FAA Seeks Public Input on UAS Design Standards

For the first time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says it is seeking public comment on proposed airworthiness criteria for an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), FlightScan Corp.’s Camcopter S-100.

According to an announcement from the agency, a Federal Register notice asks for public input on proposed design standards needed for the drone to fly safely in national airspace. The FAA says the ultimate goal of this and other projects is to grant FAA airworthiness certification to “fully functional, ready-to-operate” drones.

Notably, the S-100 is the first unmanned aircraft to have its certification basis published, the agency points out.

The Camcopter S-100 is a vertical takeoff and landing drone that looks much like a traditional helicopter. It is powered by a liquid-cooled rotary engine and has a maximum takeoff weight of 440 pounds, including a maximum payload of up to 110 pounds. The drone’s main purpose is to conduct surveys of power transmission infrastructure, the FAA says. According to the Federal Register notice, the aircraft would operate beyond the visual line of sight of the pilot.

FlightScan applied for FAA certification of the S-100 by using the special class provisions under Part 21.17(b) of FAA regulations in June 2015. Since then, the agency says it has worked with the company to develop airworthiness criteria that support safe integration of the S-100 into national airspace.

After the comment period ending Dec. 18, the FAA will evaluate the public comments to determine if any changes should be made to the proposed airworthiness criteria.

To submit comments, view the Federal Register notice here.

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