Aviation Groups Ask Congress to Wait on Drone Regulation Legislation

Joint statement urges legislators to wait for the Drone Advisory Committee’s input before enacting any new laws.

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Thirteen drone groups signed an open letter to Congress to consider more information and input before moving forward with new laws.Wikimedia Commons

All of the drone regulation legislation that has been tossed around the senate recently has not escaped the notice of drone and aviation industry leaders, as demonstrated in an open letter to Congress from 13 groups including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Academy of Model Aeronautics, Commercial Drone Alliance and others.

"We believe legislation is premature and lawmakers should wait until efforts such as the FAA's Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) have created consensus recommendations – with input from stakeholders – before considering changes to longstanding federal governance of the NAS," the statement read. "Legislating changes before consensus is reached may have dramatic unintended consequences that could stifle innovation, restrict economic growth and interstate commerce, and potentially compromise safety."

With two recent bills, the Drone Innovation Act and the Drone Federalism Act, introduced into the Senate within the last month, these groups certainly have a reason to be concerned. Both bills look to have state and local governments regulating airspace below 200 feet, which the groups addressed in the letter.

“The FAA directed the DAC to “evaluate and analyze state or local government interests,” the statement explained, “which could form the basis for recommendations to the DAC reflecting a consensus view that could be used to inform future agency action related to the relative role of state and local governments in regulating aspects of low-altitude UAS operations.” The tasking statement directs the group to issue a report on its findings later this year.

“A consistent framework, agreed upon by all parties involved, is essential for the future regulatory system governing one of the fastest-growing areas in the aerospace and technology sectors.”