"Last year we published a roadmap for integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system. Later on this year, we expect to solicit comments on a rule for small unmanned aircraft, those that are under 55 pounds," Mr. Huerta told ABC News.
The Federal Aviation Administrator has also voiced his concerns regarding the growing number of cases when small unmanned aerial vehicles have nearly collided with large commercial airliners. Since the rate of UAVs' use is rapidly increasing, the FAA faces certain difficulties in enforcing regulations prohibiting drones from "flying higher than 400 feet, near an airport, or out of eyesight," the CNN notes, citing Michael Huerta. The Washington Post emphasizes that about 500,000 of small drones have been sold during the last three years in the US.
"There are proponents of unmanned aircraft and they really see huge potential with this technology and for them, we can't move fast enough," Huerta says, adding that on the other hand the FAA has "pilots, who are very concerned that these [drones] are difficult to see."
"(A) big part of what we're doing is educating people. These are very high performance aircraft, and they are difficult to see and this is one of the big challenges, and so that's why the rules require that people stay away from airports," he said as quoted by the CNN.
Mr. Huerta added that the growing use of small UAVs also triggers national security concerns, particularly those of terrorism. Thus far, new FAA regulations will also include provisions regarding the drone operator qualifications, and the certification of the aircraft.