In some instances, the FAA has attempted to regulate UAVs by relying on existing regulations that are stretched and distorted. For instance, it uses regulations governing experimental aircraft and the flight crews of experimental aircraft to justify the current permitting system, which is consistent with Dorr’s acknowledgment that the FAA uses regulations governing manned aircraft to regulate UAVs. Of course the whole point of an unmanned aerial vehicle is that there is no flight crew, but no one seems to have pointed that out to the FAA. In fact, one could argue that it’s voluntary to listen to the FAA about drones. In its literature discussing its governance of UAVs, the FAA often refers to Advisory Circular 91-57, which addresses model airplanes. However, AC 91-57 merely “outlines, and encourages voluntary compliance with” the model airplane standards it states (so I guess paper airplane–slinging third-graders are safe). I think “voluntary” is probably a more honest representation of FAA authority over UAVs as well, absent congressional approval or at least publicly vetted regulations. Similarly, there is reason to think that if you keep your beer-delivery drone flying low, you’ll be in the clear. In its documentation addressing a redesign of the national ...


U.S. Ambassador to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana Brent D. Hardt and Guyana’s Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn signed an Open Skies air services agreement on March 25 in Georgetown, Guyana, formalizing the liberalization of the bilateral aviation relationship between both nations. The Open Skies agreement entered into force upon signature. The Open Skies agreement creates opportunities for strengthening the economic partnership between the United States and Guyana through closer links in transport and trade. Open Skies agreements permit unrestricted air service by the airlines of both countries between and beyond the other’s territory, allowing airline managements to determine how often to fly, the kind of aircraft to use, and the prices to charge. This agreement will strengthen and expand our strong trade and tourism links with Guyana, benefitting U.S. and Guyanese businesses and travelers by expanding opportunities for air services and encouraging vigorous price competition by airlines, while preserving our commitments to aviation safety and security. The United States has Open Skies agreements with over 100 partners around the world.


Twenty years ago, Canada’s air- traffic system used outdated equipment and was choking with flight delays. Since then, the organization set up to control the nation’s airspace shuttered radar rooms and towers, cut the workforce and created a market for its technology. The turnaround was triggered by the government’s decision in 1996 to turn the agency into a nonprofit corporation, backed by flight fees and insulated from political interference, according to John Crichton, president and chief executive officer of NAV CANADA. “We’re operating today with 25 percent fewer people, yet the traffic has increased by 50 percent,” Crichton said in an interview. “Our technology is being used in the four corners of the Earth.” The modernization of NAV CANADA provides lessons for the Federal Aviation Administration and should kick-start a debate about the future management of the U.S. air-traffic system, analysts and former U.S. agency officials say. Members of the U.S. Congress have blocked multiple attempts by the FAA to shut or merge underutilized air-control towers and radar rooms, costing taxpayers millions of dollars, according to logs of correspondence obtained by Bloomberg News through the Freedom of Information Act. Political interference also undermines the introduction of the $42-billion technology upgrade known as NextGen, which ...


The European Union's executive body threatened Tuesday to take countries to court for failing to implement new rules redrawing the bloc's airspace, saying the delays carry are costly for both the industry and the environment. Today was the deadline for complying with the new rules, which would merge the 30-plus airspaces over Europe into nine more manageable blocs, the European Commission said in a statement. It didn't say how many countries had missed the deadline. "We will take every possible action to make the Single European Sky a reality," Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said. "There is no other option but to strongly enforce EU law." Mr. Kallas and his aides have repeatedly warned over the past year that EU countries aren't doing enough to unify Europe's airspace. The commission says the rules will greatly reduce air traffic control costs and emissions of carbon dioxide because airlines won't have to deal with so many different systems. Inefficiency and delays in air traffic management add roughly 5 billion euros annually to the cost of air travel in Europe, according to the commission, making the control of EU airspace twice as costly as in the U.S. The program would also mean shorter routes, lowering CO2 emissions, important for ...


In an effort to reduce global airline accident rates, an arm of the United Nations called for the improvement of air-traffic control systems on a global scale. The initiative was laid out at a meeting convened by the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization that started this week in Montreal, where more than 1,100 industry officials and government aviation regulators gathered to debate how to better coordinate introduction of new traffic-control equipment and procedures. It was the first time such a broad range of experts—representing more than 190 countries—sought to directly tie crash-prevention efforts to improved air-traffic management. There is a "change in emphasis and focus by explicitly linking those two things," according to Nancy Graham, the senior ICAO official overseeing the issue. Widespread air-traffic control improvements are "critical to achieve a further reduction in the global accident rates," she told the conference. The effort comes at the same time ICAO released its annual safety scorecard, showing that in 2011 the world-wide accident rate for scheduled passenger and cargo operations remained at four crashes per one million flights. The report underscores that overall global crash rates have remained essentially flat for more than seven years, though total fatalities have dropped sharply. ICAO reported 414 ...