Washington, DC, October 19, 2015 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen expressed his support for an announcement today by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of a new joint industry-government task force created to develop a process for registering unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
In an Oct. 19 press conference, DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said the task force – composed of 25 to 30 representatives from the UAS and manned aviation industries, the federal government and other aviation stakeholders – is expected to issue its proposal by Nov. 20, with the intent of launching the registration program in time for the U.S. holiday season, during which the agency expects several thousand UAS to be given as gifts to new recreational users.
“The UAS industry has long been identified as an important and emerging one, as demonstrated by the introduction, development and use of UAS, all of which have grown exponentially in recent years,” Bolen noted. “That said, it appears the FAA’s framework for ensuring their safe introduction into the nation’s air transportation system needs to be quickly developed and refined.
“Today was a good day in that regard, because the DOT and FAA have come together with industry stakeholders in recognition of this need, and to begin the process for putting this framework in place,” Bolen continued. “While we don’t yet know the full details of what will be developed, we support the FAA’s intensified focus in this area. We are also investigating how NBAA can best support this activity, and we will do all we can to help ensure this collaborative process will result in the development of a needed framework for UAS.”
According to the DOT and FAA officials who spoke at today’s press conference, the program will build on existing registration requirements for small UAS (s-UAS) flown for commercial purposes, and comes after a number of high-profile encounters between privately-flown s-UAS and manned aircraft – incidents that the DOT’s Foxx hopes the registration program will help to mitigate through education, and enforcement, if needed.
While UAS offer great promise for a variety of applications – including opportunities within the business aviation community – NBAA has long maintained that safety must be the top priority for any plan to introduce UAS into the national airspace system (NAS). This includes assurances that unmanned aircraft meet equivalent certification, airworthiness and traffic avoidance standards as manned aircraft.
NBAA has been actively involved in the introduction process, including participation by association personnel in UAS working groups through RTCA since 2006. Last month, NBAA also welcomed the FAA’s selection of two respected aviation professionals to lead the agency’s UAS Integration Office and spearhead efforts to safely introduce UAS into the nation’s airspace.
Among the organizations joining DOT and FAA for the Oct. 19 announcement were the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), as well as Helicopter Association International (HAI) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
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