Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offer great promise for a variety of applications in many areas of life and commerce, including opportunities for use by entrepreneurs and companies that rely on aviation as part of doing business. That said, NBAA has long maintained that safety be the top priority for any plan to introduce UAS into the NAS, including assurances that unmanned aircraft meet equivalent certification, airworthiness and traffic avoidance standards as manned aircraft. NBAA personnel have participated in UAS working groups for 10 years, including participation through RTCA.

Part 107 Update: On June 21, 2016, the FAA published 14 CFR Part 107, formal regulations for the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems. In the coming months, NBAA’s Business Aviation Management Committee, through it UAS Subcommittee, will be developing updated guidance materials related to UAS.

  • Petitioning for an FAA Commercial UAS Exemption

    Petitioning for an FAA Commercial UAS Exemption

    In the coming months, NBAA’s Business Aviation Management Committee, through it UAS Subcommittee, will be developing guidance materials on when a Section 333 exemption should be requested or when operations fall within the normal scope of Part 107. Learn more.

  • NBAA Resource: Petitioning for an FAA Commercial UAS Exemption

    Integrated Operational Management and Oversight for sUAS

    This resource provides guidance for operators interested in adding small UAS (sUAS) to their operations. It contains background information on general aviation flight department preparedness for integrating drone technology as well as a detailed checklist of relevant factors to consider when selecting a service provider. Learn more.

Latest UAS News

DOT Announces Expanded Roster of UAS IPP Partnerships
May 16, 2018
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently named 10 state, local and tribal governments that have partnered with industry stakeholders to conduct flight tests as part of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP). The three-year program addresses technical, regulatory and policy challenges in scenarios that fall outside the scope of FAR Part 107 regulations governing commercial UAS operations. "NBAA strongly believes that engagement between governmental entities and industry, under FAA oversight, is an excellent process that brings all critical stakeholders to the table," said Heidi Williams, NBAA's director for air traffic services and infrastructure. Learn more about the new UAS program.

UAS Operators Must Understand What Commercial Use Entails
April 6, 2018
Ever-expanding use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in commercial operations has brought with it the unwelcome matter of recreational operators flying drones for compensation. Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations requires that commercial operators flying UAS weighing less than 55 pounds pass an initial knowledge test for certification. Recreational UAS operators are not required to hold that certification but are prohibited from operating a drone for commercial use. "This is different than the long-held distinction between Part 91 and Part 135 operations" explained Sarah Wolf, NBAA's senior manager of security and facilitation. "Not only are for-hire drone operations considered commercial under Part 107, any not-for-hire drone operations in support of a business are considered commercial as well." Learn more.

1 Millionth Drone Registered as Safety Team Works to Refine Sighting Reports
Dec. 27, 2017
Work continues on methods to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System, as the U.S. Department of Transportation announced earlier this month that more than 1 million drones have been registered with the FAA. That figure includes 878,000 recreational operators, who are each assigned a single identification number for all UAS they fly, as well as 122,000 individually-registered drones flown by public and commercial entities, including many NBAA members. "Without question, UAS are here to stay, and their numbers will only increase in coming years," noted Heidi Williams, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. "That makes it imperative for all stakeholders to work together to ensure the safety of UAS operations." Read more about drones.

NBAA: UAS Integration Efforts Continue to Advance
Dec. 27, 2017
Several notable recent developments show that meaningful progress is underway toward the safe integration of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) into the National Airspace System, according to Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. For example, President Trump in December signed into law a national defense bill that also reinstated the mandatory registration requirement for recreational sUAS weighing less than 55 pounds. Read more about UAS integration in 2017.

Encore Podcast: What Should Your Company Know Before Starting Drone Operations?
Dec. 18, 2017
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are increasingly being added to the stable of technology that companies use to better serve their customers. For American Family Insurance, for example, drones are used for assessment, underwriting assistance, for security and more. "It's amazing the breadth of touchpoints across the company that this technology has," said Steve Dunai, the company's UAS program manager. "It could potentially benefit most every facet of the organization." Learn more in this encore edition of NBAA Flight Plan – which was one of our most popular of 2017.

