House panel slates hearing on unmanned aircraft systems safety

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation, chaired by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), has scheduled a hearing to discuss issues related to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) safety.

The hearing, titled "Ensuring Aviation Safety in the Era of Unmanned Aircraft Systems," will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. 

Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initially authorized UAS missions to be conducted in 1990, swift technological development has yielded greater accessibility and a wider range of industry applications. Along with the advancement, however, comes the added challenge of increased responsibility for managing airspace and air traffic safety issues.

To that end, the subcommittee is convening the hearing. The panel noted that small unmanned aircraft are “typically less expensive, easier to acquire and simpler to operate” than manned aircraft and are particularly useful in certain operations such as inspecting oil rig flare stacks or transportation infrastructure.

Issues will broach the skyrocketing sales of UAS in the consumer market, legal enforcements in effect for unlawful UAS operations and sightings reported by aircraft pilots and air traffic controllers.

Scheduled witnesses will include FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker; U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief of State and Private Forestry James Hubbard; Air Line Pilots Association President Tim Canoll;  Academy of Model Aeronautics  Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs Rich Hanson; and Stanford Universityt Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Mykel Kochenderfer.

The event will be live streamed at

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U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

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