The Adams and Reese Aviation and Aerospace Team offers a unique combination of industry experience and knowledge, with multi-disciplinary capabilities necessary to address the full spectrum of issues relating to drones (UAS), advanced air mobility (AAM), and other emerging transportation paradigms. Our lawyers have represented industry leaders since the start of civil UAS and AAM activity, and have been innovators in this area, applying their substantial experience to help manufacturers, operators, and other stakeholders achieve their goals.
The capabilities of drones, eVTOL vehicles, and other emerging transportation systems lead to complex legal, regulatory, and policy challenges, from bridging regulatory gaps that impede certification and operations to addressing privacy and civil liberties concerns. Technology is transforming the legal landscape – a hybrid of traditional and cutting-edge thinking that is constantly evolving. Our lawyers have the in-depth experience and knowledge to help clients – ranging from traditional airlines, manufacturers, and logistics companies to emerging technology enterprises and startups – successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by this environment.
As developers of innovative vehicles and operational concepts seek to ramp up commercial activity, they are confronted by challenges in obtaining governmental authorizations. The operational realities of deploying novel technologies at scale raise a variety of practical, technical, and legal issues with which regulators and industry participants must grapple. Our lawyers’ in-depth understanding of the industry and relationships with key regulators allow them to provide comprehensive guidance in overcoming complex challenges to operational deployment.
Our lawyers regularly provide guidance on the entire range of issues related to the development and deployment of UAS, AAM, and other future transportation systems including:
- Design and manufacturing approvals;
- Certification and licensing;
- Exemptions, waivers, and other authorizations;
- Airspace access;
- Beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations;
- Federal preemption;
- Cybersecurity, data security, and privacy;
- Testing and experimental certification;
- Public aircraft operations;
- State, local, and municipal laws and regulations;
- Compliance and enforcement;
- Transportation of dangerous goods / hazardous materials (HAZMAT);
- Crisis preparedness and emergency planning; and
- Development of policy, legislation, and regulations.
With deep knowledge of both the emerging and legacy transportation sectors, coupled with technical acumen and extensive experience before relevant regulatory agencies, our lawyers are uniquely positioned to provide a full range of strategic and tactical advice on regulatory, commercial, operational, and infrastructure-related issues.
- Advised UAS operators across range of industries, including chemical, television/film production, natural resources, and retail, on UAS interim operating authorities under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, on operating authorities under 14 C.F.R. Part 107, as well as alternative means to enable the testing and operation of UAS prior to completion of formal rulemaking processes.
- Assisted variety of companies in development of original and amended petitions for exemption under 49 U.S.C. § 44807.
- Advised eVTOL manufacturer on certification standards applicable to manufacture, production, and operations, as well as export-control requirements.
- Advised leading logistics company on federal and state issues relating to uncrewed package delivery systems.
- Advised international airline on wide range of future transportation initiatives, certification, operational approvals, and infrastructure development.
- Assisted start-up company in working through design and certification issues, navigating the legal and regulatory landscape, and coordinating with federal agencies.
- Advised aerospace manufacture on testing, public aircraft operations, and export of uncrewed vehicles.
- Counseled major advertising concerns in connection with regulations and policies applicable to UAS in nationally-televised product campaigns.
- Advised operators and manufacturers on use of UAS test sites and their role in FAA’s airworthiness and operating certification processes.
- Prepared industry trade association’s comments on model state UAS privacy legislation proposed by the Aerospace States Association, the Council of State Governments, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- Developed crisis-preparedness strategy and emergency response handbook for major drone delivery company.
- Served as counsel to the DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance, the world's fastest growing non-profit program supporting the use of UAS for public safety.
- Advocated on behalf of one of the nation’s leading Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) and Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) technology suppliers before government decision-makers and industry stakeholders.
- Assisted UAS company with securing contract to perform drone services in aftermath of the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.
- Collaborated with UTM technology supplier and an aerial inspection company to enable drone inspection of the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans.
- Counseled aerial inspection companies on UAS insurance and indemnification matters.
- Drafted master service agreements, pilot service contracts, and non-disclosure agreements for UAS companies partnering with end-user industries.
- Represented telecommunications companies in a Louisiana Public Service Commission docket examining use of drones in storm restoration efforts.