FAA NPRM Conference Call February 15, 2015 – Notes

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For those that were unable to get through to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making Conference Call, here is a summary and impressions:

FAA will create a new class of license for sUAS, there will be no medical examination requirement.

The test will be a written proficiency exam and testing will take place in multiple convenient locations. Licensed pilots will be required to take this test in addition to prior certifications.

In this class of 55 lbs and under there will be no airworthiness certification required. The FAA realizes the time it takes to go through airworthiness procedures and it would be too long based on current technology advancement rates.

There will be safety parameters indicated and all vehicles must operate with them. This is unclear as to whether this means a mandatory lost link Return To Home feature and/or other failsafe mechanisms.

The speaker addresses the 2 kilo/4.4 lb Micro sUAS Proposal and welcomes commentary. Insofar as the NPRM addresses most of the micro UAS class in this sweeping proposal of rulemaking, I would say that the remaining tasks of the micro UAS Proposal would revolve around beyond Line of Sight, First Person View restriction.

The question was asked as to how long before the NPRM would be adopted in some way. A timeline was not offered but we have at least 60 days to respond in writing. It is my knowledge that our/your response is desired but not in the manner of a form letter. When responding, presentation of data and its analysis is welcome and desired. It was clear that those responsible were interested in acting quickly from this point forth.

Key points were that FAA acknowledges that operating a UAV presents different challenges than operating manned aircraft.

No ruling on hobbyist activity. FAA states that as already regulated provided flying is done under the “Know Before You Fly” guidelines.

FAA stresses Education and Safety as paramount. Stated that they are performing “aggressive” research into beyond LOS UAS rulings

Emphasis on the NPRM as part of an evolving and iterative process.

I think it’s safe to say that I am not alone in feeling somewhat relieved by this NPRM as most expected something far more stringent and limited. I believe the New York City Drone Users Group and its more commercially driven members are now presented with an opportunity and responsibility to become more involved in rule making and to continue to act as ambassadors of the this growing industry.

I will be posting a response to the NPRM soon. Please share your thoughts and comments.

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4 comments

    1. Likely safety guidelines Tim. There will likely at some point be a textbook or online resource so that one may pass the sUAS specific exam. My guess is that it will be close to PPL written and include procedures directly related to safe UAS ops like lost link protocol and pre flight safety checks.

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