Integration of Crewed and Uncrewed Aviation: View from a Regulator | Airlines

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We are all anxiously waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to announce a regulation allowing uncrewed aircraft to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The uncrewed aviation Industry, and most experts, believe that this move by the US regulator will unleash a massive deployment of applications such as package deliveries and eventually open the door to air taxis and the adoption of advanced air mobility (AAM).

The process that the FAA is following to reach what most people are calling Part 108 is somewhat confidential. That veil of secrecy is not exclusive to American and European regulators—it extends to any other civil aviation authority (CAA) grappling with the delicate balance between the safety of the flying public and the pressure to release these uncrewed marvels into the national airspace (NAS) of each country.

At the recent Elevate UAV Summit in Miami, organized by Drone Nerds, we had the opportunity to hear from the Colombian CAA (CAAoC), through a presentation by Mr. Robert Quiroga, the advisor to the director. Quiroga thrilled the audience with a comprehensive inside-view presentation about the history, the framework, and the future of uncrewed regulation in that Latin American country.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Quiroga before and after his presentation, and we picked his brain for a rare insight into the dilemma that CAAs around the world are facing.“The balance between maintaining the current levels of safety and adding hundreds if not thousands of non-piloted aircraft to the NAS is delicate and requires a lot of diplomacy,” Quiroga said cautiously. “There are plenty of vocal stakeholders, but also the flying public that deservedly demands safety when they take a commercial flight. I have noticed, in the time that I’ve been in this job, that the issue is one of culture and inertia. Piloted aviation has been in place for 120 years and many of the processes and ways to do things go back decades, so it’s…

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