Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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Q+A 66 unmanned systems inside April/May 2017 Q G F Q: How do you see the national security concerns surrounding drones impact- ing your integration plan and the work you need from the DAC. a: Well it's an important issue because you know that the national security and law enforcement communities are not wrong. …If a cop on the beat, say in down- town Washington D.C., sees a drone f lying over the National Mall, he knows it's not supposed to be there—and so they know that they should act accordingly. …So, if we're going to have a regulatory framework that is going to allow operations over people, what they need to understand is how does a police officer make a determination as to whether (the drone) should be there or whether it has some nefarious intent. MICHAEL HUERTA is the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency responsible for the regulation of unmanned aircraft and their integration into the National Airspace System. Q: Do you envision new tasks for the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC)? a: I think there is a lot of concern about finding technological solutions to deal with some of the challenges that are out there. … Can this technology also have some application in resolving some of the concerns that our colleagues, for example, in the law enforcement and national security communities have? Q: Is there work waiting on new funding sources such as what the DAC has been developing? a: The funding task force for the DAC is actually looking at both sides of the funding question. …Where do we need to make investments either in staff or processes and all of that. But they're also looking at the 'who pays' question. …It's not a right-now thing, but they are looking ahead to, at what point (and) how, does the industry contribute to the aviation trust fund that supports the FAA. Q: Should air traffi c control be priva- tized, what are the most important factors for keeping the integration of drones into the national airspace on schedule? a: It's the who does what. …One of the things that we're going to wrestle with as we look at this question of privatization is where does the oversight responsibility begin and end versus the operations. …And—we've heard this both from the White House and the department—there is not a desire on any- one's part for us to stop doing things while we figure this out. There is a desire on everyone's part that we continue to work on integration. Frankly, I think there's a little bit of a competitive thing going on as well. People understand that we were the first out with a comprehensive regulatory framework and we don't want to cede that to other countries. What we do want to have is a situation where our standard becomes a defining standard that would be used globally. Q: What changes, if any, are contem- plated for drone certifi cation? a: What you've seen based on the work we've done on Part 23, which is the rewrite of small aircraft manufacturing, is we've gone away from the prescriptive standards to the level of performance we want them to hit. …We do see this as the template for how we're going to ap- proach regulation of all manufacturing. Five Good Questions MICHAEL HUERTA