FAA to Expedite Limited Commercial Operations of UAS

Orlando, Fla. – During a speech at AUVSI's Unmanned Systems 2014, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Manager of UAS Integration Jim Williams today announced that the FAA is working with several industries to expedite some limited commercial operations of UAS before UAS rules are finalized.

"We applaud the FAA for working collaboratively with the industry and other stakeholders to help UAS technology begin to take off," said AUVSI President and CEO Michael Toscano. "UAS have a host of societal and economic benefits, and many industries are clamoring to harness their capabilities. Limited commercial operations is a good first step, but we also need to begin the small UAS rulemaking immediately. We look forward to continue working with the FAA to advance UAS integration safely and responsibly."

Specifically, Williams said the FAA is expected to allow limited commercial operations for filmmaking, powerline inspection, precision agriculture and flare stack inspection. Williams said these industries approached the FAA for expedited approvals.

“These industries represent the examples of the commercial potential that we highlighted in our economic report last year. The report found that in the first decade following integration, the UAS industry will create more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact. However, each day that integration is delayed will lead to $27 million in lost economic impact,” said Toscano. “The FAA should begin utilizing its authority under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to allow for limited commercial operations now.”

Recently, AUVSI and more than 30 organizations called on the FAA to allow for limited operations immediately under its authority granted by Congress.

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