AUVSI launches Remote Pilots Council

Forum promotes education and dialogue between unmanned aircraft systems operators, industry and the FAA to ensure safe and responsible use of the national airspace

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has announced the launch of a new initiative, the Remote Pilots Council (RPC), which has kicked off with a national tour to promote education and dialogue between commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operators, industry leaders and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Through a combination of in-person meetings, webinars and surveys, this council of AUVSI members will discuss opportunities and challenges to ensure safe and responsible use of the National Airspace System (NAS).

“Now that we have rules governing the civil and commercial operations of UAS, more businesses and innovators are flying and unlocking the tremendous economic benefits of the technology,” said Brian Wynne, AUVSI president and CEO. “AUVSI members, particularly those that are Part 107 remote pilots, are driving the value of this technology. The RPC will further enable AUVSI’s collaboration with the government to advance UAS in a safe and responsible manner.”

The Small UAS Rule, also known as Part 107, went into effect on Aug. 29, 2016. It allows anyone who follows the rules to fly. Among the regulatory requirements, commercial UAS operators must obtain a remote pilot certificate by passing an aeronautical knowledge test. The certificate must be renewed every two years.

“The RPC’s immediate goals are to bring AUVSI members together to provide feedback on real-world UAS operations, including clarifying and offering suggestions for greater efficiency in the FAA waiver process,” said Wynne. “Going forward, the RPC will identify and discuss operational challenges and potential solutions in UAS regulation as the FAA moves towards the full integration of UAS into the NAS.”

The first RPC meeting was hosted by the Silicon Valley AUVSI Chapter in San Francisco on Jan. 12 and featured remarks from Wynne and Airware CEO Jonathan Downey, who also serves on the AUVSI board of directors. Wynne moderated a discussion about the integration of UAS into the NAS, which featured Ken Kelley, national FAASTeam manager at the FAA, and Jesse Kallman, director of customer engagement and regulatory affairs at Airware.

“Enterprises are no longer just testing and talking about drones, they are deploying them. They are looking for ways to improve operational efficiency, increase worker safety, and drive business outcomes,” said Downey. “AUVSI’s Remote Pilots Council is a great example of our industry coming together in support of scaling commercial operations. We are excited about the RPC because a network of informed, experienced, and safe drone pilots is an important part of helping enterprise customers scale their operations and see the full value of this powerful technology.”

RPC meetings are scheduled with AUVSI chapters in Denver on Jan. 26, Washington, D.C. on Feb. 8, and Chicago on Feb. 28. Additional meetings will be held in Boston, Florida and Texas over the next several months.

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