49 USC 44802 Prohibits Weapons on Drones

gun-on-drone-penalty

Thinking of attaching a gun, fireworks, a flamethrower, or incendiary devices to your drone? There are some laws regulating this.

In 2015, a troubled teen in Connecticut added a gun to a drone and later a flamethrower to cook a turkey for the holidays.

And you guessed it, laws were created to counter this. Section 363 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 created the following law:

(a) In General.–Unless authorized by the Administrator, a person may not operate an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system that is equipped or armed with a dangerous weapon.
(b) Dangerous Weapon Defined.–In this section, the term “dangerous weapon” has the meaning given that term in section 930(g)(2) of title
18, United States Code.
(c) Penalty.–A person who violates this section is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 for each violation.

Dangerous Weapon as defined in 18 USC 930(g)(2) says:

(2) The term “dangerous weapon” means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2½ inches in length.

These laws create the unfortunate situation where legitimate uses of drones are captured such as:

  • Drones dropping bombs for avalanche control
  • Flamethrowers on drones used to burn debris or vegetation in hard to get to areas (power lines, rocky embankments, cliffs, etc.)
  • Incendiary devices to assist with controlled burning of vegetation.

The good news is the FAA can issue authorizations to allow a dangerous weapon to be attached.

But there are other laws. Here are just some…..

If there are hazardous materials, you’ll need an exemption from 107.36. There are DOT Hazmat laws that might apply which will require more approvals.  Some states have their own similar laws prohibiting weapons on drones such as Florida.

The Truth About Drone Delivery No One Is Talking About

So when will drone delivery become a reality? It would be sweet to order stuff online and get it dropped off super quickly. But are there any problems holding up drone delivery from being widely done? Yes.

I’ll cut through the noise and help you understand the real reasons (the ones that no one is talking about) as to why drone delivery is taking longer than we expect.

Article Table of Contents

Background on the Drone Delivery Craze

Drone delivery has been all over the news with Amazon being the first to announce the projected use of drones to make deliveries. Others have followed the trend and announced deliveries such as the drone burrito delivery, the drone pizza delivery, etc.

In 2015, Dave Vos, the former head of Google’s Project Wing, said to an audience, “Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017[.]”  Fedex, UPS, DHL, and Walmart have announced they are interested in drone delivery. Then, as if we hadn’t enough drone delivery buzz, Amazon published on December 14, 2016 a video showing their first customer delivery using a drone.

Up until August 29, 2016,  we only had the Section 333 exemption process (now the 44807 process), the public certificate of waiver or authorization (which is statutorily prohibits commercial operations), or the airworthiness certificate process coupled with a certificate of waiver or authorization – all three are difficult to operate under in reality and only two allow commercial operations. Thankfully, Part 107 went into effect on August 29, 2016 and is far less restrictive than the previous three options. This is why you might have noticed that after August 29th, the drone delivery announcements and the accompanying photos in the U.S. have started to look closer to what we envision a drone delivery should look like.

In April 2019, Wing Aviation LLC (a subsidiary of Alphabet) obtained a single pilot Part 135 air carrier operating certificate. In October 2019, United Parcel Service (UPS) obtained the highest level (standard certificate) of Part 135 air carrier operating certificate. On August 27, 2020, Amazon was granted their exemption and also around this time issued a Part 135 operating certificate.

Benefits of Drone Delivery

Medical Delivery. The idea of drone deliveries, in general, is not only just delivering potato chips but also for more legitimate humanitarian purposes. A great example of this is the company Matternet, which partnered with UNICEF to do drone delivery in Malawi with the end goal of developing low-cost delivery of blood samples from children to be tested so medical drugs can be given to them when needed and in time. John Hopkins University has been doing blood drone delivery tests and published their findings in a medical journal.  Zipline has also done many humanitarian missions in Africa– they can save money, time, and lives.

Time Savings. A drone has very little chance of encountering a traffic jam scenario compared to ground transportation. Time-critical missions would best be performed by a drone that is reliable and far more cost effective than a manned helicopter operation.

Able to Get to Hard to Reach Places Quickly.  This is great for delivering medications or life-saving packages at very precise locations.

Positive Public Perception. Drone delivery is really a small portion of the drone market, but thanks to Amazon, it is the “face” of the commercial drone industry. This has gone a long way to clean up a lot of the public stigma about the drone industry.  People tend to think of Amazon delivery, not predator drones. Kudos to Amazon for changing that. These drone delivery announcements have worked so well that when I tell people I’m a drone lawyer, I almost always get asked about when drone delivery will become a possibility for everyone. My answer is: not anytime soon…..and it isn’t because of one of the most frequently raised issues which is privacy.

Privacy Issues –Frequently Raised, but not a Drone Delivery Legal Barrier.

Many are concerned about drones doing deliveries where they fly over residential neighborhoods and potentially capture data of people. I don’t think privacy issues are going to be a barrier because of the following reasons:

(1) In the terms of service, legal language will be used to the effect that says it’s cool with the property owner to have the drone descend over their house and drop off the package.

(2) Missy Cummings, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University, provided one potential solution of drone delivery companies and other companies partnering for delivery points. “Perhaps Starbucks could be your intermediary point.”

(3) Amazon’s patent on drone docking stations (attached to light poles or cell towers) won’t have property/privacy issues because that will all be taken care of in a contract agreement with the cell tower and power companies.

(4) Drones flying at 400 feet can be argued to be in public areas. See the Florida v. Riley U.S. Supreme Court case saying, “there is reason to believe that there is considerable public use of airspace at altitudes of 400 feet and above[.]” When you descend below 400ft, it would be a weaker position to defend regarding privacy claims. This would be heavily influenced by state and federal circuit law.

(5) Part 135 air carriers are protected by the Airline Deregulation Act that prevents states from enforcing laws “related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier.” 49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1).

These points above are not justifications to completely ignore the privacy issue. I think is a legitimate issue that companies would do well to consider but it is not a barrier.

Most Drone Delivery News is of Operations Either Overseas, Within Visual Line of Sight, or Some Narrow Scoped Operation

Most of what you have seen in the news is either in other countries, with different laws, or in rural areas of the U.S.

Some of the companies are just doing deliveries to themselves, not others.

Some are just doing visual line of sight drone operations under Part 107.

Even though things have become better because we have Part 107 and the new update to Section 44807, areas of the law are slowing down drone delivery at large scale.

Drone Delivery Problems

Problem 1: FAA’s Part 107 Drone Regulations

These are the drone regulations that went into effect on August 29, 2016.

Part 107 does NOT allow air carrier operations. “‘[A]ir carrier’ means a citizen of the United States undertaking by any means, directly or indirectly, to provide air transportation.”[1] “‘[A]ir transportation’ means foreign air transportation, interstate air transportation, or the transportation of mail by aircraft.”[2]  Bummer.

One interesting point is that Matternet did obtain approval to fly package delivery under Part 107.

Why? They were flying for one hospital company in one area and it was extremely limited. The Department of Transportation basically determined this was not an air carrier since it was so limited.

Here is where things start to get limiting under Part 107 for drone delivery:

Following up on the last point, where are the most customers? Near cities.

What are near cities? Airports….everywhere. Let’s just pull some data from Arizona’s Amazon fulfillment distribution centers. Taxjar’s blog listed five address in Arizona (but it really is only four buildings).

  • #PHX3 – 6835 W. Buckeye Rd. Phoenix, AZ, 85043 – Maricopa County
  • #PHX5 – 16920 W. Commerce Dr. Goodyear, AZ, 85338 – Maricopa County
  • #PHX6 – 4750 W. Mohave St. Phoenix, AZ, 85043 – Maricopa County
  • #PHX7 – 800 N. 75th Ave Phoenix, AZ, 85043 – Maricopa County

I took these addresses and plugged them into the sectional map (green stars with green arrows) which shows us all the airspace in the Phoenix area. Calm down. I made it easy for you. I used to say to my flight students when I was flight instructing that these maps were like a form of job security because they are confusing to read. I marked out the areas where the drones cannot fly under Part 107 in red, unless they have an authorization or waiver.

drone-delivery-amazon-fullfilment-center-arizona

Two of the fulfillment centers are in controlled airspace and would require an authorization or waiver to just take off.

What I think is the most limiting of all the regulations is the drone must be within line of sight of the pilot in command[3] This is an extremely important point.

Drones, due to their size, are only able to be seen out to a certain distance under a best case scenario. This can be estimated. I have a best case scenario visual line of sight calculator I built. You can plug in the dimension and an estimated best case scenario max range will be generated. Using that calculator, a drone that has a cross section of 14 inches can, in a best case scenario, can only be seen out to 4,010 feet. From an economic standpoint, you have to go beyond line of sight to reach the greatest number of potential customers per unit. Using the 14 inch cross section drone scenario, consider the two outcomes:

  • Visual line of sight only – 0.45 square miles.
  • Beyond visual line of sight limited by a max radio line of sight of 2 nautical miles – 4.1 Square Miles

But the big problem here is that Part 107 does not allow Part 107 package delivery operations under a beyond visual line of sight waiver. You’ll need to fly outside of the Part 107 regulations all together which then triggers ALL sorts of other regulations many have never heard of such as Part 91, Part 119, Part 135, etc.

Also, if you are interested in learning about how to read charts and understand airspace, check out the Airspace & Chart Reading for Drone Pilots Course I made over at Rupprecht Drones which teaches you how to do a pre-flight review of airspace, airspace classifications, basic operational requirements, airspace resources, examples, and more! This course has over 40 videos, 114 multiple choice questions, and a checklist to help you review what you need to check before you fly. Airspace and chart reading is tested on the initial and recurrent Part 107 Remote Pilot Exams, and this course can be beneficial when studying for those exams.

Problem 2: FAA’s Section 44807 Exemption for Commercial Drone Operations

Part 107 does not allow BVLOS drone delivery to the general public. The other way is to fly under Part 91 which requires the aircraft to be airworthy. Here is the problem: there are no drones with airworthiness certifications. The way around this is the operator obtains a Section 44807 exemption determination from the Department of Transportation saying the drone doesn’t need an airworthiness certificate.

It’s a lengthy process and requires a lot of paperwork.

On top of that, Section 44807 is only for the aircraft. You’ll still need an exemption from parts of Part 135 to carry packages for other people.  If you think the exemption process is difficult, the Part 135 air carrier certification process can be brutal.

Thankfully, Google’s Wing Aviation, LLC managed to obtain the exemption and Part 135 operating certificate.  But, the Part 135 operating certificate was for a single pilot. Yes, this was the easiest of the Part 135 certifications to obtain but this means in the near term you won’t have drones flying all over the place because it is currently just one guy. …..and he works for Google.

UPS also obtained an exemption for package delivery and also obtained a Part 135 operating certificate. UPS is what I would consider the first real operational approval because of the 4 types of Part 135 certificates, UPS received a standard operating certificate “with no limits on the size or scope of operations. However, the operator must be granted authorization for each type of operation they want to conduct.”

Problem 3: States, Counties, Cities, & Towns All Regulating Drones – Death by a Thousand Papercuts

Amazon’s business model is that the drones will provide a lower cost of delivery.

Darryl Jenkins, who worked on the economic study outlook for the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said in his presentation,“Amazon will be able to push the per unit cost of delivery to at least $1.00 per package causing all other competitors to either adopt or die.” This is because of the economies of scale. But here is the problem, with a greater number of drones and drones operating across the U.S., more and more non-federal drone laws will need to be complied with.

Most people have four layers of government applying to them. These governments might have created drone laws. For example, where I used to live on Palm Beach Island, I had four layers of drone laws that applied to me: the Federal Aviation Regulations, the State of Florida’s Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act,[9] Palm Beach County’s ordinance prohibiting model airplane flights in county parks, and Palm Beach Island’s drone ordinance.

It isn’t super hard to track the state drone laws from 50 states and the federal government, but we don’t know everything that is going on with all the counties, cities, towns, villages, boroughs, etc.

It’s not a patchwork quilt of drone laws, it’s worse. It’s like a huge puzzle, and you have only a couple hundred pieces so you have to go on a scavenger hunt to find the remaining pieces, but you don’t know if you need 1,000 pieces or maybe 10,000 more and the number of pieces just keeps growing.

Also, local governments use all sorts of different terms to describe the same thing, such as unmanned aircraft, drone, model aircraft, etc. (they like to pretend they are the FAA) which further increases the times it takes to search.

These unknown areas are going to have to be checked into which means there is a need for a drone regulatory compliance department in Amazon which means $$$$. If the cost of compliance goes up, Amazon’s business model starts to make less and less sense compared to what they are already doing now.

Another aspect of these non-federal drone laws is that some of these laws are motivated not by the desire to decrease public risk, but to increase revenue. As a greater number of the non-federal regulators start catching on, Amazon and all the other companies interested in drone delivery start looking like revenue generators for local governments. Even if the local governments aren’t greedy, their focus on safety and protecting their citizens generally results in some type of “safety” requirement that needs to be proven before they issue a permit/license which further drives up operating costs for the companies.

We all understand the Amazon most likely won’t save any money at first on drone delivery, but the with a greater amount of drone laws getting created, lobbying, compliance, monitoring, insurance, permitting, etc. will all start eating further into the cost savings which means costs savings won’t be realized for years and years down the line. At a certain point, one or two guys operating out of big delivery van starts to look like a good idea again.

Because of these local drone ordinances & state laws, drone delivery suffers death by a 1000 regulatory papercuts.

But is there anything we can do to not have all the hassle with the state and local laws?  Yes.

The Airline Deregulation Act says,

“Except as provided in this subsection, a State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of at least 2 States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier that may provide air transportation under this subpart.”

49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1). The case law is very favorable to air carriers (Part 121 and 135 operators). So if you stay pure Part 107, you are subject to potential state and local laws causing trouble but if you go Part 135, even with all the crazy headaches, you still get the benefit of your operations being preempted from state and local laws related to your price, route, and service.

But obtaining a Part 135 operating certificate is not an easy walk in the park.

How to Become a Part 135 Drone Delivery Operator

A drone company wanting to be a Part 135 air carrier for drone delivery operations will need the following: (1) an exemption from all the regulations they cannot comply with (because these regulations were all originally designed for manned aircraft), (2) Department of Transportation Economic Authority to operate as an air carrier, and (3) a Part 135 operating certificate from the FAA.

(1) Obtain An Exemption From Regulations That Are Too Burdensome

Two of these exemptions have already been granted. Basically, you have to submit a petition for exemption and a bunch of support documentation showing that your operation would have an equivalent level of safety as the regulations you are trying to get exempted from.  This is all public unless you confidentially submit the supporting information and manuals. The only thing that can never be confidential is the petition for exemption.

The FAA reviews this petition and may deny, partially grant, or fully grant the petition. An exemption can be granted that lasts 2 years which then will have to be renewed over and over again. You’ll need to have a granted exemption BEFORE you’ll obtain and operating certificate.

(2) Obtain DOT Economic Authority

The FAA is responsible for safety while the Department of Transportation is responsible for economic authority. Many miss this point and it is a reason why some companies are not doing drone delivery.

Matternet had to obtain a very limited approval to fly for the hospital and Flirtey currently has a pending application because these companies do NOT meet the definition of U.S. citizen.  There are federal criminal penalties for package delivery done by non-U.S. citizens (except for narrow exceptions).

You must obtain DOT economic authority prior to being granted an FAA Part 135 operating certification.

(3) Obtain An FAA Part 135 Operating Certification for Drone Delivery

Assuming you have exemption and DOT economic authority, the 135 process is:

Phase 1 — Pre-application. This is you meet with some FAA inspectors to discuss the process and what needs to be done.

Phase 2 — Formal Application. You need to submit the application, manuals, and all the other associated documents for the FAA to review.

Phase 3 — Design Assessment. This is where you will most likely stall out. This is where the FAA reviews all the documentation, manuals, management personnel, etc. to make sure you meet all the regulatory requirements. I’ve done 6 Part 137 operator certifications and this is where things get bogged down.

Phase 4 — Performance Assessment. This is where you actually have to demonstrate things. This isn’t like Part 107 where you take some computer based exam. Real live aviation inspectors are going to come out and watch you do everything. They are going to ask you questions to determine your knowledge, and have you preform operations and maneuvers to validate your aeronautical skills. This is like the operations check ride.

Phase 5 — Administrative Functions. This is where the FAA prints out and sends you everything. This is an important time to make sure they fill out everything and all the documentation is correct. The FAA will also schedule follow up inspections to make sure you are doing what your manuals said you would be doing.

The Different Types of 135 Operating Certificates

There are four different types of Part 135 operating certificates:

Single Pilot. This is what Wing Aviation obtained. It’s one pilot for all operations. That’s it. It’s a one man band.

Single Pilot in Command. This is an operation with one pilot-in-command and up to three second-in-command pilots.

Basic Part 135. The operations are limited in size and scope. You can only have a max of 5 pilots, 5 aircraft of which there is a max of 3 different types, and some other limitations. That’s not going to work for more drone delivery operations.

Standard Part 135. This does not have a limit on size and scope BUT each type of operation must be approved.

Drone Delivery Companies (Current List Part 135 Drone Delivery Operations)

The information below is current as of July 2020.

Google Wing Drone Delivery

Wing Aviation LLC was the first to receive a 135 operating certificate. It was originally a single pilot operating certificate. On their operating certificate they have 25 aircraft listed (Hummingbird V2-7000). The Richmond Flight Standards District Office is their certificate holding district office.

UPS Drone Delivery

UPS Flight Forward Inc. is the Part 135 operator and has the highest level of certification (standard). It presently has 2 Matternet M2-V9 aircraft on the certificate. The Greensboro Flight Standards District Office is the certificate holding district office for their operation.

Amazon Prime Air

In August 2020, Amazon obtained a Part 135 operating certificate and exemption but it was very very narrow in scope. Amazon “stated its plan for initial part 135 operations was to deliver parcels of up to 5 pounds using its MK27 aircraft to a distance of up to 7.5 miles from the launch point over rural farmland within a UAS test range.”

Matternet Drone Delivery

Matternet originally obtained DOT approval to transport medical specimens at a hospital in North Carolina.  In February 2020, they obtained DOT approval to do medical specimen transportation in California.

Flirtey Drone Delivery

As of July 2020, they are trying to obtain DOT approval to do cargo delivery in Nevada. Their application is pending.

Future of Drone Delivery (Who Will Be The Early Adopters)

Those that Value Time More Than Cost

There are some industries and markets that are more concerned about time than cost such as:

(1) Those that need delicate, limited, expensive, rare types of medicine immediately because the alternative is injury or death.

(2) Those that rather just have their medications be delivered to their front yard than drive to the pharmacy while being as sick as a dog or potentially being exposed to diseases.

(3) The rich guy down by the remote lake wants an anniversary gift (that he forgot to buy) for his wife right now. Maybe this should be in the (1) category because it’s kind of life or death?

Where the Cost of Not Operating is More Expensive than the Delivery

Consider critical pieces in a costly operation. For example, a large piece of machinery broke down and there are many people that the company is paying to just sit around waiting for replacement parts. That machinery could be producing something or performing a task that is essential to generating profits. How costly is it per hour to have the machinery NOT running?

Those That Do Not Have Any Other Choice (There is no Next Best Alternative or it is Outside of Their Purchasing Power)

The drone might be the only feasible solution due to weather, disaster, lack of infrastructure, etc. (Think hurricane relief or Alaska bush pilots flying supplies into remote villages). If you are delivering to remote areas, you look at things differently. Flexport’s article discussing Matternet’s drone operations in Lesotho explained:

As Raptopoulos of Matternet points out, Google and Amazon’s plans ignore drones’ best feature: they can go where there are no roads.

“One billion people in the world today do not have access to all-season roads,” Raptopoulos told a TED audience in 2013. “We cannot get medicine to them reliably, they cannot get critical supplies, and they cannot get their goods to market in order to create a sustainable income.”

For the Matternet team, the most interesting question was not the cost per delivery. They wanted to compare the cost of the drone network to the cost of building the roads Lesotho so badly lacks.”

Drone Delivery Frequently Asked Questions

Are drones being used for deliveries?

Yes, they are currently being used at a few locations around the United States. Some operations are serving the public while others are transporting cargo for the company’s internal operations (they are not holding out to the public).

How does drone delivery work?

Most operations appear to be a fixed brick and mortar location that serves as the launching point. Most operations appear to be within line of sight. The customers are in the surrounding areas. A customer would order online and the drone delivery the payload to the customer at a pre-determined location.

What companies use drone delivery?

UPS is presently using them in The Villages, Florida.

Where is drone delivery legal?

It is presently legal in the United States. The issue is not legality but jumping through all the legal hoops. In other countries, cargo transportation is legal but the issue is integrating drones into the regulations that were designed originally for manned aircraft operations.

Will drone delivery happen?

Yes, it’s a matter of time but the complex regulatory environment is slowing things down. Only a handful of large companies have the cash to attempt this and there are few attorneys who can assist in navigating these areas.

Conclusion:

Many have written on this topic because they see the technology taking off. They see the progress in the technology that many have made and assume that drone delivery will be allowed soon. They get the “West Coast” mindset where they think if enough money and technology are thrown at the problem, it will be fixed regardless of the law. Additionally, most writing on or marketing drone delivery do not understand all the legal issues.

Aviation is an “East Coast” industry where the laws out of D.C. will heavily influence the business. Aviation is an extremely regulated environment. The economics are determined AFTER the regulations are applied. The faster the companies operating in this area realize that fact, the better off they will be so that they can actually do these types of operations.

[1] 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(2)

[2] Id. at (a)(5).

[3] 14 CFR § 107.31.

[4] 14 CFR § 107.19.

[5] 14 CFR § 107.35.

[6] 14 CFR § 107.25.

[7] 14 CFR § 107.39

[8] 14 CFR § 107.41.

[9] F.S.S. § 934.50.

H.R.4-Proposed FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

This never became law. There is another FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 that DID become law which is located here.

Brief Summary of the Proposed FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018:

Representative Shuster introduced on 4/13/2018 the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 which plans to fund the FAA out until 2023. This is a very large bill that addresses many things aviation related. For purposes of this article, only drone-related issues will be covered.

Some of the sections of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 are almost copy-pastes of Sections 331-336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.  Some of the provisions below are from the 21st Century AIRR Act from 2017 that failed to become law.

Like this article? This article is part of my Drone Legislation Database.

Notable Points of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

  • Local government regulations?  Tells the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s Office to conduct a study on “the regulation and oversight of the low-altitude operations of small unmanned aircraft and small unmanned aircraft systems” and “appropriate roles and responsibilities of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments in regulating and overseeing the operations of small unmanned aircraft in airspace 400 feet above ground level and below.”
  • User fees for drones? Tells the Comptroller General of the United States to do a study on appropriate fee mechanisms to recover the costs of “the regulation and safety oversight of unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems” and “the provision of air navigation services to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.” Does this mean having unmanned aircraft flyers pay for UTM?
  • Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management Systems
    • Tells FAA to “initiate a rule making to establish procedures for issuing air navigation facility certificates” for unmanned aircraft traffic management systems.
    • Provides for unmanned aircraft traffic management system or communication, navigation, or surveillance system or service to get an approval prior to rule making. (Think of this like the Section 333 (now called Section 44807) exemptions back in the day prior to Part 107). This is only for croplands, non-congested areas, and where UAS pose a very low risk.
  • Model Aircraft
    • For the Section 336 protected aircraft, adds that an aircraft cannot be considered a protected model aircraft if it flies over or within 500ft laterally of a facility that operates amusement rides for the general public, unless authorized by the owner of the amusement facility.
    • Allows for flight instruction or educational flights, even if compensated, to be done in the protected model aircraft category.
    • Defines a Community Based Organization to be:
      • “(1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
        “(2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
        “(3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;
        “(4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodeling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground;
        “(5) provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
        “(6) provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.
    • Tells the FAA to make a process to recognize community based organizations that meet the criteria above.
  • Commercial Drones
    • Tells the FAA to update two regulations in Part 107. Specifically section 107.205 and section 107.25 to allow those flying a drone from a moving vehicle or under a beyond the line of sight waiver to be able to carry other person’s property for compensation or hire.
    • Tells the FAA to publish on the FAA’s website a “sample of the safety justifications, offered by applicants for small unmanned aircraft system waivers and airspace authorizations, that have been approved by the Administration for each regulation waived or class of airspace authorized.”
    • Tells the FAA to establish a small UAS air carrier certificate for transporting property for compensation or hire.
    • Tells the FAA to create a SUAS air carrier certificate process that is “streamlined, simple, performance-based, and risk-based.”
    • Tells the Department of Transportation to develop a classification system for SUAS air carriers to establish economic authority by only requiring registration with the DOT and have a valid SUAS air carrier certificate issued by the FAA.
  • Test Sites. Extends the tests sites for 6 more years after the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
  • Indian Tribes. Allows Indian tribes to obtain public aircraft status using unmanned aircraft.
  • Registration of Aircraft.
    • Tells the FAA to “develop and track metrics to assess compliance with and effectiveness of the registration of small unmanned aircraft systems” with respect to:
      • “(1) the levels of compliance with the interim final rule and any subsequent final rule;”
      • “(2) the number of enforcement actions taken by the Administration for violations of or noncompliance with the interim final rule and any subsequent final rule, together with a description of the actions; and”  [Note: Once again, already reported on. John Taylor from the Taylor v. FAA case filed a Freedom of Information Act request from the FAA and they came back with a surprising FOIA response. The FOIA response was published on SUAS News.]
  • Special Research and Development Category.  Remember Section 336 for model aircraft? Well, this bill wants to create a similar protected class for aircraft being flown strictly for research and development that is even less restrictive than the proposed model aircraft elements below. It does not have a weight limit.  That being said, it prohibits the FAA from creating, a rule or regulation regarding this special category.
  • Calls for a bunch of research.  Use of spectrum for manned and unmanned aircraft, mid-air collision between manned and unmanned aircraft, beyond line of sight, probabilistic assessment of risks, metrics for exemptions.

