Color Me Gobsmacked

The following hardball (and softball too) questions took three-plus weeks (and in some cases 6 plus years) for the FAA to answer as they had to ask around the various compartments, nooks and crannies of the Caerbannog. As is usually the case in the fluid world of the drone, more questions pile up as stories break and products rain from the sky. Attached so neatly at the end are some follow-up questions that were asked or became relevant while waiting for these answers.

Just so folks don’t believe I am beating my head against the wall, we are making some headway with the level playing field effort!

https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Notice/N_8900.483.pdf

Now on to the story –

All answers in blue (except for some links) are attributed to an FAA Spokesperson!

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Patrick,

Here are our answers to the remaining unanswered questions. Please attribute anything you use to the FAA or an FAA spokesperson.

Q1. Why is the UASIO unwilling to share information about office expenditures with the public?

This information is available through the FOIA process.  You have previously submitted a FOIA requesting this information and the FAA responded.  If you need further clarification to the information provided, please submit your specific request through the FOIA process. We will be happy to assist as needed.

Q2. Aren’t the taxpayers and NAS stakeholders entitled to see a breakdown what they are paying for?

All Agency budgets are posted on line ( https://www.faa.gov/about/budget/ ). Also, the FAA’s Authorizing Committees in Congress have full visibility on the Agency’s budgets and appropriations.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/practice_areas/legislation/congressional_committees/ ) 

Q3. Progress reports would help the stakeholders and public understand the value of the UASIO, why not share?

We agree.  We routinely report on progress on our integration efforts via updates on our website.  In addition, we are actively engaged in social media and routinely share our integration efforts and accomplishments directly with the public.  Also, the FAA hosts an annual UAS Symposium where senior FAA and DOT executives engage directly with UAS stakeholders on current, near-term, and long-term integration activities and goals.

Q4. Why does the largest UAS news outlet have to go to Congress to get answers to FOIA requests?

The FOIA process applies specifically to the Executive Branch.  However, individuals, as well as media outlets, are welcome to engage their elected representatives at any time.   

Q7. Who is writing the speeches for Mr. Elwell?

Mr. Elwell’s speeches are handled by a team of employees under the supervision of the FAA’s Office of Communications. 

Q8. Why is FAA allowing ASTM to have Intel, Google, Amazon, et al sponsor F-38 meetings?

ASTM is an International Standards Developing Organization. They operate independently from the FAA, and are not funded by the FAA.  This question is probably best addressed by them (ASTM).

Q9. Does the FAA Global harmonization effort include Mr. Kenul (paid ASTM consultant) going to Europe to discuss ASTM standards with the European regulators and stakeholders?
Since ASTM operates independently from the FAA, this question is best addressed by ASTM.

Q10. Is it true that the LAANC data is taxpayer funded data that is being repackaged in apps (by 3rd parties developers) and sold back to end-users for access to the NAS?

Through the FAA UAS Data Exchange, the government and private industry share airspace data.  Under the FAA UAS Data Exchange umbrella, the agency supports the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC). This Data Exchange is managed by the FAA.  A number of companies have entered into agreement with the FAA to provide LAANC services to end users.

I also asked about the Balloon Fiesta Fiasco and am waiting back to hear about enforcement action taken on the 40 unique ID’s and if the DJI is going to share the end-user information they don’t collect with the FAA enforcement branch. As well as the video in this link wanting to know if the same VO deputizing procedure works for everyone.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifxs9iGour8

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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).