Photo of balloon over NM
Give Dad what he really wants – a balloon ride

Hi all –

Enjoy Father’s Day whether you are or not. Trying to change it up a little here. I am spending more time developing themes both within and across posts. And based on your feedback, I am shortening Dronin’ On a bit.

30 Reasons To Walk A Mile In The FAA’s Shoes by Joe Del Balzo, a former FAA administrator, is a call to reason. I learned that at least in part it was written as a response to Jason Koebler’s article for Motherboard last week. What’s needed is leadership – the only way out is to work together to get somewhere new. See the Jonathan Evans interview below for what that might look like.

When Is a UAS Not a Plane? by Mark McKinnon takes a look at the burden that Austin Haughwout’s defense will have to prove that the FAA has no regulatory authority over him and his flame throwing drone.

Jonathan Rupprecht builds on recently released documents in Analyzing 23 FAA Drone Operator Prosecutions. Interesting to look at the disparity in fines paid by those who retained counsel and those who didn’t. In all 23 cases the FAA’s charges included 91.13(a) Careless or Reckless Operation.

Just to prove the point comes Cause And A $55K Effect, a long well reported article by Melissa Quinn on what will be the high profile case of Mical Caterina. The FAA has charged Caterina with a whole bunch of bad things, including of course 91.13(a) and flying to close to an airport in the process of shooting a group photo of a memorial for Cecil the Lion for a non-profit. Interesting commentary from Stephen Mann on how the FAA can interpret “commercial” and a counterpoint from Peter Sachs.

But the real segue here is a comment that Caterina’s DJI geofencing software makes it “nearly impossible” to fly within 5 miles of an airport. This brings two major themes up, geofencing and insurance. (As well as a PR problem in the making…)

In DJI Says The EU Must Get It’s Act Together executive Christian Struwe says that there must be centralized servers and a unified database to enable DJI to constantly update their geofencing software. Primary reason given is to avoid disappointing their clients when they arrive on vacation in some exotic destination, drone in hand, only to discover that they can’t take off because they are locked out.

If you’re wondering where that’s coming from, see Is Social Media Driving Drone Adoption? based on a stereotype busting market research study in the UK by which suggests that 400,000 Britons will take their drones on holiday this year.

But are massive databases the solution?

Fight Fire With Data? Or Guns? covers what seem to be the two favored alternatives for controlling drone encroachment at wildfires. The first answer looks at an idea that the US Department of the Interior is floating to provide a national fire database to use for geofencing. It’s a good idea but not much of a solution.

The second part looks at S.B. 807 in California which once again promises immunity for any first responder who damages a UAS (i.e. blows it out of the sky.) This takes us back to Haughwout and the question of whether a drone is really an aircraft, and if so, when the FAA is going to start prosecuting people who shoot at them – those laws are extremely clear.

One of the implications of geofencing is the cyber issue of who is responsible for the quality of the data. This is also a huge issue with autonomous cars so we look at some clues to be found from Volvo, Adrian Flux and Tesla Knows When You’ve Been Naughty. Read how they used the data to call BS on a driver who crashed.

The term for that kind of data gathering is telematics and it is at the heart of Acend Launches UBI – Usage Based Insurance which I believe will use a black box flight recorder on board any drone that wants to be insured – imagine the exclusions.

Had To Happen – debuted this week. This is a retail bright spot, to see why I included a review on a new Walkera that is race ready for $500 out the door. It briefly touches on the issue of FPV.

5 UAV Takeaways From The Berlin Air Show from leads me to wonder if, despite Riga and EASA, the EU is really all that far ahead when it comes to demonstrating ROI.

Building The UTM – Interview With Jonathan Evans, CEO of Skyward, is terrific. The first part deals with what is driving business adoption, the second UTM – great work for Commercial UAV by Jeremiah Karpowicz who has promised that a Part Two is coming.

For the coveted Eye-Candy Tag Award we have Still Swinging? a cheeky advert from the lads at that dials up a nice mix of sass and benefits. National Geographic Captures A Great White is a thrilling documentary that puts you in the boat with photographer Brian Skerry as he deploys a fake seal, spotter planes and an octocopter off Cape Cod to get the shot.

Thank you for reading and for sharing.


Christopher Korody
follow me @dronewriter


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.