During a safety forum on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) this week, AOPA told the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that remotely piloted aircraft need to work within the existing National Airspace System, without imposing new airspace restrictions.
“Safety is our first concern when it comes to sharing the skies with unmanned aircraft,” said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Rudinger. “It is critical to preserve access to airspace. That means UAS need to work within the existing rules and requirements and live up to high standards for certification and pilot training.”
Rudinger represented general aviation concerns on a panel that also included airline representatives. Following her presentation Rudinger fielded some tough questions about general aviation.
“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 UAS are up to that challenge.”
The 415,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has represented the interests of general aviation pilots since 1939. General aviation includes all flying except the scheduled airlines and the military. Nearly two thirds of all U.S. pilots, and three quarters of the general aviation pilots, are AOPA members.
April 30, 2008