UAS IPP A Sea Change For The US?

No doubt the policy teams at Amazon and DJI have to be doing some head scratching this week. The darlings of the committee circuit came up short, and sure as the sun is shining one company will undoubtedly blame the Trump administration for their glaring omission.

This should come as no surprise for those of you loyal and longtime readers of the candy-coat free zone know as sUAS News. Simply put, we are seeing the after effects of these companies hiring folks with questionable qualifications. Adding insult to injury, the guy over at the UASIO appears to be somewhat tech star struck and that may have wrongly given some of these folks a false sense of hope.

I much prefer Michael Perry’s narrative and stance that they wanted to be the people behind the people running the camera, over the new and not so improved. The implied, we are the drone experts on everything having to do with engineering, public policy, the NAS, aviation, public safety, privacy, etc. attitude has served to make them look foolish to everyone outside the selfie drone blog set. The optics is on par with or a notch below the representation befitting a low-level unindicted co-conspirator.

For those of you who find yourself thinking, but I had no idea, you can’t totally blame yourself because it’s all Emperor’s new clothes, most are afraid of being marginalized by the cabal.  Folks at the committee meetings may have sat quietly, but believe me, they were thinking it. Well, except for the late mayor of San Francisco, Edwin Lee. http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/san-francisco-mayors-letter-on-drones/2619/

Amazon has more money than you know who, but that doesn’t preclude them from rolling out one cockamamie idea after the other. Even the first go at an “aircraft” gave me pause, as it had about all of the aviation prowess one might expect from a basement hobby bench. Hard to imagine that the “design team” ran through the whole 20 million dollar budget and still couldn’t come up with a set of prop guards.

I’ve said it before, but I will reiterate here, Jeff Bezos is a genius for rolling out the program when he did. The drone delivery story went global, and he probably made more money off of the free cyber Monday advertising than most will ever dream of, all without having to suffer the indignity of waiting for a not so “near real-time” waiver.

Beyond that, I believe folks in the UASIO have been moving in a counterproductive direction. It is impaired because as the WaPo and others have suggested, NAS integration has become a private “public” rulemaking process. Daylight would be a welcome and refreshing addition for the rest of us stakeholders.

I’m not a huge fan of the 10 winners UAS IPP because I believe it is too limited for a Country like this. I believe a real UAS IPP should be inclusive of the Country as a whole, all of together.  One thing is for sure, there is a new sheriff in town, and if you’re not a UAS IPP winner you may want to think about rewriting or even buying a new playbook. Get the goods on Twitter @thedronedealer

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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).