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Knight Introduces Aerospace Research Legislation

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –Representative Steve Knight (CA-25) introduced legislation on Monday that would allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue and expand upon its research, engineering, and development programs through 2019.

H.R. 4489, the FAA Leadership In Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act (FLIGHT R&D Act), would authorize funding for the FAA to study and utilize improvements in aerospace technology with the goal of advancing aviation safety, security, and economic competitiveness. The legislation is consistent with last year’s National Aviation Research Plan, a performance-based plan developed by the FAA to ensure that research and development (R&D) investments are well managed and deliver results. Because the spending authorized by the bill has already been appropriated, it will not add to the national budget deficit. Rep. Knight says the bill is important for national aviation infrastructure as well as for the many small businesses in the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valleys that contribute to the aerospace sector.

“When the aerospace community grows, our local economy thrives,” said Rep. Knight. “Aviation research and development means more jobs and more opportunities for our small businesses to flourish.”

In addition to directing the FAA to execute its research plan, the FLIGHT R&D Act directs the Administration to act on several high-priority initiatives. For one, it would require the FAA to work with other federal agencies like NASA to coordinate and report on research and development into Unmanned Aerospace Systems (UAS). It would also strengthen FAA’s ability to defend against cybersecurity threats by organizing and bolstering cybersecurity research and development at the federal level. Finally, the bill calls for FAA to plan for emerging fields such as single-piloted aircraft, air traffic surveillance over oceans, and advanced fuels.

“With applications in everything from national security to law enforcement to economic development, aerospace remains one of our nation’s most vital resources,” continued Rep. Knight. “That is why we must act now to ensure that America remains a world leader in aviation technology.”

H.R. 4489 was introduced on Monday afternoon. Rep. Knight’s office expects it to be considered in committee later this month. The bill's language can be found here.

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