We Have a Problem on Line 7: NTSB Investigations of Pipeline Accidents

The NTSB increasingly focuses its attention on pipeline accidents and pipeline operators as no major domestic air crash has occurred in nearly a decade. Since January 1, 2008, the NTSB has launched 20 major investigations of pipeline accidents and issued numerous pipeline accident reports. These investigations fuel civil lawsuits, significant public attention, regulatory scrutiny, criminal prosecutions, and political pressure.

Join us on June 13 for a complimentary 90-minute webinar where we will explain how to navigate NTSB investigations to minimize the impact on your company. During the webinar, you will gain unique insights from the most recent addition to our NTSB practice — recently retired NTSB general counsel David Tochen.

Among the topics we will discuss are:

  • Areas of NTSB inquiry following a pipeline accident
  • How an NTSB investigation will impact a pipeline operator
  • The NTSB process with step-by-step details
  • Common mistakes companies make in dealing with the NTSB
  • How to handle an NTSB investigation as part of your overall emergency response

As always, the audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions and shape the discussion. You will not want to miss this discussion, combining a behind-the-scenes look at the NTSB process with an experienced practitioner’s insights into avoiding the negative consequences associated with an NTSB investigation.

If you would like to register for this event, please follow this link and if you have any additional questions, please email Kristina Repko at kristina.repko@leclairryan.com.

Organizational Risk Management Course at NBAA

LeClairRyan’s aviation partner, Christa Hinckley, will present at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in Washington D.C. next month. On June 12, 2018, Ms. Hinckley, along with David T. Norton (Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP) and Brint Smith, ARM (John F. Thorne & Co.), will teach a course on organizational risk management, also known as enterprise risk management.

This course will cover a wide range of topics, including establishing a baseline of organizational risks within an individual company vs. the industry standard, understanding potential risks from a business aviation perspective, discussing risk scenarios, and planning a risk management structure.

The NBAA event is being held at their own headquarters in Washington and begins at 8 a.m. This course fulfills the NBAA PDP Objective Business Management 8 (BM*) Please follow this link to register. For more information on the course itself, please contact Christa Hinckley at christa.hinckley@leclairryan.com.

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Thank you for Attending: Drones and Natural Disasters

We hope you enjoyed the latest edition of the UAS Webinar Series: Drones and Natural Disasters. Mark Dombroff and I covered an array of topics from the different levels of certification for UAS operation to what type of operations are likely to be approved or prohibited for UAS disaster response.

If you were unable to tune in, or would like a copy for later viewing, you can find the PowerPoint slides and recording here on the LeClairRyan event page. And as always, you can also find the slides on our Aviation Symposium App.

Any questions or concerns? Please contact Kristina Repko at kristina.repko@leclairryan.com.

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Cleared For Takeoff: The UAS Integration Pilot Program Begins!

The UAS Integration Pilot Program just got its big kick-off, with Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announcing the state, local, and tribal government partnerships that would form the core of the new effort.

As you may remember, the program was announced back on October 25, 2017 with a very aggressive timetable that left interested parties scrambling to put together public/private teams needed to support a successful program.  While the FAA originally committed to support five teams, the number of finalists is double that initial number, and includes:


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Summer Flying, Emergencies and Temporary Flight Restrictions

Summer is nearly upon us, bringing with it good weather for flying your unmanned aircraft.  Summer also brings, however, an increase in certain types of natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, and storms that produce flooding, which in turn bring Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) from the FAA. So, in the interests of helping everyone have a safe and productive summer, Plane-ly Spoken feels it is important to brush up on the subject of TFRs.


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The UAS Webinar Series Presents: Drones and Natural Disasters

What you can do after a disaster and how  do you get permission to do it?

Whether you’re a public utility, an insurance company, a UAS service provider, or any other business that must respond in the aftermath of a disaster, you cannot miss this webinar.

Prior to last year, it was difficult, if not impossible, to obtain permission to fly a UAS in the aftermath of a disaster. The flight rules were restrictive and the FAA and first responders were primarily concerned with keeping the airspace clear for manned aircraft. That all changed last summer.

In the wake of some of the most costly hurricanes to strike in decades, the FAA made a commitment to promote the controlled use of UAS to help in recovery efforts. The FAA used Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) to permit UAS to operate in ways that would normally not be available. As a result, UAS were used in search and rescue, insurance adjustment, power line damage assessment and diaster response at a level never seen before.

With the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season just around the corner, now is the time to make sure that you are prepared for the challenges ahead. In this free webinar, we will take an in-depth look at:

  • The different levels of certification and how the protection varies
  • How to get Safety Act coverage for policies, procedures, and services — and not just products
  • How airspace can be used during and after a disaster.
  • Who decides what aircraft can fly, and when?
  • What is the FAA looking for to determine if you are a responsible UAS operation?
  • How to use TFRs and other methods to get permission to perform flights that you might not normally be allowed to perform.
  • What is the role of state and local governments in overseeing operations during a disaster?
  • State laws regarding UAS and first responders, and how to avoid trouble.
  • How to leverage waivers to increase your chances of getting permission to fly.
  • UAS disaster response “use cases” and what types of operations are likely to be approved or prohibited.

As always, the audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions and shape the discussion.  Please RSVP here and if you have any questions, please contact kristina.repko@leclairryan.com.

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Drones and Other Stuff: The 2018 FAA Reauthorization

Readers of Plane-ly Spoken are well aware of the twisting, and sometime torturous path, that FAA reauthorization takes. Competing versions of the reauthorization were introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate last summer.  Both bills, each weighing in at over 400 pages, got sidetracked during the fall, resulting in yet another short term extension.

Now, however, efforts to pass a comprehensive, five year reauthorization of the FAA may finally be entering the home stretch. This week, a new version of the House bill, slimmed down to only  353 pages and omitting the controversial proposal to privatize  air traffic control, has been introduced.  This bill should have an easier time getting passed, as it has bipartisan backing of the leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its six subcommittees.


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Thank You for Listening In…

Yesterday, we hosted another addition to our Aviation Symposium Series: Aviation and the Safety Act. There was a great showing of interest and hope that all attendees were able to something new. If you happened to miss it and want to hear about the topics covered, you can follow this link for the recording. And as always, everything can be found on our Aviation Symposium App.

If you have any questions, please contact kristina.repko@leclairryan.com.

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Airplanes Helping Airplanes – Drones in the Aircraft Maintenance World

Given how few airline accidents have occurred over the past 20 years, people rarely give a second thought to whether or not the aircraft they are boarding is mechanically reliable.  If they did look into the matter, they would likely be surprised to see how much work goes into making sure the aircraft is in working order.  Maintenance of an airliner is both time and manpower intensive, and results in each aircraft being unavailable for revenue generation for an extended period of time.  As a result, any technology that can reduce either the amount of personnel or the amount of time needed to inspect an aircraft can have a big impact on the bottom line.


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Planes, Drones and $…The 2018 Appropriation and Aviation

After four governmentwide short-term stopgap funding provisions since last September, Congress has enacted, and the President has signed, a full fiscal year Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Public Law 115-141, March 23, 2018), a 2,149-page behemoth that provides a total of $1.3 trillion in funding.

According to a summary of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, (Division L of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, commonly referred to as “THUD”) prepared by the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, the Department of Transportation (DOT) appropriations include $18 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an increase of $1.6 billion above the  fiscal year (FY) 2017 level. The summary also highlights the following measures:


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