Repeal the Repeal 336 Madness!

Quote from AeroVironment Founder Dr Paul MacCready:

“Anybody who’s not interested in model airplanes must have a screw loose someplace,” he said in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1992.

The “336 needs to be repealed for the commercial drone industry to move forward.” Propagandists may feign interest in model airplanes, but I think they may have more than just a screw loose someplace. The “stuff” (charity ends right here) being pushed out and regurgitated by the drone cult client media is counter-productive to an actual viable domestic aerospace industry. The venerable quadcopter itself and all of the innovation of the do-it-yourself drone movement came out of the hobby. The whole development period between 2007 and 2016 done in the last decade of innovation was possible because the hobby was unregulated.

The claptrap rationale “it won’t stifle innovation” or “the hobby has changed so much” is just fatuous garbage and is indicative of a crop of app-clowns who’ve never held a credible drone job. Maybe the new and ever-evolving definition of “drone expert” means you don’t know how the Google thing works besides cashing the check? The industry should use this dubious propaganda to gauge the severity of the psychosis amongst the drone experts, bonus visionaries, and propaganda peddlers.

Many aviation pioneers including but not limited to Sir George Cayley, Howard Hughes, The Horten Brothers, Samuel Langley (who inspire the Wright Bros), Dr Paul MacCready, Alphonse Penaud, and John Stringfellow, to name a few, built and flew model aircraft.

How did we get to a place where folks can advocate for more regulation on the RC hobbyist? Well, there are several reasons, but primarily it is the culture of capitulation that has come home to roost. The protracted battle has worn down the resistance. Not that it was a good fight, but a fight for power, market share, and mandated members. I know it is never popular to blame the victim, but the fault rests firmly on the shoulders of those that have allowed their members to be disenfranchised while trying to monetize the charter. Got to grow (scale) the business!

Sure, I will concede that there are “issues” with the original language, but there is a political reason for it. You must understand that in those days it was “write your own language” (within reason), and that was the best that advocates, experts, and visionaries (pre-bonus) could come up with. A certain association thought they were going to get the regulatory blessing as the “CBO.” Readers should be able to deduce what got in the way of good regulation besides just the best of intentions.

Now, I’ve always given the AMA a wide regulatory berth, as I had believed that they had the hobbyist’s best interest in mind and purportedly knew what they were doing. Yes, warning bells were ringing along the way (since 2005), and I will say that I am less than encouraged by the deafening silence now. In this instance, the silence is not golden, as it is feeding into the notion that no one cares about the hobbyist, when the opposite is true. The unaffiliated hobbyist has no voice (not just the commercial end-user), and the FAA has known it since I brought it up in 2008. The estimate given by AMA on the number of unaffiliated RC Hobbyists was around 5000 during the sUAS ARC. I said more like a few hundred thousand, but the FAA went with the AMA numbers. Those are back in the heady days when folks were still openly laughing at the notion of a $1000 Chinese UAV.

The venerable quadcopter itself and the all of the innovation of the do-it-yourself drone movement came out of the RC hobby. The whole development period between 2007 and 2016, the lost decade of innovation, was done underground or under the hobby exemption. Commercial deniability went full blown at DIY Drones with the “I am an amateur” thing, and the flames were fanned by inaction and institutional denial over at the FAA. Any notion that more regulation on the hobbyist won’t stifle future innovation by the app-clowns doesn’t add up unless, of course, you’re talking about Shenzhen China.  The UAS industry sprang right off of the catalogue pages of Tower Hobbies, and other company catalogs and many firsts happened out of the modelling community.

Some records to chew on between sips of your soy chai latte –

When I read the AMA Government Relations Blog, I see shades of the world’s largest unmanned advocacy group junior. It is disconcerting because the AUVSI is chugging down the track full steam towards the Trestle Buster Train Wreck Award. Why anyone in the right mind would want to emulate a 20% loss of membership in an industry they forecasted to be worth 82 billion USD is beyond me. I am still on the fence on an AMA story, but I’m sure many of you have already deduced that there is trouble in Muncie.  

Give me some more kneejerk regulation –

Very few enforcement actions were taken as a result of registration even though that emergency sell-out was going to fix all of these reoccurring ills. The anecdotal sales evidence would suggest a significant slowdown on everything from the 250-gram mall kiosk toys and up. Point-of-sale registration with a written explanation that the FAA had authority and rule for the NAS including multi-rotors may have nipped a lot of this ignorance-of-the-law chicanery in the bud. But guess what: money talks and BS walks. Can ham-fisted mistakes like these go down under the pretence of safety?

LE wants ID and Tracking before we can fly BVOLS and over people, and that is where we are repeatedly told the big money is. I don’t give a rest’s nest what LE wants if you are waiting for the FAA to produce something viable and pragmatic. You may want to retool your career to something more financially substantial, albeit debasing, like lobbyist (aka swamp creature), advocacy group or cellphone app CEO, or Instagram model now. The notion that re-education is going to kick in magically or this problem is going to work itself out is as laughable as the notion of commonsense regulation. You can’t have a good drone regulatory framework without complimentary enforcement.

Who’ll be going first in the Forrest Gump think-alike contest by clamouring for BVLOS (EVLOS, as you still need a VO even after the $30K training outlay), or over people letting the Best Buy flying monkeys loose on the end-user in the NAS and John Q. Public on the ground? Hey man, I don’t want to hear your negativity about a practical test for Part 107 or airworthiness standards for the toys when we could shaft the hobbyist instead. Yeah, that will work like a charm.

All you need is some #UTM, brother –

Sure, NASA is blowing through millions faster than the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel run, but when is the #UTM going to be up and running for us to make my forecasted mega-billions? The reality of that boondoggle is a bring down! FAA missed the September 2015 mandate, and their progress propaganda whitewarsh is getting mighty thin. I’ll be ready to throw the hobbyist under the bus when the UTM is up and running everywhere and certified. Until then, POS registration and reclassification from “toy” to “aircraft!”

On to Professor Egan’s chance for extra credit –

Here is your chance to be a sUAS News cub reporter—if you can wade through the maze of flim-flamers, grafter, hucksters, snake oil salespeople, swamp creatures, and the occasional sprinkling of honest folks. These are the follow-up questions for others who have the energy and intestinal fortitude to ask.

  1.    What happened to the FAA Drone Registration Task Force “accountability and education” fix all of the experts gave consensus on?
  2.    How many enforcement actions are there currently?
  3.    Has anyone quantified the risk to the NAS that drones pose?
  4.    When does the FAA plan to have UTM up and running?
  5.    Any estimates on what UTM is going to cost for nationwide implementation?
  6.    What is the progress with the UAS IPP? How come we do not hear good news from all of the sites?
  7.    Is the UAS IPP progress on target?

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