Committee on Science and Technology
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Legislative Highlights :: June 14, 2007

Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2007

H.R. 2698

Reported (as amended) by the Full Committee, June 22, 2007

Reported by the Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee June 14, 2007

Introduced in the House June 13, 2007

Section by Section

SEC. 1. Short Title

Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2007

SEC. 2. Definitions

Defines terms used in the bill.

SEC. 3.  Authorization of Appropriations

Amends existing law and authorizes $335,191,000 for FY 08; $481,554,000 for FY 09; $486,502,000 for FY 10; and $514,832,000 for FY 11.

SEC. 4. Next Generation Air Transportation System Joint Planning and Development Office

Makes Director head of both the JPDO and Associate Administrator for the Next Generation Air Transportation System and voting member/co-chair of Joint Resources Council. Requires the Director to create a transition plan, establish quantitative goals, and ensure the interoperability of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

Requires the Administrator, the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of NASA, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the head of any other department or Federal agency from which the Secretary of Transportation requests assistance to designate a senior official to implement each department or agency’s Next Generation Air Transportation System activities within the Office. Requires within six months for the department or agency that has responsibility for carrying out activity under the plan to execute a memorandum of understanding with the Office.

Requires an integrated plan to ensure that the Next Generation Air Transportation System meets anticipated future air transportation safety, security, mobility, efficiency, and capacity needs. Requires date-specific timetables for the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System capabilities.

Requires an annual report from the Director of the Office describing the process of carrying out the implementation plan.

Requires Senior Policy Committee to meet at least four times per year.

Requires each Federal agency and department participating in the Office to submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget identifying its portion of responsibility which contributes to the Next Generation Air Transportation System and to state the portion of its requests for appropriations.

Requires the Director to develop contingency plans for dealing with the degradation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System in the event of a natural disaster, major equipment failure, or act of terrorism.

Requires the Director to establish environmental requirements for noise, emissions, and energy consumption for the Next Generation Air Transportation System. NASA will be primarily responsible for research, development, and demonstration of applicable technologies, while the FAA will be primarily responsible for demonstration of optimized operational procedures.

Requires the Comptroller General to assess the effectiveness of the Next Generation Air Transportation System Joint Planning and Development Office in meeting the deadlines and milestones of the integrated plan, as well as the adequacy of the memoranda of understanding executed by the federal departments and agencies. Requires within 270 days of enactment and annually thereafter until the Next Generation Air Transportation System is operational, a report containing the Comptroller General’s findings, conclusions and recommendations.

Requires within 90 days of enactment, an unmanned aircraft systems research, development, demonstration and implementation roadmap to be delivered to the Congress. Requires within 3 months of enactment for the FAA to arrange for the National Research Council to conduct an independent assessment of unmanned aircraft systems. Within 12 months, this report shall be submitted to the FAA and the Congress. Requires the FAA to establish pilot projects for the tests of unmanned aircraft systems’ integration into the national airspace system. Requires within 90 days after the completion of these tests, a report on the findings which shall be submitted to the Congress. Authorizes such sums of as may be necessary to carry out the pilot projects.

SEC. 5. Interagency Research Initiative on the Impact of Aviation on the Climate

Requires the FAA in coordination with NASA and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program to establish a research initiative assessing the impact of aviation on the climate and to evaluate approaches to mitigate that impact. Requires within 1 year of enactment a jointly developed plan for this research program. The National Research Council will be directed by the FAA to provide an independent review of the research program plan. $2,000,000 is authorized to be appropriated in fiscal year 2008 for the research program, and $5,000,000 in each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2011.

SEC. 6. Research Program on Runways

Requires the FAA to establish a program of research grants to universities and non-profit research foundations for research and technology demonstrations related to improved runway surfaces and engineered material restraining systems for runways at general aviation and commercial air carrier airports. $5,000,000 is authorized to be appropriated for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2011.

SEC. 7. Research on Design for Certification

Requires within 6 months of enactment for the FAA and NASA to establish a joint research program on improving the timelines of certification for new national airspace system technologies. Requires within one year of enactment for the FAA and NASA to provide a jointly developed plan for the research program’s objectives, proposed tasks, milestones, and five-year budgetary profile. The National Research Council will be directed by the FAA to provide an independent review of the research program plan within eighteen months of enactment.

SEC. 8. Centers of Excellence

Amends existing law, stating that the U.S. Government’s share of establishing and operating a center and research grants shall not exceed 75% of the costs, and that the U.S. Government’s share for an individual grant shall not exceed 90% of the costs. Requires an annual report to be sent to the Congress.

SEC. 9 Airport Cooperative Research Program

Amends existing law to extend the program.

SEC. 10. Research Grants Program Involving Undergraduate Students

Requires the Administrator to establish a program to establish a program to utilize colleges and universities in conducting research by undergraduate students on subjects of relevance to the FAA. Authorizes $5,000,000 for research grants for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2011.

SEC. 11. Budget Formulation

Amends existing law to require the FAA’s annual budget request identify all of the activities that fall within categories of basic research, applied research, and development.

SEC. 12. Research Program on Space Weather and Aviation

Requires the FAA, in coordination with the NSF, NASA, NOAA and other relevant agencies, to initiate a research program to conduct research projects on the impacts of space weather to aviation, communication, navigation, avionic systems, and on airline passengers, and to facilitate the transfer of technology from this program to Federal agencies and the private sector. $1,000,000 is to be authorized for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2011.

SEC. 13. Aviation Gas Research and Development Program

Requires the FAA, in coordination with NASA, to continue research and development activities into technologies for modifying existing aviation piston engines to be operated with unleaded aviation fuel. Requires within 120 days of enactment for the FAA to develop a roadmap for specific objectives of the program. Requires within 130 days of enactment, for the FAA to deliver the roadmap of the program to the appropriate congressional committees. $750,000 is to be authorized for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2010.

SEC. 14. Research Reviews and Assessments

Requires the Administrator to arrange for the National Research Council to conduct a review of the FAA’s energy- and environment-related research programs, and to provide the Congress with a report of the review within eighteen months of enactment.

Requires the Administrator to arrange for the National Research Council to conduct a study evaluating the impacts of space weather on the U.S. aviation industry, in particular for the Over-The-Pole (OTP) and Ultra-Long-Range (ULR) operations, and to provide the Congress with a report of the study within one year of enactment.

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