On February 24, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) announced that it would establish a Performance Standards and Requirements for Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee (the “Micro UAS ARC”). The entities that have been invited to participate are listed here, and include members of the aviation community and industry organizations, manufacturers, and researchers who have a vested interest in Micro UAS.
In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking entitled Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems originally published on February 23, 2015 (the “NPRM”), FAA contemplated a “micro” classification (“Micro UAS”) of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“sUAS”). As discussed in the NPRM, Micro UAS would weigh no more than 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) and would be constructed of frangible materials “that break, distort, or yield on impact so as to present a minimal hazard to any person or object.” However, after reviewing comments received, FAA has now decided not to proceed with a Micro UAS classification in the sUAS Operation and Certification Part 107 Rule, and instead has determined that further engagement with industry and stakeholders is needed before conducting rulemaking to address the regulatory framework for Micro UAS.
The Micro UAS ARC will develop recommendations that will be submitted to FAA for consideration during future rulemaking regarding the classification and operation of Micro UAS. The Micro UAS ARC is specifically tasked with considering recommendations for a performance-based standard that would allow Micro UAS to be operated over people who are not directly participating in the operation of the Micro UAS.