December 2017

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) plays a vital role in the safety of virtually all modes of transportation, including railroads, highways, shipping and pipelines. While many know that the NTSB determines the probable cause of accidents and issues safety recommendations, few know how the NTSB operates on a daily basis.

Join us on January 24, 2018 for a complimentary webinar where we will take an in-depth look at all aspects of the NTSB.… Read More

The NTSB Report into the midair collision between a DJI Phantom and an army Blackhawk helicopter has been released and not surprisingly, the probable cause of the accident was sUAS pilot error.

On September 21, 2017, an army UH-60 helicopter was operating in class G airspace at an altitude of 300 feet near Staten Island, New York.  The pilot saw the UAS and took evasive action, but it was insufficient to avoid the collision. … Read More

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation completed work the week of December 4th,  on a legislative proposal to reauthorize the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The last NTSB reauthorization was enacted in December 2006 and authorized NTSB appropriations through September 30, 2008 (Just to be clear, as long as a federal agency has current appropriations or other budget authority to operate, the lapse of authorization amounts does not impair its ability to continue operating).… Read More

The long and tortured path to mandatory registration of all hobby aircraft appears finally to be at an end.  After a seven month hiatus, the law is changing once again, and the registration requirement is being reinstated.

As most of you will remember, the FAA unexpectedly issued regulations on an emergency basis just before Christmas 2015 that required all hobby aircraft under .55… Read More

Predictions about the number of drones that will be given as gifts this holiday season have “taken off.” According to the Consumer Technology Association, Americans will buy about 1.6 million drones over the holidays, nearly half the total for the entire year and an increase of about 30 percent over last year.

Unlike the typical holiday gift, however, drones are technically considered airplanes by the federal government.… Read More

First Responders, Family Assistance, Emergency Response and More

The Aviation Symposium is a unique event. In this era of unprecedented aviation risk, it is imperative that all sectors of the industry maintain the highest level of emergency preparedness and readiness to respond. Now in our 12th year, we’re focused on “real world” considerations and issues as opposed to the theoretical stuff brought to you in most programs.… Read More

Flight attendants play a vital role in commercial air transportation.  Not only do they help facilitate travel, they also serve a critical function in the event of an emergency.  In addition, according to a new ruling from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, statements made by flight attendants to opposing counsel in a lawsuit can bind the company.

That ruling comes in a somewhat unusual context. … Read More

State and local governments have not been shy about attempting to regulate almost every aspect of drone operations.  Some of these efforts have been completely appropriate and aimed at areas subject to local control, such as prevention of stalking and voyeurism.  However, all too often, state and local governments have also turned their attention to issues completely under federal control.

One example of just such an ill advised ordinance was passed by the City of Newton, Massachusetts in December 2016. … Read More

You may be wondering where we’ve been. Well, like our aviation practice, our blog has undergone a transformation; www.planelyspokenblog.com has undergone a transformation to www.Plane-lySpoken.com. No “Blog” and, like our actual name, our web address now contains a dash. What hasn’t changed is who we are and the style with which we’ll comment on all things aviation.

The bigger transformation is that our aviation practice is growing.… Read More

Originally posted August 11, 2017

Today, we turn our attention to the latest chapter in a long saga concerning the scope of federal preemption over product liability claims made against manufacturers of certificated aviation component parts.  Back in 2014, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that design defect claims against certificated product manufacturers were completely preempted by the Federal Aviation Act. … Read More