Office of Inspector General to audit FAA’s work to integrate drones with the NAS

On 8 November 2018 the Office of Inspector General (OIG) within the US Department of Transportation announced it would be auditing the role of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in authorising small UAS operators in the National Airspace System.

According to toe OIG: “The continuing growth of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) within the National Airspace System (NAS) presents challenges for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in maintaining the world’s safest aviation system while fostering innovation. To help speed up UAS airspace authorizations, FAA has implemented an automated system in partnership with industry called the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which provides near real-time processing of airspace authorizations below approved altitudes. As of August 2018, FAA processed over 22,000 airspace requests through LAANC.

“There are significant safety implications associated with ensuring safe UAS operations throughout the NAS. Accordingly, the objectives for this self-initiated audit are to assess: (1) the impact of LAANC on FAA’s review and approval of UAS airspace; and (2) FAA’s procedures for coordinating and communicating UAS airspace approvals and notifications between airports, FAA air traffic facilities, LAANC service suppliers, and UAS operators.”

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