Author Archives: Mark E. McKinnon

Mark E. McKinnon

About: Mark E. McKinnon

Mr. Mark McKinnon has worked for over 27 years in all areas of aviation and transportation law, including litigation, appellate, regulatory and other administrative matters. He has written and spoken extensively on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and aviation matters. In addition, he is co-editor of the Plane-ly Spoken blog, which is dedicated to providing up-to-date news, analysis, and opinion on issues that affect the aviation industry.

Everything Changes and Nothing Changes

The Planely Spoken Blog is the work of a talented group of aviation lawyers who have been together for decades.  We use Planely Spoken to provide you with our unique take on the issues of the day, to notify you about our upcoming events and webinars, and occasionally, we even break news. 

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DOT: Commercial Space ‘Takes Off’

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), “the size of the global space economy, which combines satellite services and ground equipment, government space budgets, and global navigation satellite services (GNSS) equipment, is estimated to be about $345B.”   Interestingly, government space budgets only account for $83 billion, or a little under 25 percent of the total.  A robust commercial space launch industry is necessary to keep up with increasing demand.  Unfortunately, government regulation of the commercial space launch industry has not kept up with this explosive growth. 

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FAA: More Money for Drones

Are you trying to develop cutting edge technology for unmanned aircraft?  Did you miss out on the FAA’s Pathfinder Program?  Was your proposal for the FAA’s Public/Private Partnership initiative passed over?  Then today may be your lucky day.

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FAA Drone Rulemaking ‘Slogs’ Forward!

The FAA started 2019 off in a big way, releasing two major UAS rulemakings on the same day.  The public notice and comment period for both rules is now closed, and it is interesting to see what the public thinks of these proposals. 

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FAA – ASAP Takes a Giant Step Forward

The FAA is continuing its focus on the safety of Part 135 operations.  The FAA has  announced that one of the most successful safety initiatives, the Aviation Safety Action Program (“ASAP”), will be streamlined and fully extended to cover Part 135 operators. 

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UAS: The FAA Tightens the Screws

UAS operators will be facing greater oversight and inspections from local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) under a new National Policy recently issued by the FAA. The document requires all FSDOs to immediately update their 2019 National Work Program Guidelines to include new Required Surveillance Work Activities.

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The SAFETY Act As A Tool To Manage Risk: A Question And Answer Session On What It Is, And How To Take Advantage Of It!

Last month, we passed yet another milestone in aviation history, the 88th anniversary of the first attempted hijacking of a passenger aircraft.  On February 12, 1931, a group of armed revolutionaries in Peru attempted to seize a Ford tri-motor by force, resulting in a 10 day stand-off.  The crisis was ultimately resolved when the revolutionaries learned there had been a successful coup against the government, and the plane was no longer needed.

Thank You for Attending Our Drone Webinar

Thank you for attending “Why 2019 May Be The Year of The Drone” yesterday, part of our Aviation Webinar Series. We appreciate your continued support! If you happened to miss this webinar and would like to view/listen to the Presentation, the archived webinar is available here. The slidedeck from the presentation is available here.

FAA Rulemaking on UAS: Slow, Steady and Risky

The FAA has been tasked with safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system. To fulfill this mandate, the FAA adopted a “phased, incremental, and risk-based approach to rulemaking.” In order for this approach to work, however, the nature of the risk must be known in an exact and quantifiable way.  While this approach provides the most flexibility, it also results in a long and drawn out rulemaking process.

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A Systematic Approach to Safety – Everyone Can Benefit

Safety Management Systems, or SMS, have gone from a cutting edge innovation in aviation to a widely adopted global standard.  It is currently recognized by the FAA, ICAO, EASA, and the civil aviation authorities in most countries.  The FAA recognizes SMS as the key method to: integrate modern safety risk management and safety assurance concepts into repeatable, proactive systems. SMSs emphasize safety management as a fundamental business process to be considered in the same manner as other aspects of business management. So, why does SMS work?  It works because it is a forward looking, iterative process.  By constantly analyzing new …

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