RCAPA response to SB142


Dear Governor Brown,

We appeal to you to not sign SB142 into law. We are concerned that the Bill is potentially flawed, as representatives may not fully understand all of the complexities and nuances of safety regulating the national airspace system. It is a complex undertaking not to be taken lightly. That is why the Congress of the United States has made airspace and aircraft the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration and its Administrator.

49 U.S.C §40103. Sovereignty and use of airspace

(a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—(1) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.

(2) A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace. To further that right, the Secretary of Transportation shall consult with the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board established under section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 792) before prescribing a regulation or issuing an order or procedure that will have a significant impact on the accessibility of commercial airports or commercial air transportation for handicapped individuals. (b) Use of Airspace.—(1) The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall develop plans and policy for the use of the navigable airspace and assign by regulation or order the use of the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. The Administrator may modify or revoke an assignment when required in the public interest.

(2) The Administrator shall prescribe air traffic regulations on the flight of aircraft (including regulations on safe altitudes) for—

(A) navigating, protecting, and identifying aircraft;

(B) protecting individuals and property on the ground;

(C) using the navigable airspace efficiently; and

(D) preventing collision between aircraft, between aircraft and land or water vehicles, and between aircraft and airborne objects.

The FAA has been working on promulgating rules for unmanned aircraft and is close to issuing regulations for their safe integration. Again we ask you veto this bill, as we are concerned that all of the risks have been considered and that there may be unintended hazards that could arise as a result of SB 142 becoming law.

On behalf of the Remote Control Aerial Platform Association (RCAPA) membership Respectfully,

Patrick Egan

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Patrick Egan
Editor in Field, sUAS News Americas Desk | Patrick Egan is the editor of the Americas Desk at sUAS News and host and Executive Producer of the sUAS News Podcast Series, Drone TV and the Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. Experience in the field includes assignments with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Battle Lab investigating solutions on future warfare research projects. Instructor for LTA (Lighter Than Air) ISR systems deployment teams for an OSD, U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Surveillance Project. Built and operated commercial RPA prior to 2007 FAA policy clarification. On the airspace integration side, he serves as director of special programs for the RCAPA (Remote Control Aerial Photography Association).