Category Archives: Regulatory Matters

The Space Between: Who Controls the Airspace Where Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Fly?

By Joshua S. Turner, partner and co-chair of the UAS Practice, and John T. Lin, associate in the Telecom, Media & Technology Practice, at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, DC

 No one disputes that the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over “navigable air space,” which has historically begun “above the minimum safe altitudes of flight,” including the airspace needed to ensure safety in the takeoff and landing of aircraft.  The FAA generally sets the minimum safe altitude as “500 feet above the surface [of non-congested areas], except over open water or sparsely populated areas.”  Continue reading

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FAA Settles with Skypan on Airspace Violations

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has  announced a comprehensive settlement agreement with SkyPan International, Inc., of Chicago. The agreement resolves enforcement cases that alleged the company operated unmanned aircraft (UAS) in congested airspace over New York City and Chicago, and violated airspace regulations and aircraft operating rules.  Continue reading

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Second Drone Advisory Committee Meeting

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At its second meeting on January 31, 2017 in Reno, NV, the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) will continue to help the Federal Aviation Administration prioritize its efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft systems – or drones – into the national airspace. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the creation of the DAC as a federal advisory committee in May 2016, and the DAC first met in September 2016. Continue reading

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