Assoc of Air Medical Services calls for strict UAS guidelines

By Luke Geiver | October 01, 2015

The Association of Air Medical Services recognizes the utility of unmanned aircraft systems operating commercially within the national airspace, but the AAMS still believes 9 major regulatory steps need to be taken to ensure safety.

This week the AAMS released its official stance on UAVs, including a list of regulatory requirements it believes will “allow for integration of UAVs into low-level airspace while optimizing the safety and privacy of emergency personnel and patients in need of assistance.”

During the course of any emergency incident—from search and rescue to HAZMAT management—the AAMS believes no UAV should be operated within a five mile radius of the incident site unless the UAVs have been deemed essential to the incident management. A specific incident management authority will authorize the use of a UAS.

In any emergency response situation where aerial assets such as helicopters or airplanes are used, UAVs should not be allowed to operate within a five mile perimeter of the operations. When large emergency aircraft are arriving, departing or otherwise occupying an airport, heliport, helispot or emergency landing zone, UAVs should be prohibited from flying within five miles, the AAMS believes.

In the air, a UAV should always yield to the larger aircraft and no UAV operations should happen outside of day visual meteorological conditions, “with a visibility minimum of 3 statute miles, cloud clearance requirements of 2,000 feet in any direction and at no time should they operate above a cloud layer while being operated in the National Airspace System.”

UAV’s should also include broadcast Automatic Dependent Surveillance (ADS-B) technology, according to AAMS.

And, according to AAMS, to protect a patient’s rights to privacy, “at no time shall UAV/UAS be utilized to record video footage of nonemergency personnel (medical or trauma patients) without the prior written consent of these individuals.”

“As additional research is conducted to develop and implement technologies to prevent encroachment of UAV/UAS into designated sensitive airspace, the FAA (or the appropriate regulatory bodies of other countries) and UAV/UAS manufacturers and programmers should work with stakeholders to ensure these technologies are both compatible with technologies currently being used in emergency response aircraft and are inclusive of emergency management concerns,” AAMS said.