Obama signs UAV Aerospace Bill

Issue No. 5 | March 01-15, 2012

The US President Obama signed a $63.4 billion Federal Aviation Administration reauthorisation bill that opens the door for integrated commercial and civil use of unmanned aerial drones in US airspace.

Unmanned aircraft system manufacturers hailed the bill as a “Valentine’s Day present” that includes important provisions that integrate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace system and, in some cases, into the hands of emergency responders’ within 90 days.

The new law requires the FAA to come up with a comprehensive integration plan within nine months and to create a five-year UAS roadmap. It also requires expedited access for public users, like law enforcement, firefighters and emergency responders’ use of the vehicles, as well as allowing first responders to fly very small — 4.4-pound — vehicles within 90 days, if they meet certain requirements, said Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).