The U.S. House of Representatives Aviation Committee held a Counter UAS Issues Roundtable Discussion yesterday – and the difficulty of regulation for leisure operators was a central theme.
The argument over Section 336 – the half of the regulation that exempts mannequin plane from new FAA rulemaking, in any other case often known as the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft” (see the FAA’s interpretation and rationalization right here ) – is ramping up. As lawmakers talk about drone safety – and, particularly, S.2836, the “Preventing Emerging Threats Act,” leisure operators are within the cross hearth.
FAA Deputy Administrator for Security and Hazardous Materials Angela Stubblefield – the FAA consultant who spoke on the final FAA Symposium about “the careless, the clueless, and the criminal,” drone operators – blamed Section 336 clearly for safety points. Stubblefield testified that FAA helps S. 2836, which might grant Department of Justice (DoJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security broad authority to shoot down, disrupt, observe, or in any other case disable drones deemed threatening, regardless of another federal regulation on the contrary.
Section 336 a “Fundamental Barrier” to Security
However, she stated that the FAA was hindered in making progress on drone safety with out clear legal guidelines requiring common registration and distant ID and monitoring: legal guidelines that may apply to all drone operators.
“…it is important to highlight three related policies that will greatly reduce the instances of hazardous UAS operations,” stated Stubblefield. “…Universal requirements for UAS registration, remote identification, and compliance with basic airspace rules are necessary conditions for safe and secure UAS integration.”
“The current exemption for model aircraft section 336 of the FAA modernization and Reform Act of 2012 is the fundamental barrier to effective implementation of these policy changes, and presents an insurmountable challenge to the FAA and our national defense, homeland security and law enforcement partners as we work to enable the benefits of UAS technology while maintaining safety and security for the American people.”
No “Third Category”
While the Sanford proposal handed within the House model of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act would try and compromise on Section 336, creating a possible third class of operators that fly in low altitude airspace, Rep. Peter DiFazio got here out strongly towards that concept within the Roundtable dialogue. DiFazio helps a repeal of Section 336 that may put all drone operators below FAA authority.
“[The] confusion that we currently have will continue, because again, we’re dealing with individuals coming into the airspace who by and large are not Pilots; they’re not airspace users,” stated DiFazio. “…that confusion will continue as long as we are unable to definitively and very clearly from the FAA say that all UAS have to meet certain requirements: registration, remote identification, and a basic set of safety rules … we would need to ensure that they operate their aircraft such that they’re not potentially causing a safety or security constraint that will wreak havoc in the system.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, an expert drone companies market, and a fascinated observer of the rising drone trade and the regulatory atmosphere for drones. Miriam has a level from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of expertise in excessive tech gross sales and advertising for new applied sciences.