The 'Leadership' Issue of Dronin' On 03.11.17
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Hi all –

Spring has sprung up here on the high mesa. Another nice year ahead.

Randy Goers of Drone Radio Show just tweeted “Congratulations @jeremiahkarp @dronewriter Your podcast hit 1,500 downloads. Very interesting info! “ Hope you’ve had a chance to listen.

Just a whole lot of stuff going on under the general theme of leadership – some of it is the “from the front kind,” the rest not so much.

Interviewed on Fox News after Trump’s address, DOT Sec Elaine Chou said that the $1T infrastructure plan would be funded in part by increasing tolls. “The federal government cannot assume the cost for all of it.” I bring it up to connect the dots to Task Force 3 announced at the January DAC. Anyone who thinks they will fly the UTM for free should push recalculate now.

Next week, U.S. Sen. John Thune, (R-SD), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will convene a full committee hearing entitled “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Innovation, Integration, Successes and Challenges.” A few of the usual ineffective suspects will be there, along with some fresh faces.

Fareed Zakaria penned a thoughtful editorial on cybersecurity in the Washington Post. The premise is that worrying about Muslims is so last war, when your CIA Mr. President just got outed and set back years. WaPo bookended with a write-up of the three key points from MSFT President Brad Smith’s speech at last month’s RSA Conference. Recommended.

Here’s an update on FAA authorizations and waivers. The ‘attaboy’ news is that the FAA is processing Class B, C, D & E. Here are the latest figures:

Airspace Authorization Requests

  • 8,500+ Received
  • 8,000+ Processed (Approved, Denied, or More Info Needed)
  • 2,000+ Approved

By way of explanation for the following, Nathan Ruff spent some time talking to FAA Senior Advisor “Hoot” Gibson and learned that a lot of applicants are not entirely clear on why a waiver is not the same thing as a kitchen sink.

Waiver Requests

  • 2,600+ Received
  • 1,900+ Processed (Approved, Denied, or More Info Needed)
  • 390+ Approved

From Oklahoma comes what might be the story of the week. “Trespassing drones are becoming such a problem,” says State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) that he authored a bill that exempts people from lawsuits if they damage drones that veer onto their property.

Senate Bill 660 applies to drones that are not under Federal Aviation Administration regulation. [sic]

Said Shortey in an interview: “There (are) privacy issues that have not been addressed by any of the FAA regulations or state law. It doesn’t matter how you damage that thing. As a private citizen, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy above your property where the public does not have access and that is under 400 feet.”

Dazzling is the first word that came to mind. Think it’s just an Okie thing? Wrong.

According to this story from the UAE “Drones, autogiros and gyroscopes are banned from flying five kilometers from airports and helipads, and some other restricted zones including residential, commercial and sports areas. It is also not permitted to install cameras on such drones or unmanned aircraft, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Interior
on Wednesday
. covered a recent report by nonprofit group the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)Drone privacy and security issues are the most alarming to business. Among survey respondents, 75 percent say privacy is the largest concern for commercial drone use. Interestingly enough, 25 percent of companies say that business use of drones outweighs any privacy or security issue. The report polled more than 140,000 members and certification holders in 187 countries,” the group said. That is far and away the biggest sample I am aware of by a huge margin.

Denton’s is hosting a UAS Insider Briefing on June 1 in their D.C offices. Please take a look at the agenda – all the very real stuff. Seats are limited. I am thinking about flying in – they are buying lunch.

I have been consistently impressed with DJI’s marketing savvy. But in the past week, DJI has made a series of announcements which while perhaps not missteps make it increasingly clear that the company is not willing to take on an industry leadership role.

1) Registration Rule. In late 2015, DJI VP Brendan Shulman was one member of a large taskforce pressed into duty by the FAA and given three days to come up with a registration policy. Now Brendan is saying that the data used to set the 250gm limit was “deeply flawed” and published a white paper Defining a Lowest-Risk UAS Category dedicated to discrediting a wide range of existing research.

What is egregious is that once again DJI did not invest one thin yuan to do any new research – while blithely ignoring all of the work currently underway across the US by ASSURE and in the UKBloomberg has a new video report on research being done at Virginia Tech with Hank, the dummy taking it on the chin. 4½ pounds is a recommended low-risk minimum? Really? Watch what happens to a P4 (3 pounds) and tell me that’s “lowest risk”. It’s a leadership thing when 59-60-70% of what’s up there is yours.

2) The AMA & DJI Joint Public Safety Training Program. The Matrice 200 appears to be a magnificent bird. One target market is public safety where it clearly would be a useful tool. So why partner with the AMA to meet their needs? There is not a single volunteer or government agency that can operate under the AMA CBO rules. More to the point, the AMA has no obvious institutional experience with public safety.

Why not partner with some of the associations actually representing first responders who could actually help to develop the policies and SOPs necessary to successfully incorporate drones into their work? Be good for sales.

3) From the just concluded Mobile World Congress came this headline “DJI Drones Use Plane Avoidance.” Here is the story from BBC News. “The world’s bestselling drone-maker has unveiled models that warn their operators when there is a risk posed by nearby aeroplanes or helicopters. The M200 series use ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance broadcast) receivers to detect broadcasts from nearby manned flights. The transmissions allow users to see the position, altitude and velocity of surrounding aircraft so they can take evasive action if required.”

If you’re wondering the unit is built by uAvionix which DJI is an investor in. It’s curious to me that DJI did not hit on this in their US launch. BBC checked in with Colin Snow who wasted no time pointing out the obvious. “The problem is that ADS-B isn’t yet required for all aircraft.” In fact, ADS-B is only required for aircraft that operate at 10,000AGL+ which is not where you and your shiny new M200 should be.

But here’s the deal. In real world terms, when flying VLOS, the bird must be within .4 miles – make it .5 if you like for something as big as an M200. By the time you notice an alarm, find it and make a decision it’s going to be too late. It might help if within specified parameters the M200 took matters out of human reaction times and landed automatically –that whole leadership thing again.

Two stunning Eye Candy Tag Award Winners. The first called Wild Alaska yanked the eyeballs right out of my head. By no means 100% drone, but you won’t care – great editing, great score and every shot counts. Thoughtfully presented in time for you to plan your summer vacation.

Gonna leave you with a ride on the way back machine – a gallery from the glory days of the Apollo program WIRED put together which are taken from a new book featuring images from each of the 11 missions. Apollo is where Hasselblad set the global standard – mind boggling to think that they are now contributing to the evolution of our technology. Each image has been painstakingly restored. Stunning. I ordered a copy and it’s been shipped Media Mail… I waited this long.

Thanks for reading and for sharing. You can find all of the back issues of Dronin’ On here.


Christopher Korody
follow me @dronewriter

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