When (If Ever) Will Congress Pass FAA Reauthorization?

Licensed CCO

News and Commentary.  This may very well be the yr – or not.  The FAA has been working beneath a sequence of funding extensions for years now.  A multi-year package deal hasn’t been handed since 2012 – nicely earlier than the drone trade loved monetary affect predictions of billions.

Last yr’s discussions on FAA Reauthorization appeared doomed from the beginning: the gap between “let’s privatize air traffic control” and “let’s not” was merely to nice to bridge, even after a number of variations.  This yr, nonetheless, the House has eradicated that concept and simplified the invoice – main some to hope that this summer time, Congress would possibly be capable of attain compromise.

For the drone trade, passing the FAA Reauthorization Act might present some readability.  The conflicting amendments included within the present House model would, presumably, be mentioned.  The idea of a “micro drone” classification for laws would possibly as soon as once more be put ahead.  The “sense of Congress” and the same old deadlines and encouragements for the FAA to finish sure regulatory processes close to drones would make clear priorities and assist the trade in improvement.

The drone trade shouldn’t be the one one watching, in fact.  AVWeb.com reviews that “The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) sent a letter to Congress on Monday urging the U.S. Senate to consider the FAA Reauthorization Act (S. 1405) as soon as possible. Both organizations expressed support for the bill in the letter (PDF), writing that “This comprehensive bill includes key FAA certification and regulatory reforms that will help bring new safety technologies to the market, strengthen aviation sales and exports, and more effectively utilize the resources of the FAA and industry.””

The package deal could also be stalled, nonetheless, by points solely unrelated to drones.  Aviation week reviews that “The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) told Sen. Bill Nelson (D–Florida), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, in a May 23 letter that consumer protections included in both chambers’ FAA reauthorization bills are “unnecessary, expensive and counterproductive.””

Past historical past – and present disagreements – make it onerous to be solely optimistic, even with lawmakers sticking round for extra of the summer time.  Chris Korody of Dronin’ On says: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell crushed summer time trip desires throughout the Beltway Tuesday when he canceled most of August recess, citing the necessity to overcome “historic obstruction by Senate Democrats” and vote on nominations and spending payments — however the FAA invoice (S. 1405 (115)) additionally made its method onto a to-do listing circulated by a McConnell aide. Sen. John Thune mentioned he expects the longer session will “enhance” prospects for the invoice being handed. Even if it does, although, it’s price retaining in thoughts that even with the additional faculty time, lawmakers nonetheless won’t wrap up a convention on the laws earlier than the top of the yr. [emphasis mine]”

You can monitor the progress of FAA Reauthorization right here.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, knowledgeable 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 brand spanking new applied sciences.
Email Miriam

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