When just about every aviation group in the country rises almost as one to denounce a pending bill, it’s got to be bad, right? Right.
Everybody and their mother is standing up and shouting for Congress to come to its senses. The problem is a rider to the FAA Authorization Bill that would give power to local and state governments to regulate drone activity, effectively carving out an exception to the federal government’s age-old right—known as preemption—to override governmental bodies below it when it comes to laws that affect national concerns. For example, states can’t charge fees to airplanes flying through their airspace, mandate certain kinds of avionics, issue their own FARs or decide that the official language of aviation in Delaware is Latin. These ideas might seem like nonsense to you, but if we didn’t let the federal government exercise its right to make the rules that affect us all, we’ll wind up with a crazy patchwork of regulations that will be impossible for users to follow. Not to mention that it will potentially imperil pilots by putting us at risk of collisions with drones that changes in local ordinances would make more likely.
This is a nonstarter and would represent a dangerous precedent for all in aviation.