During the Singapore Airshow last week, a top official of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the FAA is planning rules to make it easier to identify drones and their pilots.
To draft the new rules, the FAA is working closely with other agencies and industry partners, said Carl Burleson, acting deputy administrator of the FAA. The rapid growth of the drone market and the rising number of incidents involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) are the primary drivers behind the need for increased drone regulation.
Burleson said that the FAA has three goals to accomplish. First, they want to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into the U.S. national airspace. Second, they want to be able to make decisions based on the risk an individual drone may pose. And finally, the FAA intends to collect data that will help them to understand the associated risks better.
Lawmakers and regulators are calling for better methods to enforce drone regulations and hold rogue operators accountable for endangering manned aircraft. The number of “incidents” reported between drones and manned aircraft is on the rise.
This week the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), and Airlines for America sent a joint letter to Congress addressing FAA regulations.
The letter expressed safety concerns due to current laws limiting the ability of the FAA to regulate drone operations and urged Congress to remove legislative restrictions.
Those restrictions have “limited the FAA’s ability to fully regulate UAS, to the point that safety of the national airspace is at risk,” the groups said. The groups cited recent incidents when drones came too close to commercial aircraft, including a recent close encounter of a drone with an airliner. “We strongly urge you to remove legislative restrictions that have been placed on the FAA that limit its safety oversight of UAS,” the groups said in their letter.
Drone Identification and Tracking has been a contentious topic in the industry. Accusations of industry influence over technology standards, complaints about privacy, and undue burdens on drone operators have all been part of the discussion. The FAA drone task force faces challenges in making recommendations that will satisfy all stakeholders.