Whispers from Washington

Patrick Egan

Well, the SFAR has been finalized and they are now trying to mesh the civil part with it. As it stands now, the NPRM is due to come out right before Thanksgiving with the comment period covering the holidays.

D.C. won’t come back on line till sometime in the middle or end of January and most Government folks will have missed all of the hullabaloo. The civil part will undoubtedly be less restrictive in the operational bubble, with higher altitudes and greater distances, perhaps out to a quarter mile, and the ability to fly closer to airports.

Is it still VLOS? (Maybe Bugs Bunny has taken up sUAS piloting???)  It has to be that way.  The 400’ x 1500’ operating bubble out 5 miles from a charted airport/heliport is just not a viable operating envelope, especially for a police department.

The technical reviewers will have to justify why civil operators can operate in all of the extra conflicted airspace, and I’m sure they’ll trot out training, platform specific military track records and whatever other thinly veiled malarkey they think the community will swallow. There again, the military numbers meant nothing when it came to data acquisition, but here in Alice’s Wonderland it’ll mean something substantive. All of the training, the manuals and the programs emulated will have, by in large, been paid for by the taxpayer supporting the warfighter.

Little if any dispensation will be given for folks that have several years of flying under their respective belts, and why? Simple, it’s because they don’t have lobbyists or front of the line access to the FAA.

Engineers want to engineer, operators want to operate, regulators want to regulate and the band plays on…

sUAS News will have representation at both UAS 2011 and the Paris Air Show so be sure and stay tuned for dispatches with semi-live coverage from these events.