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AAM sector praises passage of FAA Reauthorization Bill 2024

By Jen Nevans | May 16, 2024

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 26 seconds.

Leaders in the advanced air mobility (AAM) sector are applauding a long-awaited bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), securing long-term funding for the agency through to 2028.

The House voted 387-26 to pass the bipartisan reauthorization bill on May 15, following the U.S. Senate’s passage of the bill the week prior in an 88-4 vote. The bill will now go to the White House to be signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden.  

After four short-term extensions to the authorization that had originally expired Sept. 30, 2023, eVTOL developers were quick to praise its passage. California-based Joby Aviation called it a “landmark bill” that “for the first time … [acknowledges] the critical importance of advanced air mobility to the future of the skies.”

Joby’s CEO JoeBen Bevirt was one of the AAM leaders who provided testimony before Congress last year on the proposed reauthorization bill. Beta Technologies CEO Kyle Clark was another who testified.

Along with Beta’s eVTOL and eCTOL aircraft development, the company is also developing a battery charging network. Clark had asserted to Congress that “partnerships between industry and the government will be necessary to bring this infrastructure to scale.”

The reauthorization provides welcomed news for U.S. eVTOL companies, with many stakeholders dubbing this a “watershed” moment for the future of aviation. Hyundai’s Supernal said the bill “provides certainty for the AAM industry as we move toward entry into service.”

The bill includes requirements to the FAA to advance innovative aviation technologies. Notably, it mandates the agency to publish final special rules for the operations of powered-lift aircraft within seven months.

This special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) is important for companies like Joby, Beta, and Archer Aviation that are looking to type certify their eVTOLs under the FAA’s powered-lift category.

To support UAS operations, the legislation requires the FAA to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations within four months.

Michael Robbins, president and CEO of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), said these measures will help “usher in meaningful progress toward the safe integration of drones and AAM within the national airspace system.”

The legislation also includes measures around AAM infrastructure development, grant programs, cybersecurity, workforce training, and autonomy, among other priorities. 

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