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Drone Advisory Committee Considers Important Taskings
Saturday, February 4, 2017
by: RTCA Staff

Section: RTCA News

Members of the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) convened in Reno, NV on January 31st to consider three tasks aimed at gaining a consensus-based set of resolutions for issues regarding the efficiency and safety of integrating UAS into the NAS and to develop recommendations to address those issues and challenges.   Hosted by Reno-Tahoe Airport and the University of Nevada, Reno, and open to the public, the meeting brought a diverse set of stakeholders together to begin the hard work of forging consensus on the best way to integrate drones into the world’s safest airspace.

Chaired by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Designated Federal Official and Acting FAA Deputy Administrator Victoria Wassmer, the RTCA Federal Advisory Committee reached consensus on task statements for two of its subgroups.  

The first group will develop recommendations on the relative roles and responsibilities of the Federal, State, and Local governments for regulating certain UAS operations in low-altitude airspace as compared to the Federal Government’s exclusive role and responsibility for regulating all aspects of manned aircraft operations.

The second group will develop recommendations on UAS operations/missions beyond those currently permitted, and define procedures for industry to gain access to the airspace. These recommendations should lead to achieving these additional operations within the next 24 months through a risk-based approach to gaining operational approval and certification based on FAA regulations and guidance. 

A third draft task statement was presented to the DAC, requesting industry recommendations for options on how to fund the full complement of activities and services required both by government and industry to safely integrate UAS operations into the National Airspace System (NAS) over the long term.  During the meeting, the FAA directed the DAC to pay attention to the following questions:
  • What is being paid for, how much will the initiative costs be, and in what time frame will the resources and funds be needed?
  • Who should pay for what?
  • What kinds of funding mechanisms can be used?

The DAC agreed to launch a third task group to tackle the funding topic.  All three draft statements will now be sent to the FAA who will respond with official task statements to RTCA. The FAA will compose the final task statement on funding, considering the issues discussed during the DAC meeting.  Work will begin immediately on these tasks.  Each group will provide interim recommendations to the DAC in May, and final report to the DAC at its October meeting at a date and place to be determined shortly.

The DAC also tasked the DAC Subcommittee to develop a set of basic tenets upon which all can agree, that will serve as a foundation for the work of the DAC and guide its development of recommendations. 

The next meeting of the DAC will be held on May 3rd, 2017 in Washington, DC.  The location is yet to be announced.  Visit www.rtca.org for more detailed information.