‘Unmanned’ Should Be Banned in Drone Parlance, FAA Panel Says


Words such as “unmanned” and “airman” have no place in a modern, gender-neutral aviation world and should be replaced by more generic terms, an advisory panel for U.S. aviation regulators said Wednesday.

The aircraft industry and its regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, have a long history as a heavily male-dominated realm, but it’s time to switch to language that’s more inviting for the growing numbers of women entering cockpits, maintenance bays and engineering stations, the FAA-sanctioned Drone Advisory Committee wrote in a blog post.

“Building a drone industry that promotes gender inclusivity isn’t about a war of words or even an appeal to politics,” the committee said. “It’s a signal that drones are for everyone. And when the drone community reflects the diversity of America, it will be stronger for it.”

The FAA hasn’t made any official changes in its use of language yet, but the quest for more gender neutral terms was requested by the agency in February and is in keeping with President Joe Biden’s policies.

“Unmanned” should be scrapped for “uncrewed,” the advisory group said. “Repairman” could be replaced by “technician.” The FAA for decades has referred to a pilot as an “airman,” but “aviator” is more appropriate, it said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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