This “Groundbreaking High Tech Research & Development Act” slated to be marked up this Thursday will impact the research and development of drones for many years. To quickly highlight the areas that will impact the industry, future uses and rules we find 5 major titles in areas of research to include, general provisions, FAA R&D, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Cyber security and FAA R&D development activities.
Title I – Definitions and Authorization
Title II – FAA R&D
Associate Administrator for R&D
Research Advisory Committee
Plan to determine research and development responsibility
Title III – UAS
UAS research and development roadmap
Probabilistic metrics for exemptions – (presumably 333 exemptions).
Probabilistic assessment of risks
UAV-manned aircraft collision research.
Title IV – Cyber Security
(Manned) Cabin communications, entertainment security vulnerabilities
Research and development
Title V – Research and Development Activities
Research plan for the certification of new technologies in to the NAS
(Manned) Aviation fuel research
Air traffic surveillance over oceans
(Manned) Single piloted commercial cargo
A research committee and associate administrator for R&D will be sought to find risks and solutions to the NAS. For the first time we are hearing about risk assessment and the dangers of drones through the use of science. This will include ballistic and impact studies on how drones will impact and aircraft in flight. The plan would include responsibilities distributed to principal investigators and research components that will work with the FAA and NASA.
Cyber security seems to be aimed at manned aircraft with problems in security with communication and entertainment on board aircraft.
The last title includes a research plan on integration to the NAS, including equipment, certification and provisions for UAS airworthiness, which is, mentioned as continued airworthiness four times in the document. We can only speculate what this is, but if you understand the FAA and aircraft certification process you can guarantee they will adopt this aviation standard as a process to certify drones. This means all the equipment such as electronics must meet airworthiness standards, currently none of the Chinese based manufactured drones meets these standards. A typical certification process for an aircraft part can cost several millions of dollars and take 18-36 months through paper work and testing to get approved. If this is the case all unmanned aircraft that do not meet aircraft airworthiness standards when the final rule is approved will need to meet this standard for commercial work once the research is completed.
Link to document:
Author: Rob Thompson
Government Affairs, Legislative Correspondent, Commercial Pilot & Author in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry
Aviation Policy & Regulations | Industrial Unmanned Systems Coalition
Email: [email protected]