Newly established FAA Drone Advisory Committee holds inaugural meeting


Meeting for the first time on September 16, 2016, a Drone Advisory Committee has been established to discuss and make recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the regulation and safety of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace system.  

The 35-member panel integrates leaders from the traditional aviation community with senior executives of technology companies, including Amazon, Google, Facebook and Intel. Together, the group prioritizes industry interests, including both safety and innovation, in a “long-running, multibillion-dollar effort to modernize the U.S. air traffic control system.” According to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the FAA is committed to this effort, “intentionally [bringing] these distinct cultures together.” 

The assemblage of this new committee comes at a climactic time for the FAA as it faces the immense challenge of regulating commercial and hobbyist drones. Since the agency launched its new regulatory program for commercial drone operation earlier this year, it has received over 12,000 applications. Likewise, the agency has registered more than 500,000 hobby drones since it established its online registration system in December 2015.

Recognizing the urgent need for both commercial and recreational drone guidelines, the committee plans to work together over the next two years to guide and direct the integration of drones into the airspace system, “infusing it with the safety margin that the public expects and deserves.”

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