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Agricultural News


Senators Peters, Wicker Urge FAA to Include Broad Rural Representation on Drone Advisory Committee

Thu, 20 Jun 2019 11:51:48 CDT

Senators Peters, Wicker Urge FAA to Include Broad Rural Representation on Drone Advisory Committee Today U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to include representatives from rural America, including agriculture, forestry, and rangeland stakeholders, on the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC). In their letter to Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell the Senators emphasized the importance of ensuring broad rural representation and improved efficiency and safety of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee is a broad-based, long-term federal advisory committee that provides the FAA with advice on key UAS integration issues by helping to identify challenges and prioritize improvements. Currently there are no direct representatives of rural America or the agricultural community on the advisory committee.



Excerpt from the letter to Acting Administrator Elwell:



“On May 8, 2019, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on New Entrants in the National Airspace, in which Jay Merkle, Executive Director of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, testified. Mr. Merkle stated, “(I)n the composition of the Drone Advisory Committee, we support having a wide range of users, manufacturers, and operators.” However, “it is really up to the Congress and the Secretary how that is composed.



“We appreciate the FAA’s efforts to assemble a diverse DAC. However, due to the ever-increasing use of UAS in the agriculture, forestry, and rangeland sectors, as well as the inherently different uses for UAS in the less populated parts of our nation, we believe it is important that the DAC include direct representatives from rural parts of America, particularly in the agriculture, forestry, and rangeland sectors of our economy. We, therefore, request that you take steps to ensure broad rural representation on the DAC.”



Read the full letter to Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell here and text of the full letter is below. The committee exercises jurisdiction over the FAA.



June 19, 2019
Mr. Daniel K. Elwell
Acting Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, Southwest
Washington, DC 20591



Dear Acting Administrator Elwell,



We write to urge the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) to include representatives from rural America, including agriculture, forestry, and rangeland stakeholders.



The DAC was established June 15, 2018, under existing U.S. Department of Transportation authority and pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act in order to provide independent advice and recommendations to FAA relating to improving efficiency and safety of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).



According to the DAC Charter, “Members must represent a particular interest of employment, education, experience, or affiliation with specific aviation related organization.” The FAA’s solicitation for DAC members indicated that membership is to be “fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented and the functions performed.” Further, the solicitation indicated, “Candidates must be in good public standing and currently serve as a member of their organization's core senior leadership team with the ability to make UAS-related decisions. In rare circumstances, membership will be granted to uniquely qualified individuals who do not meet this latter requirement.” The solicitation lists 11 diverse categories represented on the DAC: i) Airports and Airport Communities; ii) Labor (controllers, pilots); iii) Local Government; iv) Navigation, Communication, Surveillance, and Air Traffic Management Capability Providers; v) Research, Development, and Academia; vi) Traditional Manned Aviation Operators vii) UAS Hardware Component Manufacturers; viii) UAS Manufacturers; ix) UAS Operators; and x) UAS Software Application Manufacturers; and xi) Other. The FAA’s website clarifies that “embership is comprised of CEO/COO-level executives from a cross-section of stakeholders representing the wide variety of UAS interests, including industry, research and academia, retail, and technology.”




I
n the composition of the Drone Advisory Committee, we support having a wide range of users, manufacturers, and operators.” However, “it is really up to the Congress and the Secretary how that is composed.”



We appreciate the FAA’s efforts to assemble a diverse DAC. However, due to the ever-increasing use of UAS in the agriculture, forestry, and rangeland sectors, as well as the inherently different uses for UAS in the less populated parts of our nation, we believe it is important that the DAC include direct representatives from rural parts of America, particularly in the agriculture, forestry, and rangeland sectors of our economy. We, therefore, request that you take steps to ensure broad rural representation on the DAC.



Source - United States Senate




   

 

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