NBAA recently joined with several aviation groups in signing a letter opposing two proposals that would eliminate federal oversight for the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and their integration into the National Airspace System.
The proposals were offered as amendments (#3558 and #3650) to H.R.636, the Senate bill reauthorizing FAA programs and funding, and are included in the measure subsequently passed by lawmakers in April.
“It has long been established that the federal government, through the FAA, has sole authority to implement and enforce regulations for all navigable airspace, including regulations for UAS, and the Senate’s FAA bill reiterates this position,” said NBAA COO Steve Brown. “The intent of this pre-emption is to avoid the creation of a patchwork quilt of local airspace policies, which could impact the mobility, flexibility and safety of airspace navigation. The amendments offered to the Senate FAA bill would undercut the FAA’s ability to govern airspace with a single, federal set of standards.”
Brown added that the proposed amendments also overlooked the fact that local authorities are able to implement requirements pertaining to takeoff and landing locations for UAS, given that land-use policies are local in nature.
The groups’ April 12 letter opposing the amendments was signed by NBAA, along with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Aerospace Industries Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Cherokee Nation Technologies, the Consumer Technology Association, DJI, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the Small UAV Coalition.
NBAA has long maintained that it is imperative that any introduction plan for UAS be focused on safety. This means UAS should not share the same airspace with manned aircraft until they have equivalent certification and airworthiness standards as manned aircraft, including the ability to take timely directions from air traffic control, and to sense and avoid manned aircraft and other UAS.
NBAA personnel have participated in UAS working groups for nearly 10 years, and the association has published expansive online resources covering developments in the UAS industry of importance to the business aviation community.
In December 2015, NBAA welcomed a document from the FAA, reasserting that the agency has sole authority to implement and enforce regulations for all navigable airspace, including for UAS.