The U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general’s office is evaluating the FAA’s progress toward integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the national airspace system.
On October 22 the IG said that Congress has asked the office to undertake an audit of both the FAA’s efforts to reduce the safety risks of integrating UAS in unrestricted airspace and the agency’s “progress and challenges” in meeting the UAS requirements spelled out in the 2012 FAA reauthorization act. That legislation, passed in February, requires the FAA “to develop a comprehensive plan for integrating UAS” into the national airspace system no later than September 30, 2015, the IG states.
The FAA has already missed the 180-day deadline set by Congress in the reauthorization legislation to initiate a pilot program for UAS airspace integration consisting of six test ranges. The agency has not yet issued its long-awaited notice of proposed rulemaking to establish the regulatory framework for operating small UASs weighing less than 55 pounds.