A growing number of nations have been successfully, but slowly, pushing both the technological and regulatory boundaries of advanced UAS operations.  These national pilot programs have taken the first steps towards beyond visual line of sight operations, package delivery and flight over people.  However, as Earl Lawrence confirmed at the AUVSI/FAA symposium the other day, the key to turning these complex operations into routine operations is a certificated unmanned aircraft.… Read More

One of the great innovations of the Part 107 regulations for unmanned aircraft was the ability to obtain a waiver from many of its more restrictive requirements.  The Part 107 waiver process allows operators the flexibility to fly at night, fly beyond visual line of sight, or operate more than one drone at the same time.

Unfortunately, most waivers have an expiration date of 48 months. … Read More

While many states are currently “open for business” to one degree or another, COVID-19 has stubbornly refused to release its hold in some areas.  As a result, while progress is being made, we clearly are not “back to normal.”

In light of this, government agencies that relaxed regulatory requirements at the beginning of the crisis, including the FAA, are beginning to extend these accommodations. … Read More

Join us on February 2-4, 2021

Our last major aviation industry event before the COVID-19 lockdown was the 2020 Aviation Symposium. As the country begins to reopen, it is likely that our first event will be the 2021 Aviation Symposium.

Impacted suddenly by unprecedented change and now on the road to recovery, the aviation industry has faced a monumental year in 2020.

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In the age of COVID-19, there is a renewed interest in the principles of federalism and the limits of federal power, including the power of the Federal Aviation Administration.  More and more, commentators and legislators are arguing that the FAA should not be the sole arbiter of how the national airspace is used, particularly below 400 feet.

This is, of course, a faulty premise upon which to build an argument. … Read More

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish the standards for remote identification of unmanned aircraft closed on March 2, 2020.  The NPRM garnered over 53,000 comments, both pro and con, concerning the contours of the final rule.  While there is still no official word on what the final rule will look like, FAA actions seem to confirm that the final rule will look a lot like the draft rule.… Read More

The aviation industry, like the rest of America, is gearing up for the reopening of America for business.  As we do so, it is important to keep on top of the latest recommended “best practices” necessary to keep the COVID-19 virus from rebounding.  Unfortunately, finding these resources can sometimes be difficult.

We at Plane-ly Spoken are here to help.  The following is our collection of links, arranged by topic and government agency, of aviation industry related COVID-19 guidance.… Read More

The Federal Aviation Administration has just issued a new Safety Alert for Operators, (SAFO) containing guidance for airlines and aircrews on how to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Overall, the SAFO instructs airlines to follow the CDC’s guidance for the protection for employees in critical infrastructure jobs.  The FAA confirms that no airline employee should work if they have any symptoms of the virus, and that all employees exposed to someone who tests positive for the virus should be quarantined for fourteen days. … Read More

On March 16, 2020, the White House declared a national emergency, retroactive to March 1, 2020.  The resultant “shutdown” of our county has impacted every phase of life in America, with the aviation industry among the hardest hit.

It is not just private industry that is affected.  Both the FAA and the NTSB are also under “stay at home” orders. What this means, at least relative to the NTSB, is that accidents which have occurred during this period of shutdown have generally not involved a field investigation. … Read More

With the wrenching and pervasive cessation of normal business and societal activities in the past few weeks, Fox Rothschild has been addressing questions from transportation industry clients concerning their ongoing responsibilities for complying with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol testing requirements during these difficult times.

On March 23, 2020, DOT issued Guidance on Compliance with Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations. … Read More