Avionics News December 2020 - 65

WHEN WILL DRONES CRAWL, WALK, RUN?
Continued from page 43

CAST and GAST, we didn't have this whole body of data. We wanted to be
data driven, but this body of data didn't exist. So that is one of the things we
realized; we had to organize this community - everyone from recreational
users all the way up to commercial users. " The FAA is helping and enabling,
but the UAS community is pulling itself up by its own bootstraps.
" How do we reach those recreational users and help them understand their
role in this safety ecosystem? " Merkel asked. The plan is to collaborate to
build a safety culture that is equally as strong as any other part of aviation
but also meets the needs of this community, because this is not an airline or
general aviation pilots. " This is a very different community with a broad set
of interests, and how do we identify and coalesce about those common good
things we can do in safety? "
At the FAA UAS Symposium, Cassidy noted that this year, for the first
time, a UAS format has been established for the Aviation Safety Reporting
System. This will allow operators who make a mistake that could get
them in trouble to fill out a form and report the error to head off potential
enforcement action.
The FAA partnered with the UAST to stage the second National Drone
Safety Awareness Week from Nov. 16 to 22. Last year, the event included 128
discrete events, and it generated 2 million social media impressions. Local
governments, municipalities and recreational flyers highlighted their work
on drones and engaged in public activities as part of this safety initiative.
There were expected to be many of the same events this year plus training
and webinars on drone safety topics and STEM lessons for students. But this
year, everything was virtual, Cassidy noted.
" Flying is inherently risky, and society has different risk tolerance for
different types of flying, " said Merkel on Aug. 19. He mentioned that air
transports have different safety expectations than a private aircraft or a
paraglider. The same level of safety is not applied to all. But where do drones
and autonomy fit into this spectrum of society's expectations? A small UAS
won't be treated like an air transport, but if it is flying over someone's head,
then there are important considerations. For example, if a drone malfunctions
and flies away from its operator's control, you have to know what it is going
to do and operators have to know what to do, according to Merkle.
Back on July 8 when the first part of the symposium started with 1,500 people
in the audience, Bristol said, " With great innovation comes great responsibility.
We are counting on you (the drone community) to use your business ingenuity to
help all of us succeed with a number of tough challenges. "
Congress appropriates funding on an annual basis for the FAA work
of integrating drones into the NAS. The agency is working to make sure
its workforce evolves as the technologies, operating models and strategic
priorities change. The FAA answered an email question of what will happen
now with commercial airline traffic down by more than 50%?
" We feel that aviation demand will drive toward UAS because it's more
affordable, with lower financial requirements, and not dependent on leisure
and business travelers, " the FAA wrote. " We believe that decrease in
traditional aviation may result in an increase in unmanned aviation. " q

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Avionics News December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News December 2020

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Avionics News December 2020 - Intro
Avionics News December 2020 - No label
Avionics News December 2020 - Cover2
Avionics News December 2020 - 1
Avionics News December 2020 - 2
Avionics News December 2020 - 3
Avionics News December 2020 - 4
Avionics News December 2020 - 5
Avionics News December 2020 - 6
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