There are only 46 more days until the FAA’s authorization runs out, and with the US Senate back in session yesterday, aviation groups are calling for action the FAA Reauthorization Bill.
The bill, which was lauded by drone groups and associations across the country, was passed in the House of Representatives in April of this year but still has not been reviewed by the Senate.
Once passed by the Senate, the Bill will allow the FAA to cease issuing short term extensions to the unmanned aviation industry and instead build certainty for the growing commercial drone industry and a safe, effective airspace for the US.
But they are running out of time to do, causing aviation and drone groups, including the Small UAV Coalition, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Commercial Drone Alliance, to urge action before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2018.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) cosigned by a number of aviation organizations, the Senate has been asked to “move expeditiously to consider legislation for a long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).”
“The FAA and the traveling public have been subjected to short-term extensions of the FAA’s authority since 2015, and these stopgap measures have negatively impacted the FAA’s activities,” the letter continues.
#BREAKING: Today we joined leading #aviation groups in a letter to the #Senate urging lawmakers to act on #FAA reauthorization. Check out the letter on our website here: https://t.co/oWO1ZqlqJt pic.twitter.com/hGZeoQWYoN
— Small UAV Coalition (@smallUAVs) August 15, 2018
The Academy of Model Aeronautics has also issued a statement regarding the urgent matter of passing the Bill, recognizing that the Senate are dealing with a ‘legislative backlog’.
“If the Senate runs out of time to address FAA legislation, Congress will defer any substantive decision-making on FAA reauthorization until next year by passing a continuing resolution. This would maintain the status quo for a little longer; however, AMA maintains that a longer-term reauthorization of the FAA is needed to strengthen the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and affirm the role of community-based organizations like AMA in educating hobbyists,” the AMA have written.
Without the Bill in place, the AMA have been pushed to work with the US Secret Service as President Trump’s frequent presence in Bedminster, NJ, has meant VIP Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) have significantly impacted local model plane and drone enthusiast’s activities.
The Alliance for Drone Innovation (ADI) has been contacted for a statement and we will keep readers posted upon reply.