H.R. 4489 – FAA Leadership In Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act

H.R. 4489 – FAA Leadership In Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act


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

Cyber Testbed

(Manned) Cabin communications, entertainment security vulnerabilities

Threat modeling

NIST standards

Research coordination

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

Website: www.iusacoalition.com

Email: info@iusacoalition.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robthompsonpilot

Twitter @learntoflyva

Rob Thompson

Rob Thompson is the co-founder of Falcon Foundation, a 3rd generation commercial multi engine pilot, Part 107 holder who also holds a Master of Science from James Madison University for his work in aviation system designs and technical & scientific writing. Falcon Foundation provides leading advocacy efforts in the unmanned aircraft systems industry, managing government relations, committees of association, executing legislative and regulatory strategies and creating law through the corresponding legislative committees. By working independently on advocacy issues, educating the clients on public policy issues quickly, and by engaging team members to facilitate successful results. Client policy issues will include aviation regulation, unmanned aircraft systems, Part 107 waivers, the regulatory process, and industry safety concerns. Client groups include aviation professionals, unmanned aircraft systems, and operators, both commercial and hobbyists, and non-aviation business sectors, including small business service and manufacturing sectors.