Last week, in what many industry leaders see as a major step forward for the commercial drone sector, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee (BVLOS ARC) released its long-awaited final report. The ARC’s report contains advice, information, and recommendations to aid in the FAA in rulemaking around UAS operations.
The report’s Executive Summary lists five key recommendations, including:
- The setting of “an acceptable level of risk (ALR) for UAS that is consistent across all types of operations being performed.” This, ARC said, “will allow the FAA to adopt a common and consistent set of regulations and guidance.”
- Modifications to the right of way rules in Low Altitude Shielded Areas (within 100’ of a structure or critical infrastructure as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5195c) 2 and in Low Altitude Non-Shielded Areas (below 400’) to accommodate UA operations.
- An approach to operator qualification that “would extend Part 107, Remote Pilot Certificate with Small UAS Rating, to cover topics associated with Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) and shielded UAS operations.”
- The establishment of “a new BVLOS Rule which includes a process for qualification of UA and UAS, applicable to aircraft up to 800,000 ft-lb of kinetic energy (in accordance with the Operation Risk Matrix)”.
- The adoption of “a non-mandatory regulatory scheme for third party services to be used in support of UAS BVLOS operations.”
Many industry leaders are urging the FAA to act quickly on the recommendations.
“The ARC report recommendations are only useful if they are put into rulemaking in a timely fashion,” said Jon Hegranes, CEO and Founder of Aloft Technologies. “The FAA needs to act within months— not years— to make BVLOS a reality. There is also room to take ARC recommendations to unlock simple BVLOS flight immediately, especially flight where no air or ground risk needs to be mitigated.”
The FAA announced the formation of ARC in June 2021. Committee members include representatives from the drone manufacturing and operations sectors, government agencies, academia, security professionals, industry associations, and more.
Watch Commercial UAV News for updates and analysis of the BVLOS ARC recommendations.