FAA Asks for Public Comment on Drone Design Standards

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FAA Asks for Public Comment on Drone Design Standards

For the first time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking public comments on proposed airworthiness criteria for an unmanned aircraft system, more popularly known as a “drone.”

The Federal Register notice asks for comments on proposed design standards needed for the FlightScan Corporation Camcopter S-100 to fly safely in U.S. airspace. The ultimate goal of this and other projects is to grant FAA airworthiness certification to fully functional, ready-to-operate unmanned aircraft. The S-100 is the first unmanned aircraft to have its certification basis published.

The Camcopter S-100 is a vertical take-off drone that looks much like a traditional helicopter. It is powered by a liquid-cooled rotary engine and has a maximum take-off weight of 440 pounds including its payload. The drone’s main purpose is to conduct airborne surveying of power transmission infrastructure using aerial photography.

FlightScan applied for FAA certification of the S-100 using the special class provisions under Part 21.17(b) of FAA regulations in June of 2015. Since then, the agency has worked with the company to develop airworthiness criteria that support safe integration of the S-100 into the National Airspace System.

After the comment period ending December 18, 2017, the FAA will evaluate the public comments to determine if any changes should be made to the proposed airworthiness criteria.