In a report released today by the Department of
Transportation titled “Top Management Challenges
For Fiscal Year 2014” DOT reported that the FAA
predicts there will be roughly 7,500 small
commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in 5
years. These UAS will be used in such areas as
agriculture, construction sites, infrastructure
inspection, wildlife research, prospecting,
storm tracking and forecasting, emergency
response an environmental monitoring.
Integrating UAS in domestic US airspace will
impact several FAA lines of business and
offices, including safety and air traffic
modernization. In 2012, FAA appointed a senior
executive to lead its UAS Program Office. In
2013, this became the UAS Integration Office,
with Aviation Safety and Air Traffic personnel
combined into one office.
However, it took over a year to fully establish
the office due to difficulties with creating a
hybrid organization for an emerging technology.
FAA is still working on the necessary internal
agreements to establish roles and
responsibilities between the UAS Integration
Office and other FAA lines of business.
At the same time, FAA is behind in meeting
requirements of the FAA Modernization and Reform
Act of 2012, which calls for FAA to safely
integrate UAS into the NAS by September 2015.