In a letter submitted last month to the chairmen and ranking members of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its aviation subcommittee, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and other aviation industry groups urged the panels to oppose the Drone Integration and Zoning Act, S.2607. This Act “proposes enabling thousands of local governments in the United States to impose their own restrictions on commercial [unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones)] air carrier operations.”
The groups believe that passing the Act before the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) UAS Integration Pilot Program wraps up would be premature. The pilot program is focused on determining how state and local entities can work with DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “to craft new rules that support more complex low-altitude operations” that drone integration would bring about.
The group believes that the Act would undo a long-established regulatory structure that AOPA says is integral to aviation safety. We will see if the industry’s strong stance affects the outcome of this Act.