Highlights of the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee meeting

Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had its last Drone Advisory Committee meeting for 2020. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the FAA decided to make it a virtual event on Zoom this time. Here are some of the highlights of the event.

Highlights of the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee meeting

Yesterday’s FAA Drone Advisory Committee meeting did not last as long as was expected based on the agenda. It was all wrapped up way ahead of schedule, while still taking more than 2.5 hours.

these highlights do not cover the full texted of the event. I recommend you watch it on YouTube in case you don’t want to miss anything.

Highlights of the FAA's Drone Advisory Committee meeting

  • Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao had a video message
    • 75 applications have been received for the six DAC vacancies.
    • UAS IPP ends this month, but DoT and FAA expects to continue testing drone programs
    • Part 135
    • National Drone Safety Awareness Week will be virtual
  • Safety Culture – Task Group 8: “How can we create a safety culture within the drone community?” Focus on trust, education, operator ownership, and accountability. Keep in mind that unmanned aviation has a great safety record with zero fatalities to date.
  • UAS Facility maps – Task Group 5 recommendation to refine the standardized grid spacing to 30 seconds of latitude by 30 seconds of longitude to increase access to airspace for UAS operator
  • Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) – Jay Merkle, Executive Director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office, said that a third version of the UTM concept of operations should be published around Q2 of 2021.
  • Low altitude pilots and Remote ID for Drones – The FAA issued a request for information last March to get ideas of how pilots flying at low altitudes might be able to use Remote ID for Drones, that requires drones to communicate the locations, directions, id, and more during flight, to improve situational awareness and reduce the risk of collisions. The response was ‘very robust’, but the FAA felt that it might have missed the mark and now asks the DAC for a second opportunity to do so. Some people expressed concerns about having yet another instrument in the cockpit for pilots to pay attention to, instead of looking outside and focusing on flying safely.
  • Remote ID for Drones rule is still on track for finalization by the end of this year.
  • Operations of small UAS for flying over people rule will also be finalized in December of this year.
  • LAANC, the FAA’s Low-Altitude Authorization, and Notification Capability program will continue to expand, making more airspace available for drones.
  • Part 135 – Next to UPS Flight Forward, Wing Aviation, and Amazon Prime Air, three more companies are ‘very close’ to receiving Part 135 certificates. No names were provided.
  • The next Drone Advisory Committee is scheduled for February 20, 2021.

https://youtu.be/kxTJHyjfZ6E

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Haye Kesteloo

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