UAVs are headed our way — while non-traditional in many ways, UAVs will still require certifications, maintenance, procedure design, and operational sustainability practices that we traditionally apply to manned aircraft. Also, by entering the NAS at large scales, UAVs will one-day affect manned operations. What are your thoughts? Is there anything that we as aircraft performance and operations engineers can start to contribute to the greater UTM system before the train rushes by? Or is it already happening? Are any of you all (or your colleagues) involved in UAV committees?
Already, UAVs are behind on performance measures and reliability testing of even basic components (e.g. motors, batteries, control electronics). And forget about software — it’s a black box hacked together, in some cases with nefarious or questionable code (see DJI).