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March/April 2010

Registration and Marking

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has selected ASTM International Committee F38 on Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems to develop industry standards for small unmanned aircraft systems. These standards will allow sUAS to file and fly missions in the national airspace alongside manned aircraft.

According to Rocklin Gmeiner, director, federal/civil programs, Raytheon, and chairman of F38.01 on Airworthiness, one of the key sUAS standards needed for the FAA to accept sUAS is for marking and registration. Subcommittee F38.01 is currently working on this proposed new standard, WK27055, Practice for the Registration and Marking of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

“WK27055 sets out the procedures to use to meet FAA requirements for the airworthiness and registration of all UAS, to include sUAS,” says Gmeiner. “It also standardizes the international marking and registration of UAS so each country does not have to develop their own means to do this.”

The proposed new standard will allow sUAS manufacturers and owners to register their sUAS using an electronic system that will significantly reduce the paperwork involved in the existing FAA registration process.

“Manufacturers, developers and owners will be the prime beneficiaries of this proposed standard,” says Gmeiner. “They will have a means to qualify their sUAS to standards that are internationally recognized.”

While WK27055 is currently in the review and ballot process, Gmeiner notes that approximately 18 to 30 standards will be required to allow sUAS to be able to file and fly in the National Airspace System and meet FAA requirements.

“Many of these standards are beginning to be worked on at this time, and F38 will need qualified people to help in their development,” says Gmeiner. “We need participation across the entire spectrum of standards for these sUAS, including airworthiness, training, maintenance, procedures and all other aspects of developing and flying a sUAS.”

The FAA has previously worked in a similar fashion with ASTM Committee F37 on Light Sport Aircraft in the successful development of a set of light sport aircraft standards.


Technical Information: Rocklin Gmeiner, Raytheon Co., Arlington, V.a

Phone: 703-284-4308

ASTM Staff: Daniel Schultz

Phone: 610-832-9716