Pros:

  • This bill has the potential to speed up the implementation of package delivery in the United States by allowing package delivery companies to fly under the existing easier set of regulations which currently do not allow for beyond line of sight waivers to be given for package delivery. It also creates an small unmanned aircraft air carrier certificate.
  • It calls for the DOT Inspector General’s Office to conduct a study on the appropriate roles and responsibilities of state and local in regulating drones below 400ft. Notice it is conduct a study. This is good because if the state or local law makers are considering creating a law, you can tell them to hold off until this study is completed. At least this buys you time and at best prevents some extra state and local drone laws.

Cons:

  • Extremely weak on changing the FAA’s current extremely relaxed enforcement philosophy. The total number of prosecutions since 2015 against unmanned aircraft flyers is at least 50. We have millions of flights with tons of stupid and illegal activity all over the internet. And it’s just 50? The bill tells the FAA to track some stuff, the DOT IG’s office to track the FAA’s progress and give a report on this. What is that going to do? We know there is already mass non-compliance all over the place.
  • There are no penalties for the FAA not doing something.
  • The SUAS air carrier certificate is for the SMALL UAS which are under 55 pounds. If you want to do some heavy package delivery, this isn’t an option for you.
  • Does not decriminalizing the counter UAS technologies/methodologies.

Questions Left Unanswered:

  • What happens if the FAA does not do what it was told to do? There is a whole lot of “the FAA must do this and that” going on here but what happens if they do not meet their deadlines? There needs to be some penalties in here to get the FAA moving; otherwise, this act is just letters on a page.
  • How will new Community Based Organizations come up?  The criteria defining a CBO says, “provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs” and “provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.”  Will the FAA have a long term policy of not requiring a person to be a member of a CBO to fall into Part 101? For example, let’s say some people want to create a CBO just for FPV racing.  Setting aside the whole FPV goggle “see and avoid” interpretive rule from 2014 issue, prior to the FPV group becoming a CBO, won’t everyone have to be a remote pilot operating under Part 107 until the CBO gets recognized? Will AMA or DUG allow you to fly under their rules while you are attempting to start your own CBO?
  • Double standards? Regarding model aircraft, why is critical infrastructure or prisons NOT mentioned but amusement parks are listed?  Why can’t tribal governments fly manned aircraft as public aircraft but can for unmanned aircraft?
  • SUAS air carrier certificate process that is streamlined, simple, performance-based, and risk-based? Simple? How in the world can this be done simply? Let me tell you what. The FAA is going to tell companies to go and get an exemption for portions of the regulations and then apply for a 135 certificate. There is nothing simple about this. The better thing to do is try and avoid air carrier classification and do package delivery under Part 107 with the waivers but you are still stuck with all the headaches there. Trust me. I’m working on waivers and they can be very time consuming. The recent DOT Inspector General’s testimony put waiver passage rates at around 10%. Thankfully, my waiver passage rates are in the 90’s.
  • Can someone please clean up the language?
    • ‘‘(g) EFFECTIVE PERIODS.—An exemption or certificate of waiver or authorization issued under this section, or an amendment of such exemption or certificate, shall cease to be valid on the effective date of a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems issued under section 45502(b)(1).” Section 45502 is really the “updated” version of Section 332 of the FMRA of 2012 and was finally fulfilled by the FAA in the creation of Part 107 in August 29th, 2016.
    • In Section 334, it says, ” It is the sense of Congress that …..the unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft near airports presents a serious hazard to aviation safety; ……91.126 through 91.131 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, prohibit unauthorized operation of an aircraft in controlled airspace near an airport ……Federal aviation regulations, including section 91.13 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, prohibit the operation of an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.” Why are they citing Part 91 when unmanned aircraft operate under Part 107? Yes, I know Section 333 exemption operations are under Part 91 but this is like some weird hold over from the pre-107 days.

Cosponsors of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018:

7 Democrats and 7 Republicans.

  • Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4]
  • Rep. Smith, Lamar [R-TX-21]
  • Rep. LoBiondo, Frank A. [R-NJ-2]
  • Rep. Larsen, Rick [D-WA-2]
  • Rep. Barletta, Lou [R-PA-11]
  • Rep. Titus, Dina [D-NV-1]
  • Rep. Graves, Sam [R-MO-6]
  • Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]
  • Rep. Hunter, Duncan D. [R-CA-50]
  • Rep. Garamendi, John [D-CA-3]
  • Rep. Denham, Jeff [R-CA-10]
  • Rep. Capuano, Michael E. [D-MA-7]
  • Rep. Graves, Garret [R-LA-6]
  • Rep. Napolitano, Grace F. [D-CA-32]

Actual Text of Unmanned Aircraft Portions of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018:

SEC. 331. DEFINITIONS.

Except as otherwise provided, the definitions contained in section 45501 of title 49, United States Code (as added by this Act), shall apply to this subtitle.

SEC. 332. CODIFICATION OF EXISTING LAW; ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS.

(a) In General.—Subtitle VII of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 453 the following:

“CHAPTER 455—UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS“Sec.
“45501. Definitions.

“45502. Integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into national airspace system.

“45503. Risk-based permitting of unmanned aircraft systems.

“45504. Public unmanned aircraft systems.

“45505. Special rules for certain unmanned aircraft systems.

“45506. Certification of new air navigation facilities for unmanned aircraft and other aircraft.

“45507. Special rules for certain UTM and low-altitude CNS.

“45508. Operation of small unmanned aircraft.

“45509. Special rules for model aircraft.

“45510. Carriage of property for compensation or hire.

“45511. Micro UAS operations.

§ 45501. Definitions

“In this chapter, the following definitions apply:

“(1) AERIAL DATA COLLECTION.—The term ‘aerial data collection’ means the gathering of data by a device aboard an unmanned aircraft during flight, including imagery, sensing, and measurement by such device.

“(2) ARCTIC.—The term ‘Arctic’ means the United States zone of the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Bering Sea north of the Aleutian chain.

“(3) CERTIFICATE OF WAIVER; CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORIZATION.—The terms ‘certificate of waiver’ and ‘certificate of authorization’ mean a Federal Aviation Administration grant of approval for a specific flight operation.

“(4) CNS.—The term ‘CNS’ means a communication, navigation, or surveillance system or service.

“(5) MODEL AIRCRAFT.—the term ‘model aircraft’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—

“(A) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;

“(B) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and

“(C) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

“(6) PERMANENT AREAS.—The term ‘permanent areas’ means areas on land or water that provide for launch, recovery, and operation of small unmanned aircraft.

“(7) PUBLIC UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM.—The term ‘public unmanned aircraft system’ means an unmanned aircraft system that meets the qualifications and conditions required for operation of a public aircraft (as defined in section 40102(a)).

“(8) SENSE-AND-AVOID CAPABILITY.—The term ‘sense-and-avoid capability’ means the capability of an unmanned aircraft to remain a safe distance from and to avoid collisions with other airborne aircraft.

“(9) SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.—The term ‘small unmanned aircraft’ means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the aircraft.

“(10) UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.—The term ‘unmanned aircraft’ means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

“(11) UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM.—The term ‘unmanned aircraft system’ means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft) that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.

“(12) UTM.—The term ‘UTM’ means an unmanned aircraft traffic management system or service.

§ 45502. Integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into national airspace system

“(a) Required Planning For Integration.—

“(1) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.—Not later than November 10, 2012, the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with representatives of the aviation industry, Federal agencies that employ unmanned aircraft systems technology in the national airspace system, and the unmanned aircraft systems industry, shall develop a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.

“(2) CONTENTS OF PLAN.—The plan required under paragraph (1) shall contain, at a minimum, recommendations or projections on—

“(A) the rulemaking to be conducted under subsection (b), with specific recommendations on how the rulemaking will—

“(i) define the acceptable standards for operation and certification of civil unmanned aircraft systems;

“(ii) ensure that any civil unmanned aircraft system includes a sense-and-avoid capability; and

“(iii) establish standards and requirements for the operator and pilot of a civil unmanned aircraft system, including standards and requirements for registration and licensing;

“(B) the best methods to enhance the technologies and subsystems necessary to achieve the safe and routine operation of civil unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system;

“(C) a phased-in approach to the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system;

“(D) a timeline for the phased-in approach described under subparagraph (C);

“(E) creation of a safe airspace designation for cooperative manned and unmanned flight operations in the national airspace system;

“(F) establishment of a process to develop certification, flight standards, and air traffic requirements for civil unmanned aircraft systems at test ranges where such systems are subject to testing;

“(G) the best methods to ensure the safe operation of civil unmanned aircraft systems and public unmanned aircraft systems simultaneously in the national airspace system; and

“(H) incorporation of the plan into the annual NextGen Implementation Plan document (or any successor document) of the Federal Aviation Administration.

“(3) DEADLINE.—The plan required under paragraph (1) shall provide for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system as soon as practicable, but not later than September 30, 2015.

“(4) REPORT TO CONGRESS.—Not later than February 14, 2013, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a copy of the plan required under paragraph (1).

“(5) ROADMAP.—Not later than February 14, 2013, the Secretary shall approve and make available in print and on the Administration’s internet website a 5-year roadmap for the introduction of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, as coordinated by the Unmanned Aircraft Program Office of the Administration. The Secretary shall update, in coordination with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and relevant stakeholders, including those in industry and academia, the roadmap annually. The roadmap shall include, at a minimum—

“(A) cost estimates, planned schedules, and performance benchmarks, including specific tasks, milestones, and timelines, for unmanned aircraft systems integration into the national airspace system, including an identification of—

“(i) the role of the unmanned aircraft systems test ranges established under subsection (c) and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence;

“(ii) performance objectives for unmanned aircraft systems that operate in the national airspace system; and

“(iii) research and development priorities for tools that could assist air traffic controllers as unmanned aircraft systems are integrated into the national airspace system, as appropriate;

“(B) a description of how the Administration plans to use research and development, including research and development conducted through NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management initiatives, to accommodate, integrate, and provide for the evolution of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system;

“(C) an assessment of critical performance abilities necessary to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, and how these performance abilities can be demonstrated; and

“(D) an update on the advancement of technologies needed to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, including decisionmaking by adaptive systems, such as sense-and-avoid capabilities and cyber physical systems security.

“(b) Rulemaking.—Not later than 18 months after the date on which the plan required under subsection (a)(1) is submitted to Congress under subsection (a)(4), the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register—

“(1) a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems that will allow for civil operation of such systems in the national airspace system, to the extent the systems do not meet the requirements for expedited operational authorization under section 45508;

“(2) a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the recommendations of the plan required under subsection (a)(1), with the final rule to be published not later than 16 months after the date of publication of the notice; and

“(3) an update to the Administration’s most recent policy statement on unmanned aircraft systems, contained in Docket No. FAA–2006–25714.

“(c) Expanding Use Of Unmanned Aircraft Systems In Arctic.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than August 12, 2012, the Secretary shall develop a plan and initiate a process to work with relevant Federal agencies and national and international communities to designate permanent areas in the Arctic where small unmanned aircraft may operate 24 hours per day for research and commercial purposes. The plan for operations in these permanent areas shall include the development of processes to facilitate the safe operation of unmanned aircraft beyond line of sight. Such areas shall enable over-water flights from the surface to at least 2,000 feet in altitude, with ingress and egress routes from selected coastal launch sites.

“(2) AGREEMENTS.—To implement the plan under paragraph (1), the Secretary may enter into an agreement with relevant national and international communities.

“(3) AIRCRAFT APPROVAL.—Not later than 1 year after the entry into force of an agreement necessary to effectuate the purposes of this subsection, the Secretary shall work with relevant national and international communities to establish and implement a process, or may apply an applicable process already established, for approving the use of unmanned aircraft in the designated permanent areas in the Arctic without regard to whether an unmanned aircraft is used as a public aircraft, a civil aircraft, or a model aircraft.

§ 45503. Risk-based permitting of unmanned aircraft systems

“(a) In General.—Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall establish procedures for issuing permits under this section with respect to certain unmanned aircraft systems and operations thereof.

“(b) Permitting Standards.—Upon the submission of an application in accordance with subsection (d), the Administrator shall issue a permit with respect to the proposed operation of an unmanned aircraft system if the Administrator determines that the unmanned aircraft system and the proposed operation achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to—

“(1) other unmanned aircraft systems and operations permitted under regulation, exemption, or other authority granted by the Administrator; or

“(2) any other aircraft operation approved by the Administrator with similar risk characteristics or profiles.

“(c) Safety Criteria For Consideration.—In determining whether a proposed operation meets the standards described in subsection (b), the Administrator shall consider the following safety criteria:

“(1) The kinetic energy of the unmanned aircraft system.

“(2) The location of the proposed operation, including the proximity to—

“(A) structures;

“(B) congested areas;

“(C) special-use airspace; and

“(D) persons on the ground.

“(3) The nature of the operation, including any proposed risk mitigation.

“(4) Any known hazard of the proposed operation and the severity and likelihood of such hazard.

“(5) Any known failure modes of the unmanned aircraft system, failure mode effects and criticality, and any mitigating features or capabilities.

“(6) The operational history of relevant technologies, if available.

“(7) Any history of civil penalties or certificate actions by the Administrator against the applicant seeking the permit.

“(8) Any other safety criteria the Administrator considers appropriate.

“(d) Application.—An application under this section shall include evidence that the unmanned aircraft system and the proposed operation thereof meet the standards described in subsection (b) based on the criteria described in subsection (c).

“(e) Scope Of Permit.—A permit issued under this section shall—

“(1) be valid for 5 years;

“(2) constitute approval of both the airworthiness of the unmanned aircraft system and the proposed operation of such system;

“(3) be renewable for additional 5-year periods; and

“(4) contain any terms necessary to ensure aviation safety.

“(f) Notice.—Not later than 120 days after the Administrator receives a complete application under subsection (d), the Administrator shall provide the applicant written notice of a decision to approve or disapprove of the application or to request a modification of the application that is necessary for approval of the application.

“(g) Permitting Process.—The Administrator shall issue a permit under this section without regard to subsections (b) through (d) of section 553 of title 5 and chapter 35 of title 44 if the Administrator determines that the operation permitted will not occur near a congested area.

“(h) Exemption From Certain Requirements.—To the extent consistent with aviation safety, the Administrator may exempt applicants under this section from paragraphs (1) through (3) of section 44711(a).

“(i) Withdrawal.—The Administrator may, at any time, modify or withdraw a permit issued under this section.

“(j) Applicability.—This section shall not apply to small unmanned aircraft systems and operations authorized by the final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems issued pursuant to section 45502(b)(1).

“(k) Expedited Review.—The Administrator shall review and act upon applications under this section on an expedited basis for unmanned aircraft systems and operations thereof to be used primarily in, or primarily in direct support of, emergency preparedness, emergency response, or disaster recovery efforts, including efforts in connection with natural disasters and severe weather events.

§ 45504. Public unmanned aircraft systems

“(a) Guidance.—Not later than November 10, 2012, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue guidance regarding the operation of public unmanned aircraft systems to—

“(1) expedite the issuance of a certificate of authorization process;

“(2) provide for a collaborative process with public agencies to allow for an incremental expansion of access to the national airspace system as technology matures and the necessary safety analysis and data become available, and until standards are completed and technology issues are resolved;

“(3) facilitate the capability of public agencies to develop and use test ranges, subject to operating restrictions required by the Federal Aviation Administration, to test and operate unmanned aircraft systems; and

“(4) provide guidance on a public entity’s responsibility when operating an unmanned aircraft without a civil airworthiness certificate issued by the Administration.

“(b) Standards For Operation And Certification.—Not later than December 31, 2015, the Administrator shall develop and implement operational and certification requirements for the operation of public unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system.

“(c) Agreements With Government Agencies.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than May 14, 2012, the Secretary shall enter into agreements with appropriate government agencies to simplify the process for issuing certificates of waiver or authorization with respect to applications seeking authorization to operate public unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system.

“(2) CONTENTS.—The agreements shall—

“(A) with respect to an application described in paragraph (1)—

“(i) provide for an expedited review of the application;

“(ii) require a decision by the Administrator on approval or disapproval within 60 business days of the date of submission of the application; and

“(iii) allow for an expedited appeal if the application is disapproved;

“(B) allow for a one-time approval of similar operations carried out during a fixed period of time; and

“(C) allow a government public safety agency to operate unmanned aircraft weighing 4.4 pounds or less, if operated—

“(i) within the line of sight of the operator;

“(ii) less than 400 feet above the ground;

“(iii) during daylight conditions;

“(iv) within Class G airspace; and

“(v) outside of 5 statute miles from any airport, heliport, seaplane base, spaceport, or other location with aviation activities.

§ 45505. Special rules for certain unmanned aircraft systems

“(a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other requirement of this subtitle, and not later than August 12, 2012, the Secretary of Transportation shall determine if certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system before completion of the plan and rulemaking required by section 45502 or the guidance required under section 45504.

“(b) Assessment Of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.—In making the determination under subsection (a), the Secretary shall determine, at a minimum—

“(1) which types of unmanned aircraft systems, if any, as a result of their size, weight, speed, operational capability, proximity to airports and populated areas, and operation within visual line of sight do not create a hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public or pose a threat to national security; and

“(2) whether a certificate of waiver, certificate of authorization, or airworthiness certification under section 44704 is required for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems identified under paragraph (1).

“(c) Requirements For Safe Operation.—If the Secretary determines under this section that certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system, the Secretary shall establish requirements for the safe operation of such aircraft systems in the national airspace system.

§ 45506. Certification of new air navigation facilities for unmanned aircraft and other aircraft

“(a) In General.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this section, and notwithstanding section 2208 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note), the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall initiate a rulemaking to establish procedures for issuing air navigation facility certificates pursuant to section 44702 to operators of—

“(1) UTM for unmanned aircraft operations that occur primarily or exclusively in airspace 400 feet above ground level and below; and

“(2) low-altitude CNS for aircraft operations that occur primarily or exclusively in airspace 400 feet above ground level and below.

“(b) Minimum Requirements.—In issuing a final rule pursuant to subsection (a), the Administrator, at a minimum, shall provide for the following:

“(1) CERTIFICATION STANDARDS.—The Administrator shall issue an air navigation facility certificate under the final rule if the Administrator determines that a UTM or low-altitude CNS facilitates or improves the safety of unmanned aircraft or other aircraft operations that occur primarily or exclusively in airspace 400 feet above ground level and below, including operations conducted under a waiver issued pursuant to subpart D of part 107 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.

“(2) CRITERIA FOR CONSIDERATION.—In determining whether a UTM or low-altitude CNS meets the standard described in paragraph (1), the Administrator shall, as appropriate, consider—

“(A) protection of persons and property on the ground;

“(B) remote identification of aircraft;

“(C) collision avoidance with respect to obstacles and aircraft;

“(D) deconfliction of aircraft trajectories;

“(E) safe and reliable interoperability or noninterference with air traffic control and other systems operated in the national airspace system;

“(F) detection of noncooperative aircraft;

“(G) geographic and local factors;

“(H) aircraft equipage; and

“(I) qualifications, if any, necessary to operate the UTM or low-altitude CNS.

“(3) APPLICATION.—An application for an air navigation facility certificate under the final rule shall include evidence that the UTM or low-altitude CNS meets the standard described in paragraph (1) based on the criteria described in paragraph (2).

“(4) SCOPE OF CERTIFICATE.—The Administrator shall ensure that an air navigation facility certificate issued under the final rule—

“(A) constitutes approval of the UTM or low-altitude CNS for the duration of the term of the certificate;

“(B) constitutes authorization to operate the UTM or low-altitude CNS for the duration of the term of the certificate; and

“(C) contains such limitations and conditions as may be necessary to ensure aviation safety.

“(5) NOTICE.—Not later than 120 days after the Administrator receives a complete application under the final rule, the Administrator shall provide the applicant with a written approval, disapproval, or request to modify the application.

“(6) LOW RISK AREAS.—Under the final rule, the Administrator shall establish expedited procedures for approval of UTM or low-altitude CNS operated in—

“(A) airspace away from congested areas; or

“(B) other airspace above areas in which operations of unmanned aircraft pose very low risk.

“(7) EXEMPTION FROM CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS.—To the extent consistent with aviation safety, the Administrator may exempt applicants under the final rule from requirements under sections 44702, 44703, and 44711.

“(8) CERTIFICATE MODIFICATIONS AND REVOCATIONS.—A certificate issued under the final rule may, at any time, be modified or revoked by the Administrator.

“(c) Consultation.—In carrying out this section, the Administrator shall consult with other Federal agencies, as appropriate.

§ 45507. Special rules for certain UTM and low-altitude CNS

“(a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other requirement of this chapter, and not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary of Transportation shall determine if certain UTM and low-altitude CNS may operate safely in the national airspace system before completion of the rulemaking required by section 45506.

“(b) Assessment Of UTM And Low-Altitude CNS.—In making the determination under subsection (a), the Secretary shall determine, at a minimum, which types of UTM and low-altitude CNS, if any, as a result of their operational capabilities, reliability, intended use, and areas of operation, and the characteristics of the aircraft involved, do not create a hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public.

“(c) Requirements For Safe Operation.—If the Secretary determines that certain UTM and low-altitude CNS may operate safely in the national airspace system, the Secretary shall establish requirements for their safe operation in the national airspace system.

“(d) Expedited Procedures.—The Secretary shall provide expedited procedures for reviewing and approving UTM or low-altitude CNS operated to monitor or control aircraft operated primarily or exclusively in airspace above—

“(1) croplands;

“(2) areas other than congested areas; and

“(3) other areas in which the operation of unmanned aircraft poses very low risk.

“(e) Consultation.—In carrying out this section, the Administrator shall consult with other Federal agencies, as appropriate.

§ 45508. Operation of small unmanned aircraft

“(a) Exemption And Certificate Of Waiver Or Authorization For Certain Operations.—Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall establish a procedure for granting an exemption and issuing a certificate of waiver or authorization for the operation of a small unmanned aircraft system in United States airspace for the purposes described in section 45501(1).

“(b) Operation Of Exemption And Certificate Of Waiver Or Authorization.—

“(1) EXEMPTION.—An exemption granted under this section shall—

“(A) exempt the operator of a small unmanned aircraft from the provisions of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, that are exempted in Exemption No. 11687, issued on May 26, 2015, Regulatory Docket Number FAA–2015–0117, or in a subsequent exemption; and

“(B) contain conditions and limitations described in paragraphs 3 through 31 of such Exemption No. 11687, or conditions and limitations of a subsequent exemption.

“(2) CERTIFICATE OF WAIVER OR AUTHORIZATION.—A certificate of waiver or authorization issued under this section shall allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft according to—

“(A) the standard provisions and air traffic control special provisions of the certificate of waiver or authorization FAA Form 7711–1 (7–74); or

“(B) the standard and special provisions of a subsequent certificate of waiver or authorization.

“(c) Notice To Administrator.—Before operating a small unmanned aircraft pursuant to a certificate of waiver or authorization granted under this section, the operator shall provide written notice to the Administrator, in a form and manner specified by the Administrator, that contains such information and assurances as the Administrator determines necessary in the interest of aviation safety and the efficiency of the national airspace system, including a certification that the operator has read, understands, and will comply with all terms, conditions, and limitations of the certificate of waiver or authorization.

“(d) Waiver Of Airworthiness Certificate.—Notwithstanding section 44711(a)(1), the holder of a certificate of waiver or authorization granted under this section may operate a small unmanned aircraft under the terms, conditions, and limitations of such certificate without an airworthiness certificate.

“(e) Procedure.—The granting of an exemption or the issuance of a certificate of waiver or authorization, or any other action authorized by this section, shall be made without regard to—

“(1) section 553 of title 5; or

“(2) chapter 35 of title 44.

“(f) Statutory Construction.—Nothing in this section may be construed to—

“(1) affect the issuance of a rule by or any other activity of the Secretary of Transportation or the Administrator under any other provision of law; or

“(2) invalidate an exemption or certificate of waiver or authorization issued by the Administrator before the date of enactment of this section.

“(g) Effective Periods.—An exemption or certificate of waiver or authorization issued under this section, or an amendment of such exemption or certificate, shall cease to be valid on the effective date of a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems issued under section 45502(b)(1).

§ 45509. Special rules for model aircraft

“(a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft (other than the registration of certain model aircraft pursuant to section 44103), if—

“(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

“(2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a community-based organization;

“(3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;

“(4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft;

“(5) the aircraft is not operated over or within the property of a fixed site facility that operates amusement rides available for use by the general public or the property extending 500 lateral feet beyond the perimeter of such facility unless the operation is authorized by the owner of the amusement facility; and

“(6) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).

“(b) Commercial Operation For Instructional Or Educational Purposes.—A flight of an unmanned aircraft shall be treated as a flight of a model aircraft for purposes of subsection (a) (regardless of any compensation, reimbursement, or other consideration exchanged or incidental economic benefit gained in the course of planning, operating, or supervising the flight), if the flight is—

“(1) conducted for instructional or educational purposes; and

“(2) operated or supervised by a member of a community-based organization recognized pursuant to subsection (e).

“(c) Statutory Construction.—Nothing in this section may be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.

“(d) Community-Based Organization Defined.—In this section, the term ‘community-based organization’ means an entity that—

“(1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

“(2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

“(3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;

“(4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodeling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground;

“(5) provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and

“(6) provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.

“(e) Recognition Of Community-Based Organizations.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall establish, and make available to the public, a process for recognizing community-based organizations that meet the eligibility criteria under subsection (d).

§ 45510. Carriage of property for compensation or hire

“(a) In General.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary of Transportation shall issue a final rule authorizing the carriage of property by operators of small unmanned aircraft systems for compensation or hire within the United States.

