FAA Seeking Comment On UAS (Drone) Test Sites
The FAA plans to identify six test ranges "to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in to the National Airspace System" and it is seeking pilot input. The FAA says it will also host webinars for further exchange of information between the agency and the public. The sites will be used to help develop certification standards and traffic requirements for unmanned flight operations applicable to both civil and public unmanned systems. Comments will be accepted for the next 60 days.
Drones currently need to acquire special permission from the FAA to fly in the U.S. and remotely piloted aircraft aren't yet allowed to fly in national airspace. By 2015, the FAA hopes to have drones fully integrated into the national airspace. Information learned from operating the vehicles in the test sites will help develop strategies to meet safety standards before the aircraft become more common. The move is motivated by language in the FAA reauthorization bill. Comments are meant to acquire information regarding a range of topics beyond geographic considerations. The FAA's request for comments, plus information on where to send them is available here (PDF).