AOPA President Mark Baker took part in the first meeting of the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee on Sept. 16. The 35-member committee was created as a forum for industry and the FAA to work together to develop consensus-based recommendations for addressing issues and challenges associated with integrating unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System.
Committee members represent diverse interests, but a strong consensus that safety is a top priority emerged at the first meeting.
In addition to AOPA, the committee includes representatives from Facebook, Google X, UPS, AT&T, city and county governments, airports, CNN, Stanford University, MIT, unmanned aircraft user groups and manufacturers, airlines, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Lockheed Martin, and others. More than 300 groups and individuals applied for seats on the panel.
AOPA has played a significant role in drone-related issues, serving on the small UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) from the time it was chartered in 2008. AOPA also has served on the FAA’s UAS Registration Task Force ARC and the Micro UAS ARC.
The next meeting of the Drone Advisory Committee is tentatively scheduled for January 2017. Among the issues the group expects to continue to tackle are enabling beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and autonomous UAS operations, and preemption and privacy concerns.