Unmanned Aircraft Systems: FAA Could Better Leverage Test Site Program to Advance Drone Integration, Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives [open pdf - 4MB]
From the GAO [Government Accountability Office] Highlights: "UAS [unmanned aerial vehicle] could provide significant economic and social benefits, for example by delivering packages or aiding in search and rescue missions. FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] is conducting a phased approach to incrementally integrate UAS safely into the national airspace. As directed by statute, FAA established UAS test sites to allow industry to assess the safety and feasibility of complex UAS operations, such as flying beyond an operator's line of sight. FAA has stated that this program provides research results and other data needed to reach full integration. GAO was asked to review FAA's management of the test sites. This report examines, among other things: (1) the research conducted at FAA's designated UAS test sites, and (2) how FAA is leveraging and sharing information from the test site program to advance integration. GAO reviewed relevant statutes and regulations, reports, and FAA guidance; analyzed test sites' efforts, including flight test data submitted to FAA from 2015 through 2018; and interviewed FAA officials, test site representatives from all 7 test sites, and 18 test site users, selected to include a range of perspectives."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/