Unmanned, Remote, Supersonic and Other Stuff in the FAA Reauthorization
Gaining clarity and continuity in our requirements and priorities is the reason we are so pleased to have a five-year reauthorization for the FAA, which is a great change from having a series of consecutive short-term extensions in recent years. Separate from the appropriations bills that give agencies money, the authorization bill gives us policy direction and guidance so we know which activities are authorized and can devote our resources to them.
The law enacted last month is more than 1,000 pages long, so I will just share a few highlights as members of our team continue to implement and assess the reporting requirements in it.
Several key provisions acknowledge how aviation is evolving, asking us to address integration of unmanned aircraft system, assess the benefits of remote towers, and lead in the potential development of supersonic aircraft.
The law asks us to come up with a plan to address any barriers to compliance with the 2020 mandate for equipping aircraft with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B. It also asks us for the status of other NextGen improvements such as Terminal Sequencing and Spacing.
Addressing community noise concerns is another priority. The law says we have to examine dispersal headings for new Performance Based Navigation Area Navigation routes. Provisions also address community involvement, noise mitigation studies and aircraft noise exposure.
Reports on operational contingency and resiliency plans, special use airspace and automated weather observing systems are among the other items we plan to deliver as we evaluate the bill’s other impacts and shape how to proceed.
As I mentioned earlier, an authorization isn’t the same as an appropriation, and we are currently operating under a continuing resolution, or CR, that runs through Dec. 7, so stay tuned for news as Congress tackles the remaining appropriations bills in the legislative period that remains this year.
I also want to thank everyone who has given to the charities participating in the Combined Federal Campaign already and hope you had fun sporting your favorite sports jersey on Giving Tuesday. The ATO has reached 7 percent of its $327,300 goal in the National Capital Area so far. I look forward to sharing future updates as we move closer to meeting our FAA goal of $586,000.