“(b) Contents.—The final rule required under subsection (a) shall provide for the following:

“(1) SMALL UAS AIR CARRIER CERTIFICATE.—The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, at the direction of the Secretary, shall establish a small UAS air carrier certificate for persons that undertake directly, or by lease or other arrangement, the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems to carry property in air transportation, including commercial fleet operations with highly automated unmanned aircraft systems. The requirements to obtain a small UAS air carrier certificate shall—

“(A) account for the unique characteristics of highly automated small unmanned aircraft systems; and

“(B) include only those obligations necessary for the safe operation of small unmanned aircraft systems.

“(2) SMALL UAS AIR CARRIER CERTIFICATION PROCESS.—The Administrator, at the direction of the Secretary, shall establish a process for the issuance of a small UAS air carrier certificate described in paragraph (1) that is streamlined, simple, performance-based, and risk-based. Such certification process shall consider—

“(A) safety and the mitigation of operational risks from highly automated small unmanned aircraft systems to the safety of other aircraft, and persons and property on the ground;

“(B) the safety and reliability of highly automated small unmanned aircraft system design, including technological capabilities and operational limitations to mitigate such risks; and

“(C) the competencies and compliance programs of manufacturers, operators, and companies that both manufacture and operate small unmanned aircraft systems and components.

“(3) SMALL UAS AIR CARRIER CLASSIFICATION.—The Secretary shall develop a classification system for small unmanned aircraft systems air carriers to establish economic authority for the carriage of property by small unmanned aircraft systems for compensation or hire. Such classification shall only require—

“(A) registration with the Department of Transportation; and

“(B) a valid small UAS air carrier certificate as described in paragraph (1).

§ 45511. Micro UAS operations

“(a) In General.—Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall charter an aviation rulemaking advisory committee to develop recommendations for regulations under which any person may operate a micro unmanned aircraft system, the aircraft component of which weighs 4.4 pounds or less, including payload, without the person operating the system being required to pass any airman certification requirement, including any requirements under section 44703, part 61 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, or any other rule or regulation relating to airman certification.

“(b) Considerations.—In developing recommendations for the operation of micro unmanned aircraft systems under subsection (a), the members of the aviation rulemaking advisory committee shall consider rules for operation of such systems—

“(1) at an altitude of less than 400 feet above ground level;

“(2) with an airspeed of not greater than 40 knots;

“(3) within the visual line of sight of the operator;

“(4) during the hours between sunrise and sunset;

“(5) by an operator who has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test administered by the Federal Aviation Administration online specifically for the operation of micro unmanned aircraft systems, with such test being of a length and difficulty that acknowledges the reduced operational complexity and low risk of micro unmanned aircraft systems;

“(6) not over unprotected persons uninvolved in its operation; and

“(7) at least 5 statute miles from the geographic center of a tower-controlled airport or airport denoted on a current Federal Aviation Administration-published aeronautical chart, except that a micro unmanned aircraft system may be operated closer than 5 statute miles to the airport if the operator—

“(A) provides prior notice to the airport operator; and

“(B) receives, for a tower-controlled airport, prior approval from the air traffic control facility located at the airport.

“(c) Consultation.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In developing recommendations for recommended regulations under subsection (a), the aviation rulemaking advisory committee shall consult with—

“(A) unmanned aircraft systems stakeholders, including manufacturers of micro unmanned aircraft systems;

“(B) community-based aviation organizations;

“(C) the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems; and

“(D) appropriate Federal agencies.

“(2) FACA.—The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to an aviation rulemaking advisory committee chartered under this section.

“(d) Rulemaking.—Not later than 180 days after the date of receipt of the recommendations under subsection (a), the Administrator shall issue regulations incorporating recommendations of the aviation rulemaking advisory committee that provide for the operation of micro unmanned aircraft systems in the United States—

“(1) without an airman certificate; and

“(2) without an airworthiness certificate for the associated unmanned aircraft.

“(e) Scope Of Regulations.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In determining whether a person may operate an unmanned aircraft system under 1 or more of the circumstances described under paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (b), the Administrator shall use a risk-based approach and consider, at a minimum, the physical and functional characteristics of the unmanned aircraft system.

“(2) LIMITATION.—The Administrator may only issue regulations under this section for unmanned aircraft systems that the Administrator determines may be operated safely in the national airspace system pursuant to those regulations.

“(f) Rules Of Construction.—Nothing in this section may be construed—

“(1) to prohibit a person from operating an unmanned aircraft system under a circumstance described under paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (b) if—

“(A) the circumstance is allowed by regulations issued under this section; and

“(B) the person operates the unmanned aircraft system in a manner prescribed by the regulations; or

“(2) to limit or affect in any way the Administrator’s authority to conduct a rulemaking, make a determination, or carry out any activity related to unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft systems under any other provision of law.”.

(b) Conforming Amendments.—

(1) REPEALS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Sections 332(a), 332(b), 332(d), 333, 334, and 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) are repealed.

(B) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The items relating to sections 333, 334, and 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) in the table of contents contained in section 1(b) of that Act are repealed.

(2) PENALTIES.—Section 46301 of title 49, United States Code, is amended—

(A) in subsection (a)—

(i) in paragraph (1)(A) by inserting “chapter 455,” after “chapter 451,”; and

(ii) in paragraph (5)(A)(i) by striking “or chapter 451,” and inserting “chapter 451, chapter 455,”;

(B) in subsection (d)(2) by inserting “chapter 455,” after “chapter 451,”; and

(C) in subsection (f)(1)(A)(i) by striking “or chapter 451” and inserting “chapter 451, or chapter 455”.

(3) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The analysis for subtitle VII of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 453 the following:

“455. Unmanned aircraft systems …………………………………………………
45501”.

SEC. 333. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TEST RANGES.

(a) Extension Of Program.—Section 332(c)(1) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) is amended by striking “September 30, 2019” and inserting “the date that is 6 years after the date of enactment of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018”.

(b) Sense-And-Avoid And Beyond Line Of Sight Systems At Test Ranges.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—To the extent consistent with aviation safety, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall permit and encourage flights of unmanned aircraft equipped with sense-and-avoid and beyond line of sight systems at the 6 test ranges designated under section 332(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

(2) WAIVERS.—In carrying out paragraph (1), the Administrator may waive the requirements of section 44711 of title 49, United States Code, including related regulations, to the extent consistent with aviation safety.

(c) Test Range Defined.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—In this section, the term “test range” means a defined geographic area where research and development are conducted as authorized by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

(2) INCLUSIONS.—Such term includes any of the 6 test ranges established by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration under section 332(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this subsection, and any public entity authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration as an unmanned aircraft system flight test center before January 1, 2009.

SEC. 334. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SAFETY.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft near airports presents a serious hazard to aviation safety;

(2) a collision between an unmanned aircraft and a conventional aircraft in flight could jeopardize the safety of persons aboard the aircraft and on the ground;

(3) Federal aviation regulations, including sections 91.126 through 91.131 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, prohibit unauthorized operation of an aircraft in controlled airspace near an airport;

(4) Federal aviation regulations, including section 91.13 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, prohibit the operation of an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another;

(5) the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration should pursue all available civil and administrative remedies available to the Administrator, including referrals to other government agencies for criminal investigations, with respect to persons who operate unmanned aircraft in an unauthorized manner;

(6) the Administrator should place particular priority on continuing measures, including partnerships with nongovernmental organizations, to educate the public about the dangers to the public safety of operating unmanned aircraft near airports without the appropriate approvals or authorizations; and

(7) manufacturers and retail sellers of small unmanned aircraft systems should take steps to educate consumers about the safe and lawful operation of such systems.

SEC. 335. UAS PRIVACY REVIEW.

(a) Review.—The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the heads of appropriate Federal agencies, appropriate State and local officials, and subject-matter experts and in consideration of relevant efforts led by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, shall carry out a review to identify any potential reduction of privacy specifically caused by the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.

(b) Consultation.—In carrying out the review, the Secretary shall consult with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce on its ongoing efforts responsive to the Presidential memorandum titled “Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” and dated February 15, 2015.

(c) Report.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the results of the review required under subsection (a).

SEC. 336. PUBLIC UAS OPERATIONS BY TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS.

(a) Public UAS Operations By Tribal Governments.—Section 40102(a)(41) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(F) An unmanned aircraft that is owned and operated by, or exclusively leased for at least 90 continuous days by, an Indian Tribal government, as defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122), except as provided in section 40125(b).”.

(b) Conforming Amendment.—Section 40125(b) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by striking “or (D)” and inserting “(D), or (F)”.

SEC. 337. EVALUATION OF AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION FOR SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

(a) Metrics.—Beginning not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall develop and track metrics to assess compliance with and effectiveness of the registration of small unmanned aircraft systems by the Federal Aviation Administration pursuant to the interim final rule issued on December 16, 2015, entitled “Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft” (80 Fed. Reg. 78593) and any subsequent final rule, including metrics with respect to—

(1) the levels of compliance with the interim final rule and any subsequent final rule;

(2) the number of enforcement actions taken by the Administration for violations of or noncompliance with the interim final rule and any subsequent final rule, together with a description of the actions; and

(3) the effect of the interim final rule and any subsequent final rule on compliance with any fees associated with the use of small unmanned aircraft systems.

(b) Evaluation.—The Inspector General of the Department of Transportation shall evaluate—

(1) the Administration’s progress in developing and tracking the metrics set forth in subsection (a); and

(2) the reliability, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Administration’s registration program for small unmanned aircraft.

(c) Report.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report containing—

(1) the results of the evaluation required under subsection (b); and

(2) recommendations to the Administrator and Congress for improvements to the registration process for small unmanned aircraft.

SEC. 338. STUDY ON ROLES OF GOVERNMENTS RELATING TO LOW-ALTITUDE OPERATION OF SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

(a) In General.—Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation shall initiate a study on—

(1) the regulation and oversight of the low-altitude operations of small unmanned aircraft and small unmanned aircraft systems; and

(2) the appropriate roles and responsibilities of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments in regulating and overseeing the operations of small unmanned aircraft in airspace 400 feet above ground level and below.

(b) Considerations.—In carrying out the study, the Inspector General shall consider, at a minimum—

(1) the recommendations of Task Group 1 of the Drone Advisory Committee chartered by the Federal Aviation Administration on August 31, 2016;

(2) the legal and policy requirements necessary for the safe and financially viable development and growth of the unmanned aircraft industry;

(3) the interests of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments affected by low-altitude operations of small unmanned aircraft;

(4) the existing authorities of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments to protect the interests referenced in paragraph (3);

(5) the degree of regulatory consistency required for the safe and financially viable growth and development of the unmanned aircraft industry;

(6) the degree of local variance possible among regulations consistent with the safe and financially viable growth and development of the unmanned aircraft industry;

(7) the appropriate roles of State, local, and Tribal governments in regulating the operations of small unmanned aircraft within the lateral boundaries of their jurisdiction in the categories of airspace described in subsection (a)(2);

(8) the subjects and types of regulatory authority that should remain with the Federal Government;

(9) the infrastructure requirements necessary for monitoring the low-altitude operations of small unmanned aircraft and enforcing applicable laws;

(10) the number of small businesses involved in the various sectors of the unmanned aircraft industry and operating as primary users of small unmanned aircraft; and

(11) any best practices, lessons learned, or policies of jurisdictions outside the United States relating to local or regional regulation and oversight of small unmanned aircraft and other emergent technologies.

(c) Report To Congress.—Not later than 180 days after initiating the study, the Inspector General shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the results of the study.

SEC. 339. STUDY ON FINANCING OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SERVICES.

(a) In General.—Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall initiate a study on appropriate fee mechanisms to recover the costs of—

(1) the regulation and safety oversight of unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems; and

(2) the provision of air navigation services to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.

(b) Considerations.—In carrying out the study, the Comptroller General shall consider, at a minimum—

(1) the recommendations of Task Group 3 of the Drone Advisory Committee chartered by the Federal Aviation Administration on August 31, 2016;

(2) the total annual costs incurred by the Federal Aviation Administration for the regulation and safety oversight of activities related to unmanned aircraft;

(3) the annual costs attributable to various types, classes, and categories of unmanned aircraft activities;

(4) air traffic services provided to unmanned aircraft operating under instrument flight rules, excluding public aircraft;

(5) the number of full-time Federal Aviation Administration employees dedicated to unmanned aircraft programs;

(6) the use of privately operated UTM and other privately operated unmanned aircraft systems;

(7) the projected growth of unmanned aircraft operations for various applications and the estimated need for regulation, oversight, and other services;

(8) the number of small businesses involved in the various sectors of the unmanned aircraft industry and operating as primary users of unmanned aircraft; and

(9) any best practices or policies utilized by jurisdictions outside the United States relating to partial or total recovery of regulation and safety oversight costs related to unmanned aircraft and other emergent technologies.

(c) Report To Congress.—Not later than 180 days after initiating the study, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report containing recommendations on appropriate fee mechanisms to recover the costs of regulating and providing air navigation services to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.

SEC. 340. UPDATE OF FAA COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.

(a) In General.—Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall update the comprehensive plan developed pursuant to section 332 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) to develop a concept of operations for the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.

(b) Considerations.—In carrying out the update, the Secretary shall consider, at a minimum—

(1) the potential use of UTM and other technologies to ensure the safe and lawful operation of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system;

(2) the appropriate roles, responsibilities, and authorities of government agencies and the private sector in identifying and reporting unlawful or harmful operations and operators of unmanned aircraft;

(3) the use of models, threat assessments, probabilities, and other methods to distinguish between lawful and unlawful operations of unmanned aircraft; and

(4) appropriate systems, training, intergovernmental processes, protocols, and procedures to mitigate risks and hazards posed by unlawful or harmful operations of unmanned aircraft systems.

(c) Consultation.—The Secretary shall carry out the update in consultation with representatives of the aviation industry, Federal agencies that employ unmanned aircraft systems technology in the national airspace system, and the unmanned aircraft systems industry.

SEC. 341. COOPERATION RELATED TO CERTAIN COUNTER-UAS TECHNOLOGY.

In matters relating to the use of systems in the national airspace system intended to mitigate threats posed by errant or hostile unmanned aircraft system operations, the Secretary of Transportation shall consult with the Secretary of Defense to streamline deployment of such systems by drawing upon the expertise and experience of the Department of Defense in acquiring and operating such systems consistent with the safe and efficient operation of the national airspace system..

………

SEC. 532. PART 107 IMPLEMENTATION IMPROVEMENTS.

(a) In General.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall publish a direct final rule—

(1) revising section 107.205 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, by striking the second sentence of subsections (a) and (c); and

(2) revising section 107.25 of such title by striking “and is not transporting another person’s property for compensation or hire”.

(b) Determination Of Waiver.—In determining whether to grant a waiver under part 107 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, to authorize transportation of another’s property for compensation or hire beyond the visual line of sight of the remote pilot, from a moving vehicle, or over people, the Administrator shall consider the technological capabilities of the unmanned aircraft system, the qualifications of the remote pilot, and the operational environment.

SEC. 533. PART 107 TRANSPARENCY AND TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENTS.

(a) Transparency.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall publish on the Federal Aviation Administration website a representative sample of the safety justifications, offered by applicants for small unmanned aircraft system waivers and airspace authorizations, that have been approved by the Administration for each regulation waived or class of airspace authorized, except that any published justification shall not reveal proprietary or commercially sensitive information.

(b) Technology Improvements.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall revise the online waiver and certificates of authorization processes—

(1) to provide real time confirmation that an application filed online has been received by the Administration; and

(2) to provide an applicant with an opportunity to review the status of the applicant’s application.

………

Subtitle C—Unmanned Aircraft Systems

SEC. 721. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP.

No funds are authorized to be appropriated for the Office of the Administrator for a fiscal year unless the Secretary has submitted the unmanned aircraft systems roadmap to Congress on an annual basis as required under section 45502(a) of title 49, United States Code, (as added by this Act).

SEC. 722. PROBABILISTIC METRICS FOR EXEMPTIONS.

(a) Study.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall commission an independent study to—

(1) develop parameters to conduct research and development for probabilistic metrics to enable the identification of hazards and the assessment of risks as necessary to make determinations under section 45505(a) of title 49, United States Code, (as added by this Act) that certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system;

(2) identify additional research needed to more effectively develop and use such metrics and make such determinations; and

(3) in developing parameters for probabilistic metrics, this study shall take into account the utility of performance standards to make determinations under section 45505(a) of title 49, United States Code, (as added by this Act).

(b) Consideration Of Results.—The Administrator shall consider the results of the study conducted under subsection (a) when making a determination described in subsection (a)(1).

(c) Report.—Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall transmit the results of the study conducted under subsection (a) to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate.

SEC. 723. PROBABILISTIC ASSESSMENT OF RISKS.

The Administrator shall conduct research and development to enable a probabilistic assessment of risks to inform requirements for standards for operational certification of public unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace.

SEC. 724. UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE-MANNED AIRCRAFT COLLISION RESEARCH.

(a) Research.—The Administrator shall coordinate with NASA to conduct comprehensive testing of unmanned aerial vehicles colliding with a manned aircraft, including—

(1) collisions between unmanned aerial vehicles of various sizes, traveling at various speeds, and commercial jet airliners of various sizes, traveling at various speeds;

(2) collisions between unmanned aerial vehicles of various sizes, traveling at various speeds, and propeller planes of various sizes, traveling at various speeds;

(3) collisions between unmanned aerial vehicles of various sizes, traveling at various speeds, and blimps of various sizes, traveling at various speeds;

(4) collisions between unmanned aerial vehicles of various sizes, traveling at various speeds, and rotorcraft of various sizes, traveling at various speeds; and

(5) collisions between unmanned aerial vehicles and various parts of the aforementioned aircraft, including—

(A) windshields;

(B) noses;

(C) engines;

(D) radomes;

(E) propellers; and

(F) wings.

(b) Report.—Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall transmit a report summarizing the costs and results of research under this section to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate.

SEC. 725. SPECIAL RULE FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.

Except as necessary to support enforcement action under applicable provisions of law against persons operating unmanned aircraft in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system, notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into FAA plans and policies, the Administrator may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding the operation of an unmanned aircraft system—

(1) that is flown strictly for research and development use;

(2) that is operated less than 400 feet above the ground and in Class G airspace;

(3) that is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and

(4) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (unmanned aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).

SEC. 726. BEYOND LINE-OF-SIGHT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.

(a) Amendments.—Section 332(c)(2) the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) is amended—

(1) by striking “Administrator shall” and inserting “Administrator”;

(2) at the beginning of each of subparagraphs (A) through (F), by inserting “shall”;

(3) at the end of subparagraph (E), by striking “and”;

(4) at the end of subparagraph (F), by striking the period and inserting a semicolon; and

(5) by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:

“(G) shall allow beyond line-of-sight operation of unmanned aircraft systems to be flown within the boundaries of a test range established under this subsection;

“(H) may promulgate regulations governing beyond line-of-sight operation of unmanned aircraft systems flown within the boundaries of a test range established under this subsection for the purposes of public safety; and

“(I) shall allow NASA to authorize operation of beyond line-of-sight unmanned aircraft systems within the boundaries of any NASA center or facility.”.

(b) Statutory Construction.—Nothing in the amendments made by subsection (a) shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action under applicable provisions of law against persons operating unmanned aircraft in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system.

……….

SEC. 745. ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.

The Administrator shall develop a program to research the use of spectrum in the civil aviation domain, including aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems. This research shall, at a minimum, address—

(1) how, operating within an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management system, unmanned aircraft systems can safely use, for control link, tracking, diagnostics, payload communication, collaborative-collision avoidance (e.g. vehicle-to-vehicle communications), and other purposes—

(A) aviation-protected spectrum;

(B) commercial communications networks, such as mobile communications networks; and

(C) any other licensed or unlicensed spectrum;

(2) how the reallocation of spectrum assigned for use within frequency bands adjacent to those allocated for position, navigation, and timing may impact the safety of civil aviation; and

(3) measures to protect and mitigate against spectrum interference in frequency bands used by the civil aviation community to ensure public safety.

FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-254) & Drones

Background

There have been other FAA Reauthorization Acts of 2018 introduced but this was the one actually passed. It has multiple provisions that are all smooshed together. We have general aviation, drones, counter drone, research, etc. There are ALOT of things in this act. This article will only be showing those relating specifically to unmanned aircraft. I’m excluding military and budget entries.

Table of Contents

DIVISION B–FAA REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2018

TITLE III–SAFETY

Subtitle B–Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Sec. 341. Definitions; Integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems  into national airspace system.
Sec. 342. Update of FAA comprehensive plan.
Sec. 343. Unmanned aircraft test ranges.
Sec. 344. Small unmanned aircraft in the Arctic.
Sec. 345. Small unmanned aircraft safety standards.
Sec. 346. Public unmanned aircraft systems.
Sec. 347. Special authority for certain unmanned aircraft systems.
Sec. 348. Carriage of property by small unmanned aircraft systems for  compensation or hire.
Sec. 349. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned  aircraft.
Sec. 350. Use of unmanned aircraft systems at institutions of higher  education.
Sec. 351. Unmanned aircraft systems integration pilot program.
Sec. 352. Part 107 transparency and technology improvements.
Sec. 353. Emergency exemption process.
Sec. 354. Treatment of unmanned aircraft operating underground.
Sec. 355. Public UAS operations by Tribal governments.
Sec. 356. Authorization of appropriations for Know Before You Fly campaign.
Sec. 357. Unmanned aircraft systems privacy policy.
Sec. 358. UAS privacy review.
Sec. 359. Study on fire department and emergency service agency use of unmanned aircraft systems.
Sec. 360. Study on financing of unmanned aircraft services.
Sec. 361. Report on UAS and chemical aerial application.
Sec. 362. Sense of Congress regarding unmanned aircraft safety.
Sec. 363. Prohibition regarding weapons.
Sec. 364. U.S. Counter-UAS system review of interagency coordination processes.
Sec. 365. Cooperation related to certain counter-UAS technology.
Sec. 366. Strategy for responding to public safety threats and enforcement utility of unmanned aircraft systems.
Sec. 367. Incorporation of Federal Aviation Administration occupations relating to unmanned aircraft into veterans employment programs of the administration.
Sec. 368. Public UAS access to special use airspace.
Sec. 369. Applications for designation.
Sec. 370. Sense of Congress on additional rulemaking authority.
Sec. 371. Assessment of aircraft registration for small unmanned aircraft.
Sec. 372. Enforcement.
Sec. 373. Federal and local authorities.
Sec. 374. Spectrum.
Sec. 375. Federal Trade Commission authority.
Sec. 376. Plan for full operational capability of unmanned aircraft systems traffic management.
Sec. 377. Early implementation of certain UTM services.
Sec. 378. Sense of Congress.
Sec. 379. Commercial and governmental operators.
Sec. 380. Transition language.
Sec. 381. Unmanned aircraft systems in restricted buildings or grounds.
Sec. 382. Prohibition.
Sec. 383. Airport safety and airspace hazard mitigation and enforcement.
Sec. 384. Unsafe operation of unmanned aircraft.

Subtitle D--Unmanned Aircraft Systems Workforce

Sec. 631. Community and technical college centers of excellence in small unmanned aircraft system technology training.
Sec. 632. Collegiate training initiative program for unmanned aircraft systems.

TITLE VII–FLIGHT R&D ACT

Subtitle C–Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Sec. 721. Unmanned aircraft systems research and development roadmap.

DIVISION F–BUILD ACT OF 2018

DIVISION H–PREVENTING EMERGING THREATS

Sec. 1601. Short title.
Sec. 1602. Protection of certain facilities and assets from unmanned aircraft.
Sec. 1603. Protecting against unmanned aircraft.

SEC. 341. DEFINITIONS; INTEGRATION OF CIVIL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS INTO NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM.

