Ag Groups Join UAS Regulations Movement

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) joined 31 other organizations today to send a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) encouraging the agency to expedite the rulemaking process for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations in the U.S. airspace. The letter also calls on the FAA to allow the limited use of small UAS for commercial purposes before the final rulemaking is completed.

Ag industry groups that cosigned the letter include:

  • American Society of Agronomy.
  • American Soybean Association.
  • Crop Science Society of America.
  • International Society of Precision Agriculture.
  • National Association of Wheat Growers.
  • National Barley Growers Association.
  • Soil Science Society of America.
  • U.S. Canola Association.

While Congress authorized the integration of UAS in 2012 and the FAA has recently implemented key steps in the integration process, the rulemaking for small UAS has been delayed for almost four years. Last month’s FAA v. Pirker decision underscores the immediate need for a safety structure and regulatory framework for small UAS, according to the co-signees.

“The time for resolution has come, and we cannot afford any further delays. The technology is advancing faster than the regulations to govern it,” the letter states. “While the FAA has indicated its intention to appeal the Pirker decision to the full National Transportation Safety Board, we strongly encourage the FAA to simultaneously expedite its small UAS rulemaking and issue notice and public comment as soon as possible.”

The co-signees include a broad array of organizations and industries, from agriculture to real estate to photography, that recognize the benefits of UAS. Meanwhile, the effort represents the first time stakeholders from both the manned and unmanned aviation communities are coming together to press for a regulatory framework for UAS. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Helicopters Association International are among the letter’s co-signees.

In addition to expediting the UAS rulemaking, the organizations urged the FAA to use its congressional authority to allow some limited UAS operations right away.

Read the full story on PrecisionAg.com.

The full letter may be found at www.auvsi.org/AUVSI-AMA-Sign-On-Letter-To-FAA.

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