Pending Defense Bill Would Reinstate Hobbyist Drone Registration
Nov. 20, 2017
A defense funding bill now on its way to the White House includes a provision that would reinstate mandatory registration for recreational small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) weighing less than 55 pounds. The National Defense Authorization Act includes language that would effectively overturn a May 2017 judicial ruling that halted the registration requirement. "While the reinstatement of registration for hobbyist sUAS does not directly affect our members, it may offer additional safety benefits as the FAA and industry work to gather user data to help safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system," noted Heidi Williams, NBAA director of air traffic services and infrastructure. Learn more about the sUAS provision.

Deadline Approaching for UAS Integration Pilot Program Applicants
Nov. 9, 2017
Business aviation stakeholders must sign up by Nov. 28 if they wish to participate in a new collaborative program exploring local concepts to assist the FAA with integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System. "This is a very tight timeframe, but it’s also an opportunity for NBAA members to express their intent to participate in the program," said Heidi Williams, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. Learn more about the UAS program deadline.

NBAA Monitoring Program to Speed Integration of UAS into National Airspace
Oct. 27, 2017
The Trump administration recently announced a new program between unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operators and state, local and tribal governments to expedite the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. NBAA has long been an advocate for the development of sensible regulatory policies governing commercial UAS operations, and Heidi Williams, NBAA's director for air traffic services and infrastructure, emphasized that the association will closely monitor the UAS Integration Pilot Program. "We intend to be an active part of this process as it moves forward," she said. Read more about the new UAS program.

In Safety Considerations, Drones Should be Treated like Manned Aircraft
July 24, 2017
Numerous industries welcomed the August 2016 issuance of FAR Part 107, which established rules for commercial operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), but the matter of developing safe UAS operations was left largely to the operator's discretion. Read more about integrating drones into existing safety programs in the latest issue of Business Aviation Insider.

FAA Offers Certain Drone Users Registration Fee Refunds
July 12, 2017
The FAA, in order to comply with a recent appellate court ruling, is offering a refund of the $5 registration fee collected from users of small, recreational unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). A U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently determined that the requirement for certain recreational UAS users to register with the FAA is unlawful. “It’s important to note this only applies to small UAS used exclusively for recreational purposes,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “If your drone is operated for business purposes, you still must register the UAS with the FAA.” Read more about the fee refund.

Podcast: A Look at Integrating Drones Into Your Flight Department
June 12, 2017
As unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) become more prevalent, companies are looking at how to best integrate them into overall operations and their flight department. Steve Dunai, UAS program manager for American Family Insurance, said his company started looking at areas where drones could be useful about two years ago, including in roof inspections, underwriting, security and more. Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said there is an alignment in pilot and drone operation skills, but training is key. Learn more in this week's NBAA Flight Plan.

FAA's Hobby-Drone Registration Requirement Ruled Illegal
May 24, 2017
The FAA is carefully reviewing a May 19 U.S. Court of Appeals decision finding that the agency's registration requirement for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flown recreationally violates law that prohibits the FAA from regulating model aircraft. The court's ruling, which stopped registration of hobbyist UAS immediately, has no effect on UAS of any size flown for commercial purposes by NBAA members or other commercial operators. Learn more about the UAS ruling.

NBAA: FAA Remains Appropriate Authority Over Drone-Use Policies
May 11, 2017
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, recently indicated he was not clear on which aspects of unmanned aircraft systems operations state and local and governments might wish to regulate, and he wanted to continue the dialogue with those entities – a position that concerns NBAA. "The possibility of local, state or regional entities developing independent policies and procedures raises many concerns," said Heidi Williams, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. "It is unclear how a manned or unmanned aircraft operator would keep track of jurisdictional boundaries or the unlimited number of rules if local or regional entities are permitted to develop their own airspace regulations." Read more about NBAA's position on the issue.

Podcast: UAS Sessions Take Center Stage at NBAA-BACE
Oct. 31, 2016
At its annual convention, NBAA is offering three education sessions on the policies and regulations surrounding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including a session on protecting airport traffic from errant drones at 4:30 on Tuesday, Nov. 1 in the Innovation Zone, sponsored by Business Aviation Insider magazine. Bob Lamond, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure, said the industry can expect a 'rapid acceleration' in the use of the technology in the coming years, and these sessions address some of the major issues surrounding UAS use. Learn more about the UAS sessions held this week at NBAA-BACE in this edition of NBAA's Flight Plan podcast.

