With support from AIA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on November 7 unveiled a long-awaited milestone for integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into our national airspace. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta invited AIA to represent industry as his agency released its integration roadmap which addresses current and future policies, regulations, technologies and procedures required to integrate unmanned aircraft on a routine basis.
Huerta said the FAA is committed to maintaining the United States’ position as a global leader in the UAS market. He emphasized the need to capitalize on transforming our airspace to accommodate this growing arena and to take advantage of technological breakthroughs as we move into the second century of flight.
Huerta also reaffirmed that one of the FAA’s priorities is to ensure that privacy concerns in the management of the six test sites that were announced on December 30, 2013 are addressed. He further noted the FAA’s commitment to help the JPDO address the remaining technical challenges standing in the way of full UAS implementation. The JPDO comprehensive plan details the multi-agency approach to the safe and timely integration of both small and larger UAS, into the air system and fosters America’s leadership in advancing this technology.
Domestic UAS have the potential to create thousands of jobs, as the FAA predicts 7,500 small UAS will be integrated into the domestic air space over the next five years, and 30,000 UAS operating domestically within the next 20 years.
AIA is a strong proponent of the beneficial civil uses of unmanned aerial systems. AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey has spoken frequently in public forums about the tremendous potential UAS have for firefighting, severe storm forecasting, search and rescue, precision agriculture, pipeline monitoring, wildlife conservation, and eventually, cargo delivery.
The release of these documents provides pertinent information that will help guide companies’ business decisions as the UAS sector moves forward.