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.

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 …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in FAA \ Leave a comment

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.

Posted in FAA, General, UAS \ Leave a comment

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.

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 …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

In the Third Circuit, Preemption Does Not Mean Preemption

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has once again considered whether state law tort claims based on defects in aviation products are preempted by federal law. This time, in a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that an engine manufacturer can be sued over a defective product design even though the aircraft’s design was approved by the FAA and the components had a valid type certificate. Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corporation, No. 17-3006 (October 25, 2018).

Posted in FAA \ Leave a comment

Thank You For Attending The FAA Reauthorization Act Webinar

Thank you for joining us for our webinar: The FAA Reauthorization Act: What is in it and what does it mean for you? We had a great turnout and appreciate your continued support of our Aviation Webinar Series. If you missed this webinar and would like to view the slides or listen to the presentation you can find them here. Please be on the lookout for the next Webinar on Pipelines and the SAFETY Act: Limiting Your Liability.

The FAA Reauthorization Act: What is in it and what does it mean for you?

Note: Given the previous delays from Capitol Hill, we have postponed the below webinar on the FAA Reauthorization Act several times. On October 4, we will cover the Act as it stands as of the date of the webinar, regardless of where it is in the process. It’s that time of year, and Congress is once again attempting to pass a comprehensive reauthorization for the FAA. The difference this time around is that it’s almost certain to pass. The House of Representatives decided to strip out the most controversial parts of the 21st Century AIRR Act and, after a flurry …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Today’s FAA Reauthorization Act Webinar – moved to Sept. 19th

Everyone – Once again, the general optimism that the Senate finally had its act together and was going to vote on FAA Reauthorization has given way to disappointment.  Despite numerous aviation groups writing Senator McConnell urging quick action, there is still no vote scheduled.  According to recent reports, the process is still mired in “behind the scenes” partisan wrangling over efforts to address non-aviation issues in this must “pass bill,” such as mandatory trucker rest periods and President Trump’s tariff authority. Because of all of these delays, LeClairRyan will be postponing its free webinar on the FAA Reauthorization until September 19, 2018.  …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

The SAFETY Act and Horizon Air

A few days ago, Richard Russell, a 29 year old airline ground employee, got in a 76 seat commercial aircraft and took off from a crowded airport. Many people expressed surprise that he was able to accomplish this feat given the complexity of a modern commercial aircraft, noting that even starting the engines is a multistep process.  In addition, he showed a fair amount of skill in flying the aircraft.  Despite this, it appears he had no training in commercial multiengine aircraft and little, if any, formal pilot training. In this instance, the troubled young man may have been suicidal, …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Thank You For Attending the Waivers, Exemptions, and Certification Webinar

Thank you for joining us yesterday on our webinar: Waivers, Exemptions, and Certification: How to get permission to do what you want with your Unmanned Aircraft. 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. Please be on the lookout for our next Webinar on The FAA Reauthorization and What it Means for You, scheduled for later this month.