Unmanned Aircraft Systems

News & Analysis as of

Senate Version of Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Preempts Local Drone Regulations

On March 17, 2016, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee of the United States Senate approved amendments to the most recent funding legislation for the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), the FAA...more

Want an FAA Section 333 Exemption for your Close-up sUAS Operations? Come Prepared.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) generally prohibits small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) flight operations within 500 feet from all persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures. However, closer-in operations of sUAS...more

U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan FAA Bill Marking First Step to UAS Regulations

On April 19, the United States Senate passed bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize federal funding for the Federal Aviation Administration for the next two fiscal years. The Senate-passed bill, which will not take...more

Flying into Darkness – Commercial Drone Night Flights Approved by the FAA

Last week, the FAA issued an historic authority to Industrial Skyworks for nighttime commercial UAS operations. The Section 333 exemption, obtained with the help of Kenneth Quinn, Jennifer Trock, and Graham Keithley of...more

Police department drones vulnerable to hackers?

While there has been much debate over police department drones and individual privacy, now, a new concern has emerged: the threat of hackers. Recently, a security researcher, Nils Rodday, used a laptop and $40 worth of...more

Texas resident makes claims that Texas drone law is unconstitutional

Last week, Texas resident, Manuel Flores, filed suit in Texas challenging the constitutionality of the state’s drone surveillance law. His suit claims that the law treats approximately 1 million residents categorically...more

Drone Collision Results in Calls for Increased Regulation

A British Airways pilot believes that a drone, also known as a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), struck the front of the Airbus A320 during landing at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday, April 17. The aircraft landed...more

New Regulations on the Horizon for Commercial Drones

Currently, the use of drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes in general is not permitted in the United States, although there is one exception. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows...more

Expanding Horizons: Drone Regulations from a Prosecutorial Perspective

BB&K attorney Jordan Ferguson writes about the criminal side of drones for the California District Attorneys Association’s Prosecutor’s Brief. Over the next few years, the skies are likely to get much more crowded....more

FAA committee report recommends operation of small drones over crowds

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) released its “ARC Recommendations Final Report” this month after meeting in March to discuss...more

The Rise, and Risk, of Construction Drones

Drone usage on construction projects is ready to take off. With recent enhancements in performance and capability, it will soon be hard to imagine a large construction project without drones playing some role. Consider this...more

FAA Clarifies Federal, State, and Local Regulation of UAS

The FAA has released a fact sheet regarding state and local regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”). The FAA advises that state and local restrictions should be consistent with the extensive federal statutory and...more

Canada Working on UAS Regulations

In 2015, Canada released a Notice of Proposed Amendment (“NPA”), proposing a new risk-based regulatory framework for small unmanned aircraft systems (“sUAS”) that weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kg) and are operated within...more

FAA Expands Online Registration System for UAS Owners

Commercial, public and other non-model aircraft owners of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) owners may now use the FAA’s new web-based registration process to register their aircrafts....more

Get your student pilot certificate and commercial drone operator certificate sooner rather than later

As of April 1 individuals seeking their student pilot certificate must wait until the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background checks are completed before receiving the certification, whereas prior to the...more

FAA Drone Panel's Report a Major Step Toward Newsgathering Over People

Yesterday, April 6, a panel of industry experts assembled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) submitted its report recommending a new regulatory framework for the flight of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones,...more

FAA Advisory Group Recommends Framework for Drone Flights Over People

Today, April 6, a panel of industry experts assembled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) submitted its report recommending a new regulatory framework for the flight of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones,...more

FAA makes it easier to fly UAS between 200' and 400', but also imposes extensive new reporting requirements for accidents,...

On March 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made a major change in policy that further opens the skies to operators of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), but also imposes new administrative reporting burdens....more

Drones increasingly used by State Departments of Transportation across the country

Across the United States, state Departments of Transportation (DOT) are using or testing drones to conduct bridge inspections, accident assessments, surveys and to conduct risk mitigation. A recent report by the American...more

CRA: Drones Depreciable at 25%

Aerial drones appear to have many commercial uses. If you use a drone in your business, you may be able to deduct capital cost allowance in respect of the drone. In CRA Document 2016-0633111E5 “CCA Class of a Drone”...more

FAA increases altitude for commercial drones

On March 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that its “blanket” altitude authorization for Section 333 exemption for commercial drone operators will increase from 200 feet to 400 feet. After an...more

McElroy Films secures FAA Section 333 exemption

Boston video production company, McElroy Films, LLC (McElroy Films), recently secured its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Section 33 exemption, adding its name (and services) to the list of 22 other commercial drone...more

FAA 2016 to 2036 Aerospace Forecast released

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released the “2016 to 2036 Aerospace Forecast” stating “there is optimism that the industry has been transformed from that of a boom-to-bust cycle to one of sustainable...more

Commercial use of drones: what is allowed? What is not? FAA, Congress and the states are weighing in

The varying commercial applications of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – more commonly referred to as drones – across multiple industries poses a number of opportunities and challenges for companies both big and small....more

FAA Raises “Blanket” Altitude Authorization to 400 Feet

Commercial operators of small unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) that are authorized to operate in the U.S. under a Section 333 exemption from the FAA may now operate up to 400 feet without obtaining a Certificate of Waiver or...more

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