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ICAO intends to develop global framework for safe management of “drone” aircraft traffic

Montreal, Canada - The Organization announced it yesterday at the AUVSI “Xponential 2017” conference in Dallas

The following article has been published in ICAO’s “Uniting Aviation” on-line magazine later yesterday. The announcement was made at 2pm Eastern yesterday. At the AUVSI “Xponential 2017” conference in Dallas yesteday, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) announced its goal of developing a common global framework for traffic systems for drone aircraft, known in technical terms as UTM systems. This initiative is part of the work programme that has been assigned to ICAO by its 191 member States. In short, UTM systems are a tool for managing low altitude airspace, and they include the registration and identification of drones. Their creation has already been proposed by many ICAO Member States. Drones are formally known as “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (UAS). UTS stands for “UAS Traffic Management". Following ICAO’s initial foray into the subject of drones, States and international organizations requested that ICAO expand its work programme to shape the framework of global regulations and guidance related to a much broader range of drone operations than had previously considered within its remit. This request was based on three factors. Firstly, the need to maintain the safety for manned aircraft. Secondly, the desire to harmonize domestic UAS regulations. And finally, the desire to ensure that the best options for UAS operations were being considered and recommended. ICAO has now been actively engaged in the field of RPAS and UAS for almost a decade. This led to the production of an online toolkit to provide States, operators and remote pilots with best practices and regulatory guidance and the publication of an RPAS Manual containing extensive guidance material for States and other aviation stakeholders. ICAO will soon be releasing a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) to inform the global aviation community of its vision for RPAS regulation, and the UN agency is currently developing the legal framework for the international operation of certificated, instrument flight rules (IFR)-capable RPAS. ICAO will be reviewing all the submissions resulting from its Request for Information on UTM. The submitters of the proposals that are considered to best address the problem statement will be offered an opportunity to present their information at DRONE ENABLE, ICAO’s UAS Industry Symposium to be held on 22 and 23 September in Montréal, Canada.

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