At the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) meeting in August, acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told the drone industry trade group, “We need to change the way we do business … we are going to allow new ideas to soar to their potential. Our goal is to safely and efficiently integrate unmanned systems into our airspace.” So it follows that the trade association would favor expediting approval of Huerta as FAA Administrator.
Partisan politics kept Huerta on pins and needles for more than a year before the November election, but the path is now clear for his confirmation as Administrator. AUVSI President and CEO Michael Toscano said, “The FAA needs a confirmed leader at its helm to ensure the United States remains at the forefront of aviation safety and aviation-related technological advancements, such as unmanned aircraft.” Toscano probably hopes Huerta’s confirmation will accelerate the stalled implementation process for integrating drones into U.S. airspace. To date, the FAA has missed its deadline for selecting test sites for integration of drones.
Back in August, Huerta acknowledged the mandate to “fully integrate” drones into our airspace by September 2015 was an aggressive schedule. He said at the time, “Building new technology is one thing, but building human consensus on a path forward for our aviation systems is an equally important task and unbelievably complicated.”