Current Status and Future Perspectives for Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in the US

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An aircraft (manned aircraft) may enter safely and legally into the US National Airspace System if and only if it has an airworthiness certificate complying with Federal Aviation Administration requirements. Although corresponding requirements, procedures and regulations for unmanned aircraft are in early development stages, they are expected to be similar to those set for manned aviation. This paper presents a brief overview of current airworthiness certification procedures and requirements for manned aviation, followed by a survey of the current status of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) regulations in the US but also internationally. Future perspectives of UAS regulation are discussed along with a proposed UAS classification for certification purposes, presentation of a possible certification roadmap, as well as regulatory paths for ultra-light UAS.

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