ICAO seeking drone traffic management solutions

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is taking the lead to make drone operation safe and efficient. The announcement was made on Monday stating that the international body will begin establishing low-altitude traffic management guidance for domestic unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). ICAO is also expecting that industry, academia and other innovators will further explore these issues when the ‘Drone Enable’ Symposium is hosted in September at its Headquarters in Montréal, Canada.

“Today we’re seeing many new proposals and innovations emerging in terms of both unmanned aircraft and operations at lower altitudes,” commented ICAO Air Navigation Bureau Director, Mr. Stephen Creamer. “ICAO recognizes that it’s the natural agency to be gathering together the best and brightest from government and industry to define how these craft can be safely integrated into 21st century airspace, and in a way that optimizes their benefits globally for the wide range of public and private sector operators now exploring their potential.”

Drones are getting special attention because its size and operational profiles do not generally conform to the definitions for normal aircraft operations established under the Chicago Convention. To grapple with the proliferation of drones, ICAO will be employing a more responsive Request for Information (RIF) process focused on specific problem statements relating to low-altitude UAS operations.

“Our 191 Member States asked us to begin looking into this at our 39th triennial Assembly last October, and these new activities are ICAO’s response to that call,” confirmed the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “Multiple States and regional groups have proposed creating something along the lines of a UAS airspace management tool for lower altitudes, along with registration and identification solutions and related initiatives. Our work through this RFI process will help to make sure that all related solutions set out are safe, secure, sustainable, and most importantly globally aligned.”

In order to ensure safety, ICAO is seeking to define the technical, operational or legal issues involved surrounding UAS operations.

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About: Wayne Farley

Wayne Farley is a safety evangelist who has 30 years of experience in the aviation industry with many of those years spent as an air traffic controller in aerodrome, approach and area facilities. He is an aviation enthusiast and maintains an active blog.

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