FAA Administrator to UAS Task Force: ‘Think Big, and Think Outside the Box’

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-selected task force charged with developing recommendations for unmanned aircraft system (UAS) registration kicked off its formal meetings today, where FAA Administrator Michael Huerta stressed that the group has “a lot to accomplish” during its three days of sessions.

In prepared remarks, Huerta stated that in light of recent incidents – reports of drones flying too close to manned aircraft and interfering with wildfire-fighting efforts, as well as a crashed drone at the U.S. Open – we need to “work harder to ensure a strong culture of safety and responsibility among unmanned aircraft enthusiasts.”

“There’s no single solution for how we do this. The integration of unmanned aircraft is multi-faceted, and our approach must be as nimble as the technology itself.

“One tool we’re going to use is registration – and that’s why we’re here today,” explained Huerta, who then noted the “countless potential uses” of UAS technology.

“We invited you to assist us on this task force because each of you brings extensive knowledge about unmanned aircraft, technology, public policy and the aviation industry. You represent a wide range of viewpoints.

“And you are all united by a common goal: the safe integration of unmanned aircraft,” he stated.

Huerta brought up the “urgency of the task at hand,” considering an estimated 700,000 new drones could be bought for the upcoming holiday season, he said.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx set a Nov. 20 deadline for the task force to come up with recommendations for UAS registration, and the transportation department and FAA plan to have the rules in place by mid-December, they said at an Oct. 19 press conference to announce the registration initiative.

“Please think big, and think outside the box,” Huerta told the task force, whose members include representatives from drone manufacturers, manned and unmanned aviation groups, and major retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy.

“Take the interests of all stakeholders, of everyone who will be affected by registration, into consideration, and you need to factor that into your conversations and deliberations. And, please, do not worry about achieving perfection. Your ideas will enable us to lay the groundwork for registration, but by no means is it the last word on registration.

“You have a lot to accomplish in the next three days. I have no doubt this group will be able to meet the challenge, and I look forward to your recommendations. Given the urgency of this issue, the DOT and the FAA will move quickly to consider your suggestions as we create a registration system that works for the FAA, consumers and the safety of our nation’s airspace.

“Thank you again for dedicating the time to this important undertaking,” Huerta said.

The full remarks can be found here.


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