On Friday September 16th, the FAA convened the first Drone Advisory Committee meeting. Over 400 organizations and individuals applied for membership but, in the end, 34 were accepted. You can see the complete list here.

Many members were the same as you would expect for an aviation advisory committee in Washington (e.g. AOPA, HAI, Harris, Lockheed Martin, ALPA, American Air Lines, etc.), but many were from nontraditional aviation companies like Facebook, Amazon, CNN, and Google [X]. State and local governmental entities were also represented, including the Mayor of San Francisco, The National Association of Counties, Los Angeles and Reno Airport authorities. Of course, the UAS industry was well represented by Boeing Insitu, General Atomics, 3D Robotics, Matternet, DJI, Precision Hawk, etc. There was a full house at the meeting.

The meeting was also attended by the most senior of the FAA senior management. Administrator Michael Huerta charged the group with helping the FAA to determine the agenda for the DAC and the FAA as they look beyond Part 107. He wanted the group to help the FAA “get it right.”

The DAC’s objectives for the first year include:

  1. Understanding the current plans of the FAA to achieve full integration,
  2. Advising the FAA Administrator of the gaps in those plans,
  3. Reaching consensus on a five year plan for the FAA.

The DAC agreed to form two working groups to take on:

  1. The apparent disconnect between the FAA preemption authority over all airspace and the lack of FAA authority to deal with the misuse of drones (other than unsafe operations).
  2. Certification/approval of aircraft to fly over people and beyond visual line of sight.

Plane-ly Spoken believes the DAC will take some time to spool up, but has great potential to help the FAA find a way forward beyond Part 107 that will accelerate UAS integration into the US Airspace. Count on Plane-ly Spoken to keep you advised.

Originally posted September 22, 2016