Busy Week: New Law, New UAV

As the weekend approaches, new developments in the arena of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”).

First, reports that an X-47B, an experimental bat-winged UAV of the US Navy performed the first-ever arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier on this week.  A “glimpse of the future” for sure.

Something is off if you didn’t say wow.  This is incredible.

Meanwhile, on terra firma, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has issued guidance in the form of a notice respecting UAV operations in the national airspace.  The notice offers some editing changes to the process by which public operators for UAVs obtain a “certificate of waiver or authorization” or “COA.”

Essentially, UAV operators must obtain government approval to operate UAVs in particular airspace.  To do, among other requirement, UAV operators must  establish that their vehicles are safe, by for example, having see-and-avoid capabilities.  The notice is a good example of the raw and evolving legal environment that aviation lawyers must navigate when it comes to UAV operations.