NAAA recently submitted comments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding Avitas Inc.’s request to amend its exemption for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. Avitas, a GE venture, was granted an exemption Oct. 16, 2018, for UAS BVLOS operations using ground-based radar as the enabling technology. Avitas’s current request for an amendment to the exemption includes operation over public roads and expanding its operation south of Midland, Texas.
NAAA does not believe ground-based radar alone provides adequate protection from UAVs for low-altitude manned aircraft. NAAA stressed the importance of aerial application and the need for safety in the National Airspace System. NAAA cited a project by the Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association that showed it was almost impossible for low-altitude pilots of manned aircraft to visually see UAVs. Studies by the University of Dayton Research Institute and the FAA through the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) showing the damage UAVs can do to manned aircraft were also cited.
The comment period for this amendment request ends Nov. 4. If you would like more information on the amendment request or would like to comment, go here.
NAAA has information on drone safety that can be found here and a video on drone safety can be found here.
NAAA is a member of the Unmanned Aviation Safety Team (UAST). We will have our drone safety materials available on the UAST website Nov. 16–22 for Drone Safety Awareness Week.