NPR reported on the competition among the states which have submitted bids to be one of the six sites to test the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Its broadcast focuses on the steps being taken by one proposing government, Nevada. The story includes details about one Reno- based UAV manufacturer and the geographical/climatic advantages of the Silver State.
The goals of these “experiments” are addressed in the UAS Roadmap .The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and National Defense Authorization Act also articulated considerations which should be included in the evaluation, such as
“Safety of the NAS is paramount to the integration of UAS test sites…These focal areas include: UAS system safety and data gathering; UAS aircraft certification; UAS command and control link issues; UAS control station layout and certification; UAS ground and airborne sense and avoid research; and, any environmental impacts associated with the operation of UAS in the NAS.”
That selection criterion will be most familiar to the FAA which has safety as its primary mission. The state-of the-art tool for managing safety is called Safety Management Systems, which has been imposed on air carriers , soon-to-be required of airports and included in the FAA’s own techniques to manage the Air Traffic Organization . Thus it is highly likely that the FAA team evaluating the competing bids for the six selected sites will be familiar with the proponent’s description of, comprehensiveness of the data collection (particularly from the very first UAS test operations), the acuteness of the analysis of those numbers and the sophistication of the SMS-based recommendations. A strong SMS section of the UAS submission will catch the attention of the FAA team.
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