(a) In General.–Part A of subtitle VII of title 49, United States Code, <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 prec.>> is amended by inserting after chapter 447 the following:
“CHAPTER 448–UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
“Sec.
“44801. Definitions.
“44802. Integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into national airspace system.
“Sec. 44801. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801.>> Definitions
“In this chapter, the following definitions apply:
“(1) Actively tethered unmanned aircraft system.–The term
`actively tethered unmanned aircraft system’ means an unmanned aircraft system in which the unmanned aircraft component–
“(A) weighs 4.4 pounds or less, including payload but not including the tether;
“(B) is physically attached to a ground station with a taut, appropriately load-rated tether that provides continuous power to the unmanned aircraft and is unlikely to be separated from the unmanned aircraft; and
“(C) is controlled and retrieved by such ground station through physical manipulation of the tether.
“(2) Appropriate committees of congress.–The term
`appropriate committees of Congress’ means the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.
“(3) Arctic.–The term `Arctic’ means the United States zone of the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Bering Sea north of the Aleutian chain.
“(4) Certificate of waiver; certificate of authorization.– The terms `certificate of waiver’ and `certificate of authorization’ mean a Federal Aviation Administration grant of approval for a specific flight operation.
“(5) Counter-UAS system.–The term `counter-UAS system’ means a system or device capable of lawfully and safely disabling, disrupting, or seizing control of an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system.
“(6) Permanent areas.–The term `permanent areas’ means areas on land or water that provide for launch, recovery, and operation of small unmanned aircraft.
“(7) Public unmanned aircraft system.–The term `public unmanned aircraft system’ means an unmanned aircraft system that meets the qualifications and conditions required for operation of a public aircraft.
“(8) Sense and avoid capability.–The term `sense and avoid capability’ means the capability of an unmanned aircraft to remain a safe distance from and to avoid collisions with other airborne aircraft, structures on the ground, and other objects.
“(9) Small unmanned aircraft.–The term `small unmanned aircraft’ means an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried by the aircraft.
“(10) Test range.–The term `test range’ means a defined geographic area where research and development are conducted as authorized by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and includes any of the 6 test ranges established by the Administrator under section 332(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note), as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, and any public entity authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration as an unmanned aircraft system flight test center before January 1, 2009.
“(11) Unmanned aircraft.–The term `unmanned aircraft’ means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.
“(12) Unmanned aircraft system.–The term `unmanned aircraft system’ means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements (including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft) that are required for the operator to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.
“(13) UTM.–The term `UTM’ means an unmanned aircraft system traffic management system or service.
“Sec. 44802. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802.>> Integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into national airspace system

“(a) Required Planning for Integration.–
“(1) Comprehensive plan.–Not later than November 10, 2012, the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with representatives of the aviation industry, Federal agencies that employ unmanned aircraft systems technology in the national airspace system, and the unmanned aircraft systems industry, shall develop a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.
“(2) Contents of plan.–The plan required under paragraph
(1) shall contain, at a minimum, recommendations or projections on–
“(A) the rulemaking to be conducted under subsection (b), with specific recommendations on how the rulemaking will–
“(i) define the acceptable standards for operation and certification of civil unmanned aircraft systems;
“(ii) ensure that any civil unmanned aircraft system includes a sense-and-avoid capability; and
“(iii) establish standards and requirements for the operator and pilot of a civil unmanned aircraft system, including standards and requirements for registration and licensing;
“(B) the best methods to enhance the technologies and subsystems necessary to achieve the safe and routine operation of civil unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system;
“(C) a phased-in approach to the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system;
“(D) a timeline for the phased-in approach described under subparagraph (C);
“(E) creation of a safe airspace designation for cooperative manned and unmanned flight operations in the national airspace system;
“(F) establishment of a process to develop certification, flight standards, and air traffic requirements for civil unmanned aircraft systems at test ranges where such systems are subject to testing;
“(G) the best methods to ensure the safe operation of civil unmanned aircraft systems and public unmanned aircraft systems simultaneously in the national airspace system; and
“(H) incorporation of the plan into the annual NextGen Implementation Plan document (or any successor document) of the Federal Aviation Administration.
“(3) Deadline.–The plan required under paragraph (1) shall provide for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system as soon as practicable, but not later than September 30, 2015.
“(4) Report to congress.–Not later than February 14, 2013, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a copy of the plan required under paragraph (1).
“(5) Roadmap.–Not later than February 14, 2013, the Secretary shall approve and make available in print and on the Administration’s internet website a 5-year roadmap for the introduction of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, as coordinated by the Unmanned Aircraft Program Office of the Administration. The Secretary shall update, in coordination with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and relevant stakeholders, including those in industry and academia, the roadmap annually. The roadmap shall include, at a minimum–
“(A) cost estimates, planned schedules, and performance benchmarks, including specific tasks, milestones, and timelines, for unmanned aircraft systems integration into the national airspace system, including an identification of–
“(i) the role of the unmanned aircraft systems test ranges established under subsection
(c) and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence;
“(ii) performance objectives for unmanned aircraft systems that operate in the national airspace system; and
“(iii) research and development priorities for tools that could assist air traffic controllers as unmanned aircraft systems are integrated into the national airspace system, as appropriate;
“(B) a description of how the Administration plans to use research and development, including research and development conducted through NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management initiatives, to accommodate, integrate, and provide for the evolution of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system;
“(C) an assessment of critical performance abilities necessary to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, and how these performance abilities can be demonstrated; and
“(D) an update on the advancement of technologies needed to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, including decisionmaking by adaptive systems, such as sense-and-avoid capabilities and cyber physical systems security.
“(b) Rulemaking.–Not later than 18 months after the date on which the plan required under subsection (a)(1) is submitted to Congress under subsection (a)(4), the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register–
“(1) a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems that will allow for civil operation of such systems in the national airspace system, to the extent the systems do not meet the requirements for expedited operational authorization under section 44807;
“(2) a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the recommendations of the plan required under subsection (a)(1), with the final rule to be published not later than 16 months after the date of publication of the notice; and
“(3) an update to the Administration’s most recent policy statement on unmanned aircraft systems, contained in Docket No. FAA-2006-25714.”.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.–
(1) Table of chapters.–The table of chapters for subtitle VII of title 49, United States Code, <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 prec.>> is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 447 the following:
“448 . Unmanned aircraft systems………………………….44801”.
(2) Repeal.–Section 332 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) and the item relating to that section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of that Act are repealed.

SEC. 342. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> UPDATE OF FAA COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.

(a) In General.–Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall update the comprehensive plan described in section 44802 of title 49, United States Code, to develop a concept of operations for the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.

(b) Considerations.–In carrying out the update under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consider, at a minimum–

(1) the potential use of UTM and other technologies to ensure the safe and lawful operation of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system;

(2) the appropriate roles, responsibilities, and authorities of government agencies and the private sector in identifying and reporting unlawful or harmful operations and operators of unmanned aircraft;

(3) the use of models, threat assessments, probabilities, and other methods to distinguish between lawful and unlawful operations of unmanned aircraft; and

(4) appropriate systems, training, intergovernmental processes, protocols, and procedures to mitigate risks and hazards posed by unlawful or harmful operations of unmanned aircraft systems.

(c) Consultation.–The Secretary shall carry out the update under subsection (a) in consultation with representatives of the aviation industry, Federal agencies that employ unmanned aircraft systems technology in the national airspace system, and the unmanned aircraft systems industry.

(d) Program Alignment Report.–Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress, a report that describes a strategy to–

(1) avoid duplication;
(2) leverage capabilities learned across programs;
(3) support the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace; and
(4) systematically and timely implement or execute–

(A) commercially-operated Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability;
(B) the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program; and
(C) the Unmanned Traffic Management Pilot Program.

SEC. 343. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TEST RANGES.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

“Sec. 44803. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44803.>> Unmanned aircraft test ranges
“(a) In General.–The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall carry out and update, as appropriate, a program for the use of the test ranges to facilitate the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.
“(b) Program Requirements.–In carrying out the program under subsection (a), the Administrator shall–
“(1) designate airspace for safely testing the integration of unmanned flight operations in the national airspace system;
“(2) develop operational standards and air traffic requirements for unmanned flight operations at test ranges;
“(3) coordinate with, and leverage the resources of, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense;
“(4) address both civil and public unmanned aircraft systems;
“(5) ensure that the program is coordinated with relevant aspects of the Next Generation Air Transportation System;
“(6) provide for verification of the safety of unmanned aircraft systems and related navigation procedures as it relates to continued development of standards for integration into the national airspace system;
“(7) engage test range operators, as necessary and within available resources, in projects for research, development, testing, and evaluation of unmanned aircraft systems to facilitate the Federal Aviation Administration’s development of standards for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system, which may include solutions for–
“(A) developing and enforcing geographic and altitude limitations;
“(B) providing for alerts by the manufacturer of an unmanned aircraft system regarding any hazards or limitations on flight, including prohibition on flight as necessary;
“(C) sense and avoid capabilities;
“(D) beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations, nighttime operations, operations over people, operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems, and unmanned aircraft systems traffic management, or other critical research priorities; and
“(E) improving privacy protections through the use of advances in unmanned aircraft systems technology;
“(8) coordinate periodically with all test range operators to ensure test range operators know which data should be collected, what procedures should be followed, and what research would advance efforts to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system;
“(9) streamline to the extent practicable the approval process for test ranges when processing unmanned aircraft certificates of waiver or authorization for operations at the test sites;
“(10) require each test range operator to protect proprietary technology, sensitive data, or sensitive research of any civil or private entity when using that test range without the need to obtain an experimental or special airworthiness certificate;
“(11) allow test range operators to receive Federal funding, other than from the Federal Aviation Administration, including in-kind contributions, from test range participants in the furtherance of research, development, and testing objectives.
“(c) Waivers.–In carrying out this section the Administrator may waive the requirements of section 44711 of title 49, United States Code, including related regulations, to the extent consistent with aviation safety.
“(d) Review of Operations by Test Range Operators.–The operator of each test range under subsection (a) shall–
“(1) review the operations of unmanned aircraft systems conducted at the test range, including–
“(A) ongoing or completed research; and
“(B) data regarding operations by private and public operators; and
“(2) submit to the Administrator, in such form and manner as specified by the Administrator, the results of the review, including recommendations to further enable private research and development operations at the test ranges that contribute to the Federal Aviation Administration’s safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, on a quarterly basis until the program terminates.
“(e) Testing.–The Secretary of Transportation may authorize an operator of a test range described in subsection (a) to administer testing requirements established by the Administrator for unmanned aircraft systems operations.
“(f) Collaborative Research and Development Agreements.–The Administrator may use the other transaction authority under section 106(l)(6) and enter into collaborative research and development agreements, to direct research related to unmanned aircraft systems, including at any test range under subsection (a), and in coordination with the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
“(g) Use of Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.– The Administrator, in carrying out research necessary to implement the consensus safety standards requirements in section 44805 shall, to the maximum extent practicable, leverage the research and testing capacity and capabilities of the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems and the test ranges.
“(h) Termination.–The program under this section shall terminate on September 30, 2023.”.

(b) Table of Contents.–The table of contents for chapter 448, as added by this Act, <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 prec.>> is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“44803. Unmanned aircraft system test ranges.”.

SEC. 344. SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT IN THE ARCTIC.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as  added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the  following:
“Sec. 44804. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44804.>> Small unmanned aircraft in  the Arctic
“(a) In General.–The Secretary of Transportation shall develop a  plan and initiate a process to work with relevant Federal agencies and  national and international communities to designate permanent areas in  the Arctic where small unmanned aircraft may operate 24 hours per day  for research and commercial purposes.
“(b) Plan Contents.–The plan under subsection (a) shall include  the development of processes to facilitate the safe operation of small  unmanned aircraft beyond the visual line of sight.
“(c) Requirements.–Each permanent area designated under subsection  (a) shall enable over-water flights from the surface to at least 2,000  feet in altitude, with ingress and egress routes from selected coastal  launch sites.
“(d) Agreements.–To implement the plan under subsection (a), the  Secretary may enter into an agreement with relevant national and  international communities.
“(e) Aircraft Approval.–
“(1) In general.–Subject to paragraph (2), not later than  1 year after the entry into force of an agreement necessary to  effectuate the purposes of this section, the Secretary shall  work with relevant national and international communities to  establish and implement a process for approving the use of a  small unmanned aircraft in the designated permanent areas in the  Arctic without regard to whether the small unmanned aircraft is  used as a public aircraft, a civil aircraft, or a model  aircraft.
“(2) Existing process.–The Secretary may implement an  existing process to meet the requirements under paragraph  (1).”.
(b) Table of Contents.–The table of contents for chapter 448 of  title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended  by adding at the end the following:
“44804. Small unmanned aircraft in the Arctic.”.

SEC. 345. SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SAFETY STANDARDS.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“Sec. 44805. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44805.>> Small Unmanned aircraft safety standards
“(a) FAA Process for Acceptance and Authorization.–The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall establish a process for–
“(1) accepting risk-based consensus safety standards related to the design, production, and modification of small unmanned aircraft systems;
“(2) authorizing the operation of small unmanned aircraft system make and model designed, produced, or modified in accordance with the consensus safety standards accepted under paragraph (1);
“(3) authorizing a manufacturer to self-certify a small unmanned aircraft system make or model that complies with consensus safety standards accepted under paragraph (1); and
“(4) certifying a manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft systems, or an employee of such manufacturer, that has demonstrated compliance with the consensus safety standards accepted under paragraph (1) and met any other qualifying criteria, as determined by the Administrator, to alternatively satisfy the requirements of paragraph (1).
“(b) Considerations.–Before accepting consensus safety standards under subsection (a), the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall consider the following:
“(1) Technologies or standards related to geographic limitations, altitude limitations, and sense and avoid capabilities.
“(2) Using performance-based requirements.
“(3) Assessing varying levels of risk posed by different small unmanned aircraft systems and their operation and tailoring performance-based requirements to appropriately mitigate risk.
“(4) Predetermined action to maintain safety in the event that a communications link between a small unmanned aircraft and its operator is lost or compromised.
“(5) Detectability and identifiability to pilots, the Federal Aviation Administration, and air traffic controllers, as appropriate.
“(6) Means to prevent tampering with or modification of any system, limitation, or other safety mechanism or standard under this section or any other provision of law, including a means to identify any tampering or modification that has been made.
“(7) Consensus identification standards under section 2202 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-190; 130 Stat. 615).
“(8) To the extent not considered previously by the consensus body that crafted consensus safety standards, cost- benefit and risk analyses of consensus safety standards that may be accepted pursuant to subsection (a) for newly designed small unmanned aircraft systems.
“(9) Applicability of consensus safety standards to small unmanned aircraft systems that are not manufactured commercially.
“(10) Any technology or standard related to small unmanned aircraft systems that promotes aviation safety.
“(11) Any category of unmanned aircraft systems that should be exempt from the consensus safety standards based on risk factors.
“(e) Nonapplicability of Other Laws.–The process for authorizing the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems under subsection (a) may allow for operation of any applicable small unmanned aircraft systems within the national airspace system without requiring–
“(1) airworthiness certification requirements under section 44704 of this title; or
“(2) type certification under part 21 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.
“(f) Revocation.–The Administrator may suspend or revoke the authorizations in subsection (a) if the Administrator determines that the manufacturer or the small unmanned aircraft system is no longer in compliance with the standards accepted by the Administrator under subsection (a)(1) or with the manufacturer’s statement of compliance under subsection (h).
“(g) Requirements.–With regard to an authorization under the processes in subsection (a), the Administrator may require a manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft systems to provide the Federal Aviation Administration with the following:
“(1) The aircraft system’s operating instructions.
“(2) The aircraft system’s recommended maintenance and inspection procedures.
“(3) The manufacturer’s statement of compliance described in subsection (h).
“(4) Upon request, a sample aircraft to be inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure compliance with the consensus safety standards accepted by the Administrator under subsection (a).
“(h) Manufacturer’s Statement of Compliance for Small UAS.–A manufacturer’s statement of compliance shall–
“(1) identify the aircraft make, model, range of serial numbers, and any applicable consensus safety standards used and accepted by the Administrator;
“(2) state that the aircraft make and model meets the provisions of the consensus safety standards identified in paragraph (1);
“(3) state that the aircraft make and model conforms to the manufacturer’s design data and is manufactured in a way that ensures consistency across units in the production process in order to meet the applicable consensus safety standards accepted by the Administrator;
“(4) state that the manufacturer will make available to the Administrator, operators, or customers–
“(A) the aircraft’s operating instructions, which conform to the consensus safety standards identified in paragraph (1); and
“(B) the aircraft’s recommended maintenance and inspection procedures, which conform to the consensus safety standards identified in paragraph (1);
“(5) state that the manufacturer will monitor safety-of- flight issues and take action to ensure it meets the consensus safety standards identified in paragraph (1) and report these issues and subsequent actions to the Administrator;
“(6) state that at the request of the Administrator, the manufacturer will provide reasonable access for the Administrator to its facilities for the purposes of overseeing compliance with this section; and
“(7) state that the manufacturer, in accordance with the consensus safety standards accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration, has–
“(A) ground and flight tested random samples of the aircraft;
“(B) found the sample aircraft performance acceptable; and
“(C) determined that the make and model of aircraft is suitable for safe operation.
“(i) Prohibitions.–
“(1) False statements of compliance.–It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly submit a statement of compliance described in subsection (h) that is fraudulent or intentionally false.
“(2) Introduction into interstate commerce.–Unless the Administrator determines operation of an unmanned aircraft system may be conducted without an airworthiness certificate or permission, authorization, or approval under subsection (a), it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any small unmanned aircraft system that is manufactured after the date that the Administrator accepts consensus safety standards under this section unless–
“(A) the make and model has been authorized for operation under subsection (a); or
“(B) the aircraft has alternatively received design and production approval issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“(j) Exclusions.–The Administrator may exempt from the requirements of this section small unmanned aircraft systems that are not capable of navigating beyond the visual line of sight of the operator through advanced flight systems and technology, if the Administrator determines that such an exemption does not pose a risk to the safety of the national airspace system.”.
(b) <<NOTE: 49 USC 44805 note.>> Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Facility.–The Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems shall establish an unmanned aircraft systems research facility to study appropriate safety standards for unmanned aircraft systems and to validate such standards, as directed by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, consistent with section 44805 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this section.
(c) Table of Contents.–The table of contents for chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“44805. Small unmanned aircraft safety standards.”.

SEC. 346. PUBLIC UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“Sec. 44806. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44806.>> Public unmanned aircraft systems
“(a) Guidance.–The Secretary of Transportation shall issue guidance regarding the operation of a public unmanned aircraft system–
“(1) to streamline and expedite the process for the issuance of a certificate of authorization or a certificate of waiver;
“(2) to facilitate the capability of public agencies to develop and use test ranges, subject to operating restrictions required by the Federal Aviation Administration, to test and operate public unmanned aircraft systems; and
“(3) to provide guidance on a public agency’s responsibilities when operating an unmanned aircraft without a civil airworthiness certificate issued by the Administration.
“(b) Agreements With Government Agencies.–
“(1) In general.–The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with each appropriate public agency to simplify the process for issuing a certificate of waiver or a certificate of authorization with respect to an application for authorization to operate a public unmanned aircraft system in the national airspace system.
“(2) Contents.–An agreement under paragraph (1) shall–
“(A) with respect to an application described in paragraph (1)–
“(i) provide for an expedited review of the application;
“(ii) require a decision by the Administrator on approval or disapproval not later than 60 business days after the date of submission of the application; and
“(iii) allow for an expedited appeal if the application is disapproved;
“(B) allow for a one-time approval of similar operations carried out during a fixed period of time; and
“(C) allow a government public safety agency to operate an unmanned aircraft weighing 4.4 pounds or less if that unmanned aircraft is operated–
“(i) within or beyond the visual line of sight of the operator;
“(ii) less than 400 feet above the ground;
“(iii) during daylight conditions;
“(iv) within Class G airspace; and
“(v) outside of 5 statute miles from any airport, heliport, seaplane base, spaceport, or other location with aviation activities.
“(c) Public Actively Tethered Unmanned Aircraft Systems.–
“(1) In general.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall permit the use of, and may issue guidance regarding, the use of public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems that are–
“(A) operated at an altitude of less than 150 feet above ground level;
“(B) operated–
“(i) within class G airspace; or
“(ii) at or below the ceiling depicted on the Federal Aviation Administration’s published UAS facility maps for class B, C, D, or E surface area airspace;
“(C) not flown directly over non-participating persons;
“(D) operated within visual line of sight of the operator; and
“(E) operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any other aircraft.
“(2) Requirements.–Public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems may be operated —
“(A) without any requirement to obtain a certificate of authorization, certificate of waiver, or other approval by the Federal Aviation Administration;
“(B) without requiring airman certification under section 44703 of this title or any rule or regulation relating to airman certification; and
“(C) without requiring airworthiness certification under section 44704 of this title or any rule or regulation relating to aircraft certification.
“(3) Safety standards.–Public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems operated within the scope of the guidance issued pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be exempt from the requirements of section 44805 of this title.
“(4) Savings provision.–Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration from issuing new regulations for public actively tethered unmanned aircraft systems in order to ensure the safety of the national airspace system.
“(d) Federal Agency Coordination to Enhance the Public Health and Safety Capabilities of Public Unmanned Aircraft Systems.–The Administrator shall assist Federal civilian Government agencies that operate unmanned aircraft systems within civil-controlled airspace, in operationally deploying and integrating sense and avoid capabilities, as necessary to operate unmanned aircraft systems safely within the national airspace system.”.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.–
(1) Table of contents.–The table of contents for chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“44806. Public unmanned aircraft systems.”.
(2) Public unmanned aircraft systems.–Section 334 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) and the item relating to that section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of that Act (126 Stat. 13) are repealed.
(3) Facilitating interagency cooperation.–Section 2204(a) of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-190; 130 Stat. 615) <<NOTE: 49 USC 40101 note.>> is amended by striking “section 334(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note)” and inserting
“section 44806 of title 49, United States Code”.

SEC. 347. SPECIAL AUTHORITY FOR CERTAIN UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“Sec. 44807. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44807.>> Special authority for certain unmanned aircraft systems
“(a) In General.–Notwithstanding any other requirement of this chapter, the Secretary of Transportation shall use a risk-based approach to determine if certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system notwithstanding completion of the comprehensive plan and rulemaking required by section 44802 or the guidance required by section 44806.
“(b) Assessment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.–In making the determination under subsection (a), the Secretary shall determine, at a minimum–
“(1) which types of unmanned aircraft systems, if any, as a result of their size, weight, speed, operational capability, proximity to airports and populated areas, operation over people, and operation within or beyond the visual line of sight, or operation during the day or night, do not create a hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public; and
“(2) whether a certificate under section 44703 or section 44704 of this title, or a certificate of waiver or certificate of authorization, is required for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems identified under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
“(c) Requirements for Safe Operation.–If the Secretary determines under this section that certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system, the Secretary shall establish requirements for the safe operation of such aircraft systems in the national airspace system, including operation related to research, development, and testing of proprietary systems.
“(d) Sunset.–The authority under this section for the Secretary to determine if certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system terminates effective September 30, 2023.”.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.–
(1) Table of contents.–The table of contents for chapter 448, as added by this Act, <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 prec.>> is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“44807. Special authority for certain unmanned aircraft systems.”.
(2) Special rules for certain unmanned aircraft systems.– Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) and the item relating to that section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of that Act (126 Stat. 13) are repealed.

SEC. 348. CARRIAGE OF PROPERTY BY SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS FOR COMPENSATION OR HIRE.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“Sec. 44808. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44808.>> Carriage of property by small unmanned aircraft systems for compensation or hire
“(a) In General.–Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall update existing regulations to authorize the carriage of property by operators of small unmanned aircraft systems for compensation or hire within the United States.
“(b) Contents.–Any rulemaking conducted under subsection (a) shall provide for the following:
“(1) Use performance-based requirements.
“(2) Consider varying levels of risk to other aircraft and to persons and property on the ground posed by different unmanned aircraft systems and their operation and tailor performance-based requirements to appropriately mitigate risk.
“(3) Consider the unique characteristics of highly automated, small unmanned aircraft systems.
“(4) Include requirements for the safe operation of small unmanned aircraft systems that, at a minimum, address–
“(A) airworthiness of small unmanned aircraft systems;
“(B) qualifications for operators and the type and nature of the operations;
“(C) operating specifications governing the type and nature of the unmanned aircraft system air carrier operations; and
“(D) the views of State, local, and tribal officials related to potential impacts of the carriage of property by operators of small unmanned aircraft systems for compensation or hire within the communities to be served.
“(5) Small uas.–The Secretary may amend part 298 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, to update existing regulations to establish economic authority for the carriage of property by small unmanned aircraft systems for compensation or hire. Such authority shall only require–
“(A) registration with the Department of Transportation;
“(B) authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct operations; and
“(C) compliance with chapters 401, 411, and 417.
“(6) Availability of current certification processes.– Pending completion of the rulemaking required in subsection (a) of this section, a person may seek an air carrier operating certificate and certificate of public convenience and necessity, or an exemption from such certificate, using existing processes.”.
(b) Table of Contents.–The table of contents for chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 prec.>> is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“44808. Carriage of property by small unmanned aircraft systems for compensation or hire.”.

SEC. 349. EXCEPTION FOR LIMITED RECREATIONAL OPERATIONS OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“Sec. 44809. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44809.>> Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft
“(a) In General.–Except as provided in subsection (e), and notwithstanding chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code, a person may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or operating authority from the Federal Aviation Administration if the operation adheres to all of the following limitations:
“(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.
“(2) The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization’s set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.
“(3) The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co- located and in direct communication with the operator.
“(4) The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.
“(5) In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
“(6) In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
“(7) The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test described in subsection (g) and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.
“(8) The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.
“(b) Other Operations.–Unmanned aircraft operations that do not conform to the limitations in subsection (a) must comply with all statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.
“(c) Operations at Fixed Sites.–
“(1) Operating procedure required.–Persons operating unmanned aircraft under subsection (a) from a fixed site within Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, or a community-based organization conducting a sanctioned event within such airspace, shall make the location of the fixed site known to the Administrator and shall establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the air traffic control facility.
“(2) Unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.–A person may operate an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried by the aircraft, under subsection (a) if–
“(A) the unmanned aircraft complies with standards and limitations developed by a community-based organization and approved by the Administrator; and
“(B) the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as described in paragraph (1).
“(d) Updates.–
“(1) In general.–The Administrator, in consultation with government, stakeholders, and community-based organizations, shall initiate a process to periodically update the operational parameters under subsection (a), as appropriate.
“(2) Considerations.–In updating an operational parameter under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall consider–
“(A) appropriate operational limitations to mitigate risks to aviation safety and national security, including risk to the uninvolved public and critical infrastructure;
“(B) operations outside the membership, guidelines, and programming of a community-based organization;
“(C) physical characteristics, technical standards, and classes of aircraft operating under this section;
“(D) trends in use, enforcement, or incidents involving unmanned aircraft systems;
“(E) ensuring, to the greatest extent practicable, that updates to the operational parameters correspond to, and leverage, advances in technology; and
“(F) equipage requirements that facilitate safe, efficient, and secure operations and further integrate all unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.
“(3) Savings clause.–Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as expanding the authority of the Administrator to require a person operating an unmanned aircraft under this section to seek permissive authority of the Administrator, beyond that required in subsection (a) of this section, prior to operation in the national airspace system.
“(e) Statutory Construction.–Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue an enforcement action against a person operating any unmanned aircraft who endangers the safety of the national airspace system.
“(f) Exceptions.–Nothing in this section prohibits the Administrator from promulgating rules generally applicable to unmanned aircraft, including those unmanned aircraft eligible for the exception set forth in this section, relating to–
“(1) updates to the operational parameters for unmanned aircraft in subsection (a);
“(2) the registration and marking of unmanned aircraft;
“(3) the standards for remotely identifying owners and operators of unmanned aircraft systems and associated unmanned aircraft; and
“(4) other standards consistent with maintaining the safety and security of the national airspace system.
“(g) Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test.–
“(1) In general.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator, in consultation with manufacturers of unmanned aircraft systems, other industry stakeholders, and community-based organizations, shall develop an aeronautical knowledge and safety test, which can then be administered electronically by the Administrator, a community- based organization, or a person designated by the Administrator.
“(2) Requirements.–The Administrator shall ensure the aeronautical knowledge and safety test is designed to adequately demonstrate an operator’s–
“(A) understanding of aeronautical safety knowledge; and
“(B) knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration regulations and requirements pertaining to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in the national airspace system.
“(h) Community-based Organization Defined.–In this section, the term `community-based organization’ means a membership-based association entity that–
“(1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
“(2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
“(3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;
“(4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active, sustained, and
controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond visual line of sight of the operator;
“(5) provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
“(6) provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.
“(i) Recognition of Community-based Organizations.–In collaboration with aeromodelling stakeholders, the Administrator shall publish an advisory circular within 180 days of the date of enactment of this section that identifies the criteria and process required for recognition of community-based organizations.”.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.–
(1) Table of contents.–The table of contents for chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as added <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 prec.>> by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
“44809. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned
aircraft.”.
(2) Repeal.–Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) and the item relating to that
section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of that Act are repealed.

