UAS Integration Pilot Program will NOT be extended says FAA

We just learned that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is not planning to extend the UAS Integration Pilot Program when it expires by its own terms on October 25, 2020.

FAA is not planning to extend the UAS IPP Program

Aviation Week’s Senior Editor, Bill Carey tweeted that the FAA will not extend the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program when it expires on October 25, 2020, citing @smallUAVs,

“FAA has made clear to us in extensive discussion on the IPP that it does not plan to extend the program.”

The UAS Integration Pilot Program was established by an October 25, 2017, Presidential Memorandum and the program is set to expire by its own terms on October 25 of this year.

The Presidential Memorandum allows the Secretary to extend the UAS IPP, “we have been informed that the Department has decided not to seek an extension,” says the Small UAV Coalition, in a letter to Elaine Chao, Secretary of the Department of Transportation, advocating for a UAS IPP extension.

Under the UAS IPP, local state and tribal governments were able to partner with drone industry companies to launch drone test programs. Originally five such tests were supposed to be launched but after a massive over-subscription, at least 10 programs were allowed to start. Companies such as Apple, Zipline, Flytrex, Matternet, Wing, AT&T, Intel, Airbus were able to participate. However, DJI and Amazon were not, which raised a few eyebrows at the time. DJI does support FedEx in one of the tests.

While the Small UAV Coalition argues to extend the UAS IPP it is not clear at this point if there’s any chance the FAA will do so. It is also unclear what will happen to the existing drone test programs and if similar tests will be able to be undertaken in the future. Hopefully, they’ll be able to continue with the right waivers and approvals in place. The FAA has said that it will release the final rules for Remote ID for drones later this year.

We will keep an eye on new developments in this area and update you as we learn more.

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About the author

Haye Kesteloo

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