FAA opens their first official drone site
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported their first drone testing site is operational. The first testing site of six testing sites is located in North Dakota.
We have been covering the mandates and updates to drone regulations since last year, when a proposal for the use of aerial drone photography to be banned for everyone except government was introduced. Shortly after, we addressed the amendments to this proposal.
In November, we also addressed the FAA’s attempt outline plans for handling private drones. And, if the FAA continues with the their previously outlined plans the six testing sites will include: The University of Alaska, Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, Virginia Tech, Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., along with one location in the State of Nevada, and the aforementioned site in North Dakota.
One step closer to setting the rules
With the newest FAA release, we are one step closer to some type of clarity regarding the rules of engagement on drone technology. The testing in North Dakota with the Draganflyer X4ES drone will begin on May 5, 2014. The FAA defines a drone, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), will have two roles at the site: analyzing current processes for “establishing small UAS airworthiness and system maturity,” as well as, researching the quality of the soil and state of the crops.
It will also provide information regarding the maintenance and repair of drones, in order to help with later regulation. The press release states, “The information will help the FAA analyze current processes for establishing small UAS airworthiness and system maturity. Maintenance data collected during site operations will support a prototype database for UAS maintenance and repair.”
FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta states, “These data will lay the groundwork for reducing risks and ensuring continued safe operations of UAS. We believe the test site programs will be extremely valuable to integrating unmanned aircraft and fostering America’s leadership in advancing this technology.”
This is a step in the right direction to achieving universal mandates regarding private and state use of drone technology. It will be interesting to see what happens after the data is collected and analyzed.