Paul Misener, vice president of global public policy at Amazon, told the aviation subcommittee that the company was grateful to the FAA for approving an experimental permit Thursday to test potential package deliveries. But the drone had become obsolete during the months-long wait, so the company applied again Friday for a new permit for an updated aircraft.
"We are hopeful that this permission will be granted quickly," Misener said.
The pace of FAA rule making has disappointed the drone industry, which argues that other countries are allowing drones — and their potential economic benefit — to develop faster.
In drafting rules released in February for small commercial drones weighing up to 55 pounds, the FAA has required one pilot per drone and required pilots to keep aircraft within sight. The FAA is collecting public comment on the proposal for small drones, and final approval is expected in 18 to 24 months.
Misener said the FAA proposal for small drones "doesn't go far enough." Amazon's proposed delivery service Prime Air would have sophisticated technology to avoid other aircraft, he said. But the aircraft will have to fly highly automated routes 10 miles or more beyond the sight of remote pilots, he said.
"This low level of government attention and slow pace are inadequate, especially compared to the regulatory efforts in other countries," Misener said.
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