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Amazon, American Airlines execs to advise FAA on drone regulation

Drones are an increasing area of focus at the Federal Aviation Administration. (Photo: iStock)

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday named a dozen new members to its Drone Advisory Committee, including officials from Amazon and American Airlines.

The private-sector panel meets regularly to advise the Federal Aviation Administration on how to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace alongside with traditional aircraft. Executive-level representatives are selected from a wide range of stakeholders including the aviation industry, research and academia, retail, technology, and state and local government.

The new members include Molly Wilkinson, vice president of regulatory affairs at American Airlines (NASDQ: AAL), and David Carbon, vice president and general manager of Amazon Prime Air, which is working to fully commercialize home package delivery by drones. Amazon (NASDQ: AMZN) is operating under a special license that allows it to operate drones beyond the sight of the flight controller. 

“As the UAS industry continues to evolve, it is important to have DAC members who mirror the many facets of this fast-growing industry. We know the members will help the FAA ensure the highest level of safety while keeping pace with the new and innovative technology for UAS,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson in a statement.

The Drone Advisory Committee is chartered to have up to 35 members. The new members will serve a two-year term and join Chairman Michael Chasen, chairman of the advisory board for PrecisionHawk USA Inc. More vacancies may be filled in the future.

The committee last met on Oct. 22.

Last week the FAA issued draft final rules that will require drones to have transponders allowing them to be remotely identified and allowing drones to fly over people and at night under certain conditions. 

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]