Nov 8, 2017
Department of Transportation Releases Details for Drone Pilot Program Implementation
On Oct. 25, President Trump
announced that he is directing the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish an
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program
by which state, local and tribal government entities, in partnership with
the private sector, will test advanced drone operations and inform future
rulemakings to support UAS integration.
Today, DOT published a Federal Register notice outlining implementation
details that officially kicks off the application process for Lead
Applicants (state, local and tribal entities) and Interested Parties
(private sector entities).
Within 20 calendar days: Lead Applicants must submit a Notice of Intent
with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Within 35 calendar days: Lead Applicants must complete Volumes I and II
in the FAA application portal.
Within 35 calendar days: Private entities can request inclusion on a
public Interested Parties List that Lead Applicants can source for
Within 57 calendar days: Lead Applicants complete Volumes III, IV, V and
VI in the FAA application portal.
Within 180 calendar days: Lead Applicants are selected by FAA and enter
into agreements with the FAA.
Private sector entities are not required to register interest with the FAA
and may work directly with one or more Lead Applicants. DOT will select a
minimum of five jurisdictions to participate in the pilot program. Once
selected, applicants will be required to sign a Memorandum of Agreement
(MOA) with the FAA within five days.
The program represents a welcome step toward accelerated authorization of
expanded drone operations beyond the current scope of FAA regulations.
Selected participants will have the opportunity to test operations beyond
the visual line of sight, over people and carrying property, enabling drone
operations that will save time, money and lives.
State, local and tribal entities selected to move forward with their
proposals will attract investment and a reputation as a proving ground for
UAS research and development efforts. McGuireWoods stands ready to leverage
our deep bench of state and local government affairs professionals —
including McGuireWoods Consulting’s industry-leading emerging technologies
practice — and extensive experience navigating successful public-private
partnerships to assist government and nongovernment entities interested in
this highly selective program.