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FAA updates Fact Sheet on State and Local Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has published its updated Fact Sheet (2023) discussing legal considerations applicable to state and local regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”), also commonly referred to as “drones”.

According to a statement “Like its 2015 predecessor, the Fact Sheet is a guide for state and local governments as they respond to the increased use of UAS in the national airspace.

“The updated Fact Sheet summarises well-established legal principles regarding federal authority for regulating the efficiency of the airspace, including the operation or flight of aircraft, which includes, as a matter of law, UAS. It reviews the federal responsibility for ensuring the safety of flight, as well as the safety of people and property on the ground as a result of the operation of aircraft. The updated Fact Sheet also sets forth the basic preemption framework applicable to UAS:

  • “States and local governments may not regulate in the fields of aviation safety or airspace efficiency but generally may regulate outside those fields.
  • “A state or local law will be preempted if it conflicts with FAA regulations.
  • “State or local laws affecting commercial UAS operators are more likely to be preempted.

“As substantial air safety issues are implicated when state or local governments attempt to regulate the operation of aircraft in the national airspace, but legitimate state and local interests in health and safety exist in other contexts, the updated Fact Sheet provides examples of laws addressing UAS that would be subject to federal preemption and others that would likely pass muster.

“The updated Fact Sheet concludes with a discussion of Enforcement Matters and Contact Information for Questions.”

For more information and download fact sheet


(Image: FAA)

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