Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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Drones have taken to the airways and are transforming how industry thinks about package delivery, mine inspections, surveillance, and a broad array of commercial applications. The drone revolution has come with regulatory angst and uncertainty, with federal, state, and local authorities asserting themselves, and with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) players needing a seat at the table as law catches up with drone technology.

Crowell & Moring’s multi-disciplinary Drones Practice matches broad regulatory and transactional know-how to clients’ unmanned aircraft needs. Our lawyers combine business aviation, product liability, data protection, international trade, insurance, and regulatory knowledge with innovative strategic business counseling to help clients achieve operational goals. Across sectors and the supply chain—consumer goods, mining and energy, insurance, technology, manufacturing, and distribution companies—our team helps clients advance their drone legal and business strategies.

Representative Engagements include:

  • Helping drone clients obtain FAA permits for operation and meet FAA regulatory operational requirements.
  • Advising a manufacturer on certification standards applicable to the manufacture and production of UAS, as well as export control requirements relating to international operations and controlled data.
  • Counseling on major advertising concerns in connection with FAA regulations and policies applicable to the use of UAS in nationally televised product launch campaigns.
  • Providing client risk mitigation counseling on product safety and privacy and security issues regarding their launch of unmanned aerial systems for use with GoPro cameras.
  • Assisting a major property casualty insurer in obtaining a Section 333 exemption permitting use of drones for roof inspections.
  • Advising a large, U.S.-based drones association on commercial contracting issues and a data-security incident.
  • Advising on U.S. export controls related to U.S.-origin drones to be used to provide security for a client’s mine in Africa and offered separately for sale to the relevant government.
  • Assisting in obtaining export control classifications for drone navigation software from the Department of Commerce.
  • Conducting M&A diligence on a target company in Canada that produces drones.

View More

“How Different Will the Future Be?" Isle of Man Aviation Conference, Douglas, Isle of Man, 2022. (June 22, 2022). Speakers: Mary-Caitlin Ray
"NBAA Business Aviation Taxes Seminar," National Business Aviation Association Conference, 2022. (June 21, 2022). Speaker: Christopher Younger.
“The Public-Private Connection – The Policies You Need to Know to Plug Into Dual Use & Other Opportunities” Law-Tech-Connect Workshop, Orange County, FL. (April 25, 2022). Speaker: Mary-Caitlin Ray
"Governance Trends in ESG for the Aerospace and Defense Sector," Crowell & Moring Webinar. (March 1, 2022). Speakers: Robert Holleyman and L. Preston Pugh.
"Tax Issues for Airplane Purchases: Planning Strategies, Tax Reform Changes," Strafford Webinar (August 19, 2021). Faculty: Christopher B. Younger.
Collaboration Thought Leaders – The Advocate: Mary-Caitlin Ray Inside Unmanned Systems (July 23, 2021)
Press Coverage
"IRS Approves Use of Alternative SIFL Rates for Income Tax Purposes," (June 30, 2021). Contacts: Eileen M. Gleimer, Christopher B. Younger
Client Alert/Newsletter
"DOT Launches Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program," (June 22, 2021). Contacts: Eileen M. Gleimer, Mary-Caitlin Ray
Client Alert/Newsletter
What New FAA Pilot Records Rule Means For Flight Operators (June 11, 2021). Author: Christopher B. Younger, and James Janaitis.
"Implementation of the FET Exemption for Aircraft Management Services," NBAA GO Aviation Tax & Regulatory Compliance Seminar (June 10, 2021). Panelist: Christopher B. Younger.

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia that represents clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional and corporate matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation and government-facing matters, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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