Monthly Archives: July 2018

The Aviation Symposium Webinar Series Presents: Waivers, Exemptions and Certifications

Waivers, Exemptions, and Certifications: How to get permission to do what you want with your Unmanned Aircraft Part 107 has been a tremendous boon to businesses that want to operate unmanned aircraft. Unfortunately, there is still a great deal that cannot be done without special permission. But rest assured, this can be done legally, if you know how. During this webinar, we will explore what methods are available to obtain permission from the FAA to conduct complex operations beyond the narrow confines of Part 107. We will explore topics such as: What rules can be waived? How do you get …

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Drones: A Uniformly Bad Law

Anyone who operates a regional or nationwide business knows that coping with a patchwork of state and local laws can be challenging. Fortunately, the states also realize that this can be a problem, and will sometimes cooperate to voluntarily establish a “uniform” law.  For example, in 1952, a group of top legal scholars from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) got together and drafted the Uniform Commercial Code.  This code has been adopted (with some variations) in every state, and has greatly improved predictability for business owners. Over the past five years, most states have enacted …

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A Full House at the NTSB…

For the first time since April 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board will soon have a full complement of Board members. On July 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed the President’s nominations of Bruce Landsberg and Jennifer Homendy to serve as Board members. This is particularly welcome news because since January 31 of this year when former chairman and Board member Christopher Hart departed the agency, the NTSB has been operating with only three Board Members — the minimum number of members needed to meet the statutory requirement for a quorum to conduct official agency business. Under the statute that …

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Why Drone Manufacturers and Service Providers Should Care About the MGM Las Vegas Shooting Law Suit.

In the wake of the Las Vegas shootings, MGM resorts is facing a barrage of lawsuits by victims claiming that the hotel was negligent in its security procedures.  In an unusual response, the hotel has filed its own lawsuit against the victims.  The MGM lawsuit is asking a court to rule that it is immune from suit because hotel security was handed by a vendor, Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC).  CSC, the hotel argues, has been approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “for protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction” and, therefore, MGM is absolved …

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Funding the NTSB … A Continuing Government Saga

In previous Plane-ly Spoken blogs (NTSB Reauthorization–Part I, and NTSB Reauthorization–Part II), we discussed and summarized the key provisions of S.2202, the National Transportation Reauthorization Act.  Senator Thune introduced this bill in the U.S. Senate on December 6, 2017, with co-sponsors Senators Blunt, Booker, Cantwell, Fischer, and Nelson.  The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation considered the bill and, on December13, 2017, approved it by voice vote and ordered it to be reported favorably with an amendment by Senator (and Commerce Committee Chairman) Thune. The Committee’s issued its report accompanying S. 2202 on July 10, 2018. Senate Report 115-293 …

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LeClairRyan is Pleased to Announce that James E. Mackler has Joined the Firm

James E. Mackler has joined LeClairRyan as senior counsel on the firm’s aviation and corporate services teams. He practices in Nashville. James focuses his practice on advising businesses, governments, and investors on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). He works with clients on various regulatory, compliance, and litigation elements of UAS usage (“drone law”) across a variety of applications including hospitality, real estate, insurance, construction, security, video production, energy, manufacturing, and surveying. Previously, James served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army. After spending seven years developing a successful private legal practice in Colorado, James was inspired …

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Ten Years Later and $30 Million Less: SEATAC is NOT Vicariously Liable

The Washington State Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Afoa v. Port of Seattle today.  The Court rejected a lower court decision that had the effect of making an airport automatically liable for the negligence of an airline’s contractors, such as ground handlers.  LeClairRyan Aviation attorneys were called in after the unfavorable result in the Court of Appeals and counsel worked on, with the assistance of the preexisting counsel, the appeal before the Washington Supreme Court.  Mark Dombroff executed the oral argument.

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Thank You For Attending the Corporate Aviation Accidents Webinar

Thank you for your continued support and attendance of our Aviation Symposium Webinar Series. During this webinar, LeClairRyan Partner Christa Hinckley and I discussed emergency planning, accident investigation process, tabletop drills and training exercises human resource issues – if the worst should happen. If you happened to miss this webinar and would like to view/listen to the Presentation you can find it here. Please be on the look out for our next Webinar on Part 107 Waivers  next month!

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“Congress Kicks the FAA and our Webinar Down the Road…..Again!!”

The seemingly endless FAA reauthorization process looks like it will continue for yet another month.  At the beginning of May, it looked like the bill had finally generated enough momentum for easy passage in the Senate.  The House had already dropped its controversial plans for privatization of air traffic control and passed their version of the Reauthorization Act by a wide margin.  The Senate put their version of the bill on the calendar on May 8, and it appeared to be on an easy road to passage in June. Unfortunately, the Senate never got around to taking up the measure.  …

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Drones – The Supreme Court and Judge Kavanaugh…Plane-ly Spoken Weighs in!

What can drones tell us about Supreme Court Justice nominees?  It turns out, quite a bit. Earlier this week, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to fill the seat vacated by Justice Kennedy.  In his prepared remarks, Judge Kavanaugh stated that “a judge must be independent, and must interpret the law, not make the law.  A judge must interpret statutes as written . . . .”  In order to determine whether Judge Kavanaugh lives these words, or merely pays them lip service, we have to look at …

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