NBAA Lauds Reassertion of FAA’s Control Of All Airspace, Including For Drones

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Washington, DC, Dec. 18, 2015 ­– The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) reassertion that the agency has sole authority to implement and enforce regulations for all navigable airspace in the National Airspace System (NAS).

Specifically, the fact sheet, released Dec. 17, alerts local government entities that they are not allowed to regulate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in airspace above their surface jurisdiction, given the FAA’s federal preemption over such matters. Review the FAA’s UAS fact sheet.

“We welcome this document, and strongly agree with its conclusion that the FAA is the only federal agency with the authority to regulate airspace in the NAS,” said Bob Lamond, NBAA director, air traffic services & infrastructure. “We urge local government authorities to understand their limits regarding control over UAS in the airspace above their surface jurisdiction.”

The FAA’s fact sheet states: “Congress has vested the FAA with authority to regulate the areas of airspace use, management and efficiency, air traffic control, safety, navigational facilities, and aircraft noise at its source.” The memo comes amid reports of hazardous use of UAS by individuals who either are unaware of, or are disregarding, UAS-operating requirements.

NBAA has long maintained that it is imperative that any introduction plan for UAS be focused on safety. This means UAS should not share the same airspace with manned aircraft until they have equivalent certification and airworthiness standards as manned aircraft, including the ability to take timely directions from air traffic control, and to sense and avoid manned aircraft and other UAS.

NBAA has continually supported initiatives designed to educate UAS users about the applicable rules and regulations for safe operation of the vehicles. In December 2014, NBAA joined the FAA’s “Know Before You Fly” initiative, which provides prospective UAS users with information and guidance for flying UAS in a safe, responsible manner. NBAA has also utilized the association’s events as opportunities for producing UAS-related materials and seminars to discuss their safe operation, as well as their potential applications for business aviation. 

NBAA personnel have participated in UAS working groups for nearly 10 years, and the association has published expansive online resources covering developments in the UAS industry of importance to the business aviation community.

The release of the new FAA fact sheet reaffirming its singular role over airspace governance follows the agency’s unveiling, earlier this week, of new UAS-registration requirements, which mandate the registration of private and recreationally operated small UAS (s-UAS), beginning Monday, Dec 21. NBAA was among the 30 aviation-stakeholder participants in a government-industry task force that provided input on s-UAS registration to an FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee. View the task force’s UAS report.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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