Bill Authorizes Use of Unmanned Drones in U.S. Airspace

By:  Brian Koenig
02/09/2012
       
Bill Authorizes Use of Unmanned Drones in U.S. Airspace

Big Brother is set to adopt a new form of surveillance after a bill passed by Congress will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open U.S. airspace to drone flights under a new four-year plan. The bill, which passed the House last week and received bipartisan approval in the Senate on Monday, will convert radar to an air traffic control system based on GPS technology, shifting the country to an age where satellites are central to air traffic control and unmanned drones glide freely throughout U.S. airspace.

 

Big Brother is set to adopt a new form of surveillance after a bill passed by Congress will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open U.S. airspace to drone flights under a new four-year plan. The bill, which passed the House last week and received bipartisan approval in the Senate on Monday, will convert radar to an air traffic control system based on GPS technology, shifting the country to an age where satellites are central to air traffic control and unmanned drones glide freely throughout U.S. airspace.

By using GPS technology, congressional leaders argued, planes will land and take off more efficiently, as pilots will be able to pinpoint the locations of ground obstacles and nearby aircraft. The modernization procedures play into the FAA’s ambitious plan to achieve 50-percent growth in air traffic over the next 10 years. This legislation is "the best news that the airline industry ever had," applauded Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.). "It will take us into a new era."

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood added that it "will provide the stability and predictability to ensure critical aviation safety programs … and infrastructure investments move forward."
 
The legislation allocates $63.4 billion to the FAA, including about $11 billion for the modernization of the air traffic system. It expedites the modernization project by requiring the FAA to generate new arrival procedures by June 2015 at the country’s 35 busiest airports, so planes will have the ability to land using the new GPS navigation systems. Other provisions in the bill include:

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