True integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System will only come when advanced designs finally receive type certification.  The FAA has clearly been working on certification issues behind the scenes, and is finally ready to make the next step public.  The FAA has finally decided to seek public input on the criteria that it will use to certify these cutting edge UAS designs.… Read More

Back in 2018, the Congress tasked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) with studying the role that state and local governments should play in the regulation of unmanned aircraft and the lower levels of the National Airspace System.  After nearly two years of work, the GAO has finally issued its report.  The report contains a compilation of the current state of the law regarding privacy, federal preemption, property owners’ rights in the airspace over their land, and related topics, and is supported by a detailed 143-page appendix. … Read More

In a long awaited move, the interagency working group responsible for coordinating drone defense policy has issued guidance to the public about what they can and cannot do to combat unauthorized drone use.  The guidance, issued jointly by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), covers the application of federal criminal laws, aviation safety laws, transportation and airport security laws, and radio frequency and communication spectrum issues to drone defense.… Read More

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

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

JOIN US ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2020 AT 1 PM EASTERN FOR OUR FREE WEBINAR DISSECTING THE REMOTE ID NPRM COMMENTS AND PREDICTIONS FOR THE FINAL RULE

On December 31, 2019, the FAA released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft. After years of waiting, the time had finally come for the public to make its voice heard on this key issue.… Read More

The Plane-ly Spoken Podcast will provide you with our frank and uncensored views on the issues of the day, interviews with newsmakers, and top-notch analysis.  Launching the first installment of a podcast series, Mark Dombroff and Mark McKinnon discuss the recently released Federal Aviation Administration draft of the new rule for remote identification of unmanned aircraft, which provides the industry with a comprehensive roadmap for the full implementation of the Remote ID system.… Read More