SEC. 350. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44809 note.>> USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS AT INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

(a) Educational and Research Purposes.–For the purposes of section 44809 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, a
“recreational purpose” as distinguished in subsection (a)(1) of such section shall include an unmanned aircraft system operated by an institution of higher education for educational or research purposes.
(b) Updates.–In updating an operational parameter under subsection (d)(1) of such section for unmanned aircraft systems operated by an institution of higher education for educational or research purposes, the Administrator shall consider–
(1) use of small unmanned aircraft systems and operations at an accredited institution of higher education, for educational or research purposes, as a component of the institution’s curricula or research;
(2) the development of streamlined, risk-based operational approval for unmanned aircraft systems operated by institutions of higher education; and
(3) the airspace and aircraft operators that may be affected by such operations at the institution of higher education.
(c) Deadline for Establishment of Procedures and Standards.–Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may establish regulations, procedures, and standards, as necessary, to facilitate the safe operation of unmanned aircraft systems operated by institutions of higher education for educational or research purposes.
(d) Definitions.–In this section:
(1) Institution of higher education.–The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given to that term by section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)).
(2) Educational or research purposes.–The term “education or research purposes”, with respect to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system by an institution of higher education, includes–
(A) instruction of students at the institution;
(B) academic or research related uses of unmanned aircraft systems that have been approved by the institution, including Federal research;
(C) activities undertaken by the institution as part of research projects, including research projects sponsored by the Federal Government; and
(D) other academic activities approved by the institution.
(e) Statutory Construction.–
(1) Enforcement.–Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue an enforcement action against a person operating any unmanned aircraft who endangers the safety of the national airspace system.
(2) Regulations and standards.–Nothing in this section prohibits the Administrator from promulgating any rules or standards consistent with maintaining the safety and security of the national airspace system.

SEC. 351. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
INTEGRATION PILOT PROGRAM.

(a) Authority.–The Secretary of Transportation may establish a pilot program to enable enhanced drone operations as required in the October 25, 2017 Presidential Memorandum entitled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” and described in 82 Federal Register 50301.
(b) Applications.–The Secretary shall accept applications from State, local, and Tribal governments, in partnership with unmanned aircraft system operators and other private-sector stakeholders, to test and evaluate the integration of civil and public UAS operations into the low-altitude national airspace system.
(c) Objectives.–The purpose of the pilot program is to accelerate existing UAS integration plans by working to solve technical, regulatory, and policy challenges, while enabling advanced UAS operations in select areas subject to ongoing safety oversight and cooperation between the Federal Government and applicable State, local, or Tribal jurisdictions, in order to–
(1) accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the NAS by testing and validating new concepts of beyond visual line of sight operations in a controlled environment, focusing on detect and avoid technologies, command and control links, navigation, weather, and human factors;
(2) address ongoing concerns regarding the potential security and safety risks associated with UAS operating in close proximity to human beings and critical infrastructure by ensuring that operators communicate more effectively with Federal, State, local, and Tribal law enforcement to enable law enforcement to determine if a UAS operation poses such a risk;
(3) promote innovation in and development of the United States unmanned aviation industry, especially in sectors such as agriculture, emergency management, inspection, and transportation safety, in which there are significant public benefits to be gained from the deployment of UAS; and
(4) identify the most effective models of balancing local and national interests in UAS integration.
(d) Application Submission.–The Secretary shall establish application requirements and require applicants to include the following information:
(1) Identification of the airspace to be used, including shape files and altitudes.
(2) Description of the types of planned operations.
(3) Identification of stakeholder partners to test and evaluate planned operations.
(4) Identification of available infrastructure to support planned operations.
(5) Description of experience with UAS operations and regulations.
(6) Description of existing UAS operator and any other stakeholder partnerships and experience.
(7) Description of plans to address safety, security, competition, privacy concerns, and community outreach.
(e) Monitoring and Enforcement of Limitations.–
(1) In general.–Monitoring and enforcement of any limitations enacted pursuant to this pilot project shall be the responsibility of the jurisdiction.
(2) Savings provision.–Nothing in paragraph (1) may beconstrued to prevent the Secretary from enforcing Federal law.
(3) Examples of limitations.–Limitations under this section may include–
(A) prohibiting flight during specified morning and evening rush hours or only permitting flight during specified hours such as daylight hours, sufficient to ensure reasonable airspace access;
(B) establishing designated take-off and landing zones, limiting operations over moving locations or fixed site public road and parks, sidewalks or private property based on zoning density, or other land use considerations;
(C) requiring notice to public safety or zoning or land use authorities before operating; and
(D) prohibiting operations in connection with community or sporting events that do not remain in one place (for example, parades and running events).
(f) Selection Criteria.–In making determinations, the Secretary shall evaluate whether applications meet or exceed the following criteria:
(1) Overall economic, geographic, and climatic diversity of the selected jurisdictions.
(2) Overall diversity of the proposed models of government involvement.
(3) Overall diversity of the UAS operations to be conducted.
(4) The location of critical infrastructure.
(5) The involvement of commercial entities in the proposal and their ability to advance objectives that may serve the public interest as a result of further integration of UAS into the NAS.
(6) The involvement of affected communities in, and their support for, participating in the pilot program.
(7) The commitment of the governments and UAS operators involved in the proposal to comply with requirements related to national defense, homeland security, and public safety and to address competition, privacy, and civil liberties concerns.
(8) The commitment of the governments and UAS operators involved in the proposal to achieve the following policy objectives:
(A) Promoting innovation and economic development.
(B) Enhancing transportation safety.
(C) Enhancing workplace safety.
(D) Improving emergency response and search and rescue functions.
(E) Using radio spectrum efficiently and competitively.

(g) Implementation.–The Secretary shall use the data collected and experience gained over the course of this pilot program to–
(1) identify and resolve technical challenges to UAS integration;
(2) address airspace use to safely and efficiently integrate all aircraft;
(3) inform operational standards and procedures to improve safety (for example, detect and avoid capabilities, navigation and altitude performance, and command and control link);
(4) inform FAA standards that reduce the need for waivers(for example, for operations over human beings, night operations, and beyond visual line of sight); and
(5) address competing interests regarding UAS operational expansion, safety, security, roles and responsibilities of non- Federal Government entities, and privacy issues.
(h) Notification.–Prior to initiating any additional rounds of agreements with State, local, or Tribal governments as part of the pilot program established under subsection (a), the Secretary shall notify the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Appropriations in the Senate.
(i) Sunset.–The pilot program established under subsection (a) shall terminate 3 years after the date on which the memorandum referenced in subsection (a) is signed by the President.
(j) Savings Clause.–Nothing in this section shall affect any proposals, selections, imposition of conditions, operations, or other decisions made–
(1) under the pilot program developed by the Secretary of Transportation pursuant to the Presidential memorandum titled
“Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program”, as published in the Federal Register on October 30, 2017 (82 Fed. Reg. 50301); and
(2) prior to the date of enactment of this Act.
(k) Definitions.–In this section:
(1) The term “Lead Applicant” means an eligible State, local or Tribal government that has submitted a timely application.
(2) The term “NAS” means the low-altitude national airspace system.
(3) The term “UAS” means unmanned aircraft system.

SEC. 352. PART 107 TRANSPARENCY AND TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENTS.

(a) Transparency.–Not later than 30 days after the date of
enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall publish on the FAA
website a representative sample of the safety justifications, offered by
applicants for small unmanned aircraft system waivers and airspace
authorizations, that have been approved by the Administration for each
regulation waived or class of airspace authorized, except that any
published justification shall not reveal proprietary or commercially
sensitive information.
(b) Technology Improvements.–Not later than 90 days after the date
of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall revise the online
waiver and certificates of authorization processes–
(1) to provide real time confirmation that an application
filed online has been received by the Administration; and
(2) to provide an applicant with an opportunity to review
the status of the applicant’s application.

SEC. 353. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> EMERGENCY EXEMPTION PROCESS.

(a) Sense of Congress.–It is the sense of Congress that the use of
unmanned aircraft systems by civil and public operators–
(1) is an increasingly important tool in response to a
catastrophe, disaster, or other emergency;
(2) helps facilitate emergency response operations, such as
firefighting and search and rescue; and
(3) helps facilitate post-catastrophic response operations,
such as utility and infrastructure restoration efforts and the
safe and prompt processing, adjustment, and payment of insurance
claims.

(b) Updates.–The Administrator shall, as necessary, update and
improve the Special Government Interest process described
in chapter 7 of Federal Aviation Administration Order JO 7200.23A to
ensure that civil and public operators, including local law enforcement
agencies and first responders, continue to use unmanned aircraft system
operations quickly and efficiently in response to a catastrophe,
disaster, or other emergency.
(c) Best Practices.–The Administrator shall develop best practices
for the use of unmanned aircraft systems by States and localities to
respond to a catastrophe, disaster, or other emergency response and
recovery operation.

SEC. 354. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> TREATMENT OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT OPERATING UNDERGROUND.

An unmanned aircraft system that is operated underground for mining
purposes shall not be subject to regulation or enforcement by the FAA
under title 49, United States Code.

SEC. 355. PUBLIC UAS OPERATIONS BY TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS.

(a) Public UAS Operations by Tribal Governments.–Section
40102(a)(41) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at
the end the following:
“(F) An unmanned aircraft that is owned and
operated by, or exclusively leased for at least 90
continuous days by, an Indian Tribal government, as
defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C.
5122), except as provided in section 40125(b).”.

(b) Conforming Amendment.–Section 40125(b) of title 49, United
States Code, is amended by striking “or (D)” and inserting “(D), or
(F)”.

SEC. 356. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR KNOW BEFORE YOU FLY CAMPAIGN.

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator of the
Federal Aviation Administration $1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019
through 2023, out of funds made available under section 106(k), for the
Know Before You Fly educational campaign or similar public informational
efforts intended to broaden unmanned aircraft systems safety awareness.

SEC. 357. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 note.>> UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS PRIVACY POLICY.

It is the policy of the United States that the operation of any
unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system shall be carried out in a
manner that respects and protects personal privacy consistent with the
United States Constitution and Federal, State, and local law.

SEC. 358. UAS PRIVACY REVIEW.

(a) Review.–The Comptroller General of the United States, in
consideration of relevant efforts led by the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration, shall carry out a review of the privacy
issues and concerns associated with the operation of unmanned aircraft
systems in the national airspace system.
(b) Consultation.–In carrying out the review, the Comptroller
General shall–
(1) consult with the Department of Transportation and the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration of
the Department of Commerce on its ongoing efforts responsive to the Presidential memorandum titled “Promoting
Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil
Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft
Systems” and dated February 15, 2015;
(2) examine and identify the existing Federal, State, or
relevant local laws that address an individual’s personal
privacy;
(3) identify specific issues and concerns that may limit the
availability of civil or criminal legal remedies regarding
inappropriate operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the
national airspace system;
(4) identify any deficiencies in Federal, State, or local
privacy protections; and
(5) provide recommendations to address any limitations and
deficiencies identified in paragraphs (3) and (4).

(c) Report.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of
this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of
Congress a report on the results of the review required under subsection
(a).

SEC. 359. STUDY ON FIRE DEPARTMENT AND EMERGENCY SERVICE AGENCY USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS.

(a) Study.–
(1) In general.–The Administrator shall conduct a study on
the use of unmanned aircraft systems by fire departments and
emergency service agencies. Such study shall include an analysis
of–
(A) how fire departments and emergency service
agencies currently use unmanned aircraft systems;
(B) obstacles to greater use of unmanned aircraft
systems by fire departments and emergency service
agencies;
(C) the best way to provide outreach to support
greater use of unmanned aircraft systems by fire
departments and emergency service agencies;
(D) laws or regulations that present barriers to
career, combination, and volunteer fire departments’
ability to use unmanned aircraft systems;
(E) training and certifications required for the use
of unmanned aircraft systems by fire departments and
emergency service agencies;
(F) airspace limitations and concerns in the use of
unmanned aircraft systems by fire departments and
emergency service agencies;
(G) roles of unmanned aircraft systems in the
provision of fire and emergency services;
(H) technological challenges to greater adoption of
unmanned aircraft systems by fire departments and
emergency service agencies; and
(I) other issues determined appropriate by the
Administrator.
(2) Consultation.–In conducting the study under paragraph
(1), the Administrator shall consult with national fire and
emergency service organizations.

(b) Report.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of
this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees
of Congress a report on the study conducted under subsection (a), including the Administrator’s findings, conclusions, and
recommendations.

SEC. 360. STUDY ON FINANCING OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SERVICES.

(a) In General.–Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall initiate
a study on appropriate fee mechanisms to recover the costs of–
(1) the regulation and safety oversight of unmanned aircraft
and unmanned aircraft systems; and
(2) the provision of air navigation services to unmanned
aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.

(b) Considerations.–In carrying out the study, the Comptroller
General shall consider, at a minimum–
(1) any recommendations of Task Group 3 of the Drone
Advisory Committee chartered by the Federal Aviation
Administration on August 31, 2016;
(2) the total annual costs incurred by the Federal Aviation
Administration for the regulation and safety oversight of
activities related to unmanned aircraft;
(3) the annual costs attributable to various types, classes,
and categories of unmanned aircraft activities;
(4) air traffic services provided to unmanned aircraft
operating under instrument flight rules, excluding public
aircraft;
(5) the number of full-time Federal Aviation Administration
employees dedicated to unmanned aircraft programs;
(6) the use of privately operated UTM and other privately
operated unmanned aircraft systems;
(7) the projected growth of unmanned aircraft operations for
various applications and the estimated need for regulation,
oversight, and other services;
(8) the number of small businesses involved in the various
sectors of the unmanned aircraft industry and operating as
primary users of unmanned aircraft; and
(9) any best practices or policies utilized by jurisdictions
outside the United States relating to partial or total recovery
of regulation and safety oversight costs related to unmanned
aircraft and other emergent technologies.

(c) Report to Congress.–Not later than 180 days after initiating
the study, the Comptroller General shall submit to the appropriate
committees of Congress a report containing recommendations on
appropriate fee mechanisms to recover the costs of regulating and
providing air navigation services to unmanned aircraft and unmanned
aircraft systems.

SEC. 361. REPORT ON UAS AND CHEMICAL AERIAL APPLICATION.

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the
Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a
report evaluating which aviation safety requirements under part 137 of
title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, should apply to unmanned aircraft
system operations engaged in aerial spraying of chemicals for
agricultural purposes.

SEC. 362. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SAFETY.

It is the sense of Congress that–
(1) the unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft near
airports presents a serious hazard to aviation safety;
(2) a collision between an unmanned aircraft and a
conventional aircraft in flight could jeopardize the safety of
persons aboard the aircraft and on the ground;
(3) Federal aviation regulations, including sections 91.126
through 91.131 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations,
prohibit unauthorized operation of an aircraft in controlled
airspace near an airport;
(4) Federal aviation regulations, including section 91.13 of
title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, prohibit the operation of
an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger
the life or property of another;
(5) the Administrator should pursue all available civil and
administrative remedies available to the Administrator,
including referrals to other government agencies for criminal
investigations, with respect to persons who operate unmanned
aircraft in an unauthorized manner;
(6) the Administrator should–
(A) place particular priority in continuing
measures, including partnering with nongovernmental
organizations and State and local agencies, to educate
the public about the dangers to public safety of
operating unmanned aircraft over areas that have
temporary flight restrictions in place, for purposes
such as wildfires, without appropriate authorization;
and
(B) partner with State and local agencies to
effectively enforce relevant laws so that unmanned
aircrafts do not interfere with the efforts of emergency
responders;
(7) the Administrator should place particular priority on
continuing measures, including partnerships with nongovernmental
organizations, to educate the public about the dangers to the
public safety of operating unmanned aircraft near airports
without the appropriate approvals or authorizations; and
(8) manufacturers and retail sellers of small unmanned
aircraft systems should take steps to educate consumers about
the safe and lawful operation of such systems.

SEC. 363. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> PROHIBITION REGARDING WEAPONS.

(a) In General.–Unless authorized by the Administrator, a person
may not operate an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system that is
equipped or armed with a dangerous weapon.
(b) Dangerous Weapon Defined.–In this section, the term “dangerous
weapon” has the meaning given that term in section 930(g)(2) of title
18, United States Code.
(c) Penalty.–A person who violates this section is liable to the
United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $25,000
for each violation.

SEC. 364. U.S. COUNTER-UAS SYSTEM REVIEW OF INTERAGENCY COORDINATION PROCESSES.

(a) In General.–Not later than 60 days after that date of enactment
of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with government agencies
currently authorized to operate Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS)
systems within the United States (including the territories and
possessions of the United States), shall initiate a review of the
following:
(1) The process the Administration is using for interagency
coordination of C-UAS activity pursuant to a relevant Federal
statute authorizing such activity within the United States
(including the territories and possessions of the United
States).
(2) The standards the Administration is utilizing for
operation of a C-UAS systems pursuant to a relevant Federal
statute authorizing such activity within the United States
(including the territories and possessions of the United
States), including whether the following criteria are being
taken into consideration in the development of the standards:
(A) Safety of the national airspace.
(B) Protecting individuals and property on the
ground.
(C) Non-interference with avionics of manned
aircraft, and unmanned aircraft, operating legally in
the national airspace.
(D) Non-interference with air traffic control
systems.
(E) Adequate coordination procedures and protocols
with the Federal Aviation Administration during the
operation of C-UAS systems.
(F) Adequate training for personnel operating C-UAS
systems.
(G) Assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness
of the coordination and review processes to ensure
national airspace safety while minimizing bureaucracy.
(H) Best practices for the consistent operation of
C-UAS systems to the maximum extent practicable.
(I) Current airspace authorization information
shared by automated approval processes for airspace
authorizations, such as the Low Altitude Authorization
and Notification Capability.
(J) Such other matters the Administrator considers
necessary for the safe and lawful operation of C-UAS
systems.
(3) Similar interagency coordination processes already used
for other matters that may be used as a model for improving the
interagency coordination for the usage of C-UAS systems.

(b) Report.–Not later than 180 days after the date upon which the
review in subsection (a) is initiated, the Administrator shall submit to
the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of
Representatives, the Committee on Armed Services of the House of
Representatives, and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation in the Senate, and the Committee on Armed Services of the
Senate, a report on the Administration’s activities related to C-UAS
systems, including–
(1) any coordination with Federal agencies and States,
subdivisions and States, political authorities of at least 2
States that operate C-UAS systems;
(2) an assessment of the standards being utilized for the
operation of a counter-UAS systems within the United States
(including the territories and possessions of the United
States);
(3) an assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of the
interagency coordination and review processes to ensure national
airspace safety while minimizing bureaucracy; and
(4) a review of any additional authorities needed by the
Federal Aviation Administration to effectively oversee the
management of C-UAS systems within the United States (including
the territories and possessions of the United States).

SEC. 365. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44810 note.>> COOPERATION RELATED TO CERTAIN COUNTER-UAS TECHNOLOGY.

In matters relating to the use of systems in the national airspace
system intended to mitigate threats posed by errant or hostile unmanned
aircraft system operations, the Secretary of Transportation shall
consult with the Secretary of Defense to streamline deployment of such
systems by drawing upon the expertise and experience of the Department
of Defense in acquiring and operating such systems consistent with the
safe and efficient operation of the national airspace system.

SEC. 366. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 note.>> STRATEGY FOR RESPONDING TO PUBLIC SAFETY THREATS AND ENFORCEMENT UTILITY OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS.

(a) In General.–Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
shall develop a comprehensive strategy to provide outreach to State and
local governments and provide guidance for local law enforcement
agencies and first responders with respect to–
(1) how to identify and respond to public safety threats
posed by unmanned aircraft systems; and
(2) how to identify and take advantage of opportunities to
use unmanned aircraft systems to enhance the effectiveness of
local law enforcement agencies and first responders.

(b) Resources.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Administrator shall establish a publicly available
Internet website that contains resources for State and local law
enforcement agencies and first responders seeking–
(1) to respond to public safety threats posed by unmanned
aircraft systems; and
(2) to identify and take advantage of opportunities to use
unmanned aircraft systems to enhance the effectiveness of local
law enforcement agencies and public safety response efforts.

(c) Unmanned Aircraft System Defined.–In this section, the term
“unmanned aircraft system” has the meaning given that term in section
44801 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act.

SEC. 367. INCORPORATION OF FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OCCUPATIONS RELATING TO UNMANNED AIRCRAFT INTO VETERANS EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS OF THE ADMINISTRATION.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act,
the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, in
consultation with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of
Defense, and the Secretary of Labor, shall determine whether occupations
of the Administration relating to unmanned aircraft systems technology
and regulations can be incorporated into the Veterans’ Employment
Program of the Administration, particularly in the interaction between
such program and the New Sights Work Experience Program and the Vet-Link
Cooperative Education Program.

SEC. 368. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44806 note.>> PUBLIC UAS ACCESS TO SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE.

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the
Secretary of Transportation shall issue guidance for the expedited and
timely access to special use airspace for public unmanned aircraft
systems in order to assist Federal, State, local,
or tribal law enforcement organizations in conducting law enforcement,
emergency response, or for other activities.

SEC. 369. <<NOTE: 49 USC 40101 note.>> APPLICATIONS FOR DESIGNATION.

Section 2209 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016
(Public Law 114-190; 130 Stat. 615) is amended–
(1) in subsection (b)(1)(C)(i), by striking “and
distribution facilities and equipment” and inserting
“distribution facilities and equipment, and railroad
facilities”; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
“(e) Deadlines.–
“(1) Not later than March 31, 2019, the Administrator shall
publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to carry out the
requirements of this section.
“(2) Not later than 12 months after publishing the notice
of proposed rulemaking under paragraph (1), the Administrator
shall issue a final rule.”.

SEC. 370. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON ADDITIONAL RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.

It is the sense of Congress that–
(1) beyond visual line of sight operations, nighttime
operations, and operations over people of unmanned aircraft
systems have tremendous potential–
(A) to enhance both commercial and academic use;
(B) to spur economic growth and development through
innovative applications of this emerging technology; and
(C) to improve emergency response efforts as it
relates to assessing damage to critical infrastructure
such as roads, bridges, and utilities, including water
and power, ultimately speeding response time;
(2) advancements in miniaturization of safety technologies,
including for aircraft weighing under 4.4 pounds, have increased
economic opportunities for using unmanned aircraft systems while
reducing kinetic energy and risk compared to unmanned aircraft
that may weigh 4.4 pounds or more, but less than 55 pounds;
(3) advancements in unmanned technology will have the
capacity to ultimately improve manned aircraft safety; and
(4) integrating unmanned aircraft systems safely into the
national airspace, including beyond visual line of sight
operations, nighttime operations on a routine basis, and
operations over people should remain a top priority for the
Federal Aviation Administration as it pursues additional
rulemakings under the amendments made by this section.

SEC. 371. ASSESSMENT OF AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION FOR SMALL UNMANNED
AIRCRAFT.

(a) Evaluation.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall enter into an
agreement with the National Academy of Public Administration, to
estimate and assess compliance with and the effectiveness of the
registration of small unmanned aircraft systems by the Federal Aviation
Administration pursuant to the interim final rule issued on December 16,
2015, titled “Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned
Aircraft” (80 Fed. Reg. 78593).

(b) Metrics.–Upon receiving the assessment, the Secretary shall, to
the extent practicable, develop metrics to measure compliance with the
interim final rule described in subsection (a), and any subsequent final
rule, including metrics with respect to–
(1) the levels of compliance with the interim final rule and
any subsequent final rule;
(2) the number of enforcement actions taken by the
Administration for violations of or noncompliance with the
interim final rule and any subsequent final rule, together with
a description of the actions; and
(3) the effect of the interim final rule and any subsequent
final rule on compliance with any fees associated with the use
of small unmanned aircraft systems.

(c) Report.–Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of
this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the to the appropriate
committees of Congress a report containing–
(1) the results of the assessment required under subsection
(a);
(2) the metrics required under subsection (b) and how the
Secretary will track these metrics; and
(3) recommendations to Congress for improvements to the
registration process for small unmanned aircraft, if necessary.

SEC. 372. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44810 note.>> ENFORCEMENT.

