Objective Existentialism, Passive Nihilism, and Federal Rulemaking

All of them share a common thread of trying to make sense of the absurd, and suffering.

Many of the great philosophers—Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Kant, and even Camus—all boil to down to contemplating the existence of God, a sprinkling of misogyny, a pack of Gauloises, and learning to cope with regret.      

I was on a call with a fellow that worked at one of the FAA test sites, and he mentioned that everyone is so upbeat on drones and that I appear to have a less than optimistic take on the current regulatory and business situation. I said I am not negative on the technology, as much as the regulatory dysfunction that has destroyed this industry: an artificial and arbitrary brake on the wheel of an innovative technology that held so much promise to change the world! Instead of the straight line, we are trapped on the regulatory Wheel of Samsara and without the forecasted $82 billion in wish-granting jewels.

Then it dawned on me that the drone stakeholder (aka bag-holder) is supposed to reconcile or accept that the United States of America was able to put a man on the moon nearly fifty years ago, yet the FAA has proven incapable of fully integrating a 251-gram drone in the National Airspace System after 25+ years. The Congressional mandate for the FAA to get the job done by September of 2015 came and went. Yes, it is a mind blower, especially when you factor in how many millions have been spent! If you think that is ugly, just wait till you figure out who the poor sap is that is going to be on the hook to pay!

Even the Black Hornet, at 33 grams AUW, is required to have a waiver to fly BVLOS. That is way under what the nitwits—err, um, I mean stakeholders—on the FAA drone registration task force determined to be unsafe. I don’t know how they would even be able to carry one of the parachutes from the company the FAA was pushing as the flyover people waiver solution. Incidentally, the very same company just recently announced that the former FAA Administrator is now on the Advisory Board. I’m sure it is only one big coincidence that folks who represent the interests of the American people at the FAA off-ramp to these same companies (#goldenparachute). I was thinking it was all scheduling conflicts, but maybe the way to get FAA personnel to come and educate the public at your drone show is to offer them an Advisory Board position at your company?

I had planned on listing some of the contributions I have made over the years so as not to just sound like a malcontent. However, I decided not to bore anyone with plausible solutions while those running the show decided they wanted to regulate everything over 250 grams. That includes toys purveyed at mall kiosks and gas stations without a relevant risk analysis. No worries; you’ll be picking up the tab on that one too. If that wasn’t bad enough, the new declared domain is between the blades of grass. To add to the burgeoning workload, they decided to increase the buffer around airports from three to five miles. That increase created an airspace waiver backlog problem that was alleviated with the rollout of the LAANC near real-time solution. Wait, what? Yeah, it appears that those RC hobbyists reprobates and their Sec. 336 exemption was the designated impediment to getting paid for LAANC services.

I know there are some of you who would say that increasing the airport buffer makes sense, and I might even agree if there was a good-faith enforcement effort.  At this point, the FAA may want just to save a little face and roll out a voluntary compliance initiative before it looks like they just gave up on safety.

@TheDroneDealer on Twitter if you want the daily dose.  

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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).