Rep. Steve Knight, D-Calif.-25, has introduced legislation to allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue and expand upon its research, engineering and development (R&D) programs through 2019 – including for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
H.R.4489, the FAA Leadership In Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act (FLIGHT R&D Act), would authorize funding for the FAA to study and use improvements in aerospace technology with a goal of advancing aviation safety, security and economic competitiveness, Knight explains.
According to the lawmaker, the bill is consistent with last year’s National Aviation Research Plan, a performance-based plan developed by the FAA to ensure R&D investments are well managed and deliver results.
In addition to directing the FAA to execute its research plan, the FLIGHT R&D Act directs the agency to act on several high-priority initiatives, says Knight. For one, it would require the FAA to work with other federal agencies such as NASA to coordinate and report on R&D into UAS.
Because the spending authorized by the bill has already been appropriated, it would not add to the national budget deficit, according to Knight, who says the legislation is important for national aviation infrastructure, as well as for the many small businesses in the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys that contribute to the aerospace sector.
“When the aerospace community grows, our local economy thrives,” he says. “Aviation research and development means more jobs and more opportunities for our small businesses to flourish.”
Knight expects H.R.4489 to be considered in committee later this month.