AOPA defends GA at unmanned aircraft forum

April 30, 2008

AOPA defends GA at unmanned aircraft forum

By AOPA ePublishing staff

During a forum on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) this week, AOPA told the NTSB that remotely piloted aircraft need to work within the existing National Airspace System, without imposing new airspace restrictions.

AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Rudinger represented general aviation concerns on a panel that also included airline representatives.

“Safety is our first concern when it comes to sharing the skies with unmanned aircraft,” said Rudinger. “It is critical to preserve access to airspace. That means UAVs need to work within the existing rules and requirements and live up to high standards for certification and pilot training.”

Rudinger fielded some tough questions about general aviation following her April 29 presentation.

“There was misplaced concern about the safety of general aviation, especially in terms of VFR flight,” Rudinger explained. “But our safety record is excellent, and we have the numbers to prove it. ‘See and avoid’ is a principle that has always worked well for general aviation. Now we need to ensure that UAVs are up to that challenge.”

April 30, 2008