UAS America Fund files petition on behalf of Micro UAS

By Emily Aasand | December 22, 2014

The UAS America Fund has filed a petition with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration detailing the classification and regulation of Micro unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

The petition includes a self-contained set of UAS regulations for commercial and other non-recreational uses, based on a recently completed safety analysis. The new Micro UAS rule would govern commercial operations for UAS that meet certain criteria, according to the petition.

“This is only the first step in the UAS Fund’s plans to develop and propose technical and regulatory standards across all sectors of the UAS market,” said Matthew Bieschke, president of UAS America Fund. “We tackled the safest and most straightforward category first, involving very lightweight, low altitude, close-proximity operations. Our next UAS segments will add weight and operational complexity as we continue to work in a cooperation with other industry stakeholders and regulators to unlock the domestic UAS market.”

Micro UAS are classified as aircraft weighing three pounds or less, operate below 400 feet, operated at least five miles away from airports, and are piloted by an operator with a demonstrated level of aeronautical knowledge.

The UAS American Fund said the primary intent of the petition is to, “provide a logical and expeditious path for the commercial use of low-risk UAS's which would allow certain business to operate UAS legally while further research and rulemaking is conducted for integrating larger and more complex aircraft into controlled airspaces.”

“We are promoting the Micro UAS Rule to unleash billions of dollars of economic activity within the three pound and under commercial and research sectors in 2015,” said Michael Dyment, the managing partner of NEXA Capital Partners, the major shareholder of the UAS Fund. “More steps will be announced shortly to open up UAS markets for larger platforms defining other promising sectors where safety is just not an issue.”

The safety study was conducted by aviation safety subject matter experts at Exponent Engineering P.C., and established that there was virtually no risk of an injury-causing or fatal mid-air collision when a Micro UAS weighing three pounds or less is operated below 400 feet and at least three miles from airports.

“Instead of the burdensome regulatory process proposed by the FAA, if we regulate in a smarter way, it will unlock benefits of smaller categories of UAS without typing up the entire industry,” said Bieschke.  “We segmented the market focusing on an initial categorization that begins where there is demand today, and we want to remove the unnecessary burdens that will thwart the economic benefits, while maintaining a safe environment.”

The UAS America Fund was founded in 2014 by NEXA Capital Partners LLC to provide $2.2 billion in private-sector financing to benefit the emerging commercial UAS sector of the U.S. aerospace industry.