Definition Edit

Air commerce included

the operation of aircraft within the limits of a Federal airway, or the operation of aircraft that directly affects, or may endanger safety in foreign or interstate air commerce.[1]

Overview Edit

[T]he NTSB has held that "any use of an aircraft, for purpose of flight, constitutes air commerce."[2] Courts that have considered this issue have reached similar conclusions that "air commerce," as defined in the FAA's statute, encompasses a broad range of commercial and non-commercial aircraft operations.[3]

Accordingly, because "air commerce" encompasses such a broad range of aircraft operations, a civil small unmanned aircraft cannot currently be operated, for purposes of flight, if it does not comply with the above statutes. However, the FAA's current processes for issuing airworthiness and airman certificates were designed to be used for manned aircraft and do not take into account the considerations associated with civil small UAS.

References Edit

  1. 49 U.S.C. §40102(a)(3).
  2. Administrator v. Barrows, 7 N.T.S.B. 5, 8-9 (1990).
  3. See, e.g., United States v. Healy, 376 U.S. 75, 84 (1964) (holding that the statutory definition of "air commerce" in the Federal Aviation Act in 1958 is not limited to commercial airplanes); Hill v. NTSB, 886 F.2d 1275, 1280 (10th Cir. 1989) ("[t]he statutory definition of 'air commerce' is therefore clearly not restricted to interstate flights occurring in controlled or navigable airspace"); United States v. Drumm, 55 F. Supp. 151, 155 (D. Nev. 1944) (upholding amendments of Civil Air Regulations, which among other things prohibited any person from piloting a civil aircraft unless the person held a valid pilot certificate and the aircraft possessed an airworthiness certificate, on the grounds that the regulatory action was within the scope of powers conferred by Congress).

Source Edit

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