FAA Approves Boeing ScanEagle UAV for Commercial Use; Paul McDuffee Comments

Scan Eagle - ExecutiveMosaicBoeing‘s (NYSE: BA) Insitu subsidiary has been authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle for a commercial project, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported Monday.

Steve Wilhelm writes the FAA gave Insitu permission to operate three ScanEagle drones to support environmental surveillance work by energy firm ConocoPhillips in northern Alaska.

Insitu aims to deploy up to nine ScanEagle civilian UAVs by this summer, Wilhelm reports.

“It’s a baby step, we want to build on that, that’s the plan for the rest of 2014 and beyond, ” Paul McDuffee, Insitu associate vice president of government relations, told the newspaper in an interview.

McDuffee added the Boeing unit backs the FAA’s efforts to regulate commercial drones to prevent a collision between piloted and unmanned aircraft, according to Wilhelm’s report.

ConocoPhillips is using the drones to study ice pack movement and migration of marine mammals in Alaska.

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