The NTSB recently released its Top 10 Most Wanted List of safety improvements for 2014. Aviation items on the list include distractions by portable electronic devices and the identification and reporting of hazardous weather conditions. Helicopter operations were also added to this year’s list, citing 1,470 helicopter accidents with 477 fatalities over the past decade.
The FAA recently announced the congressionally-mandated research and test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”). The test site operators selected by the FAA are:
The University of Alaska;
The state of Nevada;
Griffiss International Airport (RME) (New York);
The North Dakota Department of Commerce;
Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi; and
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
In announcing its selections, the FAA stated that “each test site operator will manage the test site in a way that will give access to parties interested in using the site.” However, the agency has yet to announce rules or procedures by which it will ensure that UAS will avoid and not enter the same airspace as manned aircraft, or whether UAS operating at these test sites will meet the same certification and airworthiness standards as manned aircraft.