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Jennifer Trock

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On Tuesday, the FAA released a draft Advisory Circular (90-WLCLR), proposing a definition of small UAS staying “well clear” of aircraft during beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.  The AC will be a useful tool for operators seeking waivers from Part 107 for BVLOS operations as the FAA.  The AC also demonstrates the FAA’s continued efforts to give guidance for operations that exceed the standard operating conditions of Part 107, as the agency continues to draft additional UAS rules to enable greater operational capabilities beyond Part 107, including BVLOS.

Today, a federal judge struck down a Newton, Massachusetts, ordinance regulating drone operations in the city, holding that the ordinance was preempted based on Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) regulations and federal statutes. Saying the ordinance “essentially constitutes a wholesale ban on drone use” and was an “interven[tion] in the FAA’s careful regulation of aircraft safety,” District Judge William G. Young reaffirmed the FAA’s broad jurisdiction over drones (also known as unmanned aircraft systems or “UAS”) in national airspace.