U.S. congressional leaders, addressing those attending the Unmanned Systems Conference in Orlando on Tuesday, said Congress will likely expedite provisions of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act that require the FAA to introduce unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
News and issues relating to civil and military unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) of all kinds and sizes, including those used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), combat (unmanned combat air vehicles, or UCAVs), law enforcement, research and other applications. Of particular focus is the FAA's planned integration of UAS into the U.S. national airspace system.
Commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is possible once manufacturers demonstrate the airworthiness of their designs, according to the manager of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office. “It’s a two-way street,” advised Jim Williams. “The FAA can’t pull the industry up.”
Space Florida hosted a tightly controlled unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flight demonstration on Sunday amid concern the FAA would pull the plug on the event, which served as a prelude to the Unmanned Systems 2014 conference this week in Orlando. With the exception of the media and participating UAS organizations, spectators were kept far removed from the launch area in a field at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
Northrop Grumman and Yamaha Motor USA have partnered to develop and market an unmanned “autonomous” rotorcraft system based on Yamaha’s RMax agricultural helicopter. The Rotary Bat (R-Bat) is targeted for search and rescue, power line inspection and forest fire observation missions.
North Dakota’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test range may have been first to receive an FAA certificate of authorization (COA), but the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) this week laid claim to the first test-site mission.
The FAA aims to delegate authority to the six national unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test ranges it has chosen to issue their own experimental airworthiness certificates to manufacturers to test fly aircraft. The North Dakota test range, which planned to begin operations this week as the first range to receive an FAA certificate of authorization (COA), expects to eventually have two designated airworthiness representatives.
The U.S. Navy recently ordered five more MQ-8C Fire Scouts, bringing to 19 the number of Bell 407-based unmanned helicopters it plans to buy from Northrop Grumman. But the Fire Scout program faces scrutiny by Congress for cost overruns.
The U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike system (UClass) air segment to four contractors on April 17. The service expects to release a final RFP later this year.
A nonprofit search-and-rescue organization has asked a federal court to review an FAA order that it stop using a model aircraft to assist in its search efforts. Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search & Recovery, based in Dickinson, Texas, filed a petition for review of the order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on April 21.
The FAA granted a certificate of authorization (COA) to the North Dakota Department of Commerce to fly the Draganflyer X4-ES quadcopter at the Northern Plains unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test range, the first of six national UAS test sites to begin operations. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the authorization in Grand Forks on April 21.