A bill to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to continue and expand its research, engineering, and development programs cleared its first legislative hurdle on Feb. 11. It now awaits consideration in the House Committee on Rules.
The FAA Leadership in Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act (FLIGHT R&D Act), bill H.R. 4489, was introduced by Santa Clarita’s Congressman, Steve Knight.
The bill authorizes funding for the FAA to study and utilize improvements in aerospace technology with the goal of advancing aviation safety, security, and economic competitiveness. The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, of which Rep. Knight is a member, took the bill up for consideration.
“Aerospace plays a vital role in our national defense and our economy – especially in the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valleys,” Knight said in a statement. “I am glad that my colleagues are joining me in strengthening America’s aviation program.”
H.R. 4489 directs the FAA to move forward on advances in cybersecurity for future aircraft as well as integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system. It also calls for emerging fields such as single-piloted aircraft, air traffic surveillance over oceans, and advanced fuels.
Those initiatives are crucial to the future of American flight and will have positive economic impacts on the many companies in Southern California that are involved in aerospace manufacturing, Knight pointed out.
“When the aerospace community grows, our local economy thrives,” Knight said in a statement. “Aviation research and development means more jobs and more opportunities for our small businesses to flourish.”
The bill is said to be “budget-neutral,” meaning even if money is spent on the program, it will result in other savings so that no new taxes or deficits are incurred.