A free, 90-minute recording of a webinar given by aviation attorneys dives into the newly passed, 1,200-page FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 and its implications for general aviation, manufacturers, the drone industry, the airlines, and more.
After six extensions over the past year and a half, the U.S. Senate finally passed the law on Oct. 3 in a 96-to-4 vote. For the aviation industry, the task is now to understand and respond to the cascading implications of the five-year reauthorization, says Mark A. Dombroff, co-leader of the LeClairRyan law firm’s aviation industry practice.
“To say this act covers a broad array of topics is an understatement,” Dombroff said.
Conducted just one day after passage of the reauthorization, the webinar by Dombroff and his colleague Mark E. McKinnon is available here as a free recording. Their 31-page presentation is available here for download as well.
During the webinar, Dombroff and McKinnon drilled into key provisions for hundreds of webinar attendees hailing from airlines, manufacturers and other aviation companies and sectors.
They described in detail language related to the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sector, in particular.
“The act includes wide-ranging mandates for regulators on UAS and makes important changes related to test sites, waivers and airworthiness, pilot, air carrier and airport certificates,” McKinnon noted. “Provisions on UAS design standards and package delivery, as well as the operation of model aircraft, are part of the act as well.”
While the legislation includes new restrictions, such as a $25,000 civil penalty for turning drones into weapons and serious criminal penalties for using them to interfere with manned aircraft or to commit other crimes, it also orders regulators to continue integrating drones into existing U.S. airspace, Dombroff noted.
“It funds UAS regulations and services and orders a Government Accountability Office study on the impact of potentially allowing local control of the low-level airspace occupied by drones,” the attorney said. “All told, Congress is continuing to move the ball forward on UAS integration, which is good to see.”
Dombroff and McKinnon also describe changes related to noise standards, civil supersonic aircraft, FAA safety certification reform, foreign regulations, the Aviation Safety Action Program, standards for lithium ion batteries, the Fairness for Pilots Act, NTSB reauthorization and more.