Allow me to regale you with a retelling of a story from 2013.
Seasoned readers will recognize many of the same old trite and obtuse “it is all about safety” and “we need data” platitudes, how integration is hard, etc.
Those giddy with the promise of unmanned technology were beguiled by the tried and true FAA-obfuscation playbook. If you are interested in seeing that look for yourself, head on over to the Commercial Dog and Pony Expo and watch the crowd during a keynote, stage left.
You also have to understand that the company CEO’s–“visionaries”– were telling everyone that the FAA was never going to regulate “amateur” drone users or the hobbyist. Worse, some of the same idiots cut their consulting teeth on the 2015 NAS integration confidence game. Of course, the FAA could fall back on a simple yet unverifiable ATC that isn’t ready. That trick worked like a charm and the consulting/lobbying industry kicked into high gear with the “swamp people” laughing all the way to the bank.
It’s a long way to the TOP if you want to rock and roll!
AUVSI was busy telling its members and chapter presidents there was no
commercial drone market or interest in a less-than-four-pound commercial 107-style VLOS exemption. They weren’t alone; the vacuum-cleaner robot lady wouldn’t support it, nor would the genius behind the world’s smartest drone. The devotees then parroted the “visionaries,” and a gaggle of smug butt-whiffs thought– no, knew–they had it all figured out for you.
Sure, those with the deep DoD pockets got commercial ops early, but it didn’t come cheap, and even those guys eventually threw in the gilded crying towel. Before sequestration, this stuff was a waste of time, since a few cost-plus shooting overseas contingency operation contracts would net you a fortune on your FBO. If you’re going to be frustrated, go do your hand-wringing where you can make money.
Don’t say “drone”!
The “drone” (but not DIY) nomenclature is back since DJI uses it to avoid talking about its “aircraft,” which they import under the classification of toys. Some aircraft are more (or less) equal to others. Seven years in and even DJI’s policy, people are saying end-users aren’t represented in the rulemaking. Visionaries have given way to “industry legends” that pontificate nostalgically about their fallen heroes. Most of those same heroes have been banished to obscurity until the next cycle of droner has left for-profit carpetbagger drone shows.
Most newcomers to drones have never heard of Airware, 3DRobotics, or don’t even know that GoPro made a drone.
The song remains the same –
Those folks getting disenfranchised since 2006, below the disenfranchisement line dwellers, got disenfranchised. Many of the same people who threw them under the bus are now trying to be Humpty Dumpty’s knight in shining armour for pennies on the dollar. The majority of the small businesses have figured out that they could make as much money driving for Uber–without having to wait for 90-days-to-never for a waiver; they would have to pay $35k to get rolling.
No one had the stones to even ask for, let alone demand, accountability or anything else from the FAA, and most fell prey to the old prom-date routine. It was the AMA that really took it on the chin since most of their fair-weather buddies advocated for the repeal of Sec. 336.
If you’re not on the Twitter, you’re nowhere ;-) – @TheDroneDealer