(a) UAS Safety Enforcement.–The Administrator of the Federal
Aviation Administration shall establish a pilot program to utilize
available remote detection or identification technologies for safety
oversight, including enforcement actions against operators of unmanned
aircraft systems that are not in compliance with applicable Federal
aviation laws, including regulations.
(b) Reporting.–As part of the pilot program, the Administrator
shall establish and publicize a mechanism for the public and Federal,
State, and local law enforcement to report suspected operation of
unmanned aircraft in violation of applicable Federal laws and
regulations.
(c) Report to Congress.–Not later than 1 year after the date of
enactment of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, and annually
thereafter through the duration of the pilot program established in
subsection (a), the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate
committees of Congress a report on the following:
(1) The number of unauthorized unmanned aircraft operations
detected in restricted airspace, including in and around
airports, together with a description of such operations.
(2) The number of enforcement cases brought by the Federal
Aviation Administration or other Federal agencies for
unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft detected through the
program, together with a description of such cases.
(3) Recommendations for safety and operational standards for
unmanned aircraft detection and mitigation systems.
(4) Recommendations for any legislative or regulatory
changes related to mitigation or detection or identification of
unmanned aircraft systems.

(d) Sunset.–The pilot program established in subsection (a) shall
terminate on September 30, 2023.
(e) Civil Penalties.–Section 46301 of title 49, United States Code,
is amended–

(1) in subsection (a)(1)(A), by inserting “chapter 448,”
after “chapter 447 (except sections 44717 and 44719-44723),”;
(2) in subsection (a)(5)(A)(i), by inserting “chapter
448,” after “chapter 447 (except sections 44717-44723),”;
(3) in subsection (d)(2), by inserting “chapter 448,”
after “chapter 447 (except sections 44717 and 44719-44723),”;
and
(4) in subsection (f)(1)(A)(i), by inserting “chapter
448,” after “chapter 447 (except sections 44717 and 44719-
44723),”.

(f) Rule of Construction.–Nothing in this section shall be
construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue an
enforcement action for a violation of this subtitle or any other
applicable provision of aviation safety law or regulation using remote
detection or identification or other technology following the sunset of
the pilot program.

SEC. 373. FEDERAL AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES.

(a) In General.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall–
(1) conduct a study on the relative roles of the Federal
Government, State, local and Tribal governments in the
regulation and oversight of low-altitude operations of unmanned
aircraft systems in the national airspace system; and
(2) submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a
report on the study, including the Comptroller General’s
findings and conclusions.

(b) Contents.–The study under subsection (a) shall review the
following:
(1) The current state of the law with respect to Federal
authority over low-altitude operations of unmanned aircraft
systems in the national airspace system.
(2) The current state of the law with respect to State,
local, and Tribal authority over low-altitude operations of
unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system.
(3) Potential gaps between authorities under paragraphs (1)
and (2).
(4) The degree of regulatory consistency required among the
Federal Government, State governments, local governments, and
Tribal governments for the safe and financially viable growth
and development of the unmanned aircraft industry.
(5) The interests of Federal, State, local, and Tribal
governments affected by low-altitude operations of unmanned
aircraft systems and the authorities of those governments to
protect such interests.
(6) The infrastructure requirements necessary for monitoring
the low-altitude operations of small unmanned aircraft and
enforcing applicable laws.

SEC. 374. SPECTRUM.

(a) Report.–Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of
this Act, and after consultation with relevant stakeholders, the
Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the Federal
Communications Commission, shall submit to the Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation of the Senate, the Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure of the House

of Representatives, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the
House of Representatives a report–
(1) on whether unmanned aircraft systems operations should
be permitted, but not required, to operate on spectrum that was
recommended for allocation for AM(R)S and control links for UAS
by the World Radio Conferences in 2007 (L-band, 960-1164 MHz)
and 2012 (C-band, 5030-5091 MHz), on an unlicensed, shared, or
exclusive basis, for operations within the UTM system or outside
of such a system;
(2) that addresses any technological, statutory, regulatory,
and operational barriers to the use of such spectrum; and
(3) that, if it is determined that some spectrum frequencies
are not suitable for beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations by
unmanned aircraft systems, includes recommendations of other
spectrum frequencies that may be appropriate for such
operations.

(b) No Effect on Other Spectrum.–The report required under
subsection (a) does not prohibit or delay use of any licensed spectrum
to satisfy control links, tracking, diagnostics, payload communications,
collision avoidance, and other functions for unmanned aircraft systems
operations.

SEC. 375. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 note.>> FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
AUTHORITY.

(a) In General.–A violation of a privacy policy by a person that
uses an unmanned aircraft system for compensation or hire, or in the
furtherance of a business enterprise, in the national airspace system
shall be an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of section 5(a)
of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45(a)).
(b) Definitions.–In this section, the terms “unmanned aircraft”
and “unmanned aircraft system” have the meanings given those terms in
section 44801 of title 49, United States Code.

SEC. 376. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> PLAN FOR FULL OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT.

(a) In General.–In conjunction with completing the requirements of
section 2208 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (49
U.S.C. 40101 note), subject to subsection (b) of this section, the
Administrator, in coordination with the Administrator of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, and in consultation with unmanned
aircraft systems industry stakeholders, shall develop a plan to allow
for the implementation of unmanned aircraft systems traffic management
(UTM) services that expand operations beyond visual line of sight, have
full operational capability, and ensure the safety and security of all
aircraft.
(b) Completion of UTM System Pilot Program.–The Administrator shall
ensure that the UTM system pilot program, as established in section 2208
of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (49 U.S.C. 40101
note), is conducted to meet the following objectives of a comprehensive
UTM system by the conclusion of the pilot program:
(1) In cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration and manned and unmanned aircraft industry
stakeholders, allow testing of unmanned aircraft operations, of
increasing volumes and density, in airspace above test ranges,
as such term is defined in section 44801 of title 49, United
States Code, as well as other sites determined by the
Administrator to be suitable for UTM testing, including those

locations selected under the pilot program required in the
October 25, 2017, Presidential Memorandum entitled, “Unmanned
Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” and described in 82
Federal Register 50301.
(2) Permit the testing of various remote identification and
tracking technologies evaluated by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee.
(3) Where the particular operational environment permits,
permit blanket waiver authority to allow any unmanned aircraft
approved by a UTM system pilot program selectee to be operated
under conditions currently requiring a case-by-case waiver under
part 107, title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, provided that
any blanket waiver addresses risks to airborne objects as well
as persons and property on the ground.

(c) Implementation Plan Contents.–The plan required by subsection
(a) shall–
(1) include the development of safety standards to permit,
authorize, or allow the use of UTM services, which may include
the demonstration and validation of such services at the test
ranges, as defined in section 44801 of title 49, United States
Code, or other sites as authorized by the Administrator;
(2) outline the roles and responsibilities of industry and
government in establishing UTM services that allow applicants to
conduct commercial and noncommercial operations, recognizing the
primary private sector role in the development and
implementation of the Low Altitude Authorization and
Notification Capability and future expanded UTM services;
(3) include an assessment of various components required for
necessary risk reduction and mitigation in relation to the use
of UTM services, including–
(A) remote identification of both cooperative and
non-cooperative unmanned aircraft systems in the
national airspace system;
(B) deconfliction of cooperative unmanned aircraft
systems in the national airspace system by such
services;
(C) the manner in which the Federal Aviation
Administration will conduct oversight of UTM systems,
including interfaces between UTM service providers and
air traffic control;
(D) the need for additional technologies to detect
cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft;
(E) collaboration and coordination with air traffic
control, or management services and technologies to
ensure the safety oversight of manned and unmanned
aircraft, including–
(i) the Federal Aviation Administration
responsibilities to collect and disseminate
relevant data to UTM service providers; and
(ii) data exchange protocols to share UAS
operator intent, operational approvals,
operational restraints, and other data necessary
to ensure safety or security of the National
Airspace System;
(F) the potential for UTM services to manage
unmanned aircraft systems carrying either cargo,
payload,

or passengers, weighing more than 55 pounds, and
operating at altitudes higher than 400 feet above ground
level; and
(G) cybersecurity protections, data integrity, and
national and homeland security benefits; and
(4) establish a process for–
(A) accepting applications for operation of UTM
services in the national airspace system;
(B) setting the standards for independent private
sector validation and verification that the standards
for UTM services established pursuant to paragraph (1)
enabling operations beyond visual line of sight, have
been met by applicants; and
(C) notifying the applicant, not later than 120 days
after the Administrator receives a complete application,
with a written approval, disapproval, or request to
modify the application.

(d) Safety Standards.–In developing the safety standards in
subsection (c)(1), the Administrator–
(1) shall require that UTM services help ensure the safety
of unmanned aircraft and other aircraft operations that occur
primarily or exclusively in airspace 400 feet above ground level
and below, including operations conducted under a waiver issued
pursuant to subpart D of part 107 of title 14, Code of Federal
Regulations;
(2) shall consider, as appropriate–
(A) protection of persons and property on the
ground;
(B) remote identification and tracking of aircraft;
(C) collision avoidance with respect to obstacles
and non-cooperative aircraft;
(D) deconfliction of cooperative aircraft and
integration of other relevant airspace considerations;
(E) right of way rules, inclusive of UAS operations;
(F) safe and reliable coordination between air
traffic control and other systems operated in the
national airspace system;
(G) detection of non-cooperative aircraft;
(H) geographic and local factors including but not
limited to terrain, buildings and structures;
(I) aircraft equipage; and
(J) qualifications, if any, necessary to operate UTM
services; and
(3) may establish temporary flight restrictions or other
means available such as a certificate of waiver or authorization
(COA) for demonstration and validation of UTM services.

(e) Revocation.–The Administrator may revoke the permission,
authorization, or approval for the operation of UTM services if the
Administrator determines that the services or its operator are no longer
in compliance with applicable safety standards.
(f) Low-risk Areas.–The Administrator shall establish expedited
procedures for approval of UTM services operated in–
(1) airspace away from congested areas; or
(2) other airspace above areas in which operations of
unmanned aircraft pose low risk, as determined by the
Administrator.

(g) Consultation.–In carrying out this section, the Administrator
shall consult with other Federal agencies, as appropriate.

(h) Sense of Congress.–It is the sense of Congress that, in
developing the safety standards for UTM services, the Federal Aviation
Administration shall consider ongoing research and development efforts
on UTM services conducted by–
(1) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in
partnership with industry stakeholders;
(2) the UTM System pilot program required by section 2208 of
the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (49 U.S.C.
40101 note); and
(3) the participants in the pilot program required in the
October 25, 2017, Presidential Memorandum entitled, “Unmanned
Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” and described in 82
Federal Register 50301.

(i) Deadline.–Not later than 1 year after the date of conclusion of
the UTM pilot program established in section 2208 of the FAA Extension,
Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note), the
Administrator shall–
(1) complete the plan required by subsection (a);
(2) submit the plan to–
(A) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation of the Senate; and
(B) the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
of the House of Representatives; and
(3) publish the plan on a publicly accessible Internet
website of the Federal Aviation Administration.

SEC. 377. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> EARLY IMPLEMENTATION OF CERTAIN UTM SERVICES.

(a) In General.–Not later than 120 days after the date of the
enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall, upon request of a UTM
service provider, determine if certain UTM services may operate safely
in the national airspace system before completion of the implementation
plan required by section 376.
(b) Assessment of UTM Services.–In making the determination under
subsection (a), the Administrator shall assess, at a minimum, whether
the proposed UTM services, as a result of their operational
capabilities, reliability, intended use, areas of operation, and the
characteristics of the aircraft involved, will maintain the safety and
efficiency of the national airspace system and address any identified
risks to manned or unmanned aircraft and persons and property on the
ground.
(c) Requirements for Safe Operation.–If the Administrator
determines that certain UTM services may operate safely in the national
airspace system, the Administrator shall establish requirements for
their safe operation in the national airspace system.
(d) Expedited Procedures.–The Administrator shall provide expedited
procedures for making the assessment and determinations under this
section where the UTM services will be provided primarily or exclusively
in airspace above areas in which the operation of unmanned aircraft
poses low risk, including but not limited to croplands and areas other
than congested areas.
(e) Consultation.–In carrying out this section, the Administrator
shall consult with other Federal agencies, as appropriate.
(f) Preexisting UTM Services Approvals.–Nothing in this Act shall
affect or delay approvals, waivers, or exemptions granted by the
Administrator for UTM services already in existence or approved by the
Administrator prior to the date of enactment of this Act, including approvals under the Low Altitude Authorization
and Notification Capability.

SEC. 378. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

It is the sense of Congress that–
(1) each person that uses an unmanned aircraft system for
compensation or hire, or in the furtherance of a business
enterprise, except those operated for purposes protected by the
First Amendment of the Constitution, should have a written
privacy policy consistent with section 357 that is appropriate
to the nature and scope of the activities regarding the
collection, use, retention, dissemination, and deletion of any
data collected during the operation of an unmanned aircraft
system;
(2) each privacy policy described in paragraph (1) should be
periodically reviewed and updated as necessary; and
(3) each privacy policy described in paragraph (1) should be
publicly available.

SEC. 379. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 note.>> COMMERCIAL AND GOVERNMENTAL OPERATORS.

(a) In General.–Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Administrator shall, to the extent practicable and
consistent with applicable law, make available in a single location on
the website of the Department of Transportation:
(1) Any certificate of waiver or authorization issued by the
Administration to Federal, State, tribal or local governments
for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems within 30 days of
issuance of such certificate of waiver or authorization.
(2) A spreadsheet of UAS registrations, including the city,
state, and zip code of each registered drone owner, on its
website that is updated once per quarter each calendar year.
(3) Summary descriptions and general purposes of public
unmanned aircraft operations, including the locations where such
unmanned aircraft may generally operate.
(4) Summary descriptions of common civil unmanned aircraft
operations.
(5) The expiration date of any authorization of public or
civil unmanned aircraft operations.
(6) Links to websites of State agencies that enforce any
applicable privacy laws.
(7) For any unmanned aircraft system, except with respect to
any operation protected by the First Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States, that will collect personally
identifiable information about individuals, including the use of
facial recognition–
(A) the circumstance under which the system will be
used;
(B) the specific kinds of personally identifiable
information that the system will collect about
individuals; and
(C) how the information referred to in subparagraph
(B), and the conclusions drawn from such information,
will be used, disclosed, and otherwise handled,
including–
(i) how the collection or retention of such
information that is unrelated to the specific use
will be minimized;
(ii) under what circumstances such information
might be sold, leased, or otherwise provided to
third parties;

(iii) the period during which such information
will be retained;
(iv) when and how such information, including
information no longer relevant to the specified
use, will be destroyed; and
(v) steps that will be used to protect against
the unauthorized disclosure of any information or
data, such as the use of encryption methods and
other security features.
(8) With respect to public unmanned aircraft systems–
(A) the locations where the unmanned aircraft system
will operate;
(B) the time during which the unmanned aircraft
system will operate;
(C) the general purpose of the flight; and
(D) the technical capabilities that the unmanned
aircraft system possesses.

(b) Exceptions.–The Administrator shall not disclose information
pursuant to subsection (a) if the Administrator determines that the
release of such information–
(1) is not applicable;
(2) is not practicable, including when the information is
not available to the Administrator;
(3) is not in compliance with applicable law;
(4) would compromise national defense, homeland security or
law enforcement activity;
(5) would be withheld pursuant to an exception of the
section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as
the “Freedom of Information Act”); or
(6) is otherwise contrary to the public interest.

(c) Sunset.–This section will cease to be effective on the date
that is the earlier of–
(1) the date of publication of a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking or guidance regarding remote identification standards
under section 2202 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security
Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-190; 130 Stat. 615); or
(2) September 30, 2023.

SEC. 380. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> TRANSITION LANGUAGE.

(a) Regulations.–Notwithstanding the repeals under sections 341,
348, 347, and 383 of this Act, all orders, determinations, rules,
regulations, permits, grants, and contracts, which have been issued
under any law described under subsection (b) of this section before the
effective date of this Act shall continue in effect until modified or
revoked by the Secretary of Transportation, acting through the
Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, as applicable, by
a court of competent jurisdiction, or by operation of law other than
this Act.
(b) Laws Described.–The laws described under this subsection are as
follows:
(1) Section 332 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of
2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note).
(2) Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of
2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note).
(3) Section 334 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of
2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note).

(4) Section 2206 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security
Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-190; 130 Stat. 615).

(c) Effect on Pending Proceedings.–This Act shall not affect
administrative or judicial proceedings pending on the effective date of
this Act.

SEC. 381. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS IN RESTRICTED BUILDINGS OR GROUNDS.

Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding
after subsection (a)(4) the following:
“(5) knowingly and willfully operates an unmanned aircraft
system with the intent to knowingly and willfully direct or
otherwise cause such unmanned aircraft system to enter or
operate within or above a restricted building or grounds;”.

SEC. 382. PROHIBITION.

(a) Amendment.–Chapter 2 of title 18, United States Code, is
amended by adding at the end the following:
“Sec. 40A. <<NOTE: 18 USC 40A.>> Operation of unauthorized
unmanned aircraft over wildfires

“(a) In General.–Except as provided in subsection (b), an
individual who operates an unmanned aircraft and knowingly or recklessly
interferes with a wildfire suppression, or law enforcement or emergency
response efforts related to a wildfire suppression, shall be fined under
this title, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.
“(b) Exceptions.–This section does not apply to the operation of
an unmanned aircraft conducted by a unit or agency of the United States
Government or of a State, tribal, or local government (including any
individual conducting such operation pursuant to a contract or other
agreement entered into with the unit or agency) for the purpose of
protecting the public safety and welfare, including firefighting, law
enforcement, or emergency response.
“(c) Definitions.–In this section, the following definitions
apply:
“(1) Unmanned aircraft.–The term `unmanned aircraft’ has
the meaning given the term in section 44801 of title 49, United
States Code.
“(2) Wildfire.–The term `wildfire’ has the meaning given
that term in section 2 of the Emergency Wildfire Suppression Act
(42 U.S.C. 1856m).
“(3) Wildfire suppression.–The term `wildfire suppression’
means an effort to contain, extinguish, or suppress a
wildfire.”.

(b) Conforming Amendment.–The table of sections for chapter 2 of
title 18, United States Code, <<NOTE: 18 USC 31 prec.>> is amended by
inserting after the item relating to section 40 the following:

“40A. Operation of unauthorized unmanned aircraft over wildfires.”.

SEC. 383. AIRPORT SAFETY AND AIRSPACE HAZARD MITIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT.

(a) In General.–Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as
amended by this Act, is further amended by inserting at the end the
following:

“Sec. 44810. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44810.>> Airport safety and airspace
hazard mitigation and enforcement

“(a) Coordination.–The Administrator of the Federal Aviation
Administration shall work with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary
of Homeland Security, and the heads of other relevant Federal
departments and agencies for the purpose of ensuring that technologies
or systems that are developed, tested, or deployed by Federal
departments and agencies to detect and mitigate potential risks posed by
errant or hostile unmanned aircraft system operations do not adversely
impact or interfere with safe airport operations, navigation, air
traffic services, or the safe and efficient operation of the national
airspace system.
“(b) Plan.–
“(1) In general.–The Administrator shall develop a plan
for the certification, permitting, authorizing, or allowing of
the deployment of technologies or systems for the detection and
mitigation of unmanned aircraft systems.
“(2) Contents.–The plan shall provide for the development
of policies, procedures, or protocols that will allow
appropriate officials of the Federal Aviation Administration to
utilize such technologies or systems to take steps to detect and
mitigate potential airspace safety risks posed by unmanned
aircraft system operations.
“(3) Aviation rulemaking committee.–The Administrator
shall charter an aviation rulemaking committee to make
recommendations for such a plan and any standards that the
Administrator determines may need to be developed with respect
to such technologies or systems. The Federal Advisory Committee
Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to an aviation rulemaking
committee chartered under this paragraph.
“(4) Non-delegation.–The plan shall not delegate any
authority granted to the Administrator under this section to
other Federal, State, local, territorial, or tribal agencies, or
an airport sponsor, as defined in section 47102 of title 49,
United States Code.

“(c) Airspace Hazard Mitigation Program.–In order to test and
evaluate technologies or systems that detect and mitigate potential
aviation safety risks posed by unmanned aircraft, the Administrator
shall deploy such technologies or systems at 5 airports, including 1
airport that ranks in the top 10 of the FAA’s most recent Passenger
Boarding Data.
“(d) Authority.–Under the testing and evaluation in subsection
(c), the Administrator shall use unmanned aircraft detection and
mitigation systems to detect and mitigate the unauthorized operation of
an unmanned aircraft that poses a risk to aviation safety.
“(e) Aip Funding Eligibility.–Upon the certification, permitting,
authorizing, or allowing of such technologies and systems that have been
successfully tested under this section, an airport sponsor may apply for
a grant under subchapter I of chapter 471 to purchase an unmanned
aircraft detection and mitigation system. For purposes of this
subsection, purchasing an unmanned aircraft detection and mitigation
system shall be considered airport development (as defined in section
47102).
“(f) Briefing.–The Administrator shall annually brief the
appropriate committees of Congress, including the Committee on

Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the
Judiciary of the Senate, on the implementation of this section.
“(g) Applicability of Other Laws.–Section 46502 of this title,
section 32 of title 18, United States Code (commonly known as the
Aircraft Sabotage Act), section 1031 of title 18, United States Code
(commonly known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986), sections
2510-2522 of title 18, United States Code (commonly known as the Wiretap
Act), and sections 3121-3127 of title 18, United States Code (commonly
known as the Pen/Trap Statute), shall not apply to activities authorized
by the Administrator pursuant to subsection (c) and (d).
“(h) Sunset.–This section ceases to be effective September 30,
2023.
“(i) Non-delegation.–The Administrator shall not delegate any
authority granted to the Administrator under this section to other
Federal, State, local, territorial, or tribal agencies, or an airport
sponsor, as defined in section 47102 of title 49, United States Code.
The Administrator may partner with other Federal agencies under this
section, subject to any restrictions contained in such agencies’
authority to operate counter unmanned aircraft systems.”.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.–
(1) Table of contents.–The table of contents for chapter
448, as amended by this Act, <<NOTE: 49 USC 44801 prec.>> is
further amended by inserting at the end the following:

“44810. Airport safety and airspace hazard mitigation and
enforcement.”.

(2) Pilot project for airport safety and airspace hazard
mitigation.–Section 2206 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and
Security Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-190; 130 Stat. 615) and the
item relating to that section in the table of contents under
section 1(b) of that Act <<NOTE: 49 USC 40101 note.>> are
repealed.

SEC. 384. UNSAFE OPERATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

(a) In General.–Chapter 2 of title 18, United States Code, is
amended by inserting after section 39A the following:
“Sec. 39B. <<NOTE: 18 USC 39B.>> Unsafe operation of unmanned
aircraft

“(a) Offense.–Any person who operates an unmanned aircraft and:
“(1) Knowingly interferes with, or disrupts the operation
of, an aircraft carrying 1 or more occupants operating in the
special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, in a manner
that poses an imminent safety hazard to such occupants, shall be
punished as provided in subsection (c).
“(2) Recklessly interferes with, or disrupts the operation
of, an aircraft carrying 1 or more occupants operating in the
special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, in a manner
that poses an imminent safety hazard to such occupants, shall be
punished as provided in subsection (c).

“(b) Operation of Unmanned Aircraft in Close Proximity to
Airports.–
“(1) In general.–Any person who, without authorization,
knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft within a runway
exclusion zone shall be punished as provided in subsection (c).

“(2) Runway exclusion zone defined.–In this subsection,
the term `runway exclusion zone’ means a rectangular area–
“(A) centered on the centerline of an active runway
of an airport immediately around which the airspace is
designated as class B, class C, or class D airspace at
the surface under part 71 of title 14, Code of Federal
Regulations; and
“(B) the length of which extends parallel to the
runway’s centerline to points that are 1 statute mile
from each end of the runway and the width of which is
\1/2\ statute mile.

“(c) Penalty.–
“(1) In general.–Except as provided in paragraph (2), the
punishment for an offense under subsections (a) or (b) shall be
a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 1 year,
or both.
“(2) Serious bodily injury or death.–Any person who:
“(A) Causes serious bodily injury or death during
the commission of an offense under subsection (a)(2)
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for a term
of up to 10 years, or both.
“(B) Causes, or attempts or conspires to cause,
serious bodily injury or death during the commission of
an offense under subsections (a)(1) and (b) shall be
fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years
or for life, or both.”.

(b) Table of Contents.–The table of contents for chapter 2 of title
18, United States Code, <<NOTE: 18 USC 31 prec.>> is amended by
inserting after the item relating to section 39A the following:

“39B. Unsafe operation of unmanned aircraft.”.

SEC. 631. <<NOTE: 49 USC 40101 note.>> COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL  COLLEGE CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE IN SMALL  UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY TRAINING.

(a) Designation.–Not later than 180 days after the date of
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation
with the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Labor, shall
establish a process to designate consortia of public, 2-year
institutions of higher education as Community and Technical College
Centers of Excellence in Small Unmanned Aircraft System Technology
Training (in this section referred to as the “Centers of Excellence”).
(b) Functions.–A Center of Excellence designated under subsection
(a) shall have the capacity to train students for career opportunities
in industry and government service related to the use of small unmanned
aircraft systems.
(c) Education and Training Requirements.–In order to be designated
as a Center of Excellence under subsection (a), a consortium shall be
able to address education and training requirements

associated with various types of small unmanned aircraft systems,
components, and related equipment, including with respect to–
(1) multirotor and fixed-wing small unmanned aircraft;
(2) flight systems, radio controllers, components, and
characteristics of such aircraft;
(3) routine maintenance, uses and applications, privacy
concerns, safety, and insurance for such aircraft;
(4) hands-on flight practice using small unmanned aircraft
systems and computer simulator training;
(5) use of small unmanned aircraft systems in various
industry applications and local, State, and Federal government
programs and services, including in agriculture, law
enforcement, monitoring oil and gas pipelines, natural disaster
response and recovery, fire and emergency services, and other
emerging areas;
(6) Federal policies concerning small unmanned aircraft;
(7) dual credit programs to deliver small unmanned aircraft
training opportunities to secondary school students; or
(8) training with respect to sensors and the processing,
analyzing, and visualizing of data collected by small unmanned
aircraft.

