May 13, 2016

With more than 2.5 million small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) operating in the U.S., and the FAA poised to release its new Part 107 rules governing commercial sUAS use, interest in the technology has never been higher.

To assist flight departments considering the use of sUAS within their operations, NBAA has released a new resource – Integrated Operational Management and Oversight for sUAS – providing background information on the subject matter, as well as a detailed guide to vetting sUAS service providers.

General aviation flight departments are uniquely equipped to handle the operational challenges sUAS present and benefit from their commercial potential, according to Dr. Brent Terwilliger, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor and chairman of the Business Aviation Management Committee’s UAS Subcommittee

“Flight departments have the knowledge, they’re very well-versed in safety management, operational risk assessment, a lot of the considerations that need to be made to end up with safe and responsible operations,” said Terwilliger. “You need to understand the level of training your operators have to have, their experience level, what the repair and maintenance cost and efforts are going to be, where resources and knowledge can be found specific to what you’re trying to do – manned aviators know that information and more importantly they know where to find it.”

Integrated Operational Management and Oversight for sUAS provides examples of how flight department expertise can make the integration process smoother, including regulatory compliance experience, increased safety awareness and economy of scale benefits. It also contains a checklist of relevant factors to consider when choosing a sUAS service provider.

“This resource offers a starting point for flight departments exploring what sUAS can bring to their operation,” said Sarah Wolf, NBAA senior manager, security and facilitation. “This technology has the potential to offer many benefits to business aviation, and NBAA wants to make sure operators begin the integration process with as much information as possible.”

View the NBAA resource Flight Department Integrated Operational Management and Oversight for sUAS.