The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hosted their 3rd Annual Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Symposium in Baltimore on March 6th – 8th 2018. Their were several major announcements from FAA officials. We've compiled a short list of major announcements from the event to get you up to speed.
Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC)
Acting Administrator Dan Elwell announcing that the FAA will expand its Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which has been in testing since October of 2017. LAANC offers near instant sUAS flight clearance in airspaces that typically would take up to three months to get authorization for. Rollout of airports/airspaces with lance capabilities has been split up by regions across the country. The South Central United States kicked off the LAANCE rollout on April 30th, 2018 and implementation is set to completed in the Central North region of the country by September of 2018.
Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)
Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) is crucial for business operations such as power line, pipeline, and Amazon package deliver. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao addressed, In taped remarks, told attendees that operations over people, night flight, and flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) were on the way during the final day of symposium. UTM systems and automated flight tracking infrastructure will need to be implemented before a clear streamlined process to BVLOS is standardized.
Stopping unauthorized "clueless" and "careless" UAS flights remain a top priority for the FAA. Angela Stubblefield, the deputy associate administrator for the FAA, said tracking and identifying drones is key for airspace integration. It's no surprise that identifying a drone operator can be much more difficult than a manned aircraft, they can be deployed from almost anywhere and their size renders physical labels useless. A drone flying over power infrastructure might cause concern, but if the FAA could tell that the drone was doing work for a utility or a railroad company, it would ease those concerns. Several methods are being discussed including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).