Category Archives: FAA

Federal Aviation Administration Updates

UPDATE: FAA Reauthorization Webinar Postponed!

“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, …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

National Academies of Sciences to FAA: “You’re Being Too Conservative!!”

According to a new Report from the National Academies of Sciences, the FAA’s commercial drone rules are too strict and the FAA’s zero tolerance policy towards commercial air accidents is stifling development of the industry. This report comes on the heels of recent 95-page report by the US Government Accountability Office criticizing UAS policy as being based largely on guesswork over the risks to the airspace, rather than hard facts. The GAO’s Report noted that, while the FAA has collected over 6,000 reports of UAS sightings near manned aircraft or airports. These reports are almost entirely unverified, as the pilots …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Airplanes Helping Airplanes – Drones in the Aircraft Maintenance World

Given how few airline accidents have occurred over the past 20 years, people rarely give a second thought to whether or not the aircraft they are boarding is mechanically reliable.  If they did look into the matter, they would likely be surprised to see how much work goes into making sure the aircraft is in working order.  Maintenance of an airliner is both time and manpower intensive, and results in each aircraft being unavailable for revenue generation for an extended period of time.  As a result, any technology that can reduce either the amount of personnel or the amount of …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in FAA, UAS \ Leave a comment

The State of Aviation Safety and Congress: Part I

The Subcommittee on Aviation of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a February 27 hearing on the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS), including progress made and challenges that still need addressing. Officials form the following organizations provided testimony at the hearing: FAA, NASA, NTSB, the USDOT Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the Airline Pilots Association International (ALPA). Although the following link to the hearing is available on Committee’s website – https://transportation.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=402184 – we are pleased to provide the following summary for our Plane-ly Spoken readers.

Posted in FAA, UAS \ Leave a comment

Air Ambulances Services and Preemption

Since the enactment of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA), an issue that continues to receive close legal scrutiny is the extent to which states may regulate the activities of air ambulance services.  This issue has been the subject of numerous federal and state court decisions, U.S. DOT legal opinions, state attorneys general opinions, and was also addressed in a broader U.S. Government Accountability Office report (Air Ambulance: Effects of Industry Changes on Services are Unclear, (September 2010)).  Recently, this issue was also ruled upon in federal district court and state appeals court opinions. Although the precise contours and …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in DOT, FAA \ Leave a comment

2017: The Year of Much Ado…But Nothing!

In terms of major UAS rulemaking efforts, 2017 could best be described as “the year that wasn’t”.  While the FAA had big plans to push forward the new rules for flight over people and finalize the Interpretation of the Special Rules for Model Aircraft, neither of those initiatives saw the light of day. Now, however, it appears that the FAA is gearing up the rulemaking process for 2018.  It is reported that in a recent speech at the Singapore Airshow, FAA Acting Deputy Administrator Carl Burleson announced that the UAS remote identification regulations would be out this year. 

Posted in FAA, UAS \ Leave a comment

GAO Questions FAA’s Methodology for Determining Shared Industry-Liability Risks for Commercial Space Launch Accidents

For the second time in 10 months, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has questioned the FAA’s calculations in determining the proper balancing of risk between the federal government and the commercial space launch industry. This risk sharing regime was initially established in the Commercial Space Launch Amendments of 1988 (section 5). Under this regime, space launch companies purchase insurance against claims by third parties and for loss or damage to federal property and personnel as a result of a launch or reentry accident, unless companies otherwise demonstrate sufficient financial responsibility to cover the same calculated damages. The amount of …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in FAA \ Leave a comment

DOT v. FAA: Oversight of regional Air Carriers

A just-released report by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Inspector General (OIG) points to the importance of the regional airline industry in safely transporting passengers, economic changes buffeting the industry, and difficulties encountered by the FAA in monitoring, overseeing, and responding to these economic changes. The OIG prepared the report, FAA Oversight Is Not Keeping Pace With Changes Occurring in the Regional Airline Industry, in response to a request by the ranking members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation. It’s worth a read.

Posted in DOT, FAA \ 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

“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