Michael Drobac Comments on Drone Integration in New FAA Reauthorization

October 9, 2018

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The President recently signed into law a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that provides a blueprint for near-term US aviation policy, including traveler and consumer protections, drone integration, airport upgrades and expands on top flight issues addressed in FAA reauthorization legislation from the past several years.

In an Oct. 3 Law360 article, McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor Michael Drobac commented on how the legislation will impact drone integration.

“The new legislation demonstrates a real commitment by the U.S. government to stay competitive as a global leader on UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] and drone technology, and it gets the ball rolling on eventually allowing advanced operations that are restricted under the FAA’s existing rules,” said Drobac.

The FAA reauthorization creates or advances policies and programs to explore areas that had either not previously been permitted or that are critical to enabling safe expanded drone operations, including advancing low-altitude UAS traffic management systems and services and authorizing advanced operations like delivery.

 In addition, the legislation includes a key provision that enables the FAA to regulate all UAS or drone operators – which will allow the FAA to move forward with additional regulations for expanded operations.

“There’s no longer a carveout for model aircraft, so there’s now parity and [the agency is] not to be concerned with a whole host of [unmanned] vehicles that are regulated or a part of system that promotes safety and harmony of these laws,” Drobac said.