Congressional Cajoling Begets Some Airspace Integration Action

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Sites” Released yesterday in the “Registry”

http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-05735_PI.pdf

Some intriguing information can be gleaned out of the Request for Comment document as well as a reaction’s to language in the authorization bill. First thing to report is that several states already have proposals in the can. They were a little ahead of the game, as NASA didn’t have the criteria worked out for the test centers due to funding. I have some personal perspective, as I was part of group from Arizona that was working a test center proposal last year, just getting wind of the effort as I was leaving beautiful Yumastan.

The idea itself sprang out of the sUAS ARC where as the last group/bin/type etc 19.8 to 55lbs operations were primarily limited to a “test range” type of configuration. Why? Many believe flying at ranges like YPG is pretty expensive plus, it is a military installation with all of the hoops that reality entails. Even if, you as a commercial operator or manufacturer could test there, the logistics of doing so and weekly gate fee require Federal types of budgets. Most small business would be hard pressed to recapture what it would cost to test for one week at a place like YPG.

Now we have something that folks are salivating over as a place where the money is going to come rolling in as the sexy and high-tech unmanned aviation industry may just be landing in our state region. Sure, that may be true, but it’s going to cost some money. The adage about the free lunch fits here.

One of the questions we should be asking is, “what can business bear as a gate fee?” Is it $5000 per week or, maybe $10,000 to $15,000? Then there are the logistical considerations of getting the team and craft to the site with food, lodging and transportation.

These economic queries should be part of the conversation and sent to the FAA.

They were kind enough to include a name and address of a fellow who is the POC for information. You may want to call as we had tried to reach Mr. Prosek back in January at the address listed with no luck.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Prosek, Manager, Unmanned Aircraft Program Office, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 800

Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591, call (202) 385–4835, facsimile (202) 385- 4559, e-mail [email protected]

 

 

 

 

Good to see he is still around as I was concerned that maybe he had departed the FAA for greener pastures.

A couple of other noteworthy points are the deadlines that I’m sure we’ll blow right through as the language in the Reauthorization was mechanically vague and ambiguous.

You heard it here first…

The NPRM for the sUAS stuff is rumored to be ready to be pushed back yet again. It is now a full year from the original release date, and this I’m sure will put us into the holiday season. This revelation has the potential to dampen all of the optimism we’ve seen as of late. Another year with our only hope pinned on a mythical fat man. (Insert collective frownie face here.)

All of this was foretold to whoever would listen throwing cold water on all of joy the potential language in H.R. 658 had to bring. 2015 gave that a pass for the sUAS. The determination for “sense and avoid” being left up to the FAA, what a poison pill for the industry that was.

The only thing going on here is a business plan full court press. What the heck does that mean? It means a company is jockeying for the billion-dollar solution. The deadline is upon us and gee whiz 800POUNDGORRILAUAS just happens to have the solution. With a few well suited off ramp career positions for some ex-government employees who know how the system works, and can iron out the wrinkles. If this pedantic plan backfires, they won’t be the only folks retiring before a certified system is available.

Okay, now some bright side. We’ve got a leadership change down at the UAPO. I alluded to this in earlier stories. Word was out that they were scouting a superman (or supermen) to clean up the rulemaking train wreck. They may have found one in Jim Williams as the new head of the UAPO. I don’t know the man, but I’m hopping that he is a more dynamic figure than his predecessor.

 

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Patrick Egan
Editor in Field, sUAS News Americas Desk | Patrick Egan is the editor of the Americas Desk at sUAS News and host and Executive Producer of the sUAS News Podcast Series, Drone TV and the Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. Experience in the field includes assignments with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Battle Lab investigating solutions on future warfare research projects. Instructor for LTA (Lighter Than Air) ISR systems deployment teams for an OSD, U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Surveillance Project. Built and operated commercial RPA prior to 2007 FAA policy clarification. On the airspace integration side, he serves as director of special programs for the RCAPA (Remote Control Aerial Photography Association).