The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 has implications for drone fliers around the county. Here’s what you need to know. The new legislation, recently signed by President Trump, grants the FAA funding through 2023 and covers everything from customer comfort on commercial airplanes to drone regulation. The piece making the most noise among drone enthusiasts is its repeal of Section 336 – a rule that protected the rights of recreational fliers by restricting the FAA’s authority to enact new rules and regulations on hobbyists. The Act will require hobbyists to take an as yet undeveloped Aeronautical Knowledge Test. It also requires all aircraft to be registered and marked. New directives for the integration of drones into the US airspace were also included in The Act. The FAA will be required to test new traffic management systems, then deploy them as they come as opposed to waiting for a complete system to be set up. The hope is that this will allow for speedier integration and a wider range of airspace drones can fly in. Drone deliveries are being affected as well. The Act calls for the FAA to create new rules for drones carrying a payload – hopefully expediting and opening the doors for future drone delivery. Finally, The Act grants authorities the right to shoot down or seize any drone that they see as a credible threat without first obtaining a warrant. Lawmakers say this is needed due to the massive influx of drones in the sky, some landing in the hands of terrorist organizations. The ACLU, a critic of the new provision, has said “Flying of drones can raise security and privacy concerns, and there may be situations where government action is needed to mitigate these threats…but this bill is the wrong approach.” They cited the use of drones by journalists at the Standing Rock protests and in covering hurricane damage as examples of journalistic rights to fly in sensitive areas. The AMA, originally a critic of the propositions, has instead focused its attention on The Act’s definition of a CBO or a Community Based Organization. It states that CBO’s will have a role in regulating and ensuring the safety of recreational fliers. A spokesperson told Drone Life “For the first time ever, AMA stands to gain official recognition as a community-based organization. Meanwhile, as a community, we now have an even larger role to play in lending our decades of expertise to the FAA, helping to educate the broader recreational community and working together with the FAA to promote and enhance safety.” Although some pieces of The Act have been criticized by hobbyists and commercial operators alike, many are hopeful that this will push the FAA to more quickly integrate drones into our National Airspace.