NBAA Joins with Other UAS Stakeholders in First Meeting of Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team
Oct. 27, 2016
NBAA recently joined with other aviation stakeholders to participate in the first meeting of the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST), a group of industry volunteers invited by the FAA to help enhance the safety of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations within the National Airspace System. The UAST will utilize a data-driven, consensus-based approach to analyze safety data within the UAS industry and develop products and recommendations aimed at mitigating the causes of UAS accidents. Learn more about NBAA’s involvement with the UAST.

Part 107 UAS Regulations Take Effect Aug. 29
Aug. 29, 2016
Following years of collaboration between regulators and industry representatives, including NBAA, the FAA’s rules for the commercial operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) will take effect on Aug. 29. "The implementation of Part 107 is a milestone toward the sensible introduction of small UAS into the national airspace system," said Bob Lamond, NBAA director of air traffic services and infrastructure. Learn more about the rules for sUAS in this week’s NBAA Flight Plan podcast.

Podcast: What's the Latest on Drone Policies?
July 18, 2016
New regulations that apply to small unmanned aircraft systems (s-UAS) weighing less than 55 pounds will go into effect Aug. 27. However, rules that apply to the operation of UAS weighing more than 55 pounds will generally be covered under FAR Part 91-57A, according to Bob Lamond, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. "While s-UAS rules go into effect at the end of next month, rules governing standard UAS – those weighing more than 55 pounds – really won't differ from those covering manned aircraft," said Lamond, who serves on the FAA's UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee. Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast, sponsored by Jet Quest, for more on new s-UAS regulations.

NBAA Welcomes Sensible Regulations for Commercial Small UAS Operations
June 21, 2016
The FAA on June 21 published formal regulations for the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems. Expected to go into effect by late August, the new CFR Part 107 regulations generally follow the agency’s 2015 notice of proposed rulemaking, with key differences reflecting input from NBAA and industry stakeholders, such as a lower maximum operating altitude for UAS, below manned aircraft. "We commend the FAA for balancing the imperative to maintain safety for manned aircraft operating in the national airspace system with the practical needs of this rapidly-emerging industry," said Bob Lamond, NBAA director, air traffic services & infrastructure. Review NBAA's press release.

NBAA Supports New Privacy Guidelines for Unmanned Aircraft System Operators
May 25, 2016
NBAA welcomes new recommended federal privacy guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and encourages members to incorporate these "best practices" into their UAS operations. The new guidelines, released May 19 by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), outline voluntary steps that UAS users can take to gather and manage data responsibly and reassure the public. "Members of the public are concerned that their personal privacy may be compromised by the increasing use of commercial and recreational UAS. These guidelines should go a long way toward easing those concerns," said Bob Lamond, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. Learn more about the ruling.

New NBAA Resource Highlights Advantages of Integrating sUAS into Flight Departments
May 13, 2016
To assist flight departments considering the use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) within their operations, NBAA has released a new resource – Integrated Operational Management and Oversight for sUAS – providing background information on the subject matter, as well as a detailed guide to vetting sUAS service providers. General aviation flight departments are uniquely equipped to handle the operational challenges sUAS present and benefit from their commercial potential, according to Dr. Brent Terwilliger, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor and member of NBAA's Business Aviation Management Committee. Learn more about NBAA's sUAS resource.

FAA Publishes New Guidelines for UAS Flights Near Washington, DC
April 21, 2016
Recently published guidelines for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within the outer ring of the special flight rules area surrounding Washington, DC build upon prior guidance issued by the FAA regarding operation of small UAS. "This latest step marks a natural evolution in the FAA's move toward sensible UAS regulations that maintain safety and national security, without presenting an undue burden for operators," said Bob Lamond, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. Read more about the new guidelines.

