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GAO: FAA Should Improve UAS-Related Cost Procedures

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The Government Accountability Office released a report on Tuesday recommending the Federal Aviation Administration to improve its cost guidance for unmanned aerial system operations. GAO said that FAA should partner with Congress and the Trump administration to establish fee procedures to ensure that drone-related cost data remains accurate and complete.

The watchdog noted that most FAA offices are responsible for both manned and unmanned flight operations, therefore complicating cost-tracking for UAS activities. FAA’s UAS costs are not covered by registration fees the agency has been collecting since 2015, according to GAO.

“Furthermore, FAA’s future costs to conduct oversight and provide air navigation services are largely unknown due to the changing nature of the industry and its early stage of development,” the agency said. “Ensuring that information on UAS-related costs is complete and reliable now could put FAA in a better position to identify those costs as they evolve and possibly expand in the future.”