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Issue link: http://insideunmanned.epubxp.com/i/763107
Q+A 58 unmanned systems inside December 2016/January 2017 Q G F Q: There are lessons learned from the Part 107 operators. How will you incorporate those going forward? a: We don't know what we're going to learn because that's the whole idea. We have to have those operations to start with. But I think your real question is what mechanisms do we have to learn from those operations. Every day we're tracking what are those 107 operators asking to do. For example, every day we get requests to operate in different airspace. It's educating us where they want to EARL LAWRENCE IS LEADING the Federal Aviation Administration's efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation's airspace as the director of the agency's UAS Integration Offi ce. His team administers the Part 107 rule, including waiver requests, and helps develop new rules. Q: How do you assess whether a Part 107 waiver request provides the necessary level of safety to win approval? a: The more detail somebody provides us, the easier it is for us to evaluate their safety case. What we ask people to do—and it's very important—(we ask) that the applicants look at some of the (waiver) authorizations…and what were those limitations and what information did people provide us. (find at: faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/waivers_ granted/) We've also provided PDF guidelines, you can download them off the website where it says: 'Hey, you want to do a night operation? Here's what we're looking for—you need to put lights on the aircraft.' That sounds simple, but people, at the beginning of this, we received 'I want to operate at night.' That's it. That's all they said. operate, what are the common altitudes. …We also, quite frankly, get reports every single day of operations that are non-authorized. Where are those and what are we learning from that? Q: What unexpected challenges arose after Part 107 took effect? a: It's not so much unexpected…because the registration activity really educated us well on how we would have a huge volume of participants. …Intellectually understanding that, is one thing, internalizing it within the organization to support that volume is the challenge. Q: What are your research priorities for the next fi scal year? a: There's a priority on what we call applied research; it's a priority on research that will directly inform and allow us to publish regulations and policies to enable UAS operations. …One of those things in direct support of that is understanding… what the safety result of an impact with a manned aircraft may be. Getting an understanding of that. Q: The FAA initially was working to integrate large drones, and the smaller UAS now have Part 107. What about the mid-sized drones? a: I'm trying to break that paradigm because if you're going to weigh two pounds and operate at 35,000 feet, then you need to have all the same requirements that the RTCA folks (who are developing stan- dards for unmanned aircraft) are working on. Whereas if you're 10,000 pounds, if you're never going to go more than 100 feet above the ground, you don't need all of those things. … It's not a weight thing. It's what are you going to do with this thing, where are you going to operate it. That's what drives what the require- ments are. Five Good Questions EARL LAWRENCE