FAA/UAS – Drone Regulation Marches Forward!

In Washington, D.C., the government is still shut down, and is digging out from a weekend storm that dropped a foot of snow.  Neither of these things, however, stopped Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao from unveiling two long-awaited rulemaking efforts that will have a major impact on the future of the unmanned aircraft industry.


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Less than 30 Days Until the 13th Annual Aviation Symposium

The Clock Is Ticking!

There’s less than 30 days remaining before The 13th Aviation Law Symposium. What started out as a small, intimate gathering of aviation industry professionals, has turned into a large, intimate gathering of industry professionals. If you haven’t registered yet…get to it!


Thank You for Attending our New Aircraft Charter Rules Webinar

Thank you for joining us yesterday on our webinar: The New Aircraft Charter Rules: A Deep Dive! We had a great turnout and appreciate your continued support of our Aviation Webinar Series.

If you happened to miss this webinar and would like to view/listen to the Presentation you can find it here.  The slides from the presentation can be found at this link.

Shutdown Blues at the USDOT, FAA, and NTSB

Now in its third week, the impact of the current partial federal government shutdown has been widely felt and reported. In addition to the impacts on federal employees subject to furlough (defined in Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations as “the placing of an employee in a temporary status without duties and pay because of lack of work or funds or other nondisciplinary reasons”), contractors, and their respective families, significant attention is also focused on federal employees, such as FAA air traffic controllers and TSA security screeners, who are not furloughed but continue to perform their duties in the absence of funding to pay their salaries.


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Reminder: 2019 Aviation Symposium Registration is Open

Breaking News!

Kris Kringle, who holds a S9RI Rating (Sled/Nine Reindeer Certificate with Instrument Rating) has signed up for The Symposium!

The clock is ticking and it looks like this may be the first year we have to cut off registration . . . so if you haven’t registered, do so.


UAS: Not So Happy Wedding Bells!

Today we present an update to our story from last month involving an insurance coverage dispute between a wedding photographer and his insurer.  Unfortunately for the photographer, our predication on how this case would come out was correct.

As you will recall, the photographer in question was sued in state court by a wedding guest who claimed that she lost the sight in one eye after the drone hit her. The photographer had a general liability policy with one million dollars of coverage.  Unfortunately for the photographer, his policy, like most general liability policies, contained an exclusion for accidents arising out of the use of an aircraft, and the insurer denied coverage.  The photographer disagreed with the insurer, arguing that there was coverage because “a drone equipped with a camera is not capable of transporting persons or cargo,” and should be considered “a piece of equipment,” not “an aircraft or vehicle.”  


The New Aircraft Charter Rules: A Deep Dive!

After nearly ten years of work, the FAA has finally issued a new set of comprehensive regulations governing “air charter brokers” and how they operate. According to the Department of Transportation, these new rules are intended to “facilitate innovation and growth in the air charter industry while strengthening the legal protections provided to consumers of charter air transportation.”

In addition, in 2019, the FAA and DOT will be conducting increased surveillance, oversight, and enforcement of charter operators and brokers.

The new regulations, which go into effect on February 14, 2019, come at a time when the aircraft charter market is leading the resurgence in domestic business aviation.

According to one report, charter activity during the first half of 2018 was up by more than five percent, putting it at levels not seen in more than a decade. That demand is only going to increase, with estimates that the global charter market will hit revenues of $31 billion between 2018 and 2022.

For this 90 minute complimentary webinar, LeClairRyan’s Aviation Team invites you to join us as we unpack these new regulations and explain what you must, can, and cannot do. Among the questions we will answer are:


Agenda Update: The 2019 Aviation Symposium, Feb 5 – 7, 2019 in Tysons Corner

Wow! The clock is ticking and The 2019 Aviation Symposium is rapidly approaching.

Our opening panel will focus upon accidents/incidents/events outside the United States. Nimbus Airlines will (in all likelihood), shortly before the Symposium, experience an issue somewhere in the world.

Our crystal ball tells us there will be serious injuries, possibly a fatality, a criminal investigation, language and cultural issues, time zone problems and more. So get ready for an energetic and thought provoking discussion/panel.


UAS: Drones Are Airplanes: Check Your Insurance Policy!

Virtually every businessperson knows that he or she needs insurance to protect their enterprise.  Most are even aware that insurance is not “one policy fits all.”  They have auto insurance to cover their vehicles and drivers, workers compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries, and comprehensive general liability or professional liability insurance to cover the work that is done.  However, it appears that many do not realize that if they use unmanned aircraft, there is likely a hole in their insurance protections.


Airplanes and Artificial Intelligence Part II

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) and autonomous vehicle technologies (“AVT”) have the potential to redefine how the aviation industry operates.  While the operational changes that these technologies will bring are being widely explored, the legal issues raised by their rapid introduction into the industry are not.  In this two part series, we will be looking at applications for AI in aviation and its effect on the legal liability and regulation of those who use it. See Part 1 here.

What are the legal issues?

The most interesting legal issue surrounding these technologies will not emerge unless and until a robot or other type of machine becomes self-aware.  At that point, the world will have to deal with many ethical and philosophical questions that are well beyond the scope of this article.  Many countries and governmental entities, however, are already on the road to regulating other aspects of AI.

Even though many of the emerging legal issues are starting to be recognized, one thing is certain:  The law will significantly lag, not anticipate, the legal issues brought forth by this rapidly evolving technology because AI computes faster than legislatures can act.  We can say that with metaphysical certainty because the law is always slow to adapt to technology, especially technologies changing as quickly as AI and AVT.  That lag is where attorneys, who find themselves dealing with these issues, will earn their money and make a little legal history.