Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has named Michael Chasen, the CEO of PrecisionHawk, to be the new chair of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Drone Advisory Committee (DAC).
The DAC is made up of executives from the drone and technology industries, as well as research, academia, and traditional aviation. The committee assists the FAA in identifying challenges and priorities and setting the overall strategy for integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace.
The DAC does that, in part, by working on questions and tasks given to it by the FAA as the agency weighs different courses of action. The FAA may hand the group new taskings at the DAC’s next public meeting on June 6 in Arlington, Virginia.
PrecisionHawk has a track record of working with industry leaders and the FAA through the agency’s Pathfinder Program and its UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP). That experience may prove useful as the challenges ahead are significant. The FAA has forecast commercial drone use will triple by 2023—requiring a balanced, forward-leaning regulatory framework that can maintain safety while promoting innovation.
Chasen, who will serve a two-year term, follows Intel’s previous CEO, Brian Krzanich, as DAC chair. Chasen became CEO of PrecisionHawk in 2017. He shares the vision of the FAA and other industry stakeholders of fully and safely integrating all types of vehicles in U.S. airspace. Public-private partnerships are essential to realizing this vision and will remain his primary focus, PrecisionHawk said in a statement.
“Over the last few years, we have seen tremendous growth across the drone industry, in large part due to the forward-leaning regulatory framework that the FAA has put in place,” Chasen said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time for our company and for the industry at large, and we look forward to tackling the challenges ahead with the FAA and industry through the DAC.”