The Helicopter Association International (HAI) is opposing recommendations in a newly released FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) final report on uncrewed aircraft systems (UASs) operating beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). “We are grateful to have been a part of the ARC’s efforts but are ultimately unable to support the recommendations of the report, as they will greatly increase risk to current airspace operators,” said HAI president and CEO James Viola.
Of particular concern to HAI are recommendations that “essentially excuse” UASs from see/detect-and-avoid responsibilities under FAR 91.113. It further charged that they deflect all responsibility and liability to crewed operators by providing BVLOS UASs a “blanket right-of-way” authority over aircraft they are unable to detect.
Another issue cited by the association centers on establishing “shielded areas” that would essentially create flight corridors within 100 feet—vertically and laterally—of any “obstacle or critical infrastructure.” According to HAI, this would give UASs right-of-way over all other aircraft in these areas. “This creates major safety issues for utility, patrol, construction, and agriculture operators that conduct tens of thousands of operations in this airspace annually,” it added.
HAI said it supports “safe and effective” integration of UASs, as well as advancement of BVLOS operations in the airspace system, but lamented that the ARC membership lacked "an adequate balance of manned versus unmanned representation.”