(d) Collaboration.–Each Center of Excellence shall seek to
collaborate with institutions participating in the Alliance for System
Safety of UAS through Research Excellence of the Federal Aviation
Administration and with the test ranges defined under section 44801 of
title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act.
(e) Institution of Higher Education.–In this section, the term
“institution of higher education” has the meaning given the term in
section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001).

SEC. 632. <<NOTE: 49 USC 40101 note.>> COLLEGIATE TRAINING  INITIATIVE PROGRAM FOR UNMANNED AIRCRAFT  SYSTEMS.

(a) In General.–Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment
of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
shall establish a collegiate training initiative program relating to
unmanned aircraft systems by making new agreements or continuing
existing agreements with institutions of higher education (as defined in
section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) under
which the institutions prepare students for careers involving unmanned
aircraft systems. The Administrator may establish standards for the
entry of such institutions into the program and for their continued
participation in the program.
(b) Unmanned Aircraft System Defined.–In this section, the term
“unmanned aircraft system” has the meaning given that term by section
44801 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act.

SEC. 721. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44802 note.>> UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS  RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP.

The Secretary shall submit the unmanned aircraft systems roadmap to
Congress on an annual basis as required under section 48802(a) of title
49, United States Code, as added by this Act.

SEC. 1602. PROTECTION OF CERTAIN FACILITIES AND ASSETS FROM  UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

(a) In General.–Subtitle A of title II of the Homeland Security Act
of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 121 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the
following:
“SEC. 210G. <<NOTE: 6 USC 124n.>> PROTECTION OF CERTAIN
FACILITIES AND ASSETS FROM UNMANNED
AIRCRAFT.

“(a) Authority.–Notwithstanding section 46502 of title 49, United
States Code, or sections 32, 1030, 1367 and chapters 119 and 206 of
title 18, United States Code, the Secretary and the Attorney General
may, for their respective Departments, take, and may authorize personnel
with assigned duties that include the security or protection of people,
facilities, or assets, to take such actions as are described in
subsection (b)(1) that are necessary to mitigate a credible threat (as
defined by the Secretary or the Attorney General, in consultation with
the Secretary of Transportation) that an unmanned aircraft system or
unmanned aircraft poses to the safety or security of a covered facility
or asset.
“(b) Actions Described.–
“(1) In general.–The actions authorized in subsection (a)
are the following:
“(A) During the operation of the unmanned aircraft
system, detect, identify, monitor, and track the
unmanned aircraft system or unmanned aircraft, without
prior consent, including by means of intercept or other
access of

a wire communication, an oral communication, or an
electronic communication used to control the unmanned
aircraft system or unmanned aircraft.
“(B) Warn the operator of the unmanned aircraft
system or unmanned aircraft, including by passive or
active, and direct or indirect physical, electronic,
radio, and electromagnetic means.
“(C) Disrupt control of the unmanned aircraft
system or unmanned aircraft, without prior consent,
including by disabling the unmanned aircraft system or
unmanned aircraft by intercepting, interfering, or
causing interference with wire, oral, electronic, or
radio communications used to control the unmanned
aircraft system or unmanned aircraft.
“(D) Seize or exercise control of the unmanned
aircraft system or unmanned aircraft.
“(E) Seize or otherwise confiscate the unmanned
aircraft system or unmanned aircraft.
“(F) Use reasonable force, if necessary, to
disable, damage, or destroy the unmanned aircraft system
or unmanned aircraft.
“(2) Required coordination.–The Secretary and the Attorney
General shall develop for their respective Departments the
actions described in paragraph (1) in coordination with the
Secretary of Transportation.
“(3) Research, testing, training, and evaluation.–The
Secretary and the Attorney General shall conduct research,
testing, training on, and evaluation of any equipment, including
any electronic equipment, to determine its capability and
utility prior to the use of any such technology for any action
described in subsection (b)(1).
“(4) Coordination.–The Secretary and the Attorney General
shall coordinate with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation
Administration when any action authorized by this section might
affect aviation safety, civilian aviation and aerospace
operations, aircraft airworthiness, or the use of the airspace.

“(c) Forfeiture.–Any unmanned aircraft system or unmanned aircraft
described in subsection (a) that is seized by the Secretary or the
Attorney General is subject to forfeiture to the United States.
“(d) Regulations and Guidance.–
“(1) In general.–The Secretary, the Attorney General, and
the Secretary of Transportation may prescribe regulations and
shall issue guidance in the respective areas of each Secretary
or the Attorney General to carry out this section.
“(2) Coordination.–
“(A) Coordination with department of
transportation.–The Secretary and the Attorney General
shall coordinate the development of their respective
guidance under paragraph (1) with the Secretary of
Transportation.
“(B) Effect on aviation safety.–The Secretary and
the Attorney General shall respectively coordinate with
the Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of
the Federal Aviation Administration before issuing any
guidance, or otherwise implementing this section, if
such guidance or implementation might affect aviation
safety,

civilian aviation and aerospace operations, aircraft
airworthiness, or the use of airspace.

“(e) Privacy Protection.–The regulations or guidance issued to
carry out actions authorized under subsection (b) by each Secretary or
the Attorney General, as the case may be, shall ensure that–
“(1) the interception or acquisition of, or access to, or
maintenance or use of, communications to or from an unmanned
aircraft system under this section is conducted in a manner
consistent with the First and Fourth Amendments to the
Constitution of the United States and applicable provisions of
Federal law;
“(2) communications to or from an unmanned aircraft system
are intercepted or acquired only to the extent necessary to
support an action described in subsection (b)(1);
“(3) records of such communications are maintained only for
as long as necessary, and in no event for more than 180 days,
unless the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney
General determine that maintenance of such records is necessary
to investigate or prosecute a violation of law, directly support
an ongoing security operation, is required under Federal law, or
for the purpose of any litigation;
“(4) such communications are not disclosed outside the
Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Justice
unless the disclosure–
“(A) is necessary to investigate or prosecute a
violation of law;
“(B) would support the Department of Defense, a
Federal law enforcement agency, or the enforcement
activities of a regulatory agency of the Federal
Government in connection with a criminal or civil
investigation of, or any regulatory, statutory, or other
enforcement action relating to an action described in
subsection (b)(1);
“(C) is between the Department of Homeland Security
and the Department of Justice in the course of a
security or protection operation of either agency or a
joint operation of such agencies; or
“(D) is otherwise required by law; and
“(5) to the extent necessary, the Department of Homeland
Security and the Department of Justice are authorized to share
threat information, which shall not include communications
referred to in subsection (b), with State, local, territorial,
or tribal law enforcement agencies in the course of a security
or protection operation.

“(f) Budget.–The Secretary and the Attorney General shall submit
to Congress, as a part of the homeland security or justice budget
materials for each fiscal year after fiscal year 2019, a consolidated
funding display that identifies the funding source for the actions
described in subsection (b)(1) within the Department of Homeland
Security or the Department of Justice. The funding display shall be in
unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex.
“(g) Semiannual Briefings and Notifications.–
“(1) In general.–On a semiannual basis during the period
beginning 6 months after the date of enactment of this section
and ending on the date specified in subsection (i), the
Secretary and the Attorney General shall, respectively, provide
a briefing

to the appropriate congressional committees on the activities
carried out pursuant to this section.
“(2) Requirement.–Each briefing required under paragraph
(1) shall be conducted jointly with the Secretary of
Transportation.
“(3) Content.–Each briefing required under paragraph (1)
shall include–
“(A) policies, programs, and procedures to mitigate
or eliminate impacts of such activities to the National
Airspace System;
“(B) a description of instances in which actions
described in subsection (b)(1) have been taken,
including all such instances that may have resulted in
harm, damage, or loss to a person or to private
property;
“(C) a description of the guidance, policies, or
procedures established to address privacy, civil rights,
and civil liberties issues implicated by the actions
allowed under this section, as well as any changes or
subsequent efforts that would significantly affect
privacy, civil rights or civil liberties;
“(D) a description of options considered and steps
taken to mitigate any identified impacts to the national
airspace system related to the use of any system or
technology, including the minimization of the use of any
technology that disrupts the transmission of radio or
electronic signals, for carrying out the actions
described in subsection (b)(1);
“(E) a description of instances in which
communications intercepted or acquired during the course
of operations of an unmanned aircraft system were held
for more than 180 days or shared outside of the
Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland
Security;
“(F) how the Secretary, the Attorney General, and
the Secretary of Transportation have informed the public
as to the possible use of authorities under this
section;
“(G) how the Secretary, the Attorney General, and
the Secretary of Transportation have engaged with
Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to
implement and use such authorities.
“(4) Unclassified form.–Each briefing required under
paragraph (1) shall be in unclassified form, but may be
accompanied by an additional classified briefing.
“(5) Notification.–Within 30 days of deploying any new
technology to carry out the actions described in subsection
(b)(1), the Secretary and the Attorney General shall,
respectively, submit a notification to the appropriate
congressional committees. Such notification shall include a
description of options considered to mitigate any identified
impacts to the national airspace system related to the use of
any system or technology, including the minimization of the use
of any technology that disrupts the transmission of radio or
electronic signals, for carrying out the actions described in
subsection (b)(1).

“(h) Rule of Construction.–Nothing in this section may be
construed to–
“(1) vest in the Secretary or the Attorney General any
authority of the Secretary of Transportation or the
Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration;

“(2) vest in the Secretary of Transportation or the
Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration any
authority of the Secretary or the Attorney General;
“(3) vest in the Secretary of Homeland Security any
authority of the Attorney General;
“(4) vest in the Attorney General any authority of the
Secretary of Homeland Security; or
“(5) provide a new basis of liability for any State, local,
territorial, or tribal law enforcement officers who participate
in the protection of a mass gathering identified by the
Secretary or Attorney General under subsection
(k)(3)(C)(iii)(II), act within the scope of their authority, and
do not exercise the authority granted to the Secretary and
Attorney General by this section.

“(i) Termination.–The authority to carry out this section with
respect to a covered facility or asset specified in subsection (k)(3)
shall terminate on the date that is 4 years after the date of enactment
of this section.
“(j) Scope of Authority.–Nothing in this section shall be
construed to provide the Secretary or the Attorney General with
additional authorities beyond those described in subsections (a) and
(k)(3)(C)(iii).
“(k) Definitions.–In this section:
“(1) The term `appropriate congressional committees’
means–
“(A) the Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs, the Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation, and the Committee on the
Judiciary of the Senate; and
“(B) the Committee on Homeland Security, the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the
Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Committee on
the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.
“(2) The term `budget’, with respect to a fiscal year,
means the budget for that fiscal year that is submitted to
Congress by the President under section 1105(a) of title 31.
“(3) The term `covered facility or asset’ means any
facility or asset that–
“(A) is identified as high-risk and a potential
target for unlawful unmanned aircraft activity by the
Secretary or the Attorney General, in coordination with
the Secretary of Transportation with respect to
potentially impacted airspace, through a risk-based
assessment for purposes of this section (except that in
the case of the missions described in subparagraph
(C)(i)(II) and (C)(iii)(I), such missions shall be
presumed to be for the protection of a facility or asset
that is assessed to be high-risk and a potential target
for unlawful unmanned aircraft activity);
“(B) is located in the United States (including the
territories and possessions, territorial seas or
navigable waters of the United States); and
“(C) directly relates to one or more–
“(i) missions authorized to be performed by
the Department of Homeland Security, consistent
with governing statutes, regulations, and orders
issued by the Secretary, pertaining to–

“(I) security or protection
functions of the U.S. Customs and Border
Protection, including securing or
protecting facilities, aircraft, and
vessels, whether moored or underway;
“(II) United States Secret Service
protection operations pursuant to
sections 3056(a) and 3056A(a) of title
18, United States Code, and the
Presidential Protection Assistance Act
of 1976 (18 U.S.C. 3056 note); or
“(III) protection of facilities
pursuant to section 1315(a) of title 40,
United States Code;
“(ii) missions authorized to be performed by
the Department of Justice, consistent with
governing statutes, regulations, and orders issued
by the Attorney General, pertaining to–
“(I) personal protection operations
by–
“(aa) the Federal Bureau of
Investigation as specified in
section 533 of title 28, United
States Code; and
“(bb) the United States
Marshals Service of Federal
jurists, court officers,
witnesses, and other threatened
persons in the interests of
justice, as specified in section
566(e)(1)(A) of title 28, United
States Code;
“(II) protection of penal,
detention, and correctional facilities
and operations conducted by the Federal
Bureau of Prisons; or
“(III) protection of the buildings
and grounds leased, owned, or operated
by or for the Department of Justice, and
the provision of security for Federal
courts, as specified in section 566(a)
of title 28, United States Code;
“(iii) missions authorized to be performed by
the Department of Homeland Security or the
Department of Justice, acting together or
separately, consistent with governing statutes,
regulations, and orders issued by the Secretary or
the Attorney General, respectively, pertaining
to–
“(I) protection of a National
Special Security Event and Special Event
Assessment Rating event;
“(II) the provision of support to
State, local, territorial, or tribal law
enforcement, upon request of the chief
executive officer of the State or
territory, to ensure protection of
people and property at mass gatherings,
that is limited to a specified timeframe
and location, within available
resources, and without delegating any
authority under this section to State,
local, territorial, or tribal law
enforcement; or
“(III) protection of an active
Federal law enforcement investigation,
emergency response, or security
function, that is limited to a specified
timeframe and location; and
“(iv) missions authorized to be performed by
the United States Coast Guard, including those
described in clause (iii) as directed by the
Secretary, and as further set forth in section 104
of title 14, United

States Code, and consistent with governing
statutes, regulations, and orders issued by the
Secretary of the Department in which the Coast
Guard is operating.
“(4) The terms `electronic communication’, `intercept’,
`oral communication’, and `wire communication’ have the meaning
given those terms in section 2510 of title 18, United States
Code.
“(5) The term `homeland security or justice budget
materials’, with respect to a fiscal year, means the materials
submitted to Congress by the Secretary and the Attorney General
in support of the budget for that fiscal year.
“(6) For purposes of subsection (a), the term `personnel’
means officers and employees of the Department of Homeland
Security or the Department of Justice.
“(7) The terms `unmanned aircraft’ and `unmanned aircraft
system’ have the meanings given those terms in section 44801, of
title 49, United States Code.
“(8) For purposes of this section, the term `risk-based
assessment’ includes an evaluation of threat information
specific to a covered facility or asset and, with respect to
potential impacts on the safety and efficiency of the national
airspace system and the needs of law enforcement and national
security at each covered facility or asset identified by the
Secretary or the Attorney General, respectively, of each of the
following factors:
“(A) Potential impacts to safety, efficiency, and
use of the national airspace system, including potential
effects on manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft
systems, aviation safety, airport operations,
infrastructure, and air navigation services related to
the use of any system or technology for carrying out the
actions described in subsection (b)(1).
“(B) Options for mitigating any identified impacts
to the national airspace system related to the use of
any system or technology, including minimizing when
possible the use of any technology which disrupts the
transmission of radio or electronic signals, for
carrying out the actions described in subsection (b)(1).
“(C) Potential consequences of the impacts of any
actions taken under subsection (b)(1) to the national
airspace system and infrastructure if not mitigated.
“(D) The ability to provide reasonable advance
notice to aircraft operators consistent with the safety
of the national airspace system and the needs of law
enforcement and national security.
“(E) The setting and character of any covered
facility or asset, including whether it is located in a
populated area or near other structures, whether the
facility is open to the public, whether the facility is
also used for nongovernmental functions, and any
potential for interference with wireless communications
or for injury or damage to persons or property.
“(F) The setting, character, timeframe, and
national airspace system impacts of National Special
Security Event and Special Event Assessment Rating
events.

“(G) Potential consequences to national security,
public safety, or law enforcement if threats posed by
unmanned aircraft systems are not mitigated or defeated.

“(l) Department of Homeland Security Assessment.–
“(1) Report.–Not later than 1 year after the date of the
enactment of this section, the Secretary shall conduct, in
coordination with the Attorney General and the Secretary of
Transportation, an assessment to the appropriate congressional
committees, including–
“(A) an evaluation of the threat from unmanned
aircraft systems to United States critical
infrastructure (as defined in this Act) and to domestic
large hub airports (as defined in section 40102 of title
49, United States Code);
“(B) an evaluation of current Federal and State,
local, territorial, or tribal law enforcement
authorities to counter the threat identified in
subparagraph (A), and recommendations, if any, for
potential changes to existing authorities to allow
State, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement to
assist Federal law enforcement to counter the threat
where appropriate;
“(C) an evaluation of the knowledge of, efficiency
of, and effectiveness of current procedures and
resources available to owners of critical infrastructure
and domestic large hub airports when they believe a
threat from unmanned aircraft systems is present and
what additional actions, if any, the Department of
Homeland Security or the Department of Transportation
could implement under existing authorities to assist
these entities to counter the threat identified in
subparagraph (A);
“(D) an assessment of what, if any, additional
authorities are needed by each Department and law
enforcement to counter the threat identified in
subparagraph (A); and
“(E) an assessment of what, if any, additional
research and development the Department needs to counter
the threat identified in subparagraph (A).
“(2) Unclassified form.–The report required under
paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may
contain a classified annex.”.

(b) Clerical Amendment.–The table of sections at the beginning of
such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section
210F the following:

“Sec. 210G. Protection of certain facilities and assets from unmanned
aircraft.”.

SEC. 1603. PROTECTING AGAINST UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

(a) In General.–Chapter 5 of title 14, United States Code, is
amended by inserting after section 103 the following:
“Sec. 104. <<NOTE: 14 USC 104.>> Protecting against unmanned
aircraft

“For the purposes of section 210G(k)(3)(C)(iv) of the Homeland
Security Act of 2002, the missions authorized to be performed by the
United States Coast Guard shall be those related to–
“(1) functions of the U.S. Coast Guard relating to security
or protection of facilities and assets assessed to be high-risk
and a potential target for unlawful unmanned aircraft activity,
including the security and protection of–

“(A) a facility, including a facility that is under
the administrative control of the Commandant; and
“(B) a vessel (whether moored or underway) or an
aircraft, including a vessel or aircraft–
“(i) that is operated by the Coast Guard, or
that the Coast Guard is assisting or escorting;
and
“(ii) that is directly involved in a mission
of the Coast Guard pertaining to–
“(I) assisting or escorting a
vessel of the Department of Defense;
“(II) assisting or escorting a
vessel of national security
significance, a high interest vessel, a
high capacity passenger vessel, or a
high value unit, as those terms are
defined by the Secretary;
“(III) section 91(a) of this title;
“(IV) assistance in protecting the
President or the Vice President (or
other officer next in order of
succession to the Office of the
President) pursuant to the Presidential
Protection Assistance Act of 1976 (18
U.S.C. 3056 note);
“(V) protection of a National
Special Security Event and Special Event
Assessment Rating events;
“(VI) air defense of the United
States, including air sovereignty,
ground-based air defense, and the
National Capital Region integrated air
defense system; or
“(VII) a search and rescue
operation; and
“(2) missions directed by the Secretary pursuant to
210G(k)(3)(C)(iii) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.”.

(b) Clerical Amendment.–The analysis for chapter 5 of title 14,
United States Code, <<NOTE: 14 USC 81 prec.>> is amended by inserting
after the item relating to section 103 the following:

“104. Protecting against unmanned aircraft.”.

Drone Legislation Directory

drone-legislation-capitol-buildingI’m going to break the Drone Legislation Directory up into two sections: passed drone legislation and proposed drone legislation. I’m using the term very loosely to apply to laws that affect hobby/civilian drones in some way. For example, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 is primarily military focused but made it legal for the Secretary of Defense to shoot down civilian drones over certain locations.

This page applies ONLY to federal drone legislation, not state. Interested in passed state drone laws? I have a whole page on drone laws (state and international).

I’m presently working on this article so there are gaps and missing proposed acts.

Passed Drone Legislation

Proposed Drone Legislation

Most of these bills were proposed but died very shortly after being introduced.

2018

  1. FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) from Congressman Shuster.
  2. Safeguarding America’s Skies Act of 2018 (H.R.5366) from Congresswoman Hartzler

2017

  1. 21st Century AIRR Act (H.R.2997) from Rep. Shuster.
  2. Drone Operator Safety Act of 2017 (H.R.3644/S.1755) Senator Whitehouse & Representative Langevin
  3. Safe DRONE Act of 2017 (S1410) from Senator Mark Warner.
  4. FLIGHT R&D Act (H.R.3198 ) from Rep. Knight
  5. Aeronautics Innovation Act (H.R.3033) from Rep. Knight.
  6. Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017 (S.1405 ) from Sen. Thune.
  7. Drone Innovation Act of 2017 (HR 2930) from Rep. Lewis
  8. Drone Federalism Act of 2017 (S1272) Sen. Feinstein.
  9. Military Asset Protection Act (H.R.1968) from Rep. Dunn
  10. Wildfire Airspace Protection Act of 2017 (H.R.1138) from Rep. Cook.
  11. Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2017 (H.R.1526 ) Rep. Welch and (S631) from Sen. Markey.
  12. No Armed Drones Act of 2017 (HR 129) from Rep. Burgess
  13. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R.2810) from Rep. Thornberry.

2016

 

2015

Fresnel Zone Calculator

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Drone Calculators & Tools

Here are some calculators I have programmed to help drone pilots.

Drone Kinetic Energy Calculator (for Multi-Rotors) – Calculates time, velocity, and foot-pounds for a given altitude.

Cloud Base Altitude Calculator (for Unmanned and Manned Pilots)  – Calculates what is the base of the altitude in feet above ground level so you can figure out how close you can get without violating the law.

Drone Operations Cost Calculator – This is great if you are starting a drone operation or drone business.

Drone Visual Line of Sight Calculator – Great for figuring out the maximum range you can see the drone before you start losing visual contact.

Under or Over 55 Pound Operations Calculator – People are having a hard time trying to figure out if they should purchase a drone that is capable of flying over 55 or one that is under. This calculator was originally designed for drone sprayers but the same 500 ft buffer zone applies to those doing cinematography, mapping, etc.

Fresnel Zone Calculator – Helps you determine how much radius you need for a specific radio frequency and distance to maintain optimal radio communications. This is important as trees and other vegetation with water absorb 2.4 GHz radio waves in the Fresnel Zone and decrease your signal strength.

Drone Visual Line of Sight Calculator

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Section 107.31 Visual line of sight aircraft operation. (2020)

Section 107.31 limits how far an aircraft can fly from the remote pilot in command. The distance is NOT set in stone. The distance changes depending on multiple factors. To understand what affects the distances, we need to understand the regulation.

Section 107.31 says:

(a) With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the remote pilot in command, the visual observer (if one is used), and the person manipulating the flight control of the small unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to:

(1) Know the unmanned aircraft’s location;

(2) Determine the unmanned aircraft’s attitude, altitude, and direction of flight;

(3) Observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards; and

(4) Determine that the unmanned aircraft does not endanger the life or property of another.

(b) Throughout the entire flight of the small unmanned aircraft, the ability described in paragraph (a) of this section must be exercised by either:

(1) The remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small unmanned aircraft system; or

(2) A visual observer.

The distance is determined by how well the remote pilot can do the things listed in (a)(1)-(4). Obviously a young person flying a large drone during the day will see a drone farther away than an older person flying a small drone during the evening. Because everyone is unique, this means the distance for 107.31 is unique to each person as well.

The regulations do allow for first person viewing (FPV) racing under Part 107 provided you have a visual observer operating according to Section 107.33. The aircraft must still be flown WITHIN line of sight and the remote pilot must be able to exercise the capability in 107.31(a) at any time. They should be able to pull off the goggles and find the drone quickly.

We can calculate the maximum distance that a person can comply with (1) and (3) but (2) and (4) are very dependent upon the aircraft and maybe lighting.

Visual Line of Sight Calculator

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FAA’s Discussion on Section 107.31 Visual line of sight aircraft operation from the Final Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

Currently, 14 CFR 91.113(b) imposes a generally applicable requirement that, during flight, “vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.” This see-and-avoid requirement is at the heart of the FAA’s regulatory structure, mitigating the risk of aircraft colliding in midair. This requirement is currently satisfied in manned-aircraft operations by a pilot on board the manned aircraft looking out from inside the aircraft to see whether other aircraft are on a collision course with the pilot’s aircraft. However, the person controlling the small UAS cannot see other aircraft in the same manner because he or she is not inside the aircraft. That is why Public Law 112-95, section 333(b)(1) requires the FAA to consider, as a critical factor in this rulemaking, whether a small UAS operation is conducted “within visual line of sight.”

To address this issue, the NPRM proposed that the operator of the small UAS must always be capable of maintaining visual line of sight of the small unmanned aircraft unaided by any technology other than glasses or contact lenses. The NPRM also proposed creating a new position of visual observer to assist the operator in maintaining visual line of sight. Under that proposal, if a visual observer is used in the operation, then the visual observer could watch the small unmanned aircraft instead of the operator. However, if a visual observer was not used in the operation, then the operator would have to exercise his or her visual-line-of-sight capability to watch the small unmanned aircraft.

As proposed in the NPRM, the operator or visual observer would have to be able to see the small unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to: (1) know the unmanned aircraft’s location; (2) determine the unmanned aircraft’s attitude, altitude, and direction; (3) observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards; and (4) determine that the unmanned aircraft does not endanger the life or property of another. The NPRM also proposed that even if a visual observer is used, at all times during flight, the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the operator for the operator to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses. For the reasons discussed below, this rule will make three changes to the NPRM visual-line-of-sight framework but will otherwise finalize it as proposed. First, because of the change in the small UAS crewmember framework (discussed in the previous section of this preamble), this rule will replace the operator with the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS and the remote pilot in command, who in many instances will be the same person. Second, this rule will make clarifying amendments to the regulatory text. Third, this rule will make the visual-line-of-sight requirement waivable.

