Rules on unmanned aircraft delayed

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Would-be "drone" pilots expecting for rules on how to integrate their unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into national airspace will have to wait a bit longer.

In a report on significant rulemaking by the US Department of Transportation, the agency that controls the nation's skies wrote that rules on the "operation and certification of small unmanned aircraft systems" will now be submitted on July 1. That's almost five months longer than the date originally projected by DOT, which was Feb. 3.

The rules would be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget on that date. DOT projects that the rules finally would be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 17.

DOT wrote that the delay was caused by "unanticipated issues requiring further analysis."

According to the re-authorization act that funds the FAA, the comprehensive integration plan was due by Feb. 14. On Aug. 14, 2014, "The Secretary must issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the recommendations of the comprehensive plan."

According to the abstract published in the report, the rulemaking would:

"...adopt specific rules for the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the national airspace system. These changes would address the classification of small unmanned aircraft, certification of their pilots and visual observers, registration, approval of operations, and operational limits in order to increase the safety and efficiency of the national airspace system. The rulemaking would result in regular collection of safety data from the user community and aid the FAA in assessing effectiveness of regulations to expand sUAS access to the national airspace system."

The report is published on a monthly basis. The April 2013 copy is available for review on the DOT website.

Tip of the hat to sUASNews.com and the Helicopter Association International's Rotor News.

Posted on April 16, 2013 .