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What’s Next for UAS? A Survey of Regulatory, Legal, and Policy Activities

August 1, 2016

Activities to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace are accelerating.  This alert provides various updates on what has been happening this summer and what we can expect to happen next: 

Most Recent Activities

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Small UAS Rulemaking

The FAA released its final rules for small UAS on June 21, 2016. This is the first time that the FAA has promulgated regulations specific to small UAS. The rules add the new Part 107 to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 C.F.R.) and apply to non-hobby and non-recreational operators, although public operators may elect to operate under the rules. The final rules become effective on August 29, 2016. A summary of the rules is available here.

FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016

On July 14, 2016 Congress passed the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 to extend the FAA’s authority through September 30, 2017. President Obama signed the bill into law on July 15, 2016. The major provisions of the FAA Extension Bill affecting UAS and tower owners are summarized here. Notably, the FAA Extension Bill provides for creation of an emergency exemption process which would permit use of UAS by civil or public operators in response to a catastrophe, disaster, or other emergency. The FAA Extension Bill also includes various timetables and deadlines for FAA action on UAS and tower issues, which are summarized here.

Read the full alert here.