The HAI Government Affairs team provides important updates on industry coalition letters, HAI-supported aviation bills, FAA workforce development grants, and more.
HAI Signs Ligado Order Anniversary Coalition Letter
HAI, as part of a coalition of 90 industry stakeholders, sent a letter to President Biden and congressional representatives acknowledging the second anniversary of the release of the Ligado Order. The letter urges the administration and Congress to work with the FCC to stay and ultimately set aside the order. Staying the order is necessary to adequately consider the congressionally mandated independent technical review of harmful interference caused by the proposed Ligado network, especially now that Ligado intends to deploy it as soon as Sep. 30, 2022.
The Ligado Order threatens the critical GPS, satellite communications, and weather forecasting services relied on by millions of users every day and has faced unified and unprecedented opposition from the federal government, including 14 federal agencies and departments.
The full letter can be viewed here.
Industry Coalition Letter Supporting SAF Blenders Tax Credit
HAI and a coalition of aviation industry stakeholders expressed strong support for a new, long-term, technology- and feedstock-neutral tax incentive for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in an Apr. 22 letter to congressional majority and minority leadership. The letter highlighted the benefits of a blender’s tax credit specifically aimed at incentivizing the production and use of SAF. The coalition also asked Congress to address several key principles as it considers a SAF tax credit.
The full coalition letter can be viewed here.
HAI Participates in Unmanned System Caucus Event
Representing HAI, Cade Clark, VP of Government Affairs, joined other aviation industry representatives for a roundtable discussion on advanced air mobility (AAM) with leaders of the House Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Caucus. The roundtable event, which was hosted in Orlando, Florida, as part of AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2022, centered around issues relating to uncrewed aircraft system beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.-06) and Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.-01) led the discussion with HAI and other members of the UAS BVLOS Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee.
House T&I Committee Marks Up HAI-Supported Aviation Bills
The House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee held a markup on Thursday, Apr. 28, marking up several transportation bills, including two supported by HAI. The committee passed H.R. 6270, the Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization Act, sponsored by House Subcommittee on Aviation Chair Rick Larsen (D-Wash.-02). This bill establishes a pilot program to provide planning and construction grants for advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure. The committee also passed H.R. 3482, the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.-07). This bill would create an independent forum to facilitate collaboration and cooperation between all sectors of aviation, aerospace, and related partners and would help ensure the United States remains the global leader in aviation. HAI thanks all bill sponsors for introducing legislation that will benefit the aviation industry.
Apply for FAA Aviation Workforce Development Grants!
The FAA is seeking applications for two Aviation Workforce Development Grant programs: The Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grants and the Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers Workforce Development Grants. The Aircraft Pilots program will train students to become pilots, aerospace engineers, or uncrewed systems operators, while the Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers program will train students to become aviation maintenance technicians. A total of $10 million is available for the programs, and individual grants can range from $25,000 to $500,000 for each grant per fiscal year. Please submit applications at www.grants.gov by 11:59 pm on Jun. 10, 2022. Further details are available in the Notices of Funding Opportunity on www.grants.gov.
The FAA was authorized to establish the Aviation Workforce Development Grant Program in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The program was created to address the projected aircraft pilot shortage by offering grants to expand aviation industry education opportunities. Congress approved the program through the end of fiscal year 2023.
Biden Administration Gives States Authority to Track Drones
The Biden administration revealed a new plan to prevent drones from flying too close to critical buildings. The eight-point plan, designed to set standards for the legal and illegal use of drones, includes a proposed pilot program that gives states and local enforcement agencies more autonomy to detect and track drones. The six-year pilot will give a limited number of state and local authorities the ability to monitor drones more successfully. Selected participants for the pilot will be approved by the FAA to observe drones and purchase authorized counter-drone equipment. The administration’s action plan will also establish a national counter-UAS training center for local and federal law enforcement, a tracking database, and research and development measures.
House and Senate Appropriators Discuss FY 2023
The top House and Senate appropriators met on Thursday, Apr. 28, to begin discussing top-line numbers for fiscal year 2023 (FY 2023) spending bills. Key appropriations leadership, known as the “four corners,” includes Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.-03), and House Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Tex.-12). This appropriations meeting was the first of many discussions on FY 2023 spending.
House appropriators have tentatively made plans to mark up their spending bills in mid- to late June, meaning that floor votes could take place as soon as July.