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The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018: Implications for the UAS Industry

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018: Implications for the UAS Industry

October 11, 2018

This article is co-authored by Sara Baxenberg, Josh Turner, Anna Gomez, and Katy Ross.

On October 5, 2018, the President signed into law the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (the Act), which reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a period of five years and includes numerous substantive provisions related to various segments of the aviation industry, including unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). 

Importantly for the UAS industry, the Act gives the FAA the rulemaking authority it needs to require remote identification capability (Remote ID) for all UAS, including those operated for hobby or recreational purposes, which in turn will enable the FAA to continue adopting rules to allow for expanded commercial operations. The Act also directs the FAA to update its rules to facilitate carriage of property via UAS, thus further paving the way for UAS package delivery, and to continue implementing the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system, which is essential for the widespread integration of UAS into the airspace. The Act deals with a number of other issues critical to the future of the industry, including federal counter-UAS authority, public and emergency use of UAS, privacy, the role of state and local governments in UAS regulation, enforcement against unlawful UAS operators, and the spectrum needs for UAS command and control communications.

Wiley Rein has prepared an in-depth analysis of the Reauthorization Act and its implications for the UAS industry. Leveraging the institutional knowledge and significant regulatory and policy experience of the attorneys in its Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice, Wiley Rein’s analysis discusses the relevant legislative provisions in each key topic area, and provides necessary background and context to understand how these provisions work and the changes they make to the current legal landscape. Wiley Rein’s analysis of the Reauthorization Act is available for order below.

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