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FAA can now fast-track new BVLOS approval procedures after passage of FAA Authorization Act

By Philip Butterworth-Hayes

US drone industry representatives have hailed the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for passing the “Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935)” by a vote of 63 – 0. The bipartisan legislation reauthorises the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the next five years.

Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Chief Advocacy Officer Michael Robbins said:

“The world is entering an exciting new era of aviation, but for the benefits of advanced aviation, drones and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) to be realized, U.S. companies need more support and regulatory clarity. This legislation is a meaningful step forward in safely integrating drones and AAM into the airspace and increasing U.S. global competitiveness by supporting domestic workforce growth and technology innovation and manufacturing.”

One of the provisions of the Act requires the FAA to move quickly to outline a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations at or below 400ft which should now, according to the provisions of the Act, be published within the next four months.

“This legislation is a meaningful step forward in safely integrating drones and AAM into the airspace and increasing U.S. global competitiveness by supporting domestic workforce growth and technology innovation and manufacturing,” said a statement from AUVSI.

There has also been wide ranging statements of approval from manned aviation organisations (https://transportation.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=406652)

According to Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) President and CEO Eric Fanning: “The Aerospace Industries Association welcomes the inclusion of many of our members’ priorities in the House FAA reauthorization bill, including building the necessary talent pipeline and infrastructure that will ensure safe, efficient air transport now and into the future. This bipartisan legislation will take us to new heights in aerospace innovation and safety, and we thank Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen, and the committee for moving this bill swiftly through the process.”

(Image: Shutterstock)

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