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AUVSI: US lawmaker calls on UAV industry to increase lobbying

Getting Congress to act on loosening the regulatory restrictions covering commercial unmanned systems in the USA requires the industry to act, a key Republican lawmaker says.

Representative Frank LoBiondo chairs the House aviation subcommittee, but that panel includes only 20 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives. Many of them are still unaware of the potential breakthroughs in safety and commerce that unmanned air vehicles can enable, he says.

“You’re from all over the country,” LoBiondo told the opening of the general session at AUVSI on 6 May. “Get to know your member of Congress. Give them real-world applications. Explain the stories of issues that will save lives… that are unfolding every day.”

As more members of Congress understand those issues, it will help LoBiondo’s efforts to pressure the Federal Aviation Administration to remove more regulatory obstacles and delays, he says.

Although LoBiondo has sharply criticised FAA officials previously, he says is “pleasantly surprised” that a proposed rulemaking for operational small unmanned air systems commercially in the national airspace does not require operators to have a pilot’s license.

But he remains concerned about the pace of the FAA’s decision-making on the small UAS rule and with continued foot-dragging on approving so-called Section 333 exemptions to enable flight testing in advance of a final rule being approved.

“It’s very frustrating to see the delays to try and get even the most basic applications approved for testing,” LoBiondo says. “It’s no where near where it should be. It’s no where near where it can be.”

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