Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or System enthusiasts have been chaffing at what they perceive as the slow progress being made by the Federal Aviation Administration in issuing the rules for commercial use of UAVs or drones.
So when Jim Williams, manager of the FAA’s Office of Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration, spoke at the Delta AgTech Symposium at the Memphis, Tenn., Agricenter on Tuesday (July 8), they had their questions ready.
Williams, a veteran of the aerospace industry and NASA who took over the Office of UAS Integration two years ago, had barely finished speaking when he was asked why the agency was taking nearly five years to write the regulations. “Why don’t you just do your job?” a clearly frustrated questioner demanded.
“I am doing my job,” said Williams. “Congress directed us to do a lot of work, but they did not exempt us from any of the procedures that they put in place that govern the rulemaking process. The bottom line is since I’ve come on board we’ve made it a priority for the agency, and we’re moving faster than we ever have.”
Williams said the FAA has been providing some exemptions by granting certificates of authority or COAs under a section of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. “We’re doing that to try to jumpstart the industry to avoid having to wait to do anything until that rule comes out.”
The questioner also asked about one of Williams’ presentation slides, which depicted a crop duster and a UAV in close proximity in a field. “I can’t envision any situation in which a farmer would allow such a thing to occur,” he said.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com