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Focus on Regulation

Tag Archives: Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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.

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.

BREAKING: DOT Announces Plan to Require Registration of All Hobbyist and Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Yesterday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a new plan that will require registration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, for both commercial and hobbyist use. While commercial UAS operators are currently required to register their UAS with the FAA, hobbyist operators are currently exempt from registration requirements.