December 2017

Originally posted August 1, 2017 

No pilot wants to put their certificate in jeopardy.  As a result, if there is a minor accident or incident, the first, panicked reaction might be to lie about what happened.  As one Wayland, New York man is now finding out, this is the worst thing you can do.

Brian Woodhams had a student pilot’s license in October 2015. … Read More

Originally posted July 6, 2016

For the first time in 20 years, the regulations governing how the NTSB conducts its investigations have been changed.  The new rules are the culmination of a process started by the Board over five years ago.  The new rules make official much of the guidance and informal processes that have developed over that time.  The following is a summary of the more important changes.… Read More

Originally posted June 27, 2017



It’s that time of year again.  As the clock runs out on last year’s FAA reauthorization, both the House and Senate are scrambling to stake out their priorities.  Here is a sneak peek at some of the Congressional initiatives that may shape the future of aviation:… Read More

Originally posted June 5, 2017

We would like to thank everyone who attended our 2017 UAS Insiders briefing, held in Washington D.C. on July 1st.  For those of you who could not attend, below you can find links to the PowerPoint presentations for each of the panels that presented at the briefing.… Read More

Originally posted May 19, 2017

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog are aware that there has been a federal lawsuit pending before the DC Circuit challenging the validity of the FAA’s registration system for model aircraft.  After oral argument in March, we predicted that the regulation appeared to be in serious trouble, and the FAA should start considering its “Plan B.”  Well, if the FAA has a Plan B, now is the time to dust it off, because the D.C.… Read More

Originally posted March 24, 2017

With the election of President Trump, there was a great deal of speculation over how vacancies on the National Transportation Safety Board would be handled.  Would the new Administration want to shake things up at the NTSB as they have at other agencies or would there be continuity between the new nominees and the existing board? … Read More

Originally posted March 23, 2017

The federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the FAA’s model aircraft registration regulation passed a very important milestone last week.  A three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument from the Plaintiff, John Taylor and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The main questions raised by Mr. Taylor in his suit is whether a model aircraft is an aircraft subject to FAA regulation and, if it is an aircraft, whether the model aircraft registration regulations are barred by Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which states:… Read More

Originally posted February 27, 2017

The FAA loves to collect data.  One of the statistics they have been monitoring for the past several years is the number of reported UAS sightings by manned aircraft.  The FAA just released its latest quarterly report, and the numbers are not good.

According to the FAA, there were a total of 474 UAS sightings over the three months covered by the new data, for an average of 158 sightings per month. … Read More

Originally posted January 31, 2017

Planely Spoken prides itself on avoiding rumor, gossip, innuendo, or other forms of “fake news.”  On the other hand, sometimes the word on the street, or in these case, the “word on the runway,” is so compelling that we have to pass it on.

It appears that Peggy Gilligan, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, has informed the FAA that she is retiring. … Read More

Originally Posted January 25, 2016

Nearly a hundred years ago, the Nobel Prize winning German philosopher Thomas Mann wrote “[t]here is nothing that is not political.  Everything is politics.”  These days, politics has become the lens through which all actions are judged.  Thanks to social media, something as apolitical as a company providing air transportation can find itself in the middle of a political and media firestorm at a moment’s notice.… Read More