Regulations

Attorneys in the Regulations Division provide a broad range of legal counsel on a variety of matters including the drafting, form, and legality of regulations, orders, exemptions, guidance obstruction evaluation determinations, and space transportation licenses and permits. The Regulations Division also issues legal interpretations of the aviation and commercial space regulations and acts as liaison with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation on the legal aspects of the agency's regulatory program.
The Regulations Division is organized into the five branches described below. 

Airworthiness Law Branch

The Airworthiness Law Branch addresses legal issues regarding the airworthiness of aircraft, including aircraft manufacture, certification, and maintenance. The airworthiness law branch also provides legal support for issues related to aircraft maintenance and repair stations, including review of bilateral agreements regarding foreign repair stations. Finally, this branch evaluates environmental issues related to aircraft design and manufacture, such as noise and emissions requirements. 

Operations Law Branch

The Operations Law Branch advises agency personnel on legal matters involving safety rules governing certification and operations of air carriers and commercial operators and all operating rules governing general aviation operations. We address legal issues implicating both traditional aircraft and new entrant aircraft into the national airspace system, such as unmanned aircraft systems. Our attorneys also provide legal counsel on numerous other topics such as operational business relationships, aircraft registration, pilot records, international operations, public aircraft operations, safety management systems, airport certification regulations, and user fees. 

Field Airworthiness Certification Branch

The Field Airworthiness Certification Branch provides legal support to the Aircraft Certification Service's (AIR) field organizations. We work with AIR in developing and reviewing airworthiness standards, which are the regulations that applicants must comply with to obtain design approvals for aircraft, engines, and propellers. Our attorneys also provide legal support for certification activities by reviewing special conditions, exemptions, advisory circulars, and policy statements relating to these activities. AIR also oversees the production of aircraft and related products, and we advise and support AIR personnel in the performance of those activities. Finally, when AIR identifies unsafe conditions in these products, we review airworthiness directives that AIR develops to address those unsafe conditions.

Airman Certification and Commercial Space Law Branch

The Airman Certification and Commercial Space Law Branch provides counsel regarding legal issues surrounding the training and certification of pilots, flight instructors, mechanics, and other individuals. Our attorneys provide legal support on issues involving medical certification of airmen, drug and alcohol testing of persons performing safety sensitive duties, regulation of air agencies responsible for airman training, and air carrier training programs. Our attorneys also provide legal counsel regarding the licensing and regulation of the launch of launch vehicles, the reentry of reentry vehicles, and the operation of launch and reentry sites. Additionally, we conduct legal review of technical evaluations of applications for commercial space licenses, license orders, and waiver requests.

Air Traffic Law Branch

The Air Traffic Law Branch provides counsel regarding legal issues pertaining to airspace and air traffic issues, airspace obstruction evaluations, navigation facilities, and the agency communications system. Our attorneys also provide counsel on air traffic law issues related to the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system, including both safety and security. Additionally, our attorneys provide legal counsel on slots and congestion management.

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