A number of commenters expressed concern about whether the visual-line-of-sight framework proposed in the NPRM would sufficiently mitigate risk. Foxtrot Consulting, the Air Medical Operators Association, the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, and several individuals asserted that the unaided human eye is not adequate to see and avoid other aircraft. Additionally, these commenters argued that the small unmanned aircraft will be too small to be seen by a manned-aircraft pilot, and, with no lighting requirement, the unmanned aircraft may be all but invisible, particularly in minimum visual-flight-rules (VFR) conditions.

Similarly, commenters, including A4A and several individuals, questioned whether small UAS remote pilots would be capable of perceiving potential conflicts and responsibly complying with the principle of “see and avoid.” These commenters asserted that since small UAS are unmanned, they are inherently unable to comply with current “see and avoid” requirements of 14 CFR 91.113(b) in visual flight conditions. The commenters argued that a remote pilot may not have sufficient perceptual accuracy to determine whether or not a small unmanned aircraft is on a collision course with another aircraft. The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society suggested that the FAA conduct a systematic, scientific study of factors that affect an observer’s ability to estimate altitude and airspeed. A joint comment from Skycatch, Clayco, AECOM, and DPR Construction suggested that rather than relying merely on an operator’s eyesight, the FAA should employ a risk-based approach to allowing operations.

The FAA recognizes that one of the issues with small UAS is that a person on the ground cannot see and avoid other aircraft in the same manner as a pilot who is inside a manned aircraft. The FAA also agrees that due to relative size of aircraft, a remote pilot will most likely be able to see and avoid a manned aircraft before the manned-aircraft pilot will see the small UAS. This issue is not unique to small UAS; manned vehicles currently in the NAS range from a few hundred pounds to 1.4 million pounds and pilots have similar challenges regarding see-and-avoid. The FAA has mitigated the risk in this rule through operational parameters that reduce the risk of a midair collision. Because of the limits on their access to airspace that is controlled or at higher altitudes, small unmanned aircraft will avoid busy flight paths and are unlikely to encounter high-speed aircraft that would be difficult for the remote pilot to see-and-avoid. Additionally, as discussed below, this rulewill also specify minimum requirements for weather and visibility to maximize the remote pilot’s ability to see incoming manned aircraft and avoid a collision with those aircraft. The FAA disagrees with the notion that remote pilots operating under the visualline-of-sight framework of this rule will be incapable of perceiving potential conflicts with other aircraft. In many cases, the remote pilot’s perspective from the ground may be better than the perspective of a pilot onboard an aircraft because the remote pilot is not confined to a cockpit with vision obscured by the fuselage or flight control surfaces. The remote pilot is thus able to observe airspace 360° around the unmanned aircraft, including airspace above and below. Thus, the person maintaining visual line of sight will be able to see potential conflicts with manned aircraft. Furthermore, as discussed below, this rule will require the small unmanned aircraft to always yield the right of way to other users of the NAS.

Several commenters, including the News Media Coalition, NAMIC, and Drone Labs, LLC objected to the proposed limitation that visual line of sight must be maintained unaided by any technology other than corrective lenses. These commenters suggested that the rule allow the use of first-person-view (FPV) technology, arguing that available technologies have advanced to the point that operators can use FPV to meet or exceed the visual-line-of-sight requirements proposed in the NPRM. United Parcel Service (UPS) asserted that FPV technology has been safely and effectively used in the UAS hobbyist community for many years.

The Drone User Group Network stated that FPV operations should be permitted with mandatory use of a spotter. Predesa said that a wearable heads-up display that combines the FPV from the small UAS and a wider-angle view from a ground camera located near the operator may provide the same risk mitigation as that afforded by the visual observer. The University of Washington and a joint submission by the State of Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, and the Nevada FAA-designated UAS Test Site said that current FPV technologies offer a wider field of vision than the human eye. DJI stated that existing technology already provides superior orienting abilities over visual observers. One individual referenced a 2004 test conducted by NASA that indicated that FPV cameras mounted on pan-tilt gimbals can be used to scan virtually the entire airspace. This commenter also acknowledged FPV limitations “…such as the field-of-view of the camera (too wide provides less detail, too narrow limits situational awareness), total field-ofregard, clarity, and range of the transmitted video.”

Some commenters, including the University of California, the National Roofing Contractors Association, and, AIA, stated that use of a FPV device should be allowed to meet the visual-line-of-sight requirements of this rule under certain circumstances, such as when other navigation and control technologies are available in the vehicle (e.g., autonomous flight, onboard geo-fencing, sense-and-avoid technology) and mitigating measures are required (e.g. altitude, weight, location, and speed limitations, location or the use of visual observers). Exelon and Skyview Strategies said that FAA should include specific criteria or standards under which the technology would be allowed to be used, either alone or in conjunction with other technologies and procedures.

Other commenters supported the NPRM’s proposed limitation on the use of technology to maintain visual line of sight. Commenters, including NAAA, ALPA, SkySpecs, and the U.S. Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association, pointed out that FPV technology remains unproven and unreliable and the FPV field of view is limited. ALPA specifically stated that “[t]he use of an on-board camera cannot replace the awareness provided by direct observation by the operator/pilot or designated visual observer.” FPV technology works by transmitting video feed from a camera carried by the small unmanned aircraft to the control station. The problem with relying on FPV technology for the ability to see and avoid other aircraft in the NAS is that an FPV camera’s field-of-view is currently either very limited (narrow-field-of-view lens ≤ 30 degrees horizontal and 10 degrees vertical) or distorted (usually fish-eyed if using a widefield-of-view lens). A narrow field-of-view lens poses a safety issue because it restricts the user’s peripheral vision, which is used to detect incoming aircraft or other objects that may pose a safety hazard. A wide-field-of-view lens poses a safety issue because it reduces the angular resolution available to the user, making it necessary for an object in the monitor to be closer to the camera before it covers enough pixels for the remote pilot to be able to detect it. In addition, FPV relies on a video transmitter to broadcast the image to the remote pilot. These transmitter/receiver units are commonly available in several frequency bands from 900 MHz to 5.8 GHz, each frequency band having distinct advantages and disadvantages as to range, susceptibility to interference, and ability to penetrate foliage. As of this writing, the FAA does not have validated data to indicate whether FPV can be used to safely conduct operations beyond visual line of sight and if so, what FPV performance specifications are required to support those operations. The FAA acknowledges that FPV cameras have been used by hobbyists for many years and that the technology is advancing rapidly within the growing industry. However, as discussed previously, FPV cameras have technical limitations and the FAA does not possess the data necessary to support a regulatory standard at this time.

The FAA also acknowledges the comments concerning technological or operational mitigations that could be used in conjunction with FPV. However, those mitigations have significant potential shortcomings that need to be explored prior to allowing them to be used in the NAS. For example, one of the commenters suggested the use of pan-tilt camera systems to mitigate for the shortcomings in FPV technology. While a pan-tilt system can allow a narrow-angle camera to scan a wider field of view, the system is still significantly inferior to the peripheral vision of the human eye, which can discern movement across the entire field of view, approaching 180 degrees in normal vision. Another commenter suggested the use of a wearable heads-up display. However, while a wearable heads-up display could possibly address some concerns about low-quality resolution present in wideangle cameras, sharing the screen area with a second ground-based camera feed could further compound the resolution issue. Additionally, the ability for a camera to provide a wider field of view also generally carries with it the significant downside of needing increased radio bandwidth for the higher resolution video. This could make the video feed more susceptible to increased noise interference or it could reduce the angular resolution, affecting target discernibility.

While data on FPV technology and potential associated mitigations is currently limited, the FAA recognizes the potential for this technology to provide a means of operating a small UAS beyond visual line of sight. For this reason, the FAA is currently conducting a pathfinder initiative with BNSF Railroad to gather safety data on operating beyond the visual line of sight of the remote pilot in rural/isolated areas. The FAA is also conducting a second pathfinder initiative with PrecisionHawk to gather data on UAS flights in rural areas outside the remote pilot’s direct vision. The FAA anticipates that data from these initiatives could help inform its approach to extend visual line of sight operations in future agency actions.

Further, to reflect the changing state of UAS technology and the limited data available at this time, the FAA has made the visual-line-of-sight requirements of this rule waivable. An applicant will be able to obtain a waiver for an operation conducted differently than what is required by the visual-line-of-sight requirements of part 107 if the applicant demonstrates that his or her operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a certificate of waiver. The FAA also emphasizes that this rule does not prohibit the use of FPV devices as long as the device is not used to meet the visual-line-of-sight requirements of part 107.

Several commenters argued that small UAS operations should be permitted to go beyond visual line of sight when certain other technologies are used. Predesa argued that visual pattern recognition technology to detect terrain and aircraft hazards could be used to mitigate the risk associated with beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations. The Oregon Department of Aviation, the Agricultural Technology Alliance, and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics (New Hampshire Department of Transportation), among others, asserted that utilizing geo-fencing to constrain unmanned aircraft flight should safely permit beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations. In addition to these, other technologies suggested by the commenters included light detection and ranging (LIDAR), Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B), and automated navigation. The National Ski Areas Association noted that “collision detection and avoidance systems are in development,” and said that the final rule needs to “recognize and accommodate” these and other technological innovations. Many of the technologies suggested by the commenters only partially mitigate possible hazards. For instance, automated navigation and geo-fencing could protect against terrain and ground obstructions but would not reveal manned aircraft transiting the flight area. Conversely, TCAS could reveal transponder-equipped aircraft but would be ignorant of terrain or non-transponder-equipped aircraft. Some of the mentioned technologies, such as LIDAR and visual pattern recognition, have potential to detect both ground and airborne obstacles, but no commenters provided data to support a particular standard or a testing means to validate the ability and reliability of that technology. As of this writing, the FAA does not have sufficient data to find that a technology can safely satisfy the see-and-avoid requirement of part 107. Consequently, the FAA will consider these situations on a caseby-case basis through the waiver process. The FAA will also use the waiver process as one means by which to evaluate new technologies as they become more developed. Commenters, including Boeing Commercial Airplanes (Boeing), News Media Coalition, the Newspaper Association of America, NAMIC, Amazon, and Google, argued that a visual-line-of-sight requirement is unnecessary over certain areas such as those that are unpopulated, private property, controlled-access facilities, or where activities would be unduly restricted by a visual-line-of-sight requirement, and that operational safeguards could be employed to ensure safe beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations. The types of unduly restricted activities could include newsgathering events where people must remain at a distance from the event, agriculture operations, underwriting or adjusting claims in dangerous locations, responses to natural disasters, firefighting, search and rescue, and law enforcement operations. The types of operational safeguards proposed could include operating under FAA-imposed restrictions on weight, range, location, and altitude; and operating along pre-programmed and pre-approved paths through the use of mapping, navigation, and contingency management software.

The FAA recognizes that the location of a small UAS flight could affect the inherent risk of the operation. However, as discussed previously, there is currently limited data concerning operations conducted beyond visual line of sight. The FAA is working to acquire additional safety data as part of its pathfinder initiatives, but that data will not be available within the timeframe envisioned by this rule. Because there are a significant number of variables involved in each individual operating environment and because the FAA has limited data on beyond-line-of-sight operations, this rule will not include a standard of general applicability for these types of operations. Instead, the FAA will consider each individual operating environment (as well as any mitigations) on a case-by-case basis as part of its consideration of a waiver application.

Several commenters, including the American Farm Bureau and the American Petroleum Institute, suggested that beyond-line-of-sight operations should be permitted over privately owned land where the operator would be able to close access to nonparticipants. These commenters provided examples of pipelines and utility lines.

The FAA recognizes that controlling the ground in the vicinity of the flight could mitigate hazards to persons and property on the ground. However, the primary concern underlying the visual-line-of-sight restriction in this rule is risk to other aircraft in the air. Because a property owner is generally limited in how much he or she can restrict other aircraft from operating near the property, the fact that a property is privately owned is not, by itself, sufficient to allow beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations. As discussed earlier, individuals wishing to operate beyond visual line of sight will be able to apply for a waiver, and the FAA will examine individual operating environments on a case-by-case basis as part of its evaluation of a waiver application.

AIA and JAM Aviation suggested that the first sentence of § 107.31 should be amended to read: “With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the operator and visual observer must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight.” One individual stated § 107.31(b) should be amended to read: “Determine the unmanned aircraft’s attitude, altitude, and direction of flight.” The commenter said the change is needed because for multi-rotor UAS, the direction of flight could be quite different from the nominal “front” of the aircraft. According to this commenter, the proposed wording could lead to confusion on what “direction” meant, whether it was the UAS’s path or the direction (bearing) from the remote pilot’s position.

As an initial matter, the FAA notes that, as discussed in section III.E.1 of this preamble, the NPRM-proposed position of operator has been replaced by the remote pilot in command. Additionally, the remote pilot in command is not required to be the person who manipulates the flight controls of the small UAS. Accordingly, this rule will require both the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS to possess the ability to maintain visual line of sight of the small unmanned aircraft.

In response to the concerns raised by the commenters, the FAA has also clarified the regulatory text of § 107.31. As amended, § 107.31 states that the remote pilot in command, the visual observer (if one is used), and the person manipulating the flight control of the small UAS must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to: (1) know the unmanned aircraft’s location; (2) determine the unmanned aircraft’s attitude, altitude, and direction of flight; (3) observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards; and (4) determine that the unmanned aircraft does not endanger the life or property of another. This visual-line-of-sight ability must be exercised throughout the entire flight of the small unmanned aircraft by either: (1) the visual observer; or (2) the remote pilot in command and person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS (if that person is not the remote pilot in command).

Several commenters, including Modovolate, Small UAV Coalition, and Southern Company, asked the FAA to make clear that brief interruptions to visual line of sight should be permitted. One commenter asked that a quantitative limit on what qualifies as a momentary interruption should be established. Another individual asked the FAA to make clear that the remote pilot’s primary mission is to scan the area for other aircraft and not to keep “eyes on” the small unmanned aircraft.

The FAA understands and accepts that the person maintaining visual line of sight may lose sight of the unmanned aircraft for brief moments of the operation. This may be necessary either because the small unmanned aircraft momentarily travels behind an obstruction or to allow the person maintaining visual line of sight to perform actions such as scanning the airspace or briefly looking down at the small UAS control station. For example, a remote pilot in command stationed on the ground utilizing a small unmanned aircraft to inspect a rooftop may lose sight of the aircraft for brief periods while inspecting the farthest point of the roof. As another example, a remote pilot in command conducting a search operation around a fire scene with a small unmanned aircraft may briefly lose sight of the aircraft while it is temporarily behind a dense column of smoke.

However, the FAA emphasizes that even though the remote pilot in command may briefly lose sight of the small unmanned aircraft, he or she always has the see-and-avoid responsibilities set out in §§ 107.31 and 107.37. The circumstances of what would prevent a remote pilot from fulfilling those responsibilities will vary depending on factors such as the type of UAS, the operational environment, and distance between the remote pilot and the unmanned aircraft. For this reason, the FAA declines to specify a quantitative value to an interruption of visual contact as it would have the effect of potentially allowing a hazardous interruption or prohibiting a reasonable one.

With regard to the comment concerning keeping “eyes on” the small unmanned aircraft, the FAA notes that the principles of scanning, long taught to manned aircraft pilots, include the dangers of “tunnel vision” and that an effective scan must encompass all areas of the environment a hazard could come from. The FAA agrees that to comply with § 107.31, the person maintaining visual line of sight must effectively scan the area and not necessarily be focused on constant visual contact with the small unmanned aircraft. Several commenters suggested that the FAA impose a numerical limit on how far away a small unmanned aircraft may travel from the person maintaining visual line of sight. ALPA, NBAA, NAAA, and the State of Nevada, Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and Nevada FAA-designated UAS Test Site, commenting jointly, argued that an appropriate specific numerical distance should be imposed and be based on study or test data. Predesa stated that a numerical limit can be determined by the performance of the UAS, taking into account a margin that allows for winds and wind gusts, and power characteristics of the UAS battery. FLIR Systems, Inc., Aviation Management, the City and County of Denver, Colorado, and two individuals proposed specific numerical limits the FAA should impose on the area of operation. The numerical recommendations of these commenters varied widely from 1000 feet to 3 miles. An individual commenter suggested that some form of reliable and verifiable documenting of distance should be required.

The FAA declines to impose a numerical limit on how far away a small unmanned aircraft can travel from the person maintaining visual line of sight. A prescriptive numerical limit would not take into account situational-dependent operating factors and may preclude operations that could otherwise be conducted safely. Additionally, no commenter provided data to substantiate the belief that a numerical standard would provide a higher level of safety than the visual-line-of-sight standard proposed in the NPRM. This rule will also not include a documentation requirement regarding the distance of a small unmanned aircraft. A distance documentation requirement would impose an unjustified cost on the public because the permissible distance of the small unmanned aircraft from the remote pilot in command will be situation-specific. For example, a remote pilot in command operating in excellent visibility conditions will be able to fly the small unmanned aircraft farther away from him or herself and still maintain visual line of sight. Conversely, a remote pilot in command operating in poorer visibility conditions will have a more limited area where he or she can fly the small unmanned aircraft and still maintain the required visual line of sight.

PlaneSense, Inc. and Cobalt Air, LLC, in a joint submission, stated that the rule should also require that the operator or a visual observer have line of sight to the ground over which the small unmanned aircraft is flying. However, requiring a remote pilot or visual observer to have line of sight to the ground will not enhance the safety of this rule, and may prohibit certain operations that could otherwise be conducted safely under part 107. For instance, a small UAS operation over a disaster area containing no persons or property on the ground would not need to have line of sight to the ground to ensure the safe operation of the small UAS.

Airports Council International – North America suggested that the first sentence of § 107.31 should be amended to read: “With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the operator or visual observer must be able to see the unmanned aircraft and other aircraft to which the unmanned aircraft could pose a collision risk throughout the entire flight in order to….”

The FAA declines this suggestion because the requirement to be aware of other aircraft is already encompassed by the pertinent regulatory text of part 107. Specifically, § 107.31(a)(3) will require the remote pilot in command, the visual observer (if one is used), and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS (if that person is not the remote pilot in command) to be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards. Other aircraft are considered air traffic and are thus covered by the regulatory text of § 107.31(a)(3).

The Washington State Department of Transportation, Aviation Division concurred “with the line-of-sight and reduced visibility parameters as described, with the exception that certain verified research and development operations … be allowed on a case-by-case basis, and for unique situations such as aerial observation to support firefighting where redundant systems may alleviate line-of-sight and visibility limitations.”

As an initial matter, the FAA notes that operations, such as those in support of firefighting, will not be subject to the provisions of part 107 if conducted as public aircraft operations. With regard to case-by-case determinations, the visual-line-of-sight restrictions of this rule will be subject to waiver. This means that a person will be able to apply for and obtain a certificate of waiver from the provisions of § 107.31 if the person establishes that the proposed operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a certificate of waiver. The FAA will evaluate waiver requests on a case-by-case basis.

Commenters including several state farm bureau federations and FLIR Systems argued that a visual-line-of-sight requirement could potentially negate the cost and time savings associated with small UAS operations conducted over large swaths of land because the requirement would necessitate multiple flights to complete the operations. According tothese commenters, the potential safety risks associated with operations would also increase because more frequent takeoffs and landings would be required.

The commenters did not provide any data showing that there is increased risk or costs associated with the takeoff or landing of a small unmanned aircraft. As such, the FAA declines to change this rule on the basis suggested by the commenters. However, as discussed in sections III.E.1 and III.E.3.a.i of this preamble, this rule has been changed from the NPRM to allow: (1) the flight of a small unmanned aircraft over a sparsely populated area from a moving vehicle; and (2) a remote pilot in command to extend the area of operation by handing off control mid-flight to another remote pilot in command. Both of these changes, as well as the ability to apply for a waiver, will allow for additional operational flexibility under this rule.

A large number of commenters, including the Airborne Law Enforcement Association, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the Associated General Contractors of America, argued that visual line of sight should not apply to certain specific operations. Those operations included:
• Public safety/emergency.
• Conservation-focused operations.
• Operations by electric utilities for line inspection or for storm-damage restoration.
• Oil industry inspections.
• Property inspections.
• Agriculture.
• Newsgathering.
• Operations within a structure.

As an initial matter, the FAA does not regulate UAS operations conducted inside an enclosed structure. Similarly, as discussed earlier in this preamble, part 107 will not apply to public aircraft operations unless they voluntarily choose to operate as civil aircraft. Most public safety operations are conducted as public aircraft operations and will continue to be authorized by COA. Therefore, these types of operations, when conducted in accordance with a COA, will be unaffected by the requirements of part 107.

With regard to the other operations suggested by the commenters, there is currently no data indicating that the nature of the small UAS operation mitigates the risk associated with operations conducted beyond visual line of sight. The FAA recognizes that there are a variety of uses for UAS that this rulemaking will not enable. However, there are also a number of small UAS uses that will be enabled by this rule. If the FAA were to delay issuance of this rule until it had sufficient data to generally allow beyond-visual-line-ofsight operations, the societal benefits that could be realized by immediately allowing operations within visual line of sight would be delayed as well. Thus, the FAA will utilize the incremental approach discussed earlier in this preamble, under which the FAA will issue a rule for the lowest risk UAS activities while pursuing future rulemaking to expand their use. Additionally, as discussed previously, the waiver authority in this rule will enable the FAA to examine, on a case-by-case basis, any mitigation provided by the operating environment in the specific operations discussed by the commenters.

A number of commenters, including the National Roofing Contractors Association, Vail Resorts, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, and MAPPS, suggested that small UAS operators should be permitted to extend their visual line of sight through the use of one or more visual observers who maintain visual line of sight while in constant communication with the operator. Continental Mapping Consultants, Inc. (Continental Mapping) similarly advocated for the use of one “or many” remote visual observers “daisy chained” throughout the operational area, while in constant contact with each other and the operator. The National Association of Broadcasters, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Radio Television Digital News Association also asked the FAA to reconsider its proposed prohibition on a relay or “daisy chain” of visual observers. Specifically, the commenters said that the FAA should revise § 107.33(b) to require that either the operator or a visual observer be able to see the small UAS at all points during the flight.

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association asserted that “adequate operational and public safety can be ensured” if operator visual line of sight is augmented by an additional visual observer who maintains visual line of sight while in communication with the operator. The association did not advocate for an “extensive or unlimited number” of observers to extend the range of UAS operations, but said a reasonable balance can be reached to allow more practical uses of UAS (such as operations on cattle ranches).Allowing remote pilots to extend their visual line of sight through the use of one or more visual observers may introduce new hazards into the operation. As discussed in the next section of this preamble, the visual observer’s role in the operation is limited to simply
maintaining visual line of sight and communicating what he or she sees to the remote pilot.Allowing “daisy chaining” of visual observers to fly the unmanned aircraft beyond line of
sight of the remote pilot in command would result in a delay in the remote pilot’s reaction time because the visual observer would have to verbalize any hazard and the remote pilot would be unable to look up and directly see the situation. Instead, the remote pilot would have to respond to the hazard by formulating and executing a maneuver based on his or her understanding of the information received from the visual observer rather than a direct visual perception of the hazard.

Because a delay in reaction time may introduce new hazards into the operation, this rule will retain the requirement that the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS (if that person is not the remote pilot in command) must be able to see the small unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight. However, as discussed earlier, the visual-line-of-sight requirements of this rule will be waivable. Additionally, the FAA notes that it is currently engaged in research and testing on how a communication error could affect the ability of the remote pilot to correctly apply avoidance maneuvers, and this data will help inform future agency actions.

Textron Systems, the National Association of Realtors, Trimble Navigation, and ArgenTech Solutions recommended that this rule provide an operator with the ability to hand off control and responsibility for flight during the course of an operation. Textron Systems recommended that the rule “allow passing of ‘operator in command’ during flight operations as long as the system and the operational construct meet other requirements of the rule.” Trimble proposed that the FAA should explicitly permit multiple operators using networked radios and control stations to operate a single UAS. Under Trimble’s proposal, operators would transition control of the UAS from one operator to another while ensuring see-and-avoid concerns are met. Trimble also asserted that the technology needed to network radios and control stations is utilized in other countries for small UAS operations and has been found to be effective. The National Association of Realtors added that “daisy chaining” operators does not pose a safety concern because “[t]he real-time corrections necessary to perfect an UAS flight could be made instantaneously, rather than the observer communicating with the operator and there being a lag in the time the correction is orally given and then made within the operation.” NetMoby, on the other hand, recommended prohibiting hand-off ability because it could create an “endless daisy chain of operators.”

The FAA agrees with the commenters who stated that transfer of control of a small UAS should be allowed between certificated remote pilots. This can be accomplished while maintaining visual line of sight of the UAS and without loss of control. Multiple certificated remote pilots handing off operational control does not raise the same safety concerns as a daisy chain of visual observers because, unlike a visual observer, the remote pilot in command will have the ability to directly control the small unmanned aircraft. Thus, two or more certificated pilots transferring operational control (i.e. the remote pilot in command designation) to each other does not raise the delayed-reaction-time issue that arises with visual observers having to communicate what they see to another person who actually manipulates the small UAS flight controls.

Accordingly, as discussed in section III.E.1 of this preamble, multiple certificated remote pilots may choose to transfer control and responsibility while operating a small UAS. For example, one remote pilot may be designated the remote pilot in command at the beginning of the operation, and then at some point in the operation another remote pilot may take over as remote pilot in command by orally stating that he or she is doing so. The FAA emphasizes that as the person responsible for the safe operation of the UAS, any remote pilot who will assume remote-pilot-in-command duties should be aware of factors that could affect the flight.

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