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UAVs must straighten up and fly right, FAA says

UAVs must straighten up and fly right, FAA says

Unmanned aerial vehicle

The FAA has reaffirmed its responsibility for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the nation's airspace. A new policy document hit the streets Tuesday, which provides some clarification for a new breed of devices that can weigh anywhere from 4 ounces to more than 25,000 pounds.

"While it's a good first step, the goal must be the expeditious development of regulations for UAV operations," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Certification of UAVs is important to ensure safety and make sure UAV operations don't result in more flight restrictions."

AOPA has been pressing the FAA to make sure unregulated UAVs stay out of navigable airspace. Unfortunately, FAA regulations have not kept up with research and development. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a huge demand for UAVs. As many as 50 companies and government outfits have some 155 designs in the works with ever increasing capabilities. This sets up a potential three-dimensional minefield for you and your aircraft.

The policy document says that no person may operate a UAV in the National Airspace System without specific authority. Further, the document acknowledges that new regulatory standards need to be developed.

February 15, 2007

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