Author

Jennifer Trock

Browsing

According to a FAA statement reported by multiple media outlets last week, the FAA has decided to modify its regulatory approach and certify electric vertical take-off and landing (“eVTOL”) aircraft as a “special class” aircraft using the existing “powered-lift” aircraft category. As discussed previously, the FAA has been deciding between two approaches to the type certification of eVTOLs—either (a) type certification using airworthiness standards in 14 C.F.R. Part 23 for “Normal Category Airplanes,” which normally fly only horizontally, combined with special conditions for eVTOLs (e.g., vertical flight), or (b) certification under the FAA’s aircraft certification procedures for “special classes” of aircraft in 14 C.FR. § 21.17 (b) (“Special Class Framework”), whereby airworthiness standards derived from other FAA regulations are incorporated as appropriate. The ultimate direction will have significant implications for both eVTOLs’ route to market and future operational requirements (e.g., pilot requirements, infrastructure, etc.). In light of the industry’s expectation…

As momentum around Advanced Air Mobility (“AAM”) continues to build, regulators have taken several recent steps in support of the development and commercialization of electric vertical take-off and landing (“eVTOL”) aircraft.  eVTOLs are an innovative and emerging AAM technology with potential to deliver sustainable passenger and cargo transportation in urban, inter-city, and rural use cases, using electric power to take off, hover, and land vertically.  The regulatory regime for eVTOLs and AAM is rapidly taking shape, and stakeholder awareness and engagement will be critical on issues such as infrastructure, streamlining regulations across jurisdictions, and aircraft certification.  Recent developments in these areas include: On March 2, 2022, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) published a Federal Register notice requesting public comments on a draft Engineering Brief (EB) 105 for Vertiport Design.On March 3, 2022, the FAA and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (“UK CAA”) issued a joint statement announcing that…

Despite strict current regulations, the Vietnamese government is making strides in promoting the use and integration of UAS. UAS have been listed as one of the prioritized technologies for research, development and application under the recent Decision of the Prime Minister No. 2117/QD-TTg dated 16 December 2020. In particular, the Government and enterprises of Vietnam have especially promoted the use of UAS in agriculture and monitoring of energy utilities.  In the agriculture sector, users have applied for UAS to aid in spraying of pesticides and identification of pest-infected areas.  According to a recent official letter from the Ministry of National Defense (“MND”), the MND confirmed the policy that would facilitate the import and preferential tariff and fee treatment of UAS specialized for agriculture purposes, as well as encourage and facilitate research and manufacturing.  In the energy sector, since 2019, the National Power Transmission Corporation, a state-owned enterprise that is currently…

Join the Executives’ Club of Chicago and its Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum as industry experts discuss future developments in the transportation industry and cover important updates around freight, interconnected infrastructure, autonomous and micro mobility, and public transit.Amidst the backdrop of 2020, when people moved from point A to point B less than ever, transportation innovation persisted as active, energetic, and future-focused. Leaders in technology, transportation, and logistics are moving the needle on the efficiency and safety of moving goods and people – whether it’s across town or across the globe. Exciting trends in micromobility, freight, automation, and autonomous mobility inspire a myriad of questions for business leaders to navigate. As innovation in this sector continues, we must think critically about the effects on consumer safety, land use and traffic patterns, industrial space needs, and the environment.As a long-standing partner of the Executives’ Club, Baker McKenzie is happy to offer complimentary registration for…

On November 17, the FAA announced that it has completed the second and last phase of its Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (“UTM”) Pilot Program (“UPP”), conducted in partnership with NASA. The conclusion of the drone demonstration phase is a significant milestone in paving the way for operations beyond visual line of sight (“BVLOS”). The lessons learned from UPP will support ongoing policy and technology advancement efforts toward enabling BVLOS operations. In the near term, the FAA is expected to release its final rule on the remote identification of drones (“Remote ID”) and a proposed rule for operations over people and at night by the end of this year or early in 2021. These rulemakings will incorporate information and data developed during the UPP. Remote ID is viewed by the FAA as a critical step in the development and deployment of UTM systems to enable routine BVLOS operations. Established in…

The commercial UAS industry in Mexico has become a complex ecosystem composed of technology, product, demographic, and market issues. The diverse applications, data and use that can be obtained from UAS operation is already changing the way companies do business in a large number of sectors, such as logistics, inspection, security, mining, agriculture, safety and other industrial applications that UAS can make more productive and economic. According to the Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), there are approximately 450 registered organizations, including private companies and governmental entities that are using UAS in Mexico. Some of the governmental entities using UAS in their operations are the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Navy, the Center for Research and National Security, as well as the Ministry of Public Security. Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) is one of the hot topics in the UAS world and commercial/industrial application. Many…

On August 17, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) issued a joint interagency advisory on the use of technology to detect and mitigate unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drones”) by non-federal public and private entities. The disabling or destruction of a drone through physical force or electronic interference (such as jamming) is a federal crime. The joint advisory provides an overview of the federal laws and regulations that apply to various UAS detection and mitigation measures, which include not only criminal statutes enforced by DOJ, but also a range of laws and regulations administered by the FAA, FCC, and DHS. As detailed in the joint advisory, the use of technology to track and monitor UAS may have numerous legal consequences, even when no action is taken to disable or interfere with a UAS. Accordingly,…

On July 24, 2020, the Trump Administration announced a new policy (the “Updated UAS Policy”) on exports of US-origin unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”), also known as “drones.” The Updated UAS Policy follows the Trump Administration’s UAS policy reforms announced in April 2018 (“April 2018 UAS Export Policy”), which allowed exports of certain US-origin armed and unarmed UAS to occur via direct sales between US companies and foreign end users. Our previous blog post on the April 2018 UAS Export Policy is available here. The Updated UAS Policy does not change UAS export licensing requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations or the Export Administration Regulations, but does remove a major restriction on exports of US-origin UAS. The Trump Administration’s new policy comes at a time when the UAS regulatory climate is undergoing rapid transformation. As previously discussed on Baker McKenzie’s UAS Insights blog, the Federal Aviation Administration is in…

The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has issued guidance for the use of counter-unmanned aircraft systems (“C-UAS”) actions by federal law enforcement agencies, which are authorized by the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 (the “Act”).  The guidance establishes a process for the federal government to select facilities and assets that warrant protection with C-UAS technology, and sets forth the types of C-UAS actions that may be authorized.  UAS operators should stay apprised of these developments to ensure that their operations remain lawful and do not trigger C-UAS actions in response, and should look for opportunities to help shape C-UAS policies going forward. Under the Act, codified at 6 U.S.C. § 124n, the U.S. Attorney General may authorize federal law enforcement agencies to take certain actions to mitigate threats posed by UAS to particular assets or facilities identified by federal law enforcement agencies.  Id. § 124n(a).   To be covered under the Act,…

Innovation has been at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with multiple industries adapting to provide essential goods and services. Following the widespread adoption of social distancing measures earlier this year, the UAS industry has demonstrated the potential of expanded drone operations through the delivery of critical supplies. In light of COVID-19, the U.S. federal government has expressed interest in helping the UAS industry bring new drone applications to market through expedited regulatory approvals under the current framework and accelerating the implementation of a broader regulatory framework for expanded drone operations. Drone deliveries of critical supplies in response to COVID-19 have been made possible through the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (“IPP”), under which the FAA has granted waivers from the operating limitations prescribed by 14 CFR Part 107. Currently, expanded drone operations such as flights at night, beyond visual line of sight, and over people,…