If Senator Schumer wants to write rules about UASs, the Constitution authorizes him to do so

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In the below article, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) provides advice on what the FAA should do with regard to UAVs. Great ideas; under Article I, section 8 the senior Senator from the Empire State, Harvard Law graduate and legislator of 39 years (dating to his 1975 election to the NY general assembly) can transform his concepts into law. The FAA, which already has a heavy, delayed agenda, would have major difficulties with such rules as he proposes!

The Senator’s approach to regulating UAS operations is succinctly summed as follows in a letter which he sent to the FAA. He initially decries that New York City has become the “ the wild, Wild West for commercial and hobby drones” mentioning illegal flights by private investigators, drug dealers and others. He did not mention the decision of Rep. Maloney (D-NY) to hire a UAS operator to photograph his wedding (as a good or bad example, Senator?) . His letter blames these problems on the FAA for the “confusion as to what is legal, and the blatant abuses of this great technology.”

The Senator fails to recognize that the FAA already must issue complex, detailed rules for the future manufacture of these aircraft. Its statutory duty, as written by Congress, requires that the rules define rules for their safe operation. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 also mentions that variation in standards for small and large drones as well as to differentiate between hobby and commercial uses. The regulatory regime must facilitate the surveillance and enforcement of these new rules; consider: anyone can buy a small UAS, launch it literally from anywhere and attain altitudes which could interfere with flight. Lastly and not the least consideration, they must create strictures which will separate UAS from other traffic; note: the technology of “detect and avoid” is not yet fully proven.

In this context, the Senator Schumer annotated answer is to ban drug dealers and private investigators. Assuming ­arguendo that he is serious about banning these two categories, the regulations could not ban these categories of operators?

There is no doubt that the FAA is struggling to issue its UAS rules. The task is daunting, especially when they consider that the future of this industry is explosive. If the regulators establish rules which are too confining, for example, and the technology expands against that stricture, that conflict would be a major problem. Thus the FAA is moving with all deliberate speed. Senator, if you feel strongly about your ideas, you may sponsor the necessary legislation.

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