U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) is applauding the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for finalizing a long-awaited rule governing the commercial use of small drones.
“Unmanned aerial systems have the potential to totally revolutionize our economy and way of life, on a scale similar to that of the invention of the wireless cell phone. We need to be looking at how we can safely integrate drones into American airspace, both right now and for the future, and I applaud the FAA for moving the ball forward today. That said, we still lag behind many other countries in adopting this technology. I encourage the FAA to continue to work with stakeholders and industry to ensure that the United States stays globally competitive in fully embracing the potential of new innovation in unmanned technology.”
The new rule, which takes effect in late August, offers safety regulations for unmanned aircraft drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations. According to industry estimates, today’s rule could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. More information about the FAA rule is available here.
Sen. Warner has long advocated for the testing and development of UAS technology, having worked with his Virginia and Maryland colleagues to urge federal officials to select the mid-Atlantic region to host a UAS test range for researching the safest and most effective ways to incorporate UAS into the existing airspace. The UAS test site at Virginia Tech – one of six such sites across the country – became operational last year.
In October, Sen. Warner praised the FAA for their announcement that it will expand the Pathfinder Program – a public-private partnership to explore ways for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to operate safely in the U.S. – to include sensitive airport airspace, a move Sen. Warner called for last March.