Congress OKs bill to prod US aviation into new era
WASHINGTON - Congress has passed a bill aimed at prodding the nation's aviation system into a new high-tech era in which satellites are central to air traffic control and piloted planes share the skies with unmanned drones.
The bill speeds the nation's switch from radar to an air traffic control system based on GPS technology. It also requires the Federal Aviation Administration to open U.S. skies to drone flights within four years.
Final approval of the measure was marked by an unusual degree of bipartisan support despite labor opposition to a deal cut between the House and Senate on rules governing union organizing elections at airlines and railroads.
The Senate passed the bill Monday, and the House did so last week. It now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.