Broad Roles for ATO in Community Drone Projects
Recently announced participants successfully proposed projects that include extending UAS operations beyond visual line of sight over people and at night, using drones to inspect aircraft and airport perimeter security as well as international borders, and relying on UAS to deliver life-saving medical equipment, packages and mosquito control services. The 10 selected proposals are exciting, and it’s our job to help them get to a place where these activities can be safely permitted. We may do that initially with waivers and exemptions, with longer term changes in regulations and aircraft certification coming after.
The ATO is committing resources in part because we know that working with communities on the front end will ensure success and make the operational transition much smoother.
Some of our functions include acting as subject matter experts, approving airspace access, analyzing the impact on FAA infrastructure, identifying spectrum allocation and coordinating with security and intergovernmental agencies. The ATO is working closely with our colleagues in safety, airports, NextGen and other FAA organizations.
Every one of our service units will be involved in these and other related efforts. We are finalizing our ATO UAS air traffic services roadmap that describes our new entrant activities to help us align, prioritize and resource the ATO ongoing activities necessary to integrate UAS into the NAS.
Let’s think about our airspace as a valuable national asset and the services we provide as flexible, so we must be ready, adaptable and willing to safely enable new ideas and practices as demand from new entrants increases.