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Wed, Jun 21, 2006

IAOPA Calls For International UAV Operating Standards

Aims To Make The Skies Safer For Flesh-And-Blood Pilots

At an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Exploratory Meeting on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in Montreal recently, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) called for measures to make UAVs compatible with existing air traffic, ensuring equivalent or higher levels of safety.

"Integrating UAVs with manned aircraft creates significant risks that can only be mitigated by strict certification and operational standards designed to ensure safe operations," said Frank Hofmann, IAOPA representative to ICAO.

Representatives from various states and the UAV industry, as well as airspace users met at ICAO headquarters to discuss the role of ICAO in establishing standards and recommended practices for these new devices.

Major concerns raised by Hofmann at the meeting included the following:

  • UAV certification standards must equal or exceed conventional aircraft standards;
  • The need for UAVs to reliably "see"-and-avoid manned aircraft -- especially for the smaller, hard-to-see UAVs (like those already in use in several municipalities);
  • Airspace access must not be restricted to accommodate UAV operations;
  • Existing manned aircraft should not be required to add equipment to assist with UAV compatibility -- especially as more than 100,000 aircraft have no electrical system that would support such a requirement.

IAOPA and a number of its affiliates have previously stated their concerns and made recommendations regarding UAV operations at both the international and state levels.

IAOPA represents the interests of AOPA affiliates in 64 countries of the world, comprising more than 470,000 GA and aerial work pilots and aircraft operators. The Council was formed in 1962 to provide a voice for general aviation (GA) in world aviation forums.

GA encompasses four-fifths of all civil aircraft, and two-thirds of all pilots worldwide.

FMI: www.iaopa.org

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