Congress checks in on UAS industry after Part 107

By UAS Magazine Staff | October 24, 2016

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives checked in with four members for the unmanned aircraft systems industry to get an update on the effect of Part 107 since its release.

In a hearing titled, “Opportunity Rising: the FAA’s new regulatory framework for commercial drone operations,” the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations called on Brian Wynne, president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International; Gabriel Dobbs, vice president of business development and policy for Kespry Inc.; Jonathen Daniels, president for Praxis Aerospace Concepts International Inc.; and Lisa Ellman, partner at Hogan Lovells.

“I am looking forward to hearing if the new rule is allowing small businesses in the UAS industry to make the important strides needed for this sector to continue growing and innovating at a rapid pace,” said Cresent Hardy, R-Nevada.

Wynne said that on the first day the rule went into effect more than 3,300 people signed up to take the aeronautical knowledge test. Of the 530,000 people who registered their UAS with the FAA since December 2015, roughly 20,000 indicated they would operate commercially. And, Wynne added, over the next year the FAA expects the more than 600,000 UAS to be flying for commercial use.

Each of the panelist agreed that the waiver process created in Part 107 is crucial to move the industry forward. “It [Part 107] was a critical first start and we have seen that the floodgates truly opened,” said Ellman. The speed at which waivers for operations such as night flights or beyond visual line of sight are granted needs to happen at the speed of industry, she added.

“Time will tell if the waiver process is more efficient,” Dobbs said. While each panelist voiced hope and concern for the waiver process, every speaker mimicked the sentiment of Wynne. “There is a tremendous amount of value that gets unlocked through these rules,” he said.