In light of the FAA’s new rule (or Part 107) for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS), the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry has eagerly pushed the U.S. government to initiate testing of drone delivery systems. Although Part 107 suggests the FAA will likely expand the uses of drones, the rule does not allow for such drone applications in the National Airspace System (NAS). Among the various companies expressing interests in using drones to deliver goods, are industry giants Amazon PrimeAir (Amazon) and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Continue reading →
This week, the FAA established a committee made up of government and industry stakeholders tasked with developing recommendations for new rules to govern the operation of “micro” UAS, which can be operated over people who are not involved in the operation of the UAS. Once released, these rules will permit commercial operators to utilize UAS in applications which have not been previously allowed in the National Airspace System (NAS).
The new aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) will focus specifically on crafting regulations for a new classification of UAS, called micro UAS. As defined by the FAA, micro UAS weigh less than 4.4 pounds and are constructed of materials that will break or yield on impact. The ARC will develop proposed performance-based standards required of micro UAS and suggest additional operating instructions which would permit an operator of a micro UAS to conduct flights over any person.
The committee will begin its work on March 1st and will submit its final report to the FAA on April 1st. The FAA will use the recommendations as the basis for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for micro UAS and eventually promulgate a final rule.
In March 2015, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) proposed a risk-based regulatory approach for the operation of UAS in Europe. In its “Concept of Operations,” EASA proposes three operational categories with increasing associated risk and regulatory requirements—Open, Specific, and Certification. EASA’s risk-based approach echoes the FAA’s proposed rules for small UAS (sUAS) and the Concept of Operations suggests that EASA’s Open category is similar to the FAA’s proposed sUAS rules. But, EASA goes further than the FAA’s proposed sUAS rules to provide a more comprehensive regulatory vision for UAS integration.
On February 15, 2015, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed rules for the commercial operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) weighing less than 55 pounds—a long-awaited step towards integrating commercial UAS flights such as precision agriculture, surveying, real estate photography, and utility and infrastructure inspections (e.g., electrical wires, pipelines, and bridges) into U.S. airspace. But the proposed rules leave prohibited other desired commercial uses (e.g., package delivery, spray operations and nighttime flights) and unanswered key safety, privacy, security, liability, and spectrum questions. Comments to the FAA’s rules are due April 24, 2015 and all affected parties, including businesses and industries hoping to use any-sized UAS, should take advantage of this opportunity to offer their views, concerns, and suggestions to shape the incipient regulatory framework for UAS.