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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Huerta Announces New UAS Advisory Committee, Loosens Educational Restrictions

Juliet Van Wagenen

Bayraktar Tactical UAS
Bayraktar Tactical UAS. Photo: Wikipedia

[Avionics Today 05-05-2016] FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the agency is establishing a broad-based advisory committee that will provide advice on key unmanned aircraft integration issues. He also announced plans to make it easier for students to fly Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) as part of their coursework.

Huerta said the drone advisory committee is an outgrowth of the successful stakeholder-based UAS registration task force and the MicroUAS aviation rulemaking committee. The panels were set up for a single purpose and for limited duration. In contrast, the drone advisory committee is intended to be a long-lasting group. It will help identify and prioritize integration challenges and improvements, and create broad support for an overall integration strategy.

“Input from stakeholders is critical to our ability to achieve that perfect balance between integration and safety,” Huerta said. “We know that our policies and overall regulation of this segment of aviation will be more successful if we have the backing of a strong, diverse coalition.” Huerta said he has asked Intel CEO Brian Krzanich to chair the group.

He also announced the FAA will start allowing students to operate UAS for educational and research purposes today. As a result, schools and students will no longer need a Section 333 exemption or any other authorization to fly provided they follow the rules for model aircraft. Faculty will be able to use drones in connection with helping their students with their courses.

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