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Standards Take Center Stage at FAA UAS Symposium


Voluntary consensus standards are critical to the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)also known as dronesinto the national airspace system. The fourth Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS Symposium, held June 5-6, 2019, in Baltimore, echoed this theme in a number of sessions, which drew over 1,000 attendees and included a panel discussion on "UAS Standards - Supporting Safety through Standards."

Jim McCabe, senior director of standards facilitation at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), shared insights on the ANSI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC). The collaborative released in December 2018 the report, Standardization Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which describes the current and desired future standardization landscape for UAS, identifies existing standards and standards in development, assesses gaps, and makes recommendations for additional standards work that is needed.

Moderated by Art Hinaman, manager, technical operations at the FAA UAS Integration Office, the standards session included other perspectives from government and industry representatives. James Foltz, manager of programs and procedures at the FAA Aircraft Certification Service, noted the important contribution that standards make to research and agency rulemaking, pursuant to the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 and OMB Circular A-119. Tracy Lamb, vice president of regulatory and safety affairs and chief pilot, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), described AUVSI's Trusted Operator ProgramTM (TOP) under which drone pilots can demonstrate that they possess a level of knowledge and proficiency exceeding the minimum required by FAA for different types of flight operations.

Rounding out the panel were Phil Kenul, senior vice president, aviation and operations at TriVector Services Inc., who chairs ASTM International's Committee F38 on UAS, and Al Secen, vice president, aviation technology and standards at RTCA, Inc.

Mr. Kenul described the F38 standards work program, noting activity relating to remote identification of UAS, UAS traffic management, and operations beyond visual line of sight, among other areas. Mr. Secen discussed activity within RTCA SC-228 on minimal operational performance standards for UAS, highlighting its work on detect and avoid systems, command and control link, and software and environmental standards.

The ANSI UASSC will launch a version 2 revision to its standards roadmap with a kickoff meeting on September 12, 2019, in Washington, DC.

How to Get Involved

The UASSC draws participation from industry, government agencies, standards developing organizations, and other interested stakeholders. Participation is open to UAS stakeholders that have operations in the U.S. Membership in ANSI is not a prerequisite and there is no fee to participate at this time.

For more information, and to become involved, visit


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