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Uncrewed Aircraft Systems Standards

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Uncrewed Aircraft Systems Standards

In the July-August 2022 issue of ASTM Standardization News, Rear Admiral Philip M. Kenul (ret.) spoke about his career as a pilot and his vision for the future of uncrewed aircraft systems and autonomous flight.

Article by JP Ervin.

How did you first get involved in the field of aviation and aerospace, and how important has your military service been to your career?

I was always interested in aviation for as long as I can remember. As an NOAA Corps Commissioned officer, I had the opportunity to attend flight school and fly remote-sensing and photogrammetric survey aircraft. After a few years of flying in NOAA, I cross-decked to the U.S. Navy, where I flew P-3 research aircraft before returning to NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center where I flew WP-3D Hurricane Hunter Aircraft. Flying in the Navy and NOAA gave me flight opportunities that few people will ever experience. There is not much to compare to flying in a hurricane. It was during this time that I started looking at alternative or emerging technologies to mitigate the risks associated with manned hurricane flight.

Autonomous flight has captured the imagination of many people, particularly as it applies to small aircraft or “air taxis.” In your opinion, what lies ahead for autonomous flight?

The sky is the limit – and no pun intended. I am sure we will eventually solve all the technical and operational challenges along with the social acceptance issues. We will be able to accomplish everything that is done now with manned aircraft and more. It will be safer, more efficient, and economical than our current
aviation use cases, but this will not be accomplished overnight.

What do you see as major priorities for the committee on unmanned aircraft systems, which you chair?

We need to get to a point where solutions are developed to enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) through viable detect and avoid (DAA) technologies for both ground-based and airborne or on-board systems. Eventually, we will need a mature UAS traffic management (UTM) system to allow integrated – not segregated – traffic management for UAS, air taxis, and legacy aviation. These are all areas where ASTM is working to develop industry consensus standards.

For the complete article on uncrewed aircraft systems CLICK HERE.

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