NTSB Examines Safety Of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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Pilots, engineers, regulators and others with an interest in the technology and utilization of unmanned aircraft systems met in Washington this week to discuss the latest developments in the field, with regard to safety. The forum, hosted by the National Transportation Safety Board, looked at issues such as integration of the systems into the National Airspace System, air traffic control procedures and training, and a look at the lessons learned from accidents and incidents that have occurred so far. Other topics included UAS design standards and airworthiness, pilot training and fatigue issues, and the use of the systems in firefighting missions. A Webcast from the forum is archived online at the NTSB Web site.

Last October, the NTSB conducted its first investigation of an unmanned aircraft accident, and issued 22 safety recommendations covering aspects of unmanned aircraft system design, operation, and safety management. This process raised "significant questions" about how these unmanned aircraft systems will fit into the aviation system, the NTSB said, and what kinds of safety challenges such integration will present. This week's public forum aimed to address those questions. Click here for more details about the forum and presenters (PDF).