The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it is establishing an aviation rulemaking committee with industry stakeholders to develop recommendations for a regulatory framework that would allow certain unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to be operated over people who are not directly involved in the operation of the aircraft. The FAA is taking this action to provide a more flexible, performance-based approach for these operations than what was considered for Micro UAS. The committee will begin its work imminently and issue a final report to the FAA.
“The Department continues to be bullish on new technology,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We recognize the significant industry interest in expanding commercial access to the National Airspace System. The short deadline reinforces our commitment to a flexible regulatory approach that can accommodate innovation while maintaining today’s high levels of safety.”
The rulemaking committee will develop recommendations for performance-based standards for the classification and operation of certain UAS that can be operated safely over people; identify how UAS manufacturers can comply with the requirements; and propose operational provisions based on the requirements. The FAA will draft a rulemaking proposal after reviewing the committee’s report.
“Based on the comments about a ‘micro’ classification submitted as part of the small UAS proposed rule, the FAA will pursue a flexible, performance-based regulatory framework that addresses potential hazards instead of a classification defined primarily by weight and speed,”said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
To develop this framework, the FAA is seeking advice and recommendations from a diverse set of aviation stakeholders, including UAS manufacturers, UAS operators, consensus-standards organization, and researchers and academics.
The UAS registration task force established in October 2015 serves as a model for the Micro UAS rulemaking committee. The committee will be co-chaired by Earl Lawrence, Director, FAA UAS Integration Office and Nancy Egan, General Counsel, 3D Robotics.