Aviation Groups' Letter Supports Federal Approach to UAS Regulation
April 13, 2016
NBAA has joined with several aviation groups in signing a letter opposing two proposals that would eliminate federal oversight for the regulation of UAS, and their integration into the National Airspace System. The proposals were offered as amendments to H.R.636, a Senate bill under consideration for reauthorizing programs and funding for the FAA. "It has long been established that the federal government, through the FAA, has sole authority to implement and enforce regulations for all navigable airspace, including regulations for UAS, and the Senate's FAA bill reiterates this position," said NBAA COO Steve Brown. Read more about the groups' position on UAS regulation.

NBAA Encouraged by Micro UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee Recommendations to FAA
April 7, 2016
The Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee has submitted its consensus report to the FAA, and NBAA believes that the report’s recommendations – including establishing four categories of UAS with various standards for operating over people – will increase the potential business uses of UAS. “Limitations on the operation of UAS over people are a significant hindrance in the application and effectiveness of the use of UAS by our member companies,” said Bob Lamond, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “NBAA has advocated for reasonable standards to ensure safety of manned aircraft and people on the ground, while not unnecessarily encumbering use of UAS by our members.” Read more about the committee’s recommendations.

NBAA Commends UAS Owners' Compliance as FAA Registration Exceeds 400,000
March 18, 2016
More than 400,000 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) owners have registered their small UAS since the FAA's registration rule took effect on Dec. 21, 2015. "Since the earliest discussions about UAS, NBAA has advocated the FAA to include UAS in the NAS in a watchful manner, ensuring safety for manned aircraft and the public," said Sarah Wolf, NBAA's director of security and the association's representative on the Registration Task Force. Read more about UAS registration.

NBAA Calls FAA UAS Detection Work Good First Step to Protect Manned Aircraft
March 4, 2016
The FAA-led effort to develop and test a detection system that identifies unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operating on and near airports is a good first step, said Sarah Wolf, NBAA's senior manager of security and facilitation. As this technology matures, it will contribute to the safety of NBAA members that operate both manned and unmanned aircraft "Conscientious UAS operators, such as NBAA members that follow airspace rules and have a strong safety culture, are not the threat," said Wolf. The substantial number of manned-aircraft pilots who continue to report UAS in the air around airports indicates that the FAA's UAS outreach and education efforts have not yet reached all UAS operators. Learn more about the FAA's efforts to protect manned aircraft.

Aviation Rulemaking Committee Working on Micro UAS Standards
Feb. 26, 2016
The FAA has announced the formation of the Performance Standards and Requirements for a Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). The ARC's recommendations could increase the potential commercial uses of micro UAS. "Of significant interest to business aircraft operators wanting to use drones that qualify for the micro UAS classification, this ARC is specifically tasked to consider recommendations for a performance-based standard that would enable micro UAS to be operated above people who are not directly participating in the operation of the UAS or under a covered structure," said Bob Lamond, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. Read more about the new ARC.

NBAA to Participate in ICAO Talks on UAS Airspace Integration
Feb. 10, 2016
Representatives from 25 nations and dozens of aviation groups – including NBAA – will head to Montreal, Canada next month for the fourth meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization's Panel on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Sarah Wolf, NBAA's senior manager for security and facilitation, will take part in the talks, which are aimed at creating a framework for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems across borders and over international waters. "This panel is full of a number of working groups focused on a variety of issues," said Wolf. "But ultimately, much of our work is aimed at the increasing demands of RPAS operators to fly in non-segregated airspace and at aerodromes." Learn more about the ICAO talks on UAS integration.

UAS Now Allowed in Washington, DC Airspace
Feb. 9, 2016
The FAA announced it will now allow commercial (and hobbyist) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations in the DC Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), cancelling prohibitive restrictions previously in place. "This is very welcome news for commercial operators of UAS, which include NBAA members, in and around the DC area," said Bob Lamond, NBAA's director, air traffic services and infrastructure. "The potential for commercial operations in this area is very high, and the decision by the FAA will enable that activity." Lamond noted that the 15 nautical mile flight restricted zone (FRZ) remains in effect. Learn more.

