The U.S. Department of Transportation launched the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program Nov. 2, aiming to draw state, local, and tribal governments into collaborations that will accelerate the approval of advanced operations such as flights over people or package delivery at low altitudes. Public and private entities filled up slots for live webinars Nov. 3 and 6 to learn more about the program.
State, local, and tribal governments will take the lead in applying for participation in the pilot program, and will serve as the primary point of contact with the FAA on individual projects, which will remain subject to FAA oversight. The program was launched Nov. 2, a week after President Donald Trump ordered it to be created.
The program calls for government entities to partner with private-sector UAS operators and manufacturers to conduct advanced operations, such as flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) or over people at altitudes below 200 feet or, in some cases, under 400 feet.
“The Program is expected to provide immediate opportunities for new and expanded commercial UAS operations, foster a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to UAS integration, and provide actionable information to the Department of Transportation (DOT) on expanded and universal integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS),” the FAA noted in its online overview, which also included links for public and private entities to apply for admission to the program.
The FAA will collect data generated in the course of these advanced operations, and maintain oversight throughout the program.
“The results will help to inform safe UAS operations and help to transition many of the new and novel operational concepts that we manage today by exception into routine, commonplace aspects of our everyday lives,” the FAA noted in a press release.