U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao FAA drone committee DAC

FAA Drone Committee gets 12 new members, including reps from big American drone companies

One FAA drone committee just got a dozen new members, and many are representatives of some major American drone companies.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao on Tuesday announced new appointments to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (known as DAC). Among the newcomers to the FAA drone committee are Skydio CEO Adam Bry and Amazon Prime Air VP David Carbon.

The complete list of new members to the DAC are:

  • Seleta Reynolds, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Transportation
  • Dr. Paul Hsu, Founder and Chair, HSU Foundation
  • Matt Parker, President, Precision Integrated Programs
  • Molly Wilkinson, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, American Airlines
  • Brad Hayden, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Robotic Skies
  • David Carbon, Vice President and General Manager, Amazon Prime Air
  • Adam Bry, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Skydio
  • Kenji Sugahara, President and Chief Executive Officer, Drone Service Providers Alliance
  • Brandon Torres Declet, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, MEASURE
  • Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President, Head of UAM Division and Chief Executive Officer, Genesis Air Mobility
  • Dr. Catherine Cahill, Director, Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration
  • Vic Moss, Owner, Moss Photography

The new members largely represent core drone industry representatives — a pivot from this time last year when two new members named to the committee came from manned aviation backgrounds, which angered many in the drone industry. Among the most vocal opponents to the two new members named in February 2020 was Vic Moss. Now Moss, who owns Moss Photography, is one of two representatives for “Citizen UAS Operators” on the committee.

The committee also includes other vocal drone industry players, such as Skydio, which once proclaimed the drone industry “not healthy” due to DJI’s dominance. More recently, a spokesperson for Skydio was vocal about news that the U.S. government has added DJI to a list of companies on its restricted trade list, calling out DJI as a company that “cannot be trusted.”

The FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee is chartered to have up to 35 members , and is led by Chairman Michael Chasen, who also serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board for PrecisionHawk. The 12 new members join existing members representing companies or organizations including Google-sister company Wing, Skyward (which is owned by Verizon), Boeing and CNN. All 12 new members will serve a two-year term. See the entire list of DAC members here.

The FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee was designed as a “broad-based, long-term federal advisory committee that provides the FAA advice” on drone-related integration issues. Its members include people who run the gamut of industry players from researchers, academics, tech providers, retail services, and people who work for the government. Together, they’re supposed to weigh in on topics like the Knowledge Test for Recreational Flyers or the controversial Remote ID rule.

And since COVID-19, the FAA has made it easy and free for the general public to tune into DAC meetings, by broadcasting them live on the FAA Facebook and YouTube pages.

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