EASA Lays Out Possible Roadmap for UAS Airspace Integration
Jan. 28, 2016
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a technical opinion on the future of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the skies over the European Union (EU), dividing them into three classes, and issuing 27 recommendations for their safe operation in EU airspace. "This is certainly a starting point for global discussion," said Sarah Wolf, NBAA's senior manager of security and facilitation. "A lot of states are taking individual action to regulate UAS. That could lead to a patchwork of requirements governing unmanned aircraft, an outcome we are working to avoid." Wolf represents NBAA on the International Civil Aviation Organization's Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Panel, which is tasked with developing standards and recommended practices for international UAS operations. Read more about EASA's roadmap for UAS integration.

FAA, DOT Unveil Small, Unmanned Aircraft System Registration Requirements
Dec. 14, 2015
Following input from a joint industry/government task force, which included participation from NBAA, the U.S. Department of Transportation and FAA will issue regulations this week governing the registration of many small, unmanned aircraft systems (s-UAS) operated in the national airspace system. Under the interim final rule to be published Dec. 15, non-commercial operators of s-UAS weighing between 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) will be required to pay a triennial $5 fee to register their systems. Any UAS purchased before Dec. 21, 2015 must be registered by Feb. 19, 2016, while UAS purchased after Dec. 21 must be registered prior to their first flight outdoors. Read more about the new s-UAS requirements.

NBAA Conducting Survey on UAS and Business Aviation
Dec. 10, 2015
NBAA is conducting a survey on the current and potential use of UAS in furthering member companies' core business interests. NBAA has long worked with the FAA and other industry partners to ensure that integration of UAS into the national airspace system is thoughtful, deliberative and focused on safety. NBAA member companies not only operate traditional, manned aircraft that will eventually share the airspace with UAS, but also are at the forefront of utilization of this new tool. Survey results will be used to help the association better serve the needs of members. Take the UAS survey.

Detect and Avoid Technology for UAS a Hot Topic at NBAA2015
Nov. 18, 2015
Despite their potential for applications within multiple industries, including throughout the business aviation community, the widespread deployment of UAS is currently limited by the inability to deploy systems on missions “beyond line of sight” from the operator. Acknowledging concerns of the manned aircraft community of a proliferation of UAS, panelists at an NBAA2015 education session stressed the need for extensive testing and verification before UAS are seen operating throughout the NAS. Learn more.

UAS in Business Aviation Panel Tackles Questions About Emerging Industry at NBAA2015
Nov. 17, 2015
The varied uses throughout business aviation for small, unmanned aircraft systems (s-UAS) were explored during the “Small UAS in Business Aviation” session at NBAA2015, as industry leaders addressed questions from companies exploring their own uses for UAS. "The integration of s-UAS is already happening, and as a result, aviation is about to experience a transformation and expansion of capabilities that we have not seen in our industry, literally, in decades,” said panel moderator Brad Hayden, president and CEO of UAS service provider Robotic Skies. Read more about s-UAS in business aviation.

NBAA2015 Looks to the Future of Unmanned Flight
Nov. 2, 2015
The Department of Transportation wants all UAS in the U.S. to be registered, and NBAA is part of the working group on that issue. "We have been proponents of having UAS safely integrated into the NAS [National Airspace System] for a decade or more now, so we feel it is a good fit for us to be on this task force," said Sarah Wolf, NBAA senior manager of security and facilitation. Wolf noted that NBAA is offering NBAA2015 attendees education on UAS with two sessions taking place at the show. Seminars will address the maturation of "detect and avoid" UAS technology, and existing and potential uses of UAS in business aviation. The topic also will be covered at Careers in Business Aviation Day on Nov. 19. Learn more about UAS sessions at NBAA2015.

NBAA Supports Latest Step by DOT, FAA on UAS Safety
Oct. 19, 2015
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen expressed his support for an announcement by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of a new joint industry-government task force created to develop a process for registering UAS.Learn more.

NBAA: House Hearing Highlights Need for Action on UAS Regulations
Oct. 7, 2015
A hearing last week before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure's aviation subcommittee regarding the safe utilization of UAS highlights the urgent need for the FAA to issue federal regulations for the burgeoning industry, said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "We urgently need guidance, through the established rulemaking process, which produces a national regulatory framework that enhances safety and creates a reliable set of operating procedures for UAS operators and the broader public alike," Bolen said. Read more of Bolen's remarks about the hearing.

