I had attended a TTC offering once before as a spectator in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. TTC is known to attract higher-level speakers at their shows, and true to form the conference got off to a relevant start and never let up.
The first two speakers were; Congressman Duncan Hunter, (UAV Caucus) and Congresswoman Susan Davis, both members of the House Armed Service Committee.
During their respective presentations, they had both expressed interest in the furtherance of unmanned technology education and small business. Congresswoman Davis’s message certainly resonated with me. She spoke of her vision for education and generating interest in unmanned and robotics technology down to the middle school level. Very much the same message I’ve been trying to convey, as many see the youth interested in robotics as the future of the country, and a resource that we should actively cultivate.
An opportunity not to be missed. I asked for assistance in rectifying the oversight made by the FAA in, not including representation for small business, and academia on the current UAS ARC. They both offered to see what assistance their respective offices could provide. Right there, an hour in and the conference was already a success.
Warning, digression ahead…
For those who may not have seen the follow up article about us getting turned down for inclusion on the UAS ARC. We have to assume that the Associate Administrator for Safety, Peggy Gilligan said no to small business representation as the FAA feels there are manufacturers of small UAS on this ARC. I think they missed the point of the request for inclusion of small business. We can only speculate the cause as either reading comprehension issue, or another example of the excellence touchstone. The apparent “no” requires us to move up the chain of command to see why the FAA is intent on denying the small business and academia stakeholder representation. In any event, it only lends more voices to the conversation about the FAA’s dedication to the public’s best interest, transparency and accountability.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming…
The request for Congressional assistance appeared to strike a cord with attendees. Folks continually came up to me during the rest of the conference to affirm my statements/questions, and the high degree of relevance these issues have within the community. The pro-small business message seems to be one that people have been waiting an exceedingly long time to hear.
Colonel Pappas also gave us a program update from Army G2 about some of their Initiatives and challenges. Interesting perspective, giving a frame of reference for some of the programs we read about, and how these programs ultimately figure into the inventory.
Randy Willis from the FAA was kind enough to give us an update on their direction and reauthorization bill.
I missed most of it as I was doing an interview for a major publication (only a little better known than sUAS News) out in the hall.
However, I did catch that many of the folks from the UAPO are getting trained on sUAS in Florida, which we can all agree is excellent news. Tempered though as what they are getting trained on is the AV product line. It would be even better if we could put a few other systems into the mix, as the AV product line does not include LTA, VTOL or frangible systems.
Only question asked by the author had to do with the schedule for the NPRM. sUAS News had heard from other sources that the NPRM would be pushed back until late summer possibly even fall?? Mr. Willis stated that the FAA put a bow on it and is waiting for others to finish the process for its debut in the “Registry.”
One of the other notable speakers happened to be Lt. Coronel Burton representing the USMC VMU-3 from my adopted and lovely hometown of Yumastan.
Following the speaker’s agenda there was an end of the first day reception, which proved to be an excellent opportunity to casually sidebar with conference speakers and exhibitors. (Several connections from Linkedin were in attendance, not a paid endorsement.) There is talk of the Army possibly setting up an industry day, and I hope to put that message out here at sUAS News with enough lead time for small business’s to attend and showcase their various wares and services. I commended the notion and encouraged the other branches to do the same during my presentation. I employed the Procerus Technologies example, a success story that was too many years in the making. There are some smart, small business people out there, and we as a broader community and industry need to find more opportunities to assist each other in supporting the warfighter, and overall domestic technology base.
I was a little late, but I wanted to practice my presentation one more time… do not want to bore those poor folks to tears, or worse.
The highlight of the day (for me) was my presentation posted here for the reader to get a flavor or idea about the current narrative that I am trying to convey. Of course, you are not getting the whole show with the anecdotes about checking the clearance bins at the Walmart near Beale AFB, and innuendo about eating Chinese food for lunch instead of the other way around. Some feel that the subject matter was a little pointy, but I preface most of my lectures with a disclaimer about hearing and seeing a remarkably different perspective. The takeaway I hope to impart is a high altitude small business perspective, not the usual $10 million example.
All of that segued right into the sUAS News to being an outlet for information on new applications and technology across the entire spectrum of the unmanned sector. Also being able to point to this location, as a voice for the Global airspace integration effort is gratifying. There is no denying that I covered plenty of real estate, but then again, there is a lot of perspective to share. I usually do not leave the venue till they shut off the lights ;-)
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Marcus Min http://www.linkedin.com/in/marcuswmin
and the rest of the TTC crew for going the extra mile and putting on a truly compelling and worthwhile conference. I would also like to thank the sUAS News advertisers for facilitating attendance at this conference. A portion of all sUAS News ad revenue goes directly toward supporting travel and NAS integration advocacy efforts.
We as a community need to support those who support us.