Practices  |  Telecom, Media & Technology

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)


Wiley Rein has been engaged in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) matters since the outset of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opening the door to commercial uses. Drawing on its wealth of experience representing clients before regulatory agencies, obtaining necessary authorizations and licenses, and advising clients on regulatory obligations, Wiley Rein has been significantly involved in the evolving legal landscape of UAS. Wiley Rein represents clients from the telecom, insurance, aviation, agriculture, higher education, and manufacturing sectors.

Wiley Rein’s comprehensive UAS Working Group is well-suited to assist clients on multiple fronts in this unique, complex, and dynamic area. The UAS Working Group includes lawyers and engineers experienced in aviation issues at the FAA, as well as privacy considerations at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and Congress, and spectrum needs being examined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), NTIA, U.S. Department of State, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and industry working groups.

Our representative experience includes:

  • Preparing and filing numerous Section 333 Exemption grants for commercial UAS operators in a number of industries including insurance, media, and technology;
  • Advising clients on the domestic and international spectrum issues for UAS command and control and payloads for both within visual line-of-sight and beyond visual line-of-sight uses;
  • Consulting with multiple industry sectors to evaluate their operational requirements and counsel them on UAS compliance;
  • Meeting with FAA staff to discuss regulatory developments and advocate for clients’ policy needs;
  • Monitoring privacy developments at the federal, state, and local levels and assisting clients in participating in NTIA’s multi-stakeholder process on UAS privacy;
  • Analyzing insurance and risk management considerations associated with commercial use of UAS;
  • Providing public policy strategic advice regarding potential UAS legislation;
  • Aiding clients in obtaining Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) to fly UAS;
  • Tracking FAA UAS policies and news;
  • Reviewing Operations Manuals for various UAS and advising manufacturers on how to comply with FAA requirements and policies;
  • Preparing and filing comments on the FAA’s proposed Small UAS Rules;
  • Assisting and advising universities on how they can operate UAS in support of their programs;
  • Advising clients on the FAA’s airworthiness certification processes;
  • Monitoring state and local legislation and regulation and assessing the role federal preemption will play in the deployment of UAS;
  • Evaluating newsgathering and First Amendment considerations associated with UAS for media clients;
  • Advising insurance clients on using UAS to perform analysis of post-catastrophe situations; and
  • Briefing utility companies on how to avoid risks to human inspectors and obtain authority to use UAS to conduct utility inspections.

Click here to learn more about Wiley Rein and The Signal Group’s UAS capabilities. 

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Anna M. Gomez
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