International law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, on behalf of members of its UAS Advisory Group, is pursuing regulatory preemption for the use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS).
McKenna has petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and requested that any Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the FAA addressing sUAS include a regulation that expressly preempts state and local regulation of sUAS, including design, sale, distribution, use or operation.
The petition explains that a sUAS preemption regulation would be in the public interest and preserve and promote aviation safety. It would also facilitate safe and rapid integration of sUAS into the national airspace system, McKenna explains.
The preemption petition was signed by Mark Dombroff, a McKenna partner who formerly headed the U.S. Department of Justice's aviation litigation group, and Larry Ebner, a nationally recognized authority on federal preemption. The petition was prepared in conjunction with McKenna attorneys who have deep experience litigating federal preemption issues in cases involving conflicts between federal and state laws, the firm says.
Larry Ebner explains that ‘the FAA has the know-how, experience and personnel for regulating UAS on a nationally uniform basis. Allowing each state to adopt its own UAS regulations would jeopardize aviation and public safety by undermining national uniformity.’
McKenna says its UAS Advisory Group, which includes UAS designers, manufacturers, users, operators, trainers, aviation attorneys and former FAA officials, is forging ahead on the pressing issues related to UAS such as federal preemption. This also includes the creation of an open regulatory process that ensures safe, reliable and timely operation of sUAS.
‘At McKenna, our UAS Advisory Group is focused on policymaking during this critical period of federal rulemaking that will shape the regulatory world in which the UAS industry will live,’ says Lisa Ellman, co-chair of McKenna's UAS practice.