March 24, 2023

Drone Advisory Committee

Last Friday, The FAA’s new Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) met in Washington, DC, and the purpose is to provide recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration about fully integrating drones into the NAS.

The committee’s membership was announced last week; it includes representatives from government, airport management, the drone industry, and major retailers. The committee is chaired by Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel Corp.  Several top FAA executives were present, including Administrator Michael Huerta, “Hoot” Gibson – senior advisor for drone integrations – and Earl Lawrence, director of the UAS Integration Office.

The FAA briefed the committee on the challenges that the FAA faces in integrating drones – which offer technology and capabilities that do not fit into the existing framework of manned aircraft – into the NAS safely; setting the current environment for the DAC.  According to the agenda published in the Federal Register, the committee took input from members about appropriate priorities for the group, and attempted to prioritize the current issues facing the drone industry and drone integration.

AIN online reports that chairperson Krzanich said that his goal “is to make sure that every voice is heard…and that at the end of the day we make a recommendation to the FAA.”

Over 400 people expressed interest in being included in the group, which has 35 members.  The committee will meet 3 times a year for two years.  The DAC is part of the FAA’s ongoing effort to collaborate with industry when forming new regulations.   When Administrator Michael Huerta announced the group, he said that “Input from stakeholders is critical to our ability to achieve that perfect balance between integration and safety…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.”

The FAA’s NextGen Advisory Committee, advising the FAA on efforts to modernize the air traffic control system, was the model for the DAC.