Rep. Mark Udall
It's hard to get anywhere without a plan. That's why Congress wants the FAA to focus on two areas critical to general aviation: the future of avgas and the regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
"Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), chairman of the House space and aeronautics subcommittee, has shown strong leadership by sponsoring this badly needed legislation," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We need to address how existing aircraft will be affected by alternatives to leaded avgas, and we need to make sure that UAVs meet the same standards as certified aircraft. It's about our future as well as our safety."
The bill would provide $750,000 over three years (beginning in fiscal year 2008) for research into modifying existing piston engines so that they can burn unleaded aviation fuel. The bill would also require the FAA to develop a "roadmap" for the program. In other words, it would create a sense of urgency that has been lacking in the past.
As far as UAVs are concerned, the bill would require the FAA to submit a plan for testing and integrating UAVs into the National Airspace System. There are currently no federal regulations for the certification or operation of UAVs. AOPA wants to make sure the vehicles operate safely and don't result in more flight restrictions for pilots.
The bill has passed the House space and aeronautics subcommittee. The next stop is the full Science and Technology Committee.
June 20, 2007