Unified Agenda Provides Insight into 2018 Rulemaking Priorities

On Dec. 18, the Trump Administration unveiled its Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions for 2018. The document provides insights about the priorities and planned actions of executive branch departments and agencies for the coming year. 

According the Department of Transportation’s preamble, the FAA will focus its resources on four major strategic initiatives in 2018:

  • Risk-based Decision Making. Building on safety management principles to proactively address emerging risk by using consistent, data-informed approaches to make smarter, system-level, risk-based decisions.
  • National Air Space Systen (NAS) Initiative. Laying the foundation for the NAS of the future by achieving prioritized NextGen benefits to enable the safe and efficient integration of new entrants (including unmanned aerial systems, supersonic aircraft and commercial space flights) and delivering more efficient, streamlined air traffic management services.
  • Global Leadership. Improving safety, air traffic efficiency and environmental sustainability across the globe through an integrated, data-driven approach that shapes global standards, enhances collaboration and harmonization, and better targets FAA resources and efforts.
  • Workforce of the Future. Preparing FAA’s human capital for the future by identifying, recruiting, and training a workforce with the leadership, technical and functional skills to ensure the United States has the world’s safest and most productive aviation sector.

The preamble indicates the FAA plans to publish two notices of proposed rulemaking addressing UAS and commercial space technologies (Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People, 2120-AK85 and Orbital Debris Mitigation Methods for Launch Vehicle Upper Stages, 2120-AK81), in addition to addressing the previously published Interim Final Rule on Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft (2120-AK82) and publishing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on UAS security-related issues (Safe and Secure Operations of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, (2120-AL26).

The FAA’s top deregulatory actions will involve issuing two final rules. The first, Transport Airplane Fuel Tank and System Lightning Protection, (2120-AK24), would amend certain airworthiness regulations regarding lightning protection of fuel tanks and systems. The Rotorcraft Pilot Compartment View (2120-AK91) rulemaking will the testing requirements for pilot compartment view to alleviate the cost of the flight test and reduce administrative burdens on affected applicants.

Finally, the FAA will focus on two rules related to airline safety and pilot training improvements. The first will establish an electronic pilot record database that air carriers would use for pre-employment checks on pilots (Pilot Records Database, 2120-AK31). The second will implement improvements to pilot training and professional development programs to address mentoring, leadership, and professional development of flight crewmembers (Professional Development, (2120-AJ87).

The agenda also provides a snapshot of the status of all rules currently under consideration by FAA (see table below).  The pre-rule stage indicates FAA is determining whether or how to initiate rulemaking. The proposed rule stage indicates that FAA plans to publish or has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Rules indicated as being in the final stage are actions for which FAA plans to issue a final or interim rule. Long-term actions are those which the FAA is considering but not expecting to action on in the coming year.

When reviewing the table below, it’s important to keep in mind that the fact that the item isn’t included doesn’t necessarily mean the FAA will act on it in the coming year – just like the inclusion of an issue here does not guarantee government action. A review of last year’s Unified Agenda indicates that many items have been carried over and their status has not changed.

