Congress Passes FAA Reauthorization Act with UAS Oversight
Thursday, October 04, 2018 | Comments

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed H.R. 302: The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The act authorizes federal aviation programs for five years.

In addition to enhancing safety, modernizing airport infrastructure and improving service for customers, the bill includes a comprehensive title designed to promote the safe use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and outline how UAS are to be integrated into the national airspace system.

The act will provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) with authorities to counter UAS used for nefarious purposes.

“The evolving threat posed by malicious drone technology is quickly outpacing the federal government’s ability to respond,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen. “Transnational criminals use drones to identify security gaps in order to sneak into the country undetected. Smugglers use drones to bring illegal drugs across the border. Terrorist groups aspire to use armed drones against our homeland, and U.S. interests and have already deployed such devices abroad to surveil, disrupt and kill.

The FAA act also includes tower marking priorities, making it clear that communications towers between 50 and 200 feet will not have to be marked if they are registered in an FAA location database.

“NATE and our 840 member companies are all-in on the commercial utilization of drones in the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industries, and we are pleased with the final product of the FAA reauthorization legislation,” said National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Jim Goldwater. “The association commends Congress for enhancing UAS safety by giving the FAA the flexibility needed to appropriately regulate all UAS while implementing remote identification and tracking standards to help counter potentially malicious UAS operations.”

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