Why RID hurts America: Comments from a concerned citizen

The RID NPRM is a lot more than just rules for a regular citizen flying drones; it is the end of an era for recreational freedom and it curtails American aviation innovation. Furthermore, no one should be surprised by anything in the NPRM as it was all foretold in the ID and Tracking ARC report. The only person looking out for you…is you. The FAA is way too preoccupied with the wishes of the Chinese toy companies.


How does RID hurt America? The FAA’s Dan Elwell explained when Sec. 336 was on the chopping block, “It had to go to usher in flights over people and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).” Was there any hard data to back up this assertion? The repeal of Sec. 336 will undoubtedly subvert aerospace innovation in the United States. Ham-fisted regulation for the US NAS as promulgated by the FAA has been a multi-billion dollar win for technologies in Shenzhen, China.

Let’s take a look back at unmanned aviation innovation. Systems like Aerosonde, Desert Hawk, Dragon Eye, Gnat (precursor to the Predator), ScanEagle, Puma, Raven, Wasp, Tiger Shark, Fire Scout, Hunter, T-hawk, and others were systems that came right of the garage and were built with RC components. Before the FAA’s arbitrary 2007 policy clarification banningcommercial drones, a lot of those parts were sourced in the U.S. of A.

050627-N-0295M-021 St. Inigoes, Md. (June 27, 2005) Ð A group photo of aerial demonstrators at the 2005 Naval Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Air Demo held at the Webster Field Annex of Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Pictured are (front to back, left to right) RQ-11A Raven, Evolution, Dragon Eye, NASA FLIC, Arcturus T-15, Skylark, Tern, RQ-2B Pioneer, and Neptune. The daylong UAV demonstration highlights unmanned technology and capabilities from the military and industry and offers a unique opportunity to display and demonstrate full-scale systems and hardware. This yearÕs theme was, ÒFocusing Unmanned Technology on the Global War on Terror.Ó U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain (RELEASED)

This is a trans-formative technology that reaches across the domains of Land, Air, Sea, and Space, and do we as a country want to remain leaders in these domains? Or at least players? As a nation full of aviation pioneers and aviation history, we Americans must ask ourselves if giving up on this pathway of innovation is in our nation’s best interest. I contend that it is not. Many of us are concerned, and this is not hyperbole. We are beginning to see signs of diminished capability for our government and first responders.

Reason 2: What about jobs, small businesses, and STEM/STE(A)M education in the

STE(A)M education shouldn’t mean we all learn to code! Sure, you can have STEM education, but the pipeline has to lead to jobs here in the U.S. of A. Don’t the children of America deserve the chance to innovate, explore, and discover? While the FAA is busy finding excuses, the Chinese government is facilitating innovation by investing billions of dollars into a robust drone ecosystem. They have seen the investment pay off in the form of tens of thousands of STEM jobs for their workers.

I suggest that you write your Congressional representatives and make them aware of your RID misgivings. Express your concerns for our future freedoms, education, technology, jobs, and, ultimately, our National Security! Then submit a copy of that letter as your RID NPRM response.

@thedronedealer on the Twitter