Today the House of Representatives approved H.R. 302, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, by a vote of 398-23.

H.R. 302 includes the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s FAA Leadership in Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act (the FLIGHT R&D Act) as Title VII.

The FLIGHT R&D Act was introduced by Science Subcommittee on Energy Vice Chairman Steve Knight and prioritizes safety research and development in American aviation. Specifically, it requires that 70% of annual FAA R&D funding be directed to safety research, up from less than 60% today. Additionally, it establishes an FAA Associate Administrator for Research and Development to oversee all of FAA’s R&D programs.

Title VII of H.R. 302 also includes the Geospatial Data Act, originally introduced by former Science Committee member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.). This language establishes better coordination for more effective use of geospatial data.

Two additional provisions outside Title VII but within the Science Committee’s jurisdiction were also included in the bill. The first provides for specified aircraft operations of space support vehicles licensed under Title 51, the U.S. space code.

The other establishes a DOT Office of Spaceports and a national spaceports policy report to support and promote FAA-licensed spaceports to meet national security and civil space launch demands.

Chairman Smith:

“The FAA Reauthorization Act includes important Science Committee provisions that promote coordination and innovation to enhance American aviation and commercial space transportation. Title VII prioritizes research and development into critical safety issues. I thank House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune for working with the Science Committee on these reforms.”

Vice Chairman Knight:

“Air travel has become an integral part of many of our modern lives. From traveling for business, vacation, or to visit friends and family, we spend more time in airplanes than we ever have before. With the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, the provisions of the FLIGHT R&D Act will invest the necessary resources to ensure the safety, comfort, and reliability of air travel. I’m very pleased the House moved forward today to advance American aviation and I’d like to thank Chairman Smith and my colleagues on the Science Committee who have played a crucial role in this process.”

The full text of the bill is available here.