UAS Opportunities in Business Aviation to Be Examined at NBAA2015
Sept. 24, 2015
The ever-increasing potential for s-UAS in business aviation will be demonstrated by an expanded roster of s-UAS-focused exhibits, seminars and activities during NBAA2015. Located on the exhibit hall floor of NBAA2015, the Innovation Zone will feature several examples of s-UAS already utilized in various roles in business aviation. This display complements the addition of several new, UAS-focused companies that will be exhibiting at the Las Vegas Convention Center. "Many companies have discovered how UAS, just like a business airplane, is simply another tool that supports the core business," said Bob Lamond, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. Read more about s-UAS at NBAA2015.

NBAA Welcomes Selection of Aviation Leaders to Bolster FAA's UAS Integration Efforts
Sept. 4, 2015
NBAA welcomed the FAA's selection of noted aviation professionals Marke "Hoot" Gibson and Earl Lawrence to lead the agency's UAS Integration Office and spearhead efforts to safely introduce UAS into the nation's airspace. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said, "These two aviation professionals will bring their diverse backgrounds and perspectives to a very complex issue, and we are encouraged by these actions to bolster the agency's work to safely integrate UAS into the National Airspace System." Read more.

NBAA: UAS Close Encounters with Manned Aircraft Highlight Need for Sensible Regulations
Aug. 25, 2015
The FAA hopes to send "a clear message" about the dangers of operating s-UAS near manned aircraft by releasing a searchable database of the more than 700 reported close calls with s-UAS. Stating that the numbers of illegal and potentially dangerous s-UAS encounters have "increased dramatically," the agency hopes the list will strike a chord with UAS operators. Doug Carr, NBAA's vice president for regulatory and international affairs, said the sharp increase in pilots reporting close calls with s-UAS is in line with the greater availability of such systems to non-commercial operators. "The FAA must continue to reinforce that s-UAS operations absolutely cannot interfere with manned aircraft operations," Carr said. Read more about close encounters with s-UAS.

NBAA Resource Provides Guidance for Companies Seeking Commercial UAS Exemption
June 12, 2015
NBAA's new resource, "Petitioning for an FAA Commercial UAS Exemption," provides guidance for businesses that wish to begin operating UAS before the FAA's final rule is published. "NBAA represents companies that use general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful," said Sarah Wolf, NBAA senior manager, security facilitation. "UAS will be another business tool available to an even broader range of companies." The new resource can help NBAA Members and others to operate UAS safely, efficiently and legally under the FAA's current regulations. Read more about NBAA's new UAS resource.

FAA Notice Addresses Emerging Need for sUAS Maintenance Standards
June 6, 2015
Although a recent FAA policy notice likely signals the agency's intentions to oversee maintenance and inspection for procedures for s-UAS, for the moment it leaves more questions than answers for the rapidly evolving industry. Effective May 16, the FAA notice outlines certain allowed deviations from manned aircraft maintenance regulations, which FAA inspectors may utilize to validate the airworthiness of civilian sUAS. However, it does not specify concrete alternate definitions for UAS airworthiness. "A key requirement under a COA [certificate of authorization] is to address how your operation will handle and mitigate known risk factors," said Brent Terwilliger, chairman of the NBAA Business Aviation Management Committee's new UAS subcommittee. "That includes inspection and maintenance of the aircraft to ensure safety." Read more about the FAA's latest notice on sUAS.

FAA Unveils New Programs For Collecting Data on UAS Operations
May 11, 2015
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta last week announced three new partnerships, which may ultimately lead to UAS flights over urban environments and beyond the operator's visual line-of-sight. Under the "Pathfinder" initiative, cable news outlet CNN will provide data on UAS newsgathering operations in urban areas, while UAS manufacturer PrecisionHawk will research s-UAS flights outside the operator's direct line of sight for use in crop monitoring operations. National rail operator BNSF will explore the use of s-UAS in beyond line-of-sight inspections of rail system infrastructure. The new initiatives reflect NBAA's position on the need for data collection as part of the safe and sensible integration of UAS into the national airspace system. Read more about the FAA's new programs for UAS.

