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ABA Forum on Air and Space Law: Legislative Update Meeting – Opening Remarks

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Res Communis is blogging from the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law’s Update Conference in Washington, D.C. today. Michael Huerta, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, gave the opening keynote speech. His key points were:

– Goal is to improve safety by leveraging technology. Last year’s reauthorization was key to this.
– Sequestration is looming and creates a challenge as the FAA as it must cut $627 million under the terms of sequestration; furloughs and other cost saving measures are being considered, but this will cause delays in major cities that will ripple across the country; several smaller airports might be forced to close. No new projects.
– currently no FY13 budget as of yet
– safety is the number one goal. Boeing 787: working around the clock to review and work on the battery issues. It will not be allowed to return to service until it can be flown safely
– FAA is finalizing rules on pilot rest, hours flown, and training for flight crews.
– new technology: working to integrate UAS into domestic airspace. New test sites be used to to collect data and taking comments from public to address privacy concerns and site operators will be required to respect right to privacy.
– commercial space launches: also working to integrate these into the national airspace. Partnership with NASA: FAA public safety; NASA flight crew safety.
– Aviation is the nations largest export industry.
– legal aspects in everything that the FAA does.
– air and space lawyers need to work collaboratively and creatively to take safety to the next level.