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FAA Releases UAV Integration Roadmap

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FAA Releases Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Roadmap

(Source: Federal Aviation Administration; issued Nov. 7, 2013)

WASHINGTON --- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today released its first annual Roadmap outlining efforts needed to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace. The Roadmap addresses current and future policies, regulations, technologies and procedures that will be required as demand moves the country from today’s limited accommodation of UAS operations to the extensive integration of UAS into the NextGen aviation system in the future.

“Government and industry face significant challenges as unmanned aircraft move into the aviation mainstream,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This Roadmap is an important step forward that will help stakeholders understand the operational goals and safety issues we need to consider when planning for the future of our airspace.”

The Roadmap outlines the FAA’s approach to ensuring that widespread UAS use is safe, from the perspective of accommodation, integration, and evolution. The FAA’s main goal for integration is to establish requirements that UAS operators will have to meet in order to increase access to airspace over the next five to 10 years. The Roadmap discusses items such as new or revised regulations, policies, procedures, guidance material, training and understanding of systems and operations to support routine UAS operations.

“The FAA is committed to safe, efficient and timely integration of UAS into our airspace,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We are dedicated to moving this exciting new technology along as quickly and safely as possible.”

The Roadmap also addresses the evolution of UAS operations once all requirements and standards are in place and are routinely updated to support UAS operations as the National Airspace System evolves over time. The document stresses that the UAS community must understand the system is not static, and that many improvements are planned for the airspace system over the next 15 years.

The FAA plans to select six UAS test sites to begin work on safely integrating UAS into the airspace. These congressionally-mandated test sites will conduct critical research into how best to safely integrate UAS systems into the national airspace over the next several years and what certification and navigation requirements will need to be established.

The use of UAS, both at the designated test sites and in the national airspace generally, raises the issue of privacy and protection of civil liberties. In February, the FAA asked for public comments specifically on the draft privacy requirements for the six test sites. Today, the agency sent a final privacy policy to the Federal Register that requires test site operators to comply with federal, state, and other laws on individual privacy protection, to have a publicly available privacy plan and a written plan for data use and retention, and to conduct an annual review of privacy practices that allows for public comment. Information about the test site selection process and final test site privacy policy is available at: http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/

For the next several years, the FAA will continue to use special mitigations and procedures to safely accommodate limited UAS access to the nation’s airspace on a case-by-case basis. The Roadmap notes that this case-by-case accommodation will decline significantly as integration begins and expands, but will continue to be a practical way to allow flights by some UAS operators in certain circumstances.

In addition to the FAA’s Roadmap, as required in the 2012 FAA Reauthorization, the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) has developed a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil UAS into the national airspace system.. That plan details a multi-agency approach to safe and timely UAS integration and coordination with the NextGen shift to satellite-based technologies and new procedures.

Click UAS Roadmap for the (74 PDF pages) and

Click UAS Comprehensive Plan for the (30 PDF pages), both on the FAA website.


UAS Integration Plan Signals Major Step Forward for Aviation’s Next Great Frontier

(Source: Aerospace Industries Association; issued Nov. 7, 2013)

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Aerospace Industries Association today lauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement of the agency’s Roadmap for “Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System (NAS).”

FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta addressed the roadmap—which outlines the concrete actions needed to enable UAS integration into the NAS—at a Civil UAS Forum Thursday hosted by AIA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Marion C. Blakey.

“The American aerospace industry is eager to support the integration into our domestic airspace of UAS systems that will help save and improve lives in a variety of ways,” said Blakey. “We’re very pleased that through this roadmap and other actions, FAA is making significant progress toward meeting the congressional mandate of UAS domestic integration by 2015. This is a major step forward for realizing the full promise of aviation’s next great frontier.”

Huerta also discussed at the AIA-sponsored forum newly announced FAA actions to ensure that public privacy concerns are addressed in the management of six upcoming UAS test sites around the country, and to help the agency’s Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) address the remaining technical challenges of enabling UAS systems to work for the benefit of our society and economy.

“We are dedicated to working with stakeholders in this growing industry and with our government partners to safely integrate [UAS] into the world’s most complex airspace,” Huerta said. “While aviation is unquestionably an industry known for innovation, it is also an industry with a strong history of collaboration between government and industry. The United States is recognized as the ‘gold standard’ for aviation safety, efficiency and technology. And we need to keep it that way.”

AIA has been advocating for the beneficial civil uses of UAS Systems, with Blakey noting they have tremendous potential for applications such as firefighting, severe storm forecasting, search and rescue, precision agriculture, pipeline monitoring, wildlife conservation and eventually cargo delivery. Domestic UAS also have the potential to create thousands of jobs, as the FAA predicts 30,000 UAS will be operating in our domestic air space within the next 20 years.

“While much work remains before we reap the full promise of this technology, today’s announcement about FAA’s progress gives me, our industry, and the American public much reason for optimism,” said Blakey.

Founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, the Aerospace Industries Association is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology.