David Young, Public Relations Coordinator
Finding himself in some new airspace, Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell has been named to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) to represent the interests of local governments. Secretary Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, appointed Mayor Troxell asking that he represent the viewpoints of local government to identify and propose actions on issues such as safety, efficiency, the environment, and security related to integrating unmanned aviation aircraft systems (UAS) or drones into the national airspace.
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“Drones are ready to become the next level of our transportation network if we can solve the integration challenges,” said Mayor Troxell. “We are at a ‘Kitty Hawk’ moment in the deployment of drones that can benefit the public and open up new economic opportunities.”
With over one million registered drones flying in U.S. cities, the late Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, who previously served on the committee, once noted that everywhere is now an ‘airport’ for take-offs and landings. Privacy, safety, and security are local issues as drone technology becomes more ubiquitous. Local governments need to partner with state and federal government, trade associations, and industry as new rules are envisioned, tested, and enacted so drones can take flight in cities.
Mayor Troxell is the only elected official on the committee, which provides advice to the FAA and U.S. Congress on issues facing the aviation community as they jointly work to integrate drones into the existing aviation space that is busy with airliners, helicopters and recreational users. In addition to his role as Mayor of Fort Collins, Dr. Troxell also contributes experience as a Colorado State University mechanical engineering professor and from his service as the Chair of the Northern Colorado Regional Airport Commission, and the Transportation leadership committee of the National League of Cities.
“To be appointed to this advisory board is an honor and an exciting responsibility,” said Troxell who will serve two years on the DAC. “Unmanned aircraft are clearly part of the future of aviation, and I look forward to providing input on what that future should look like.”
The DAC is led by the FAA and represents a cross-section of drone stakeholders with a wide variety of interests including technology leaders like Amazon Prime Air, Google X, Facebook, CNN, Garmin and aviation associations such as Air Traffic Controllers Association, Helicopter Association International and Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.