drone over Washington DC

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2024 with a bipartisan vote of 387 to 26. This follows the Senate’s equally strong endorsement last week, where the bill passed with an 88 to 4 vote. The new legislation extends the FAA’s authority through Fiscal Year 2028 and introduces critical measures aimed at advancing uncrewed and powered lift aircraft operations.

The Act mandates the FAA to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking for Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) within the next four months. Additionally, it requires the FAA to publish a final special rule for powered lift aircraft operations within seven months. These directives are seen as pivotal steps forward for the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry, promising to unlock new capabilities and applications for drone technology.

Beyond drone operations, the legislation includes provisions to enhance cybersecurity and workforce training within the aviation sector. These measures aim to bolster the resilience and security of the aviation infrastructure, ensuring it can meet future challenges.

Drone industry advocates have lauded the bipartisan effort, emphasizing its significance in strengthening US global competitiveness in advanced aviation and autonomy technologies. They highlight the potential benefits for public safety, particularly with the new directives for BVLOS operations which are expected to revolutionize the use of drones in law enforcement and emergency response.

However, the bill has faced criticism for its omissions, particularly regarding counter-drone technology. Currently, counter-drone measures can only be deployed or tested in very limited circumstances by authorized federal entities. Critics argue that the failure to include new authorities for law enforcement and critical infrastructure to combat malicious drone activities leaves a significant gap in national and public safety.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature. By setting the stage for expanded drone operations and enhancing cybersecurity measures, this legislation paves the way for a future where advanced air mobility can thrive while addressing the challenges that come with it.

Soaring to new heights, together.

Be sure to visit the BWU Technology Partnerships Initiative website to learn more about how our NEOFIX program drives economic growth, promotes policy and infrastructure to improve drone safety and efficiency in various industries, and ensures that drone technology is being used responsibly.