Sunday, October 24, 2021

Did Safety of the NAS Take A Holiday?

You might be thinking that this story is about the six-month deadline the FAA missed for the online aeronautical knowledge and safety test for the cake-eaters formally known as RC hobbyist. Alas no, this story is about more special treatment for the moneyed players. I guess the word on the street is that no one minds the henhouse after the revelation that the DAC industry co-chair’s company’s waiver is bupkis.

Couple that with the waiver window slammed shut, and I guess it is open season to do whatever whenever you want in the NAS. You might have missed the following if you didn’t pony up the $769 to get into the FAA/AUVSI symposium.

This latest example is Skyward Verizon –

§107.31 says, “With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the remote pilot in command, the visual observer (if one is used), AND the person manipulating the flight control of the small unmanned aircraft system MUST BE ABLE TO SEE the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to:

(1) Know the unmanned aircraft’s location;
(2) Determine the unmanned aircraft’s attitude, altitude, and direction of flight;
(3) Observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards; and
(4) Determine that the unmanned aircraft does not endanger the life or property of another. “

Hans is the person manipulating the controls. How can he see the aircraft in
California when he is in a building in Nevada?

This means that they would need a Part 107.31 waiver. But does Skyward or
Verizon have a waiver? The waiver database does not show anything, and a Google search does not show anything either. Furthermore, I didn’t see blocked off streets or a parachute, and there is no Part 107.39 waiver for Skyward or Verizon listed in the FAA database, either.

I am still waiting to hear back from the FAA about the legal applicability of this VO deputizing process in the clip.

Is this good for everyone (regardless of lobbyist affiliation) or just the UAS IPP’s?

The CNN over people flight jackets must be magical.

With all of this waiting, I have to assume everyone is busy with the #737Max workload and enforcing the expanded airspace buffer around airports from 3 miles to 5, and the navigable airspace between the blades of grass.

I casually quipped in June that it was becoming more evident that those playing by the rules were chumps. However, the news lately pretty much makes that a truism.

I said it a couple of articles ago that the cake-eaters (bag-holders, too) and the process are pretty much being mocked. How can public employees utter the “safety of the NAS” with a straight face any longer?

I guess this drone stuff is small potatoes –

“Boeing’s 737 Max was built with “effectively neutered” oversight, writes the New York Times, citing interviews with over a dozen current and former employees at America’s Federal Aviation Agency.”

Boeing may have neutered the FAA, but they must have suffered some kind of reoccurring mental block when it comes to drones? The FAA is throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at toys that have yet to kill anywhere near the number this neutering SNAFU has. Starting to look like the Part 107 waiver situation got neutered, too. Creating more regulations they can’t hope to enforce doesn’t sound like a good way to spend your limited time and money unless the ultimate goal is federal job security.

Bottom line, I’m not looking for any preferential or special treatment like the folks with the lobbyists or the #1 Global Brand Happy Good Luck Quadcopter company gets, I’m just looking for some consideration from the FAA for the US citizen hobbyist, small business, and STE(A)M end-users.

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).