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FAA Delays UAV Testing Site Selection 'Indefinitely'

Huerta Cites Safety, Privacy Concerns In Letter To UAV Caucus

The FAA has again delayed the site selection for flight testing of UAVs that would eventually lead to their integration into the NAS. Acting Administrator Michael Huerta sent a letter last week to the Congressional UAV Caucus indicating that there were still safety and privacy issues to be resolved.

The deadline for the FAA to select the six sites intended for flight testing was December, but in the letter, which was addressed to caucus chairman Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA) Huerta said that establishment of the sites has been "suspended" with no new deadline set.

The advocacy group UAS Vision reports on their website that, in the letter, Huetra said that "Our target was to have six test sites by the end of 2012. However, increasing the use of UAS in our airspace also raises privacy issues, and these issues will need to be addressed as unmanned aircraft are safely integrated."

"The FAA will complete its statutory obligations to integrate UAS into the national airspace as quickly and efficiently as possible," the letter continues. "However, we must fulfill those obligations in a thoughtful, prudent manner that ensures safety, addresses privacy issues, and promotes economic growth."

Caucus member Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH), who represents a district in which one of the sites might be located, called the delay "unacceptable." He told the Dayton Daily News that “The reasons they’re giving us are the reasons they gave us four years ago.”

FMI: www.faa.gov

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