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Wiley Rein’s Aviation Practice and UAS Working Group Expand with Former Senior FAA Counsel

April 15, 2014

Washington, DCGary A. Michel, a senior attorney with more than 30 years of regulatory experience in the Office of Chief Counsel at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has joined Wiley Rein’s Aviation Practice and its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Working Group as consulting counsel.  Having focused much of his career in government service on UAS matters, Mr. Michel will collaborate with the UAS Team on behalf of Wiley Rein clients to develop legal strategies for the deployment of UAS into commercial and other operations, and will work with manufacturers and operators to promote lawful operation of UAS in the National Airspace System.

“We are very pleased to welcome Gary to our firm,” said Peter D. Shields, Managing Partner of Wiley Rein.  “With a rich and extensive background at the FAA in airworthiness certification laws, regulations, and procedures, Gary will be an excellent addition to our Aviation Practice as someone at the forefront of UAS regulation and enforcement.”

“Wiley Rein is an outstanding firm with a premier reputation for its regulatory capabilities,” said Mr. Michel.  “It is a pleasure to join this highly regarded team of lawyers who have deep knowledge and experience not only in aviation matters, but in the complex communications and privacy issues involved in commercial UAS operations.”

While at the FAA, Mr. Michel served as Attorney-Manager for Airworthiness in the Advanced Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Law Branch and as Attorney-Manager for the Advanced Aircraft and Commercial Space Law Branch, among other positions.  He briefed senior FAA executives on the regulation of UAS, served as one of the agency’s key authorities on UAS airworthiness matters for more than fifteen years, and was the FAA’s staff attorney on the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee. 

Prior to his service at the FAA, Mr. Michel was a trial attorney in the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement at the Interstate Commerce Commission and served as Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Office of Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia.  He received his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law.

In 2014, Wiley Rein established a forward-thinking, multi-disciplinary group of professionals to assist clients in the rapidly developing area of UAS for commercial use in the United States.  The Team is on the cutting edge of identifying, anticipating, and monitoring the full range of legal, regulatory, technological, and legislative issues that will determine how and when UAS are deployed in the U.S. and around the world. 

Wiley Rein has a highly experienced and diversified aviation law practice.  The firm’s Aviation attorneys are nationally and internationally recognized, and include former high-ranking U.S. government officials.  The Group represents domestic and foreign airlines, corporate aircraft owners and operators, and airline and aviation investors in a variety of transactional, regulatory, and enforcement matters.