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HOW THE FAA BOSS IS KEEPING THE SKIES SAFE DRONES IN TODAY’S AVIATION SYSTEM


Michael Huerta


 Bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California–Riverside and master’s in international relations from Princeton University


 Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce, 1986–1989


 Executive director of the Port of San Francisco, 1989–1993


 Senior positions, including Chief of Staff, Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 1993–1998


 Managing director, Salt Lake Olympic Committee, 2002


 Affiliated Computer Services, 2002–2009; president of the Transportation Solutions Group (ACS is now a Xerox company providing information technology services and business processes outsourcing.)


Michael Peter Huerta, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration L


ast June Michael Huerta was named one of “8 Most Influential People in Drones” by dronedefinition.com. The group of eight included thought leaders who want to deliver packages to your door via a drone, mount cameras on unmanned aerial vehicles, and sell drones that will follow you wherever you go.


Also in the lineup was a 20-something inventor who built his first drone using parts from a Nintendo Wii and a lawyer who took on the first ever Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) case against a drone — and won. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta was recognized as “the face of the organization that will ultimately decide the fate of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the United States.”


www.hispanicengineer.com


In a blog post on the transportation department’s website, Administrator Huerta, 57, said that the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) industry is changing faster than any segment of the aviation industry.


“So many bright minds are focused on advancing this technology. People are finding new ways to use these devices on almost a daily basis,” he wrote.


Huerta added that the FAA’s next step is to determine if and how unmanned aircraft operations in America can be safely expanded in partnership with three leading U.S. companies.


“CNN, PrecisionHawk, and BNSF Railroad have committed extensive resources toward research that will help


us expand the range of FAA-approved UAS operations in the next few years,” Huerta continued.


“Their work will provide significant insight into how unmanned aircraft can be used to transform the way certain industries do business — whether that means reporting on a natural disaster, checking on the health of crops, or making sure trains run on time,” he said.


In December 2013 the FAA selected six public entities to develop unmanned aircraft systems research and test sites around the country. In one interview, Huerta called the selection of the six test sites “an important step in the evolution of unmanned aircraft in the United States.”


HISPANIC ENGINEER & Information Technology | Fall 2015 9


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