McKenna Long & Aldridge launches UAS practice group

McKenna Long & Aldridge launches UAS practice group

10-Mar-2014 Source: McKenna Long & Aldridge

Recognizing that the future of flight is changing, and in order better to service its growing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) client base, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (MLA) announces the launch of its UAS Practice Group, an offering that is a natural extension of its long-standing representation of the aerospace industry.  For more than 55 years, MLA has represented a cross-section of designers, manufacturers and integrators of cutting-edge aerospace systems used commercially, in military applications and in foreign air space.  Combined with its substantial risk mitigation/insurance practice and its significant FAA aviation practice, MLA’s UAS practice group is uniquely qualified to respond to and anticipate the needs of companies that are in or wish to enter this dynamic emerging marketplace.

Blending MLA’s experience operating at the intersection of law, government and business, the UAS Practice Group will provide advocacy services during this critical period of federal and state rulemaking, as well as assist organizations in addressing the multitude of potential legal challenges that may arise, including:

  • Design and Operator Certification
  • Operating in U.S. Civil Airspace
  • Limiting Tort Liability, including through the U.S. SAFETY Act
  • Insurance and Risk Management
  • Commercial/Contracts
  • Emergency Response
  • Privacy Issues
  • Intellectual Property
  • Regulatory and Enforcement Issues
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Cybersecurity

“The launch of the UAS practice is particularly timely given that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as mandated by Congress, is expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on small UAS in Fall 2014, with large UAS to follow,” said Mark Dombroff, Co-Chair of MLA’s UAS practice.  In advance of the release of the NPRM, MLA is forming a “Think Tank” advisory group of large, middle-market and small companies that are active, or looking to be active in this space, to provide input and comments to the FAA prior to the release of the regulations.

MLA successfully led a similar “think tank” group in 2002 in conjunction with the rulemaking efforts related to the U.S. SAFETY Act, a landmark tort reform statute conceived by MLA attorneys in 2002.  The SAFETY Act eliminates or minimizes enterprise-threatening tort liabilities for homeland security companies arising out of terrorist attacks if their anti-terror technologies have been pre-approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  Because unmanned aerial systems could be the subject of terrorist activities, the SAFETY Act will have direct applicability to designers, manufacturers and integrators of such systems.

In addition to the Advisory group, MLA will host a UAS Symposium on June 26, 2014 in Washington, DC.  The symposium will address legal, regulatory, safety, compliance and risk management issues.

About UAS Practice

With more than 55 years of experience in the aviation and aerospace and defense industries, MLA’s UAS practitioners provide strategic, experienced guidance on a wide range of issues, including: operating in the highly regulated world of commercial airspace; managing and/or mitigating risks through insurance, contract and statutory protections; emergency preparedness and response; regulatory enforcement actions; the certification process for aircraft, pilots, and maintenance personnel; privacy concerns and how to avoid overstepping the boundaries; dealing with hazardous material issues when using UAS’s; and transitioning from the DOD world to the FAA world. editor note – this is not the first UAS practice group for a US Lawyer – another is LeClairRyan

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