Hi All –
As previously disclosed, no issue this week. Until I changed my mind and felt the need for a quickie.
While I failed in my effort to shut down the local fireworks show, I am glad to report that nothing burned here in the Town of Taos. But just a piece up the road in La Veta, CO ~100,000 acres is now burning out of control. All of which suggests a growing market for drone light shows and other electro-luminescent entertainment media.
If you want to be reassured that nothing important has happened while you were sparking sparklers and making lobster rolls, Morning Transportation offers up this all too familiar refrain. Who would have thought that our future would be based on the assumption that government actually worked?
PREREQUISITES: The drone industry is bursting with potential for massive commercial utilization, technological innovation and, of course, profits — but it’s been held back by the sluggish pace of regulation. Drones can’t fly over people or beyond the operator’s visual line of sight without special permission, and those regulations can’t expand before all drones are identifiable and trackable while in the air (law enforcement and national security interests have insisted on that). But until Congress establishes exactly what drones do and do not fall under FAA authority, none of it can happen.
Catch me if you can: About 90 percent of registered drones are for recreational purposes, putting them outside the reach of FAA rules, so any remote identification rule the agency passed would be next to worthless under the current structure. Pretty much everyone agrees that the law prohibiting the FAA from regulating “model aircraft” needs to be narrowed, but by how much? Two separate and conflicting amendments were inserted into the House FAA bill (H.R. 4 (115)), and the Senate hasn’t yet decided which option it prefers.
Then again: Is Congress really going to manage to get a multiyear FAA bill done this year? It was hard enough to find floor time before a Supreme Court vacancy opened up, and now confirming a new justice is sure to suck up all the oxygen for the next few months. The Senate bill (S. 1405 (115)) has already languished a full year since getting out of committee. A fix to the model aircraft exemption could theoretically ride on another bill, of course, but it won’t be easy to find a fast-moving vehicle.
Oh, and: Remote ID isn’t the only thing holding up drone expansion. Security agencies want Congress to give them the authority to take down unauthorized drones, too. The Senate Homeland Security Committee has passed a very limited bill to do just that, but the House hasn’t even gotten started.
If CUAS is your thing, here is a wonderful story fresh from France, Greenpeace Crashes Drone into French Nuclear Facility to Show Security Flaws.
The group said the stunt was to highlight the lack of security around the facility, adding that “at no time was the drone intercepted or even worried about”.
Malek Murison writing in DroneLife.com stuck tongue firmly through cheek:
It looks as though drones are the latest tools to be enlisted in the name of protest. We don’t anticipate Greenpeace and Intel collaborating on aerial light show propaganda anytime soon.
The news caused the phone lines to light up at better CUAS suppliers everywhere. Ever agile, Dedrone hopped right on it with a webinar du jour, Prevent Drone Attacks for Utilities and Open-Air Facilities.
Elsewhere the ever thoughtful Jim Poss (USAF Maj Gen RET) has a wonderful piece, Advice to the UAS Integration Pilot Program Winners. Seriously good stuff. I may run it again next week.
What was just a hobby until the 21st century could become the way you get your packages delivered, your cell phone coverage or even have your insurance claims adjudicated. All we need to do is figure out how local and federal laws can work together to enable these markets.
I love the understatement – and the five rules to live by. Which, if voluntarily adhered by the ten lucky selectees, could actually turn UAS IPP into a useful project. Most def the link to click.
Always searching for new angles, Aviation Week’s Bill Carey and I have been playing an enjoyable game called ‘What Happened to the DAC?’ After all, the DAC was invented to figure out the problems posed by the General. Thanks to Morning Transportation we now know:
DAC MADDY: The Drone Advisory Committee, now out from under the aegis of the RTCA, has a new charter and member list — and the roster is a who’s who of manned and unmanned aviation. While most members carried over from the old DAC, it’s worth noting there’s no new chair after Brian Krzanich was forced to resign from Intel a couple of weeks ago. Other changes include: Linden Blue of General Atomics Aeronautical System, Inc. and Nancy Egan of 3D Robotics are off the manufacturers’ committee; Robert Isom of American Airlines is gone from the traditional aviation group; Stanford University’s Juan Alonso and MIT’s Nancy Leveson are gone from the academic group; and Riley County, Kan., Commissioner Robert Boyd has been replaced by Fort Collins, Colo., Mayor Wade Troxell on the local government panel.
A few notable absences: The roster remains industry-heavy, with just one local government and one state DOT on it. Attorney Greg Rodriguez of Best Best & Krieger notes the absence of law enforcement — the first line of defense against the malicious or unauthorized use of drones and who will key users of drones. Rodriguez also suggests that the U.S. Postal Service should be at the table along with its competitors.
Coming up: The new DAC’s first meeting is July 17 and insiders will be curious to see what topics are discussed — the online agenda is light on details.
Some very serious people are missing from the list. They are not amused. XOXO, Gossip Girl.
Keeping up the good work on an off week is this letter to the Uniform Law Commission’s (“ULC”) Tort Law Relating to Drones Drafting Committee (“Committee”). Talk about a self appointed group of hoo-haas… Note to all of our high priced lawyers, this was an opportunity I have been advocating that your clients totally missed. The letter was signed by pretty much everybody in the industry – with some conspicuous exceptions… You do the math.
As associations representing the unmanned aircraft industry, we write to express our opposition to the current draft produced by the Uniform Law Commission’s (“ULC”) Tort Law Relating to Drones Drafting Committee (“Committee”). The draft in question is under consideration for the Louisville ULC meeting in July.
The current draft interferes with the plenary authority of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by adopting a new interpretation of aerial trespass doctrine in order to give property owners a right to establish no-fly zones prohibiting any unmanned aircraft from flying below 200 feet. No-fly zones may only be established, however, by the federal government. State and local laws purporting to establish such zones (or giving property owners the right to do so) stand in direct conflict with federal regulation of air navigation, and thus are preempted by federal law.
One last thing. Not quite a drone but still airborne. Trump ‘Angry Baby’ Blimp Gets Green Light to Fly Over London During President’s Visit. Bon voyage.
All things considered, I rather like my decision not to do an issue. Sorry to disturb. Sad to say all of this will be waiting for you, exactly as you left it, whenever you get back to the bump and grind.
Thanks for reading and for sharing. Back issues of Dronin’ On are here.
Editor and Publisher
follow me @dronewriter