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Court Ruling on FAA Jurisdiction Will Boost U.S. Drone Innovations, Says CTA

Arlington, VA – September 21, 2017 – 

The following statement is attributed to Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy, Consumer Technology Association (CTA); member of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee Subcommittee; and former member of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration Task Force and Micro UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee, regarding the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruling that drone rules set by the federal government on registration, flight bans and visual observation take precedence over any laws set by localities:

“The Massachusetts ruling is a critical step in our country’s effort to lead the world in drone technology and deliver all the life-changing benefits drones offer. As the court said, the FAA is the authority on drone rules – who can fly, and where and when they can do so – and the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over safety, flight altitudes, flight paths and no-fly zones. Any confusion about these jurisdictional issues will open the door to a mess of sloppy, conflicting local rules – an approach that hurts drone entrepreneurs and startups, stifles job creation and confuses commercial operators and hobbyists alike. We’re working closely with the FAA and Congress to make sure drone rules balance safety and innovation – and this decision establishes a rock-solid affirmation that the federal government unequivocally holds jurisdiction over the drone industry.”

CTA expects total drone sales in the U.S. to reach new heights in 2017, topping 3.4 million units (a 40 percent year-over-year increase) and $1 billion in revenue for the first time (a 46 percent increase). Drones below 250 grams are expected to sell two million units, and drones above 250 grams will sell 1.3 million units.

CTA’s annual Innovation Scorecard tracks every U.S. state’s drone policies. During the 2016 legislative year, 40 states earned a grade of 'C' or higher for passing bills to advance drone innovations within their borders or not enacting restrictive, anti-technology legislation.

CTA is a supporting member of the safety campaign Know Before You Fly, which provides prospective drone operators with the information and guidance they need to fly safely and responsibly.

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