November 19, 2018

How The FAA Reauthorization Accelerates Drone Integration

Joel E. Roberson

Partner Joel Roberson and Associate Jennifer Nowak co-authored an article on the Federal Aviation Association Reauthorization Act (FAARA) of 2018 which was signed into law by President Trump on Oct. 5. The bill takes steps to integrate unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, into U.S. national airspace.

Mr. Roberson and Ms. Nowak breakdown several of the regulatory actions that the FAA must create in order to comply with FAARA's implementation. For example, FAARA requires the FAA to update its drone delivery regulation by October 2019 to allow the use of drones to carry private property. Aircraft operators that plan to carry property for hire must obtain economic authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and a safety authorization from the FAA. The new law will also increase governmental oversight of recreational drone operators, as each operator must now pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test, register and mark their unmanned aircraft, fly within visual line of sight and maintain a maximum altitude of 400 feet during operations.

The FAA has not yet announced how recreational operators can seek prior authorization, but it will become a new feature of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program. This legislation marks the most significant reform to expand the use of drones in the United States.

READ: How The FAA Reauthorization Accelerates Drone Integration

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