Small UAV Industry Eager To Collaborate With FAA; Welcomes New Pathfinder Program


On behalf of the industry, today the Small UAV Coalition commends the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for announcing partnerships with three companies to explore areas it had previously excluded from its proposed sUAS rule.  In particular, the Pathfinder Program will review operation of small UAVs in urban environments, beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) in rural areas, and BVLOS in isolated areas with companies CNN, BNSF, and coalition member PrecisionHawk.  PrecisionHawk will also test Low Altitude Tracking & Avoidance System (LATAS), its small UAV traffic management system.

Executive director Michael Drobac released the following statement:

“We know that small UAVs, or drones, can be operated safely in urban environments and beyond the line of sight.  We have seen this done safely in other countries, and we are happy now that the FAA is giving us a way to prove it.  We are ready and willing to make the safety case for this technology.”

“The Coalition looks at the Pathfinder Program as an important and necessary first step.  We are glad that the FAA has recognized the innovation, leadership, and expertise of PrecisionHawk, CNN, and BNSF.  However, we hope that the FAA continues to expand its partnerships with other leaders in this space, both large and small.  Moreover, we call on the FAA to include the research that comes from these partnerships in the final sUAS rule, so that operations beyond line of sight, over populated areas, and during the nighttime may be authorized during this rulemaking instead of the next.”

The Small UAV Coalition is the nation’s leading advocate for the commercial, civil, recreational, and philanthropic use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones.

For more information on the Small UAV Coalition, please visit, contact [email protected], or follow @smallUAVs on Twitter.