Status of FAA Rulemakings
Status Topic Docket Link
Pre-Rule Stage Applying the Flight, Duty, and Rest Rules of 14 CFR Part 135 to Tail-End Ferry Operations (FAA Reauthorization 2120-AK26
Pre-Rule Stage Safe and Secure Operations of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems 2120-AL26
Proposed Rule Stage System Safety Assessment 2120-AJ99
Proposed Rule Stage Drug and Alcohol Testing of Certain Maintenance Provider Employees Located Outside of the United States 2120-AK09
Proposed Rule Stage Applying the Flight, Duty, and Rest Requirements to Ferry Flights That Follow Domestic, Flag, or Supplemental All-Cargo Operations (Reauthorization) 2120-AK22
Proposed Rule Stage Pilot Records Database (HR 5900) 2120-AK31
Proposed Rule Stage Interior Parts and Components Fire Protection for Transport Category Airplanes 2120-AK34
Proposed Rule Stage Aircraft Registration and Airmen Certification Fees 2120-AK37
Proposed Rule Stage Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools (AMTS) 2120-AK48
Proposed Rule Stage Requirements to File Notice of Construction of Meteorological Evaluation Towers and Other Renewable Energy Projects 2120-AK77
Proposed Rule Stage Miscellaneous Rotorcraft Regulations (Misc. Parts 27 and 29 Regs.) 2120-AK80
Proposed Rule Stage Orbital Debris Mitigation Methods for Launch Vehicle Upper Stages (Orbital Debris) 2120-AK81
Proposed Rule Stage Medium Flocking Bird Test at Climb Condition 2120-AK83
Proposed Rule Stage Operations of Small Unmanned Aircraft Over People 2120-AK85
Proposed Rule Stage Use of ADS-B in Support of Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) Operations (RVSM ADS-B) 2120-AK87
Proposed Rule Stage Yaw Maneuver Conditions – Rudder Reversals (Formerly Vertical Stabilizer Loads for Transport Category Airplanes) 2120-AK89
Proposed Rule Stage Severe Weather Detection Equipment Requirements for Helicopter Air Ambulance Operations 2120-AK94
Proposed Rule Stage Fatigue Risk Management Programs (FRMP) 2120-AK98
Proposed Rule Stage Update to Investigative and Enforcement Procedures (Part 13 Update) 2120-AL00
Proposed Rule Stage Recognition of Pilot in Command Experience in the Military and in Part 121 Air Carrier Operations 2120-AL03
Proposed Rule Stage Security Disqualification Update 2120-AL04
Proposed Rule Stage Removal of the Date Restriction for Flight Training in Experimental Light Sport Aircraft (E-LSA) 2120-AL09
Proposed Rule Stage Foreign Civil Aviation Authority Certifying Statement for Type Validation Projects (TPV) 2120-AL10
Proposed Rule Stage Structural Requirements for Interior Compartments 2120-AL11
Proposed Rule Stage Check Airman Medical 2120-AL12
Proposed Rule Stage Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC) 2120-AL13
Proposed Rule Stage Flight Simulation Training Device Usage in Training Programs 2120-AL14
Proposed Rule Stage High Elevation Airport Operations 2120-AL15
Proposed Rule Stage Updates to Clarify and Streamline Commercial Space Transportation Regulations 2120-AL17
Proposed Rule Stage Expanding Options for Ship Protection During Launch and Reentry 2120-AL18
Proposed Rule Stage U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act Incorporation 2120-AL19
Proposed Rule Stage Single-Engine Turbine-Powered Aircraft Inspection Program Modernization 2120-AL20
Proposed Rule Stage Air Carrier Definitions (Part 110 and 119) 2120-AL21
Proposed Rule Stage Removal of Flight Plan Requirements for Commercial SFRA Operations at Grand Canyon National Park 2120-AL22
Proposed Rule Stage Type Ratings for Single Engine Airplanes 2120-AL23
Proposed Rule Stage Commuter and On-Demand Carriers and Training Center Harmonization 2120-AL24
Proposed Rule Stage Removal of the Expiration Date on a Flight Instructor Certificate 2120-AL25
Final Rule Stage Airport Safety Management System 2120-AJ38
Final Rule Stage Pilot Professional Development 2120-AJ87
Final Rule Stage Transport Airplane Fuel Tank and System Lightning Protection 2120-AK24
Final Rule Stage Aviation Training Devices; Pilot Certification, Training, Pilot Schools; and Other Provisions 2120-AK28
Final Rule Stage Updates to Rulemaking and Waiver Procedures and Expansion of the Equivalent Level of Safety Option 2120-AK76
Final Rule Stage Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft 2120-AK82
Final Rule Stage Rotorcraft Pilot Compartment View (SPOT) 2120-AK91
Final Rule Stage Aviation Safety Organization Changes 2120-AL05
Final Rule Stage Extension of the Prohibition against Certain Flights in the Baghdad (ORBB) Flight Information Region (FIR) 2120-AL06
Final Rule Stage Revision of ADS-B Out Requirements 2120-AL16
Final Rule Stage Amendment of the Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR) 2120-AL27
Long-Term Actions Part 95 Instrument Flight Rules 2120-AA63
Long-Term Actions Airworthiness Directives 2120-AA64
Long-Term Actions Standard Instrument Approach Procedures 2120-AA65
Long-Term Actions Airspace Actions 2120-AA66
Long-Term Actions Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Afghanistan 2120-AJ69
Long-Term Actions Regulation Of Flight Operations Conducted By Alaska Guide Pilots 2120-AJ78
Long-Term Actions Pilot Biometric Certificates (FAA Reauthorization) 2120-AK33
Long-Term Actions Permanent Requirement for Helicopters to Use the New York North Shore Helicopter Route 2120-AK39
Long-Term Actions Helicopter Air Ambulance Pilot Training and Operational Requirements (HAA II) (FAA Reauthorization) 2120-AK57
Long-Term Actions Unmanned Aircraft Systems Expanded Operations 2120-AL01


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