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AIA’s UAS Subcommittee met in May to discuss integrating UAS in domestic airspace and future standards harmonization in Europe and elsewhere. Held in Palmdale, California –home to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center– the meeting joined officials from DOD, the Government Accountability Office, NASA, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the FAA’s new executive head of the UAS Integration Office, Jim Williams (pictured).
Governmental decision makers had the opportunity to visit Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk production facility and General Atomics’ test site at Gray Butte during three days of activities. AeroVironment provided participants with the opportunity to pilot a small UAV—many of them doing so for the first time.
NASA provided a tour of Dryden as well as a detailed briefing on the UAS in the NAS Project—the agency’s 5-year, $150 million program and a major contribution to our nation’s UAS airspace integration effort. AIA members and guests met UAS pilots and visited the state-of-the-art unmanned aircraft control stations.
Most importantly, the meeting provided a forum for industry experts and policy makers to open lines of communication, particularly on the agencies’ needs and concerns and the government’s decision-making process on UAS integration. The UAS provisions found in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 were central to the discussion. Jim Williams detailed his vision, perspectives and goals for FAA’s new UAS Integration Office. He also shared his own “look ahead” on the course of the integration effort and key deliverables.
ICAO offered two briefings on their efforts for global UAS integration. These briefings focused on the Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU) framework that ICAO will officially propose to the world in November at the Air Navigation Conference 2012. Three of the four ASBUs contain modules of NextGen/SESAR-compatible technologies that will help integrate UAS into controlled civil airspace.
AIA members contribute to ICAO’s integration effort mainly through participation in its UAS Study Group (UASSG) which AIA has access to via the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations’ (ICCAIA) official observer status on the UASSG. ICCAIA UASSG observers recently attended a UASSG meeting in Montreal. Our most recent contribution is the adoption of the amendments to Annex 2 – Rules of the Air and Annex 7 – Aircraft Nationality and Registration Marks by the ICAO Council in March. These amendments will be applicable on November 15, 2012.
AIA Source: Cortney.robinson[at]aia-aerospace.org