manned aircraft in the national airspace over the past two years.
After the Task Force agreed that it was outside the scope of their objectives to debate or discuss the DOT Secretary’s decision to require registration, they undertook to develop and recommend a registration process that ensures accountability and encourages a maximum level of compliance. Here are their recommendations.
Following informal reports on Friday, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) officially announced yesterday the creation of a task force that will guide the development of a registration process for recreational UAVs. Until now, only commercial drone users were required to register their aircraft with the FAA. The task force, comprising representatives from government and industry stakeholders, has until November 20 to deliver its report. UPDATE 30/10/2015 FAA announces UAS Registration Task Force members.
The South Korean government funded Samsung $14.8M to develop and manufacture industrial robots; the US FDA just gave approval to Corindus Vascular Robotics for a new medical device; and the US FAA set up a task force and put them on a tight deadline to figure out how to register drone owners.
In May 2014, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began accepting petitions for exemptions to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) commercially in civilian airspace. As of 1 September 2015, 1,407 of 2,650 petitions have been approved.
Last week, the California state Assembly approved Senate Bill 142 which, if adopted, would restrict drone operators from flying below 350 feet above ground level (AGL) over real property unless they obtain the owner’s permission. The Bill passed on a 43-11 vote and will proceed to the Governor who will have an opportunity to veto it. Although the intent of the Bill – the protection of privacy – merits pursuit, the Bill as amended on June 30th is problematic in multiple respects and should be denied passage.
Sky-Futures, a UK-based company offering drone inspection services to the global oil and gas industry, through their Houston office, was awarded an FAA exemption allowing their drones to fly in US air space.
This past Sunday the FAA held a conference call to announce its highly anticipated small UAS (sUAS) regulations. Sunday morning might strike as odd timing, however it’s likely that the timing had to do with the leak of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regulatory Evaluation, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which I wrote about here. Below is a summary of the critical aspects of the proposed regulations from the FAA summary (the proposed rules have not been made available at the time of writing).