The 8th Annual FAA Drone Symposium, co-hosted by The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) was held on August 1 and 2 in Baltimore, Maryland. Themed “Time to Accelerate,” the symposium brought together industry experts, government representatives, and stakeholders to discuss the FAA’s approach to integrating drones into the airspace and advancing regulations. The Wicks Group, PLLC (TWG) had the privilege of attending the event.
The symposium highlighted the FAA’s receptiveness to industry input, signaling a desire to utilize industry data to inform its regulatory process. The symposium provided an opportunity for industry professionals to help shape the regulatory landscape to remain in sync with industry dynamics.
TWG has extensive experience assisting clients with the Part 107 waiver process, which enables commercial drone operators to obtain specific exceptions to the standard operational limitations. TWG enjoyed the opportunity to seek FAA input on issues relevant to the Part 107 waiver process, Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) approvals, and the exemption process. These discussions provided clarity to TWG on how to best assist industry professionals in ensuring compliance while pursuing innovative drone operations.
Another key highlight of the event was the discussion of the impending Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations (Part 108). The NPRM is expected to be published by August next year and comes in response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ five-year FAA reauthorization bill, the “Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act” (HR 3935). The NPRM will follow up on a BVLOS Request for Information (RFI) that received over 400 comments. The FAA plans to use these comments to inform its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) strategy.
Despite the absence of a finalized UTM rule or approval process, the FAA has introduced the Near-Term Approval Process (NTAP) to expedite UTM service approvals once a UTM concept gains agency approval. The NTAP will be used to approve UTM services in low-risk environments alongside a Part 107 waiver or an exemption.
Remote identification (RID) was another topic of discussion at the symposium, with operator implementation set to become effective on September 16. Lastly, a key topic of discussion at the symposium was the agency’s successful streamlining of the Part 137 certification process for agricultural operations.
Established in 1999 and based in Washington, DC, The Wicks Group assists drone operators with regulatory compliance and licensing. TWG also has decades of experience in providing technical assistance to civil aviation authorities (CAAs) worldwide, including but not limited to the CAAs of Angola, Bahrain, India, Panama, Guatemala, Cabo Verde, Rwanda, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago. TWG’s completed IASA consulting projects have produced a total of ten FAA Category 1 ratings to date – a 100% track record. In addition, TWG regularly assists foreign air carriers with obtaining the US government approvals needed for US air carrier operations and consults with foreign repair stations on securing FAA certification required to maintain US-registered aircraft.
For more information about The Wicks Group, please contact Glenn Wicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.