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Clueless, Careless and Crashy the Airliner

This is a follow up to one of my let’s-all-come-together-on-this-“safety of the NAS” educational pieces prior to the FAA UAS symposium. Some lingering questions were posed during the streamed symposium, and, to the best of my knowledge, not one of these pertinent and salient queries was answered. So, apparently ponying up the $769 does not in any way guarantee that the humble cake eater (or bag holder) will have his or her questions or concerns addressed by government employees.


Undeterred by my inability to muster up the gate fee and traveling money from the couch cushions of this purported multibillion-dollar industry, I decided to send the questions into the FAA directly. It took about three weeks for these well-thought-out and elucidative answers to make it back to the sUAS News America’s desk, and this was timely, as it was delivered right before the July 4th holiday.

For those of you amongst the oppressed and unwashed masses residing outside of the United States, July 4th is the day we celebrate our collective throwing off of the yoke of tyranny by Bar-B-Q-ing, drinking beer, and consuming hotdogs (not-dogs too) and hamburgers (the mention of “hamburgers” is not meant as an endorsement of the AUVSI TOP certification and is/was entirely coincidental). Evidently, the independence undertaking was so involved and arduous that we as a people have decided that we would just knuckle under a repressive administrative government
system for the next several hundred years. There are some among us who are starting to wonder if there might have been a little something-something in that tea the British East India Company was selling.

Those of you who have just joined this brother/sisterhood of drone may find
yourselves confused at first by the questions and then totally befuddled by the answers given. I thought about deciphering the code for the dilettante cake eaters, but I think I’ll let the reader just soak in what his/her $27 million in tax money a year buys them. Welcome to the highway in the sky to serfdom!

The questions and answers –

Questions from Patrick Egan:

What happened to the 2015 Congressional NAS integration mandate?

This mandate still remains.

How much is full NAS integration going to cost the taxpayer?

The FAA’s continuing mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

New regulation for the hobbyist, what does it cost, how is it administered, what about expiration/currency?

Click on the link to receive the information on the new law (PDF) that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes.

Any ideas why the education instead of enforcement program hasn’t worked?

The FAA is working to safely integrate emerging technology into the airspace system. We are doing that through both education and enforcement because safety is our first priority,and safety is everyone’s responsibility.
While the FAA is committed to educating the UAS community first and foremost, the FAA’s Compliance Philosophy, FAA Order 8000.373, notes that intentional or reckless deviations from regulatory standards that pose a hazard to the National Airspace System (NAS) require strong enforcement.

If it is all about education and not enforcement, why is the gate fee to the UAS event so high?

Most registration fees for conferences and symposiums are designed to cover the cost of the venue and other associated costs.

Who on the stage (including FAA) holds a current UAS Certificate? 

Currently there are approximately 141,364 part 107 certificates issued.

Where is the repository for all of the collected COA, 333, test site, and UAS IPP data stored?

You can find publically-available UAS data on FAA’s website (www.faa.gov/uas):
 All current section 333/44807 exemptions are posted here:
 All issued part 107 waivers are posted here:
 All test sites post information related to their research/work. Here are the links to all of their websites: https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/test_sites/.
 We post all FAA UAS research reports here:

Is the collected data cataloged in a format that is accessible for academics and scientists to study and analyze? (Press?)

The data is publically available for anyone who might want to access it. UAS data on FAA’s website (www.faa.gov/uas):

What other types of data does the FAA believe it needs?

FAA continually monitors the UAS technologies and feedback from UAS users to assure our efforts to align with the current state of the UAS industry and community.

What is the plan and timeline to collect the new data? 

FAA will gather data as needed to meet our mission of providing the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

Standards work. How many of the drone standards (ASTM, RTCA, ASE, etc) have the FAA adopted? 

FAA continually monitors the UAS technologies and industry to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System

When can we expect the UTM (currently at TCL 4) to be up and running?

UTM TCL4 is ongoing with the first of two flight tests completed in Reno, Nevada in May 2019 and the second to be conducted in Corpus Christi, Texas in August 2019. NASA will provide research results to the FAA and the FAA will conduct further testing.

How much will UTM cost, and who is paying for the rollout?

UTM is how airspace will be managed to enable multiple drone operations conducted beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS), where air traffic services are not provided. The FAA expects that UTM capabilities will be implemented incrementally over the next several years.

Is the ID and Tracking scheme going to be certified?

The FAA received the report of the UAS Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee in December 2017. The report and recommendations provided us with detailed technology evaluations and a comprehensive list of law enforcement needs and preferences. We are evaluating the report recommendations and we are committed to establishing remote identification requirements for UAS as quickly as possible. We are drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Remote Identification.

When will ID and Tracking be up and running?

Remote ID is the next step to enable safe, routine drone operations across our nation. This capability will enhance safety and security by allowing the FAA, law enforcement, and Federal security agencies to identify drones flying in their jurisdiction.
 The UAS Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), chartered by the FAA in June 2017, submitted its report and recommendations (PDF) to the agency on technologies available to identify and track drones in flight and other associated issues.
 The FAA is currently drafting a proposed rule on Remote Identification for public comment.

 In December 2018, the FAA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to establish an industry cohort to explore potential technological solutions for Remote ID. Our plan is to publish the rule later this year. The Final Rule for Remote ID is likely two years away.

How soon will we be flying (file and fly) BLVOS (not EVLOS with a VO) and over people? 

The FAA is using a risk-based approach to consider rules for expanded UAS operations, including operations over people, operations beyond visual line-of-sight, and transportation of persons and property.

Did the FAA hand over U.S. critical infrastructure data to Dà-Jiāng Innovations after they were accepted as a LAANC USS? 

LAANC is a data exchange, where an external party provides services to operators and passes data via secure connection to the FAA. No critical infrastructure data is provided in the data exchange. 

Was Dà-Jiāng Innovations vetted for possible security issues and direct investment from the PRC prior to the data transfer?

The LAANC program provides a mechanism to onboard companies wishing to provide services to operators.  Companies must comply with FAA rules to be accepted into the program and continuously demonstrate that compliance. 

What does the FAA attribute the low number of reoccurring sUAS test takers to?

The FAA sets minimum knowledge requirements per regulation. We do not administer the test, nor do we collect fees associated with its administration.

Bonus question –

Who came up with Buzzy the Drone, and how much did it cost the taxpayer?

The idea for Buzzy the Drone was developed by an FAA team. No costs were incurred.

Let’s give a big warm welcome to the newest aviation educational program mentor, Crashy The Airliner? Now, we didn’t get a freebie on Crashy as the FAA got on Buzzy. This private sector manifestation cost the princely sum of $65 on Fiverr. Just in case folks over at the FAA haven’t heard of the “cost of sales” concept, I’m going to throw this link in here in the spirit of education.


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