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Far-Reaching Rule Changes Stand to Make 2019 'The Year of the Drone,' Say LeClairRyan Attorneys


Regulators are formulating rules that stand to affect every part of the American drone industry —and the time is now for stakeholders to make their voices heard, advise veteran aviation attorneys with the national law firm LeClairRyan.

"This year is shaping up as a critical one for regulatory developments affecting operators of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)," said Mark E. McKinnon, leader of LeClairRyan's UAS practice, "so much so that 2019 could easily be thought of as 'The Year of the Drone.' "

"Is 2019 the Year of the Drone?" was, in fact, the title of a 140-minute webinar conducted on February 27 by McKinnon and fellow LeClairRyan aviation attorney James A. Eastwood. In the deep dive into the changing regulatory framework for UAS, the two Alexandria-based partners in LeClairRyan covered topics such as proposed changes to the FAA's "flight over people" rule; the potential for new safety-related design, performance and payload requirements; new procedures on night flight and waivers; and a raft of other regulatory considerations related to remote-identification, unmanned traffic management and FAA's progress in meeting ambitious mandates from Congress.

By way of background, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao earlier this year unveiled two long-anticipated FAA rulemaking efforts that will have a major impact on the future of the UAS industry, McKinnon told the audience. The first is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking covering UAS flight over people and at night; the second is an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on several significant UAS safety and security issues, he said.

Read the full article at AviationPros here.

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