The FAA plans to select six UAS test sites to begin work
on safely integrating UAS into the airspace.
These congressionally-mandated test sites will
conduct critical research into how best to safely
integrate UAS systems into the national airspace over
the next several years and what certification and
navigation requirements will need to be established.
The use of UAS, both at the designated test sites and in
the national airspace generally, raises the issue of
privacy and protection of civil liberties. In February,
the FAA asked for public comments specifically on the
draft privacy requirements for the six test sites.
Federal Register that requires test site operators to
comply with federal, state, and other laws on individual
privacy protection, to have a publicly available privacy
plan and a written plan for data use and retention, and
to conduct an annual review of privacy practices that
allows for public comment.
For the next several years, the FAA will continue to use
special mitigations and procedures to safely accommodate
limited UAS access to the nation’s airspace on a
case-by-case basis. The Roadmap notes that this
case-by-case accommodation will decline significantly as
integration begins and expands, but will continue to be
a practical way to allow flights by some UAS operators
in certain circumstances.
addition to the FAA’s Roadmap, as required in the 2012
FAA Reauthorization, the Joint Planning and Development
Office (JPDO) has developed a comprehensive plan to
safely accelerate the integration of civil UAS into the
national airspace system.. That plan details a
multi-agency approach to safe and timely UAS integration
and coordination with the NextGen shift to
satellite-based technologies and new procedures.