Drone Advisory Committee Set to Meet In Reno January 31

By Thomas L. Gemmell

The Drone Advisory Committee (DAC), a federal advisory committee created in May 2016 to help the Federal Aviation Administration prioritize its efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – or drones – into the national airspace, will hold its second meeting on January 31, 2017 in Reno, NV. At this meeting, DAC will be looking to approve three task groups to facilitate its directives. The first group will be tasked to review the roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local governments in regulating and enforcing drone laws. Many state and local governments have enacted a variety of laws about operating drones. The second group will consider technological and regulatory means by which drone operators can gain access to the airspace beyond that which the FAA currently permits under the Small UAS Rule (commonly known as Part 107). The third group will consider ways to fund the expanding range of services needed to support drone integration.

The creation of DAC last year signals the maturity of the technology and commitment of federal and commercial leaders to meet Congress’ mandate in 2012 to safely integrate drones into the National Airspace System. Though the original September 2015 deadline has come and gone, the growing interest in and proven economic benefits of drones continue to drive the industry at an exponential pace. Creation of the DAC was long overdue and provides much needed direction and planning towards safe integration.

DAC members represent a wide array of stakeholders, including UAS manufacturers and operators, traditional aviation groups, labor organizations, radio and navigation equipment manufacturers, airport operators and federal, state and local officials.