Last week, the FAA kicked off the UAS Integration Pilot Program, which happens to be seriously good news for the commercial drone industry.
At CCG, our flagship branded product is the DroneHangar line of cases for UAVs of all shapes and sizes and that do all kinds of jobs. Because of that – and because we happen to be a bunch of drone enthusiasts – we like to keep up with the latest when it comes to our nation’s blooming commercial drone industry.
In light of last week’s UAS Integration Pilot Program announcement, we thought we’d put together this list of the three most important program details you need right now.
#1 – It’s designed to grow the commercial drone industry.
The program’s purpose is to speed up the integration of commercial drones into the U.S. airspace through meaningful communication. Or, to put it another way, it’s a big step toward making space for working drones to fly the friendly skies. According to the program’s official website:
The UAS Integration Pilot Program is an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or manufacturers, to accelerate safe UAS integration. Entities that wish to participate in the program form teams and submit proposals to the FAA to fly more advanced UAS operations, such as beyond visual line-of-sight or over people. The Program is expected to provide immediate opportunities for new and expanded commercial UAS operations, foster a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to UAS integration, and provide actionable information to the Department of Transportation (DOT) on expanded and universal integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).
#2 – Organizations and individuals can participate.
The program defines two ways to participate in the program: as a “Lead Applicant” or “Interested Party.”
The “Lead Applicant” must be a state, local or tribal organization. The second type is the “Interested Party.” This group includes private companies or organizations, UAS operators and various stakeholders. State, local and tribal government entities can be designated in both groups.
The FAA requires Interested Parties to submit a request for inclusion on the Interested Parties List. The organization will use these lists to form Pilot Program teams.
#3 – The application deadlines are tight.
If you’re interested in participating, you should visit the How to Apply page on the FAA’s website as soon as you can. The FAA requires completed applications within a set amount of days following the publishing of the Federal Register Notice, which was November 8. Here’s the deadline breakdown:
Nov. 28, 2017: Deadline for Lead Applicants to submit a Notice of Intent to the FAA
Dec. 13, 2017: Deadline for Lead Applicants to complete volumes I and II in the application portal
Dec 13, 2017: Deadline for interested entities to request inclusion on the Interested Parties List
Jan. 4, 2018: Deadline for Lead Applicants to complete volumes III, IV, V and VI in the application portal
If you have any additional key points or thoughts to share about the new program, please feel free to share in the comments section. Happy flying!