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EAA Submits Drone NPRM Comments

April 23, 2015 - EAA has submitted its comments to the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the operation and certification of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), more commonly referred to as drones. EAA’s goal is to ensure that manned aircraft always have priority over drones in the national airspace system (NAS).

EAA’s comments included the following priorities: protecting the freedom of navigation for manned aircraft; the safe integration of sUAS into the NAS; protection of airmen’s rights during certificate action as a result of sUAS operation; and reinforcing that no new equipment requirements can be introduced as a consequence of sUAS integration.

EAA stressed its concern with the lack of notification requirements for operations in certain areas of Class G airspace and suggested a 100-foot safety buffer between sUAS operations and manned aircraft operations. EAA also sought clarification for model aircraft operators when flying near public-use airports.

It was also suggested that the FAA apply its interpretation of flying for “compensation or hire” to model aircraft as it has applied it to manned aircraft performances at air shows. In addition to clarifying operating rules, EAA recommended the installation of systems that will safely terminate a drone flight in the event of a loss of downlink with the operator to prevent un-commanded fly aways.

Over the coming months, the FAA will review the comments submitted in response to the NPRM. EAA thanks its concerned members who submitted comments of their own and will continue to report on the rulemaking as it evolves.

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