Johnson Amendments Fly Through Committee as Part of FAA Bill

WASHINGTON – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today approved legislation containing key Federal Aviation Administration reforms authored by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), including two amendments to improve transparency and security of the nation’s airspace.  


The first amendment would require the FAA to annually report the status of NextGen implementation at commercial service airports across the country. NextGen is new air traffic technology that improves air traffic efficiency by using GPS tracking instead of radar to monitor flights, resulting in fewer air traffic control problems.


The second amendment makes it unlawful to fly drones in a restricted airspace, such as near the White House. This amendment builds on existing law and was approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last year.


In addition to the two amendments, Sen. Johnson was able to include language in the bill to eliminate federal service fees for air shows, like the annual EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.  


“I’m pleased that proposals I offered to improve the transparency of NextGen implementation, protect restricted airspace from unauthorized drones, and reduce federal burdens placed on the EAA AirVenture and other aviation fly-ins were included in the bill the committee approved today,” Sen. Johnson said. “I’m confident that these common sense policies will advance the use of American airspace and hopeful that my colleagues in the Senate will move swiftly to consider the measure on the floor,” Johnson said.


Additional Background on Sen. Johnson’s Amendments to the FAA Reauthorization Bill:


NextGen reporting amendment:

Requires the FAA to annually report on the following:

·         The number and percentage of U.S. commercial service airports that have fully implemented NextGen; and

·         The percentage completion of NextGen implementation at each commercial service airport in the U.S.

Calls for the FAA to develop a standard for determining that status of NextGen implementation based on factors that may include:

·         An accounting of efficiency benefits achieved;

·         The degree of NextGen technology and infrastructure installed; and

·         The extent of controller training on NextGen.


Drone safety amendment:

·         Makes it unlawful to fly an unmanned aircraft system or drone into a restricted space (such as the White House or the vice president’s residence)