Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2017

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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26 unmanned systems inside June/July 2017 T he White House's announced support for the privatization of the nation's air traffic control system wove a new layer of complexity into a knot of interrelated issues that already has left some drone firms wildly frustrated. The commercial drone community was ex- pecting to open 2017 with expanded options for doing f lights over people—another step in what had become fairly steady, if sometimes slow, progress in integrating drone f lights into the nation's day-to-day business operations. Work on the nearly complete rules for flights over people was frozen, however, after several agencies expressed security concerns. How could police tell, for example, if a drone was approved to operate in an area or not, aviation officials explained to the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) community. Introducing unmanned operations brings a unique set of challenges, Federal Aviation Ad- ministration Administrator Michael Huerta said in March at the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Symposium. "How can we make sure unmanned aircraft don't gain access to sensi- tive sites? And after seeing how drones can be used for ill-intent overseas, how can we ensure similar incidents don't happen here?" It's Complicated WASHINGTON VIEW by DEE ANN DIVIS, EDITOR Dee Ann Divis has covered GNSS and the aerospace industry since the early 1990s, writing for Jane's International Defense Review, the Los Angeles Times, AeroSpace Daily and other publications. She was the science and technology editor at United Press International for five years, leaving for a year to at tend the Massachuset ts Institute of Technology as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. IN BRIEF Hopes for expanding the UAS market to include fl ights over people ran headlong into a wall of national security concerns late last year and experts are now working on ways to identify drones in fl ight as a tool to help thwart bad actors. A court threw a wrench into that plan, however, when it ruled recreational drone pilots were not currently required to register. Unfortunately the most likely avenue for lawmakers to fi x that is being complicated by a new push to privatize air traffi c control. To address the issue the FA A launched a new aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) to create standards for identifying and tracking drones in f light. Those standards could be used to help determine who was operating a UAS and whether a drone f lying into a protected area had special permission, had slipped out of control or was perhaps being directed there for nefarious reasons. The first meeting of the UAS Remote Identifi- cation and Tracking ARC was, as of press time, set for June 21-23, with most of the committee's key details—including its membership and char- ter—yet to be posted. Even its name remained a bit unclear ahead of the first gathering. Also increasingly unclear was the impact of the ARC's decisions after the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that model aircraft needn't be registered. Statutory Interpretation The FAA had been requiring operators to reg- ister all drones weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds. The drones were then given a unique number so irresponsible owners could be more easily identified. Petitioner John Taylor, a model aircraft hobbyist in the Washington, D.C. area who f lew a model aircraft from his home, did

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