On July 21, the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee (“DAC”) will hold its third meeting of 2017. The virtual meeting will provide the DAC with the opportunity to respond to the FAA’s presentation from the previous meeting and move forward with the priorities of each task group.

In May, the DAC held a meeting in Herndon, VA. The meeting was an opportunity for the three task groups to report on their progress and discuss future goals.  The first task group is focusing on issues related to the roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local governments in regulating and enforcing drone laws. The second task group is considering technological and regulatory mechanisms that would allow drone operators to gain access to the airspace beyond what the agency currently permits under the Small UAS Rule (commonly known as Part 107).  The third task group is tasked with developing methods to fund the expansion of services needed to support UAS integration.

At the May meeting, FAA Assistant Administrator for Finance and Management, Victoria Wassmer, gave a presentation updating the group on the FAA’s progress and focuses on a number of areas. Amongst other priorities, the FAA announced its goal of a functional Unmanned Traffic Management (“UTM”) system by 2019.  Additionally, the FAA discussed its effort to change the current system of case-by-case airspace approvals.  The FAA hopes to shift over to an online system called Low Altitude Authorization & Notification Capability (“LAANC” pronounced “Lance”).  The FAA has approved over 563 airspace approvals in Class B; 846 in Class C; and 2099 in Class D since the Part 107 regulations were promulgated last year.  Assistant Administrator Wassmer also discussed the creation of a committee focused on remote UAS identification and tracking and a series of studies on ground and airborne UAS collisions.

The July 21 virtual meeting provides the task groups an opportunity to respond to the FAA’s priorities, after having a few months to review the feasibility of the proposals. The DAC consists of UAS stakeholders and experts from various fields and provides the FAA with advice and recommendations regarding the safe and efficient integration of UAS into the national airspace system.

The DAC has another meeting scheduled for November 8.