LoBiondo Praises Bipartisan House-Passage of Long-Term FAA Authorization with Increased Research Role for South Jersey’s Technical Center

Apr 27, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02), Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, today applauded the House-passed five-year authorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorities and programs.

“The legislation passed today in the House will ensure long-term stability at the FAA to ensure critical research programs are not sidelined by politics. This FAA authorization also represents bipartisan cooperation and compromise to advance the Nation’s aviation interests and safety in the skies,” said LoBiondo, Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. “I share in the goal of strengthening our aviation system to meet 21st century demands while ensuring our FAA Technical Center has a leading role in this effort. Protecting the work of South Jersey’s FAA Technical Center and promoting its 3,500 employees has been and continues to be my top priority. Moving a five-year FAA bill through the Congress this year and sending it to the President’s desk will help ensure America maintains a safe, strong, and competitive aviation system.”

Some of the specific research programs in which the FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township would be expected to have a role in executing are as follows:

  • Certification of New Air Navigation Facilities for Unmanned Aircraft and other Aircraft – FAA to establish procedures for issuing air navigation facility certificates for operators of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) for unmanned aircraft operations.
  • Unmanned Aircraft Test Ranges – FAA to develop and permit flights of unmanned aircraft equipped with sense-and-avoid and beyond line of sight systems.
  • Update of FAA Comprehensive Plan – FAA to develop a concept of operations for the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.
  • Review of FAA Strategic Cybersecurity Plan – FAA to review the comprehensive and strategic framework of the FAA’s cybersecurity principles and policies.
  • Aviation Fuel – FAA shall determine that an unleaded aviation gasoline qualifies as a replacement and identifies the aircraft and engines that are eligible for use. 

Leading up to today’s vote and passage, the Aviation Subcommittee conducted more than 200 industry stakeholder meetings and hearings to examine every aspect of the U.S. aviation system. LoBiondo also introduced a bipartisan amendment on the House floor with Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (WA-02) to increase coordination between federal agencies to protect critical infrastructure, such as airports or nuclear power plants, from rogue drones. The amendment was adopted. 

  • Review of Interagency Coordination of Counter-UAS Operations:  FAA to review the interagency coordination procedures and standards for authorized federal C-UAS activity.

The full House passed H.R. 4 on a strong 393 to 13 vote. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. The current authorization for the FAA and its programs expires September 30, 2018.