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Rulemaking committee closer to recommendations for small UAS

The work of the FAA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which includes AOPA, continues as the panel develops recommendations for how best to regulate and integrate small unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System.

The group, which is examining everything from flight crew requirements and operations to system certification and integration into the airspace system, has been meeting regularly since May 2008 to develop a set of recommendations for the FAA. The most recent meeting, which took place Dec. 16 through 18, 2008, gave working groups within the committee the chance to report on their progress.

“Being part of this committee is important for our members because it allows us to advocate for their interests from the very beginning,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs and the association’s representative on the panel. “We are especially concerned that any new regulations integrate UAS seamlessly into the National Airspace System and don’t impose any restrictions on general aviation users.”

The committee hopes to complete its work and deliver recommendations to the FAA in the spring. The FAA can then accept any, all, or none of those recommendations as it develops a notice of proposed rulemaking for the use of “small” UAS.

Although “small” has not yet been fully defined, it is likely to include UAS similar in size to remote control model aircraft, rather than larger aircraft like Predators or Global Hawks.

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