The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) have formed a new task force dedicated to mitigating unmanned aircraft system (UAS) danger at airports.
The “Blue Ribbon Task Force on Unmanned Aircraft System Mitigation at Airports” brings together stakeholders representing the airport, UAS and manned aviation communities to refine procedural practices and provide a policy framework to address the issue of incursions by unauthorized drones at airports.
“UAS interfering with manned aviation is a serious issue, and it requires serious solutions. That is why we are bringing together the best and brightest minds to recommend a plan to keep our skies safe for the flying public,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI during a news conference at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL 2019, being held this week in Chicago. “While UAS hold tremendous societal and economic benefits, occasional bad actors threaten to undermine the great progress we have made and even put responsible, legal UAS operations in a negative light.”
The task force plans to examine and develop recommendations around two main areas: First, they will generate dialogue to refine procedural practices for airports, law enforcement and other stakeholders to ensure efficient responses to future UAS incidents. Second, they will develop a longer-term policy framework based on the experience from the initial efforts to deter incursions and emerging technologies. The goal is for this work to lead to and inform future conversations about UAS mitigation at other facilities, such as national landmarks, stadiums, prisons and military bases.
“One of ACI-NA’s highest priorities is ensuring unauthorized and unsafe drone operations do not adversely affect the safety or security of U.S. and Canadian airports,” noted Kevin Burke, president and CEO of ACI-NA, during the news conference. “With more and more drones flying in the airspace, we have found ourselves in a new situation with no clear playbook. By bringing together this exceptional group of experts, we are hopeful we can make significant progress in developing best practices that will help airports respond better.”
Members of the task force include as follows:
- Michael Huerta, former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (co-chair)
- Deborah Flint, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports (co-chair)
- Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority
- Rich Davis, former managing director of global security at United Airlines
- Trish Gilbert, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association
- Cathy Lanier, senior vice president of security for the National Football League
- Huntley A. Lawrence, director of aviation at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
- Chad Makovsky, executive vice president of operations at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
- Marily Mora, president and CEO of the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority
- John Pistole, former administrator of the Transportation Security Administration and former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Jamie Rhee, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation
The task force will begin on May 2 during a keynote session at XPONENTIAL with a panel discussion featuring Huerta and a representative from the airport industry.
As part of its work, the task force will also solicit comments on its website from the public and will explore holding a limited series of in-person and virtual public meetings. It anticipates releasing findings over the summer.