Law, College of


Date of this Version



The Aviation & Space Journal (July/September 2013) year XII, number 3: 23-31.


Copyright 203, the author. Used by permission.


In appraising applicable legislation and regulation to various types of flights using various types of aircraft in Curaçao, it will become clear that it will not be easy to apply this regime without much further ado to sub-orbital flights. While perhaps on individual aspects certain definitions used may prima facie relatively easily apply or be made to apply, the extended details of almost all of those regimes at some point or other would likely go astray of what would make sense with respect to sub-orbital flights.

It is not accidental therefore, that the FAA has chosen to start from the other end, not trying to apply existing regulation for aircraft and aviation and then tweak it across the board to fit the specifics of sub-orbital flight, but rather start ‘from scratch’, and develop a sui generis regime which actually fits this novel activity. In the course of doing so, its huge experience with licensing and certification in the aviation sector will then certainly come in handy, but the principled approach is to work with the industry as long as neither have a real clue as to what might consistently go wrong.

Of course, in addition to a Congressional mandate to protect by way of regulation the public interests in private manned spaceflight (safety, security, protection of the environment and suchlike), the FAA also has a mandate to support an infant industry – a second mandate European aviation regulatory authorities usually do not have. And while this may apply by proxy to Curaçao as well, as a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Curaçao authorities indeed seem to be aware that it is also in the public interest to see such an infant industry take off on their island – and that they should at least avoid to blindly try to fit the square peg of aviation regulation into the round hole of sub-orbital spaceflight – or was it the other way around?