Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Is It Time For A FAA Drone Advisory Committee Restart?

After watching the episode of the FAA DAC, February 24, I have to wonder if the
“stakeholders” have finally lost touch with reality? I have also decided to change tact
and go full-frontal on the issues and “work” accomplished by the FAA and those just
trotted out. The stakeholders can’t get the FAA to enforce the existing set of rules.
Apparently, there is no money for staff to leave the FSDO’s for serious safety
violations like flying BVLOS with no waiver? Why does the FAA keep promulgating
bad rules/policies when they can’t or won’t use the tools they already have?

Rinse, recycle, and sandbag the stakeholder–

Again, most of the issues highlighted have been brought up, fretted over, and
shelved after folks realized the time-wasting ruse worked, or it would take actual
science and effort to figure out? The real peer reviewable science is something that
the FAA could not influence beyond promises of dolling out special dispensation.
Hence my repeated calls for the industry to pony up for some science. The
visionaries are adamantly opposed to funding anything that would objectively
support the ecosystem. At this stage of the game, I cannot believe it is naivety and
can only deduce that it is fear of reprisal from an education-focused regulatory
agency. Maybe they enjoy a diminishing return on investment?

This DAC is better than new!

Outgoing industry chair Mike Chasen patted himself and Hyundai’s newest policy
expert MS. Cooper on the back for being the same policy experts that managed to
Pathfinder their way out of FAA waiver compliance for over a year. The former
PrecisionHawk CEO also freely plugged his new venture several times on a platform
paid for by the USA taxpayer. #Pathetic

Has anyