Monthly Archives: December 2017

Federal Pre-emption and Aircraft Certification: You Have to Read This Opinion!!

Originally posted August 11, 2017 Today, we turn our attention to the latest chapter in a long saga concerning the scope of federal preemption over product liability claims made against manufacturers of certificated aviation component parts.  Back in 2014, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that design defect claims against certificated product manufacturers were completely preempted by the Federal Aviation Act.  In 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed, finding that the certification process does not automatically preempt the entire field of safe design.  The Court of Appeals did, …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Honesty is the Best Policy…Honestly

Originally posted August 1, 2017  No pilot wants to put their certificate in jeopardy.  As a result, if there is a minor accident or incident, the first, panicked reaction might be to lie about what happened.  As one Wayland, New York man is now finding out, this is the worst thing you can do. Brian Woodhams had a student pilot’s license in October 2015.  As a result, he was only permitted to fly alone or with a flight instructor.  On October 31, 2015, Mr. Woodhams had difficulty landing his Piper Cherokee, and wound up running off the runway and putting …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Board Issues Final Rules

Originally posted July 6, 2016 For the first time in 20 years, the regulations governing how the NTSB conducts its investigations have been changed.  The new rules are the culmination of a process started by the Board over five years ago.  The new rules make official much of the guidance and informal processes that have developed over that time.  The following is a summary of the more important changes.

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Here We Go Again: Congress Begins Action on the FAA Reauthorization Act

Originally posted June 27, 2017 “HERE WE GO AGAIN” CONGRESS BEGINS ACTION ON THE FAA REAUTHORIZATION ACT It’s that time of year again.  As the clock runs out on last year’s FAA reauthorization, both the House and Senate are scrambling to stake out their priorities.  Here is a sneak peek at some of the Congressional initiatives that may shape the future of aviation:

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

UAS Insider Briefing…A Follow-up

Originally posted June 5, 2017 We would like to thank everyone who attended our 2017 UAS Insiders briefing, held in Washington D.C. on July 1st.  For those of you who could not attend, below you can find links to the PowerPoint presentations for each of the panels that presented at the briefing.

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

DC Circuit Overturns Model Aircraft Registration, Tells FAA “Statutory Interpretation Does not get Much Simpler”

Originally posted May 19, 2017 Those of you who are regular readers of this blog are aware that there has been a federal lawsuit pending before the DC Circuit challenging the validity of the FAA’s registration system for model aircraft.  After oral argument in March, we predicted that the regulation appeared to be in serious trouble, and the FAA should start considering its “Plan B.”  Well, if the FAA has a Plan B, now is the time to dust it off, because the D.C. Circuit just issued a 10 page opinion striking down the registration requirement. In a unanimous decision, the three …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Congratulations Vice-Chairman Sumwalt!!

Originally posted March 24, 2017 With the election of President Trump, there was a great deal of speculation over how vacancies on the National Transportation Safety Board would be handled.  Would the new Administration want to shake things up at the NTSB as they have at other agencies or would there be continuity between the new nominees and the existing board?  The answer to that question is, at least for now, “steady as she goes.”

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Judge to FAA “You’re just making things up”

Originally posted March 23, 2017 The federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the FAA’s model aircraft registration regulation passed a very important milestone last week.  A three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument from the Plaintiff, John Taylor and the Federal Aviation Administration. The main questions raised by Mr. Taylor in his suit is whether a model aircraft is an aircraft subject to FAA regulation and, if it is an aircraft, whether the model aircraft registration regulations are barred by Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Drones v. Airplanes: It’s Just a Matter of Time

Originally posted February 27, 2017 The FAA loves to collect data.  One of the statistics they have been monitoring for the past several years is the number of reported UAS sightings by manned aircraft.  The FAA just released its latest quarterly report, and the numbers are not good. According to the FAA, there were a total of 474 UAS sightings over the three months covered by the new data, for an average of 158 sightings per month.  This compares to 443 sightings from the same period a year earlier.  While the new number is not dramatically worse, it certainly is …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in General \ Leave a comment

Word on the Street…Peggy Gilligan to Retire

Originally posted January 31, 2017 Planely Spoken prides itself on avoiding rumor, gossip, innuendo, or other forms of “fake news.”  On the other hand, sometimes the word on the street, or in these case, the “word on the runway,” is so compelling that we have to pass it on. It appears that Peggy Gilligan, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, has informed the FAA that she is retiring.  According to sources, her resignation email stated:

Posted in General \ Leave a comment