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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Comprehensive Plan: A Report on the Nation’s UAS

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Comprehensive Plan: A Report on the Nation’s UAS published on

Authored by Department of Transportation

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Comprehensive Plan details work that has been accomplished, along with future efforts needed to achieve safe integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS). Throughout Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12), work was conducted to develop elements required to create a more complete picture of achieving safe UAS integration. The perspectives and information available from these individual activities create a framework and reveal an evolving capability for the integration of UAS into the NAS.

Representatives from the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) partner agencies – the Departments of Transportation (DOT), Defense (DoD), Commerce (DOC), and Homeland Security (DHS), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – as well as industry representatives, provided through the FAA’s UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), have actively participated in constructing this Plan. The completed work is a testament to the collaboration among representatives from the partner agencies and the UAS community.

The continued safe integration of UAS in the NAS and increased NAS access for UAS will be driven by incremental advances in: research and development (R&D) (including test ranges); rulemaking (including operational approval and airworthiness standards); and development of UAS-related technologies. Safe integration will lead us from today’s need for accommodation of UAS through individual approvals to a time when standardized/routine integration into the NextGen environment is well defined.

Six high-level strategic goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely were developed to reflect the principal objective of safe UAS integration into the NAS. These high-level goals – summarized below – were derived from existing goals provided by the partner agencies and should therefore resonate with the wide range of UAS stakeholders.

The overarching approach for the Goals is to allow public integration to lay the framework for civil integration. The first two Goals apply to small UAS (under 55 pounds) within visual lineof- sight (VLOS), assuming the public realm would be accomplished first and civil would follow; the third and fourth Goals apply to the other UAS, with the same process: public would occur first and civil would follow. Goal 5 was established to plan and manage growing automation capabilities through research, and Goal 6 provides the opportunity for the U.S. to remain leaders in the international forum. The sum of these Goals shows a phased-in approach for UAS integration in the NAS.

The UAS Comprehensive Plan sets the overarching, interagency goals, objectives, and approach to integrating UAS into the NAS. Each partner agency will work to achieve these national goals, and may develop agency-specific plans that are aligned to the national goals and objectives. The FAA’s Integration of Civil UAS in the NAS Roadmap is an example of one such plan. It outlines, for planning purposes and within a broad timeline, the tasks, assumptions, dependencies, and considerations needed to enable UAS integration in the NAS within the wider UAS community. It will remain consistent with the UAS Comprehensive Plan. The FAA’s UAS Concept of Operations (ConOps) reflects their desired end-state, and lays out the pathway for achieving this end-state, anticipating the technological and procedural enhancements required to make integration happen. In addition, it begins the engineering process of incorporating UAS-specific changes into the NextGen Implementation Plan.

Publication Date:
Oct 09 2014
150275262X / 9781502752628
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Transportation / Aviation / General


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