What does aviation regulation look like outside the US? Are most other regulators even less safety continuum minded than ours, or are there pro-innovation ones we can learn from? ISTR some flying car startups testing stuff out in New Zealand, for example-- is that because their regulator is more permissive than the FAA?

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For the most part, it looks a lot like the US. Aviation rules are internationally coordinated at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is a technical agency of the UN. I have spent a fair bit of time at ICAO, including as a member of some technical committees. The general feeling in both industry and among member states is that it's best if standards are completely harmonized between nations. Another factor is that many countries simply don't have the same technical expertise that exists in the US, Europe, and other aviation powerhouses. So they really just want to copy whatever the rules that the big countries adopt. For example, after the US banned supersonic flight, other countries did too even though it was a non-issue for them.

Your pointer to New Zealand is apt. Yes, they have created a permissive framework for testing eVTOLs and drones. I think that works well because there isn't an international component to these flights at all, so less importance on harmonization. NZ is also not an aviation superpower, but as an island nation, aviation really matters there a lot, so they have interest and expertise.

LSAs, too, don't have direct international implications, since sport pilots cannot fly internationally without foreign permission. So I think it is an area where it's ripe to deviate from harmonized standards. There are also differences in European and US regulation between ultralights, where European ultralight rules bleed into what we call LSAs in the states. My guess is that after a few years of MOSAIC, other countries will "ratify" the US rule, expanding their LSA categories to be close to the US rule. The forces of harmonization are strong.

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