ASSURE Helps FAA Write Ground Breaking Mirco UAS Report
April 6, 2016
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chartered the Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (the "ARC") to provide recommendations to the FAA Administrator on a regulatory framework for the classification and operation of micro UAS. The FAA contemplated a micro UAS classification in the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Small UAS NPRM), published on February 23, 2015. After reviewing comments to the Small UAS NPRM, however, the FAA decided that further engagement with industry stakeholders was needed before conducting rulemaking to address the regulatory framework for classification and operation of micro UAS.
The stated objective of the ARC was "to consider recommendations for a performance-based standard that would allow for micro UAS to be operated over people who are not directly participating in the operation of the UAS or under a covered structure," which would ultimately contribute to an enforceable rule imposed by the FAA.1
The ARC membership represented diverse interests and viewpoints. Although some decisions were not unanimous, the ARC reached consensus on all of its recommendations to the FAA, as reflected in this report. The recommendations in this report reflect the final statements of the ARC.
The ARC was focused on flight over people, and in furtherance of that goal, identified four small UAS categories, defined primarily by level of risk of injury posed, for operations over people. For each category, the ARC recommends a risk threshold that correlates to either a weight or an impact energy equivalent and, to the extent necessary to minimize the risks associated with that category, additional performance standards and operational restrictions. A chart summarizing the ARC's recommendations is attached as Appendix B to this report.