Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Aviation Symposium Webinar Series Presents: An Inside Look at the NTSB: A Conversation with David Tochen

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) plays a vital role in the safety of virtually all modes of transportation, including railroads, highways, shipping and pipelines. While many know that the NTSB determines the probable cause of accidents and issues safety recommendations, few know how the NTSB operates on a daily basis. Join us on January 24, 2018 for a complimentary webinar where we will take an in-depth look at all aspects of the NTSB. LeClairRyan’s newest aviation attorney, recently retired NTSB General Counsel David Tochen, will lead the webinar. Among the topics we will discuss are: The latest changes at …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Drone v. Helicopter: And the loser is…

The NTSB Report into the midair collision between a DJI Phantom and an army Blackhawk helicopter has been released and not surprisingly, the probable cause of the accident was sUAS pilot error. On September 21, 2017, an army UH-60 helicopter was operating in class G airspace at an altitude of 300 feet near Staten Island, New York.  The pilot saw the UAS and took evasive action, but it was insufficient to avoid the collision.  The helicopter suffered a 1.5 inch dent in its main rotor and cracks in the composite fairing and a window frame.  The Phantom was destroyed with …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in FAA, NTSB, UAS \ Leave a comment

NTSB Reauthorization– Part I

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation completed work the week of December 4th,  on a legislative proposal to reauthorize the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The last NTSB reauthorization was enacted in December 2006 and authorized NTSB appropriations through September 30, 2008 (Just to be clear, as long as a federal agency has current appropriations or other budget authority to operate, the lapse of authorization amounts does not impair its ability to continue operating). More importantly, the reauthorization proposal, S. 2202, would add new measures to the NTSB’s organic statute and amend numerous current statutory provisions. The …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in NTSB \ Leave a comment

“Sir/Madam, Show Me Your License and Registration”

The long and tortured path to mandatory registration of all hobby aircraft appears finally to be at an end.  After a seven month hiatus, the law is changing once again, and the registration requirement is being reinstated. As most of you will remember, the FAA unexpectedly issued regulations on an emergency basis just before Christmas 2015 that required all hobby aircraft under .55 pounds to be registered with the FAA. 

Posted in FAA, UAS \ Leave a comment

‘Tis the season for drones- so learn the rules of the sky

Predictions about the number of drones that will be given as gifts this holiday season have “taken off.” According to the Consumer Technology Association, Americans will buy about 1.6 million drones over the holidays, nearly half the total for the entire year and an increase of about 30 percent over last year. Unlike the typical holiday gift, however, drones are technically considered airplanes by the federal government. If you plan to give the kids or grandkids a drone, you need to be aware of the rules. Better to hear them now than to hear from the police later. When drones …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

David Tochen Joins The LeClairRyan Aviation Team

Plane-ly Spoken strives to provide you with our unique take on the significant news of the day affecting the aviation industry.  Our task just got easier, as we are pleased to announce that David Tochen has joined the aviation practice at LeClairRyan and will be a regular contributor to Plane-ly Spoken. David retired from government service after most recently serving six years as the General Counsel of the National Transportation Safety Board.  Prior to that, he was Deputy Chief Counsel for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Deputy Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Transportation. David Tochen will …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in DOT, NTSB \ Leave a comment

The 2018 Aviation Symposium… “An Airplane Is Down!”

First Responders, Family Assistance, Emergency Response and More The Aviation Symposium is a unique event. In this era of unprecedented aviation risk, it is imperative that all sectors of the industry maintain the highest level of emergency preparedness and readiness to respond. Now in our 12th year, we’re focused on “real world” considerations and issues as opposed to the theoretical stuff brought to you in most programs. Our moderated format is unique, with no “talking heads”. Whether you’re an airport operator or a first responder, a large airline or a regional carrier, a cargo carrier or a charter operator for …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

“This is Your Flight Attendant Speaking . . .”

Flight attendants play a vital role in commercial air transportation.  Not only do they help facilitate travel, they also serve a critical function in the event of an emergency.  In addition, according to a new ruling from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, statements made by flight attendants to opposing counsel in a lawsuit can bind the company. That ruling comes in a somewhat unusual context.  In 2016, the Plaintiff, Regina Raub, was injured while traveling on a US Airways flight from Cancun, Mexico to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when the aircraft unexpectedly encountered some turbulence. 

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

UAS: Preemption Means Preemption!!

State and local governments have not been shy about attempting to regulate almost every aspect of drone operations.  Some of these efforts have been completely appropriate and aimed at areas subject to local control, such as prevention of stalking and voyeurism.  However, all too often, state and local governments have also turned their attention to issues completely under federal control. One example of just such an ill advised ordinance was passed by the City of Newton, Massachusetts in December 2016.  This law:

Posted in FAA, UAS \ Leave a comment

Welcome to Plane-ly Spoken!

You may be wondering where we’ve been. Well, like our aviation practice, our blog has undergone a transformation; www.planelyspokenblog.com has undergone a transformation to www.Plane-lySpoken.com. No “Blog” and, like our actual name, our web address now contains a dash. What hasn’t changed is who we are and the style with which we’ll comment on all things aviation. The bigger transformation is that our aviation practice has moved to the national law firm of LeClairRyan, where we are already growing. Our new firm is committed to growing our aviation practice and with the support of our new colleagues; we’ll have a …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment