Shifting Views of Congress

By UAS Magazine Staff | November 16, 2015

In a rare appearance before a congressional committee held this fall, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta answered several questions on UAS. His comments highlighted the level of understanding and shifting focus Congress has displayed on the topic of UAS throughout the past year. According to Huerta, the FAA is making progress, even if it is slow (new policy creation is meant to be slow, Huerta reminded Congress). The FAA is working to deal with the changing focus of Congress regarding UAVs while it continues its unprecedented efforts to bring UAS into the national airspace. Roughly 18 months ago, privacy was a big issue amongst Congress members, he said. Then, the focus shifted to getting UAS into the NA quicker. “Today,” he said, “safety is a big issue.”

A look back at the FAA’s participation in congressional hearings shows that Huerta is right. It also reveals that those three themes—safety, integration into the NAS and privacy concerns—have been present in every hearing. Each hearing has had a main focus, however.