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.
Special Airworthiness Certificate
The Federal Aviation Administration issued type certificates in the restricted category to the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle X200 and AeroVironment Puma AE small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on July 19, for the first time permitting operators to use the aircraft for commercial purposes.
Industry and government executives involved in the development and regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offered airline pilots assurances that air vehicles piloted from the ground will be introduced safely and incrementally to the U.S. national airspace system (NAS). “We’re doing this in an organized and structured fashion,” said Richard Prosek, manager of flight technologies and procedures in the FAA’s UAS Integration Office.
The expected release in December of a proposed rule governing the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the U.S. national airspace system (NAS) will be a definitive step in the phased introduction of robotic aircraft in civilian airspace.
Air transport industry groups accept the inevitability of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying in civil airspace. At the largest event of the unmanned systems industry earlier this month, speakers representing airline pilots and FAA air traffic controllers delivered a go-safely message to UAS proponents eager to gain access to the national airspace system to build the industry.
General aviation industry representatives accept the inevitability of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying in civil airspace, though they urge a go-safely approach to introducing robotic aircraft. “[AOPA is] certainly an advocate of new aircraft entering the airspace system. It’s a matter of doing that safely.
The briefing requests started three weeks out: “[company executive] available to discuss new products at our exhibit. Can we arrange a meeting?” In advance of the Unmanned Systems North America conference last week, I received nearly 40 such invitations, still only a fraction of the reported 510 exhibitors at the four-day event held in Washington, D.C.’s cavernous downtown convention center.
The FAA will award completions center Gore Design Completions an organization designation authorization (ODA) before year-end. This designation permits Gore, with FAA oversight, to issue FAA certification approvals at its San Antonio facility.
The FAA has announced its intent to award Gore Design Completions (GDC, Booth No. 2944) an Organization Designation Authorization approval in the fourth quarter 2009. The ODA designation will allow GDC, with FAA oversight, to issue special airworthiness certificates, standard airworthiness certificates and supplemental type certificates, approving all modifications made to an aircraft while at the company’s San Antonio facilities.