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FAA Reauthorization Act “will speed BVLOS, AAM authorizations” – US industry

According to US drone trade association AUVSI: “Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2024 by a vote of 387 – 26 following the U.S. Senate’s 88 – 4 passage of the bill last week. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the FAA through Fiscal Year 2028 and requires the FAA to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking for UAS operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) within four months. The bill also includes a mandate for the FAA to publish a final special rule for operations of powered lift aircraft within seven months, which will help to meaningfully move the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry forward. The legislation also includes key measures supported by AUVSI regarding grant programs, cyber security, workforce training, and autonomy, among dozens of other priorities of AUVSI and its members.”

AUVSI President and CEO Michael Robbins said: “We look forward to working with the FAA and Administrator Whitaker on the implementation of Congressional mandates on key issues for our industries, including a Part 108 BVLOS rule and a special final rule for powered lift aircraft operations, which will safely unlock scalability and new, high-value commercial drone and AAM operations.”

AUSVI also published an analysis of key provisions in the bill that are relevant to the UAS and AAM industries; read the document here.

Meanwhile, the Commercial Drone Alliance (CDA) said provisions included in the bill are critical to the growth and development of the drones industry.

“Today marks a pivotal step in reinforcing American leadership in the skies,” said the CDA in a statement.

“The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 brings much-needed stability to both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation industry, and enables the U.S. drone industry to keep pace with other countries,” said Lisa Ellman, Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance. “This legislation reflects years of dedicated collaboration between lawmakers and industry stakeholders, including the CDA. We are excited to build on this momentum and to strengthen U.S. leadership in advanced aviation.”

Meanwhile, AURA Network Systems, a Virginia-based company that utilizes licensed, aviation-dedicated spectrum to deliver communications solutions nationwide for crewed and uncrewed aircraft, also applauded passage of the Act.

“AURA particularly appreciates the bipartisan collaboration and leadership demonstrated by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for including Section 932, Third-Party Service Approvals, in the bill,” said AURA. “This section acknowledges the critical role that third-party service providers, such as AURA, play in delivering safety-critical operational support for remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace. By establishing an approval process for all third-party services necessary for safe and successful UAS operations, Section 932 enhances predictability for operators and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), while expediting progress for UAS and AAM operations.”

AAM and UTM provisions in the FAA Reauthorization ActAccording to AUVSI policy experts the following provisions in the Act will have important consequences for advanced air mobility and UAS traffic management (UTM):

POWERED-LIFT AIRCRAFT

• Sec. 627. Low-altitude routes for vertical flight: This section directs the FAA to initiate a rulemaking process to establish or update low altitude routes and flight procedures to ensure safe rotorcraft and powered-lift operations in the national airspace system. In initiating a rulemaking, the FAA must consult with various stakeholder groups, including the United States Helicopter Safety Team and union representing air traffic controllers.

• Sec. 955. Rules for operation of powered-lift aircraft: This section requires the FAA to publish a special final rule for the operations of, and pilot requirements for, powered lift aircraft within 7 months and applies specific requirements and considerations to such rulemaking. If the FAA fails to publish such special final rule within 16 months, specific existing operating and training rules shall apply to powered-lift aircraft until such time as the FAA publishes a special final rule. In addition, this section establishes a powered-lift aviation rulemaking advisory committee to provide recommendations on the development of permanent regulations for the certification and operation of powered-lift aircraft.

UTM

The FAA shall initiate a rulemaking based on those recommendations and other requirements.

• Sec. 932. Third-party service approvals: This section directs the FAA to establish procedures to approve third party service suppliers (including providers of UAS traffic management) in order to support commercial operation of UAS and their safe integration into the national airspace system. In establishing procedures, the FAA must ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, industry consensus standards are included as an acceptable means of compliance for third party services.

For more information

https://www.auvsi.org/auvsi-commends-final-passage-faa-reauthorization-bill-including-bvlos-and-powered-lift-rulemaking

www.commercialdronealliance.org.

https://auranetworksystems.com/

(Image:Shutterstock)

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