ASTM to develop unmanned aircraft standards.

Press Release Summary:

FAA has selected ASTM International to develop small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) standards intended to support new FAA regulations. ASTM Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems will work with FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Office to develop standards that will provide first step in gaining National Airspace System access for sUAS - primarily focusing on commercial applications. To begin effort, committee will hold meeting in Arlington, VA, on February 17-18, 2010.

Original Press Release:

ASTM Standards to Support New FAA Regulations for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Standards will Support Special Federal Aviation Regulations

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. - ASTM International has been selected by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration as one of the standards development organizations that will develop small unmanned aircraft system, or sUAS, standards intended to support new FAA regulations. This activity will take place in ASTM Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, where members will be working hand-in-hand with the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Office to develop groundbreaking standards that will provide a first step in gaining National Airspace System (NAS) access for sUAS.

Earlier this year, the FAA had announced it would be creating a Special Federal Aviation Regulation designed to provide a systematic approach for regular access to parts of the NAS for sUAS - primarily focusing on commercial applications. The current process requires that requests to operate UAS in the national airspace be reviewed on a case-by-case basis through either a certificate of waiver or authorization or special airworthiness certificate, experimental category process. However, due to the nature of these processes and the temporary authorizations that result, neither could support the routine access of UAS to the national airspace. These processes also made the development and use of UAS for civil applications expensive and difficult to pursue, thus severely restricting the potential growth of the UAS industry.

The FAA issued a request for information, invoking Public Law 104-113, National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, which states government agencies should use private sector SDOs and commercial standards whenever possible. Therefore, rather than codifying all aspects of sUAS operation and airworthiness in the SFAR, the FAA can accelerate the process and involve industry, government and academic experts to develop the consensus standards for addressing significant portions of the practices, methods, specifications and procedures that will be needed.

"ASTM International is proud to support the FAA in this groundbreaking effort to open up a new and significant market for the future of aviation in the United States as well as the rest of the world," says Katharine Morgan, vice president of ASTM Technical Committee Operations. "We know of numerous government agencies as well as private sector companies that are looking forward to the day when they can take advantage of the capabilities of unmanned aircraft systems to save lives, conduct research and grow the economy."

To kick off this effort, F38 will hold a meeting in Arlington, Va., on Feb. 17-18. For more information on this meeting and F38, visit the F38 home page at ASTM International welcomes and encourages participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit

ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organization (WTO) principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance and transparency. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transactions.


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