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Focus on Regulation

Category Archives: Aviation

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BREAKING: U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Strikes Down FAA Drone Registration Rule for Hobbyist

In a ruling issued today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated the FAA’s Registration Rule for small unmanned aircraft (UAS or drones) that are operated for recreational purposes, otherwise known as “model aircraft.” If the ruling stands, hobbyist and recreational drone enthusiast will no longer be required to register their drones with the FAA. The ruling does affect requirements for commercial operators to register their UAS with the FAA.

New EASA Consultation: Are Drone Pilots Heading for a Period of Regulatory Turbulence?

On 12 May 2017 the European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”) opened a consultation regarding sweeping new regulations on the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or drones) in European airspace. Individuals and companies that are interested in the future of UAS operations in the European Union (“EU”) should carefully review the Notice of Proposed Amendment and consider participating in the review process by submitting comments and letting EASA know their views on all aspects of the proposed regulations.
Under current regulations, EASA only regulates large UAS with a take-off weight of 150kg or more and the regulation of UAS weighting less than 150 kg is reserved to Member States. The European Commission and European Parliament are currently trying to extend the EU’s regulatory competences (jurisdiction) to include authority over all UAS weighing more than 250g. EASA’s new proposal will likely spur debate among industry stakeholders over whether this new and innovative technology should be regulated more broadly by EASA or by the individual Member States.

Sky full of drones – Germany opens up for new drone opportunities as it introduces its new UAS Regulation

Germany has introduced a new “Regulation for the Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (“Drone-Regulation“). On 7 April 2017, the new Drone-Regulation entered into force adapting national legislation to the risk-based approach of the European Union and setting the way for innovative technologies. However, the new rules also contain identification and qualification obligations as well as

Big News: Proposed Small UAS Rule for Flights Over People at White House for Review

In a major new development, the FAA has just sent to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) the proposed rulemaking for performance-based standards and means-of-compliance for the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or so-called “drones”) over unsheltered people not directly participating in the operation.

The European Parliament pushes for an EU-wide regulation for UAS

The split of competences between the European Union (“EU”) and its Member States has been a point of friction in the setting out of the future European rules on unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”). In December 2015, the European Commission advocated in its Aviation Strategy for the need for a common regulatory framework across the EU to ensure a single European UAS market. The European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”), headquartered in Cologne (Germany), would play a crucial role in defining the common European standards.

Moving UAS Policy Forward: Opportunities for Small Business

Today, Hogan Lovells’ Global Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Practice Chair Lisa Ellman testified to the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations on “Opportunity Rising: the FAA’s New Regulatory Framework for Commercial Drone Operations.”

A New Regime: Making the Jump from Section 333 UAS Operations to Part 107

We are at a watershed moment in aviation history. As we reported yesterday, the FAA and DOT finally released their Final Rule for the Operation and Certification of Small UAS (Part 107), which will broadly authorize commercial UAS operations in the U.S. With the release of Part 107, many Section 333 Exemption holders are left wondering how Part 107 will impact their exemptions. And for the 7,000+ petitioners stuck in the FAA’s backlog of pending Section 333 petitions and amendments, many are wondering what the FAA will do with these pending petitions.

Huge News: FAA/DOT Release Small UAS Rule

The commercial UAS industry in the U.S. took a giant leap forward yesterday, as DOT and FAA released its Final Rule for the Operation and Certification of Small UAS (Part 107). At 624 pages long, there is certainly a lot to digest and we will be following up with more analysis of Part 107 throughout this week and next. For the time being, we wanted to provide you with a high-level overview of Part 107 and to identify a few areas where the FAA surprised us (mostly in a good way).

Drones on Campus: FAA Opens Door to Expanded Student Drone Use in the Classroom

Colleges and universities across the country are finding new and innovative ways to use drones in the classroom. While speaking at the AUVSI annual conference in New Orleans this morning, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the release of a new Legal Interpretation that will expand the scope of permissible unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations by students and educational institutions.

Big News: Small UAS Rule at OIRA for Final Review

In a major new development, the FAA has sent the Small UAS NPRM to the White House for a final interagency review.  This means that a final small UAS rule is coming soon – and that NOW is the last opportunity to influence the rule before it is released. Before any significant regulatory action takes

FAA Task Force Unveils Recommendations for UAS Flights Over People

Across the country and around the world, companies are more excited than ever about the benefits unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can offer. This is evidenced by the large number of Section 333 Exemptions that have been authorized by the FAA—over 4,500 as of today. Last February the FAA published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making

Moving UAS Policy Boundaries Forward: Flights Near People (Take-Two)

Earlier this week the FAA announced the creation of a new aviation rulemaking (ARC) committee to study and recommend rules for authorizing some unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) to fly over people.  The task force will be composed of various industry stakeholders, including UAS manufacturers, operators, academics and trade organizations.  The recommendations made by

China Launches First Operational Rules for Civil Unmanned Aircraft

China’s civil flight authority, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, has issued new regulations applicable to civil unmanned aircrafts, or UAS, weighing no more than 116 kg. The regulations are called the Provisions for the Operation of Light and Small Unmanned Aircraft (for Trial Implementation) (the “UAS Operation Rules“) and were issued and became effective

FAA Warns State and Local Governments on Impermissible Regulation of UAS

The FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel yesterday released new guidance for state and local government authorities as they increasingly seek to regulate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones. The FAA’s State and Local Regulation of UAS Fact Sheet provides basic information about the federal regulatory framework for use by states and localities when considering proposing legislation or ordinances that would affect the use of UAS.

FAA Releases Rule on UAS Registration Requirements

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that nearly 800,000 small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, will be sold this holiday season, and expects sales of an additional 1.9 million UAS to hobbyist and recreational users in 2016. Over the past year we have witnessed a surge in news events involving careless operators misusing drones, including crashes at stadium sporting events and hundreds of incidents involving close-encounters between UAS and manned aircraft.

The New EU Aviation Strategy: Take-off for the UAS Industry?

Following in the wake of Germany’s new proposed regulations for commercial and hobbyist UAS (drone) operators, earlier this week, the European Commission (EC) revealed a broad new strategy to ensure that the European aviation sector remains competitive and reaps the benefits of a fast-changing and developing global economy.

Moving UAS Policy Boundaries Forward, Take 2: Flights Beyond Visual Line of Sight of the Operator

Yesterday we reported on the FAA’s policy shift relating to flights near people. The FAA last week made another quiet change that implicates beyond line of sight operations. While the demand for UAS continues to grow, the FAA’s current requirement that the UAS only be operated within visual line-of-sight of the operator limits the full potential of UAS for many commercial uses. Some of the most promising commercial UAS applications—precision agriculture, powerline inspections, and railroad inspections, to name just a few—necessitate flights beyond visual line-of-sight (“BVLOS”) of the operator to be efficient. “Line-of-sight” flight requires that the pilot can visually see the UAS at all times during the operation, unless another person acting as a visual observer maintains constant visual contact with the UAS.

BREAKING: DOT Accepting Public Comments on UAS Registration Requirements

Yesterday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the creation of a task force charged with developing a registration process for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, for both commercial and hobbyist use. Secretary Foxx directed the task force to deliver its recommendations by November 20, with the goal of having final registration rules in place by mid-December.