NBAA Highlights Safety Concerns, Reasonable Construct, for FAA's s-UAS Regs
April 27, 2015
In its response to the FAA's notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to govern commercial operations of s-UAS, NBAA acknowledged the generally measured initial regulatory framework for the new category, but also outlined a number of concerns with the agency's plans. "Overall, the FAA's initial proposal represents a good start," said Doug Carr, NBAA vice president, regulatory and international affairs. "Given the sheer magnitude of the task before the agency in creating a regulatory framework for this new category, the NPRM provided a reasonable approach from which to develop initial regulations governing the safe operation of s-UAS." Read more about NBAA's response.

Auburn University to Operate First UAS School in the Country
April 27, 2015
With UAS becoming more popular, the FAA has granted Auburn University approval to operate a new UAS Flight School as part of its Aviation Center. Auburn hopes to launch it's program in June, and will open the non-credit classes to anyone interested, not just Auburn students. "The reaction has been overwhelming," said Bill Hutto, director of Auburn's Aviation Center. "We've gotten inquires from as far away as Oregon State." While the curriculum is still evolving, Hutto anticipates offering courses in pipeline inspection, use in agriculture and law enforcement and more. Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast for more on the new UAS school at Auburn.

UAS Will Present Flight Departments with Challenges, Opportunities
March 2, 2015
At NBAA's 2015 Leadership Conference last week, a panel of industry experts discussed the opportunities for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), but also identified challenges that flight departments would face with incorporating UAS into their operations. Panelists also discussed the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the commercial use of s-UAS, which was released on Feb. 15. Sarah Wolf, NBAA senior manager, security and facilitation, encouraged the business aviation community to share their feedback on the s-UAS NPRM with NBAA at uas@nbaa.org. "We are all stakeholders in this industry," said panelist Brent Terwilliger, chairman of NBAA Business Aviation Management Committee's new UAS subcommittee. "We have to have these collaborative discussions and provide information back to the FAA." Read more about the UAS session at NBAA's Leadership Conference.

NBAA Flight Plan: A Conversation with NBAA About FAA's s-UAS Proposal
Feb. 19, 2015
As industry officials and interested stakeholders learn more about the FAA's proposed rules governing s-UAS, NBAA is cautiously optimistic that the agency has taken a "good first step" toward integrating the devices into the nation's airspace, but that some details will need to be further explored. Bob Lamond, NBAA's director, air traffic services and infrastructure, discusses the FAA's proposed rules, and their potential impact for business aviation, in a special edition of NBAA Flight Plan podcast.

NBAA: FAA Takes 'A Good First Step' on Rules Governing UAS
Feb. 15, 2015
The Association welcomes the release of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to regulate non-recreational use of s-UAS, or drones, under a newly created Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). "The FAA has taken a good first step in releasing these initial guidelines to provide a much-needed regulatory structure for these operations," said Bob Lamond, NBAA director, air traffic services and infrastructure. To assist business aviation stakeholders with understanding the requirements for the safe operation and integration of s-UAS operation, NBAA offers a dedicated UAS web resource and UAS-focused education sessions at events like the 2014 NBAA convention (NBAA2014) held last October in Orlando, FL and the 2015 NBAA Leadership Conference to be held Feb. 24 to 26 in Tucson, AZ. Learn more about the s-UAS NPRM.

NBAA Continues to Monitor Updates on Use of UAS
Feb 9, 2015
While the industry is still waiting the FAA's proposed rule on the use of s-UAS, NBAA is monitoring the situation and continuing to provide input on their use in the National Airspace System (NAS). Even when a proposed rule is released, it will still be about a year before a final rule is in place, said NBAA's Director of Air Traffic Services and Infrastructure Bob Lamond. NBAA has long maintained that safety needs to be a key concern with s-UAS, said Lamond, adding that geofencing technology, which keeps the devices away from areas they are not allowed, is a good example of ways to keep them from interfering with operators currently in the NAS. Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast for an update on s-UAS.
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NBAA Joins 'Know Before You Fly' Initiative, Expands UAS Resources for Members
Jan. 26, 2015
NBAA recently joined with other aviation advocacy groups and industry partners in support of the "Know Before You Fly" educational initiative to provide prospective users with the information and guidance they need to fly s-UAS safely and responsibly. "Our participation in this campaign further demonstrates efforts by NBAA to ensure that persons operating UAS commercially or privately are doing so in the safest possible manner," said Bob Lamond, NBAA director, air traffic services and infrastructure. NBAA also recently launched a dedicated web resource for its Members organizing the latest news and information related to the Association's efforts toward the safe operation and integration of UAS. Read more about s-UAS and the Know Before You Fly Initiative.

FAA Issues New UAS Exemptions as Industry Awaits Regulatory NPRM
Jan. 14, 2015
The FAA recently took a series of additional steps towards the rollout of s-UAS by issuing new regulatory exemptions for three operators, including approval for Atlanta, GA-based CNN to become the first international news organization utilizing s-UAS for aerial newsgathering. The FAA also announced exemptions for a Tucson, AZ-based real estate firm to utilize s-UAS for aerial photography of property listings, a first for that industry, and to a Seattle, WA company for agricultural photography and crop-scouting applications. The agency also issued a tentative legal framework for local law enforcement agencies to follow when determining the legality of UAS operations in their communities. Learn more about the latest exemptions for companies to operate UAS.

Industry Awaits FAA Guidance on s-UAS Operating Regulations
Jan. 8, 2015
The New Year dawned without action by the FAA providing guidance for integrating s-UAS into the NAS. NBAA's Bob Lamond was disappointed that the FAA missed a timetable that the agency had expressed confidence in during a December congressional hearing, leaving a burgeoning industry without clear direction on how to proceed toward adopting UAS for a variety of roles. Learn more about the anticipated NPRM on regulations governing the use of s-UAS.

UAS Rollout Timeframe Debated in House Aviation Subcommittee Hearing
Dec. 15, 2014
On Dec. 10, lawmakers on Capitol Hill expressed frustration with the slower-than-mandated rollout of commercial UAS during a hearing of the House Aviation Subcommittee. However, government officials and industry stakeholders, including NBAA, continued their support for a deliberate and methodical approach towards integrating UAS into the national airspace system, with safety the primary focus. Read about efforts to safely introduce UAS, and NBAA's work with federal regulators.

Video: Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Opportunities for Business Aviation
October 23, 2014
UAS technology is evolving toward commercial viability, and the $13 billion industry is expected to increase tenfold over the next decade. According to panelists at this NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2014) education session, now is the time to start planning for of the opportunities and potential that UAS provide. Watch the NBAA2014 video.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Issues to be Examined at NBAA2014
Sept. 15, 2014
UAS offer the potential to support a variety of industries that utilize business aviation. Two sessions that took place during the NBAA2014 provided valuable information about upcoming regulations governing UAS operations, as well as their expected impact on the industry. Chris Strong, NBAA senior vice president of conventions and membership, said these sessions are forerunners to what he expects will be an expanding presence for UAS at future NBAA conventions. Read more about sessions focused on unmanned aircraft systems at NBAA2014.

As FAA Plans Initial Integration of UAS, NBAA Closely Monitors, Coordinates With Government
July 18, 2014
The FAA said it expects that by Aug. 31 it will take the first step toward codifying the agency's five-year phased plan to integrate UAS into the NAS. NBAA personnel have been instrumental in helping the agency address the technological and certification requirements for safely integrating UAS into the nation's airspace. Read more about NBAA's work with the FAA to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace.

NBAA Contacts for UAS Issues

NBAA personnel remain actively involved in discussions with FAA officials and other aviation groups regarding UAS applications within the business aviation community, and the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace system (NAS). For more information, contact the NBAA contacts below:

Heidi J. Williams
Director, Air Traffic Services & Infrastructure
Tel: (202) 783-9255
Email: hwilliams@nbaa.org
Sarah Wolf, CAM
Senior Manager, Security & Facilitation
Tel: (202) 783-9251
Email: swolf@nbaa.org