By John Nolan Dayton Daily News
Congress, concerned about a delay that has already occurred, is pressing the Federal Aviation Administration to stay on schedule for designating six test sites in December that will allow the operation of remotely piloted aircraft in airspace now used by manned planes, to determine how the flying can be safely integrated.
Reps. Steve Austria and Mike Turner, both Republicans from the Dayton area, were among nine House members who signed the letter sent on Wednesday to the FAA’s interim administrator, Michael Huerta.
The legislators noted that the FAA’s own timetable for responding to a law Congress passed to mandate the airspace integration of manned and unmanned aircraft had called for the agency to issue a request for proposals in July for management of the test sites. It is early August and congressional staff have heard from contacts within the FAA that no such request for proposals is imminent, leading legislators to worry that there could be further delays and the FAA won’t be ready to decide the locations of the test sites in December, Austria said Thursday.