A BILL To amend title 49, United States Code, to revise and clarify the definition of "public aircraft." Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. AMENDMENT OF DEFINITION OF PUBLIC AIRCRAFT. Section 40102(a)(37) of title 49, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: "(37) 'public aircraft' means an aircraft operated by or on behalf of the United States Government, a State, the District of Columbia, a territory or possession of the United States, or a political subdivision of one of these governments, but only when operated under the conditions specified by sections 40125(b) or 40125(c) of this title, or as described in section 40125(d) of this title.". SEC. 2. QUALIFICATIONS FOR PUBLIC AIRCRAFT STATUS. (a) GENERAL- Chapter 401 is amended by adding at the end the following: "Sec. 40125. Qualifications for public aircraft status "(a) DEFINITIONS--In this section, the following definitions apply: "(1) ARMED FORCES--The term 'armed forces' has the meaning given that term in title 10, section 101, and includes the reserve components of the armed forces and the National Guard of a state, territory, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. "(2) COMMERCIAL PURPOSES--The term 'commercial purposes' means the transportation of persons or property for compensation or hire, but does not include the operation of an aircraft by a government under cost reimbursement required by federal law or a cost reimbursement agreement-- "(A) to undertake an inherently governmental function that is so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by the government and require either the exercise of discretion in applying government authority or the use of value judgment in making decisions for the government; or "(B) to undertake other governmental functions, but only when needed to respond to an imminent threat to life, property or natural resources, and no service by a private operator is reasonably available to meet the threat. "(3) GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTION--The term 'governmental function' means an activity mandated by law or otherwise undertaken by a government requiring the use of an aircraft, such as national defense, intelligence missions, search and rescue, law enforcement (including transport of prisoners, detainees, and illegal aliens), security operations, fire fighting, natural resource and disaster management, transport of mission-related cargo, equipment development and demonstration, employee or contractor training, and space, aeronautical, atmospheric, geographic, or oceanographic research. "(4) QUALIFIED NON-CREWMEMBER--The term 'qualified non- crewmember' means an individual, other than a member of the crew, "(A) aboard an aircraft owned or operated by the armed forces or an intelligence agency of the United States Government; or "(B) whose presence is required for, or is associated with, the performance of the governmental function for which the aircraft is being operated. "(b) GENERAL.--An aircraft described in 40102(a)(37) qualifies as a public aircraft except when it is used for commercial purposes, used to carry an individual other than a crewmember or a qualified non-crewmember, or not used exclusively for the government. "(c) OPERATIONS OF THE ARMED FORCES.--An aircraft described in 40102(a)(37) qualifies as a public aircraft if it is-- "(1) owned by the armed forces or operated by personnel of the armed forces in the performance of their duties; or "(2) chartered to provide transportation or other services to the armed forces, but only upon designation of the operation (made in writing to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration) as required in the national interest by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating. "(d) OPERATIONS FOR CREW TRAINING, EQUIPMENT DEVELOPMENT, OR DEMONSTRATION.--An aircraft owned by the United States Government and operated by any person for purposes related to crew training, equipment development, or demonstration qualifies as a public aircraft.". (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.--The analysis for chapter 401 is amended by adding at the end the following: "40125. Qualifications for public aircraft status.". SEC. 3. EXEMPTION OF GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS FROM STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS. (a) Section 40109(b) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by-- (1) striking "Safety regulation.--The" and substituting "Safety authority.--(1) The"; and (2) adding the following at the end: "(2) The Administrator may grant an exemption to a government from a requirement of this Part, other than subpart II, that would be applicable to aircraft operated by or on behalf of the government if-- "(A) granting the exemption is necessary to prevent an undue economic burden on the government; and "(B) the aviation safety program of the government ensures safe operation of the type of aircraft operated by the government.". (b) Section 3(b) of the "Independent Safety Board Act Amendments of 1994" (Pub. L. 103-411; Oct. 25, 1994) is repealed.