UAS Integration Pilot Program Allows State and Local Drone Control

The FAA’s new drone program will provide opportunities for new and expanded commercial UAS operations, among other positive steps in implementing state and local regulations. Wikimedia Creative Commons

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s office sent out a memo announcing new information about the FAA’s state program to allow state and local governments to control their own drone regulations. It will also allow them to partner with private sector entities such as UAS operators or manufacturers to accelerate safe UAS integration.

"Entities that wish to participate in the program form teams and submit proposals to the FAA to fly more advanced UAS operations, such as beyond visual line-of-sight or over people," according to the FAA's site. "The Program is expected to provide immediate opportunities for new and expanded commercial UAS operations, foster a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to UAS integration, and provide actionable information to the Department of Transportation (DOT) on expanded and universal integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS)."

The key dates after publication of Federal Register Notice (FRN) for applicants are at 20-, 35- and 57-days:

  • Within 20 days: Lead Applicants submit a Notice of Intent to the FAA
  • Within 35 days: Lead Applicants complete volumes I and II in the application portal
  • Within 35 days: All interested entities can request to be included on the Interested Parties List
  • Within 57 days: Lead Applicants complete volumes III, IV, V, and VI in the application portal

Any local municipalities interested in participating can start by contacting the FAA at

Jake LambWriter

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