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National Agricultural Aviation Association eNewsletter
Voice of the Aerial Application Industry
August 2, 2018
NAAA Urges Senators to Give FAA Full Authority Over All Drone Types

As the Senate considers FAA reauthorization, NAAA, along with several other industry partners, sent a letter to senators urging them to give the FAA the authority to fully regulate recreational and hobby UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). This coalition, made up of pilots, commercial and general aviation operators, UAS representatives, manufacturers and aviation safety specialists, believes the FAA must have full authority over all UAS for the safety and security of the National Airspace System.


Specifically, the letter asks senators to consider section 332 of the House of Representatives’ recently passed FAA reauthorization legislation. This provision not only gives the FAA the authority to regulate all UAS, it also requires recreational UAS users to pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test.


Additionally, the provision gives the FAA the authority to impose tracking and ID requirements on UAS so UAS owners and operators can be properly identified.


The letter explains how the FAA is currently responsible for regulating all users of our nation’s airspace, including those using the airspace for recreational purposes, such as ultralight aircraft, balloons, gliders and model rocketry.


Early this year the FAA reported that UAS registration has eclipsed 1 million.  Business Insider Intelligence expects consumer drone shipments to hit 29 million in 2021.  The Consumer Technology Association reported that 2.4 million personal drones were sold in the U.S. alone in 2016.  The overall Senate FAA bill is slowly taking shape, with only a few more issues to be resolved. The expanded commercial pilot training language previously delaying the bill has been removed.


Separate from the FAA’s regulation of UAS hobbyists, the commercial UAS industry is pushing against allowing states and local government to regulate UAS deliveries. Under current law, states and local governments can't regulate the “price, route or service of an air carrier” that transports property. An amendment offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is seeking to change that.


In a letter signed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Small UAV Coalition and other aviation groups, the letter said, “If adopted, the amendment would allow thousands of state and local governments to impose restrictions on commercial UAS air carrier operations, creating inefficiencies that will stifle innovation and discourage investment and competition.”


Sen. Lee responded by saying, “Our system of federalism gives local governments significant police powers including the ability to regulate nuisance, establish speed limits, and coordinate local law enforcement. All this amendment does is preserve that necessary local control.”

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This newsletter is intended for NAAA members only. NAAA requests that should any party desire to publish, distribute or quote any part of this newsletter that they first seek the permission of the Association. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership. Items in this newsletter are not the result of paid advertising and are only meant to highlight newsworthy developments. No endorsement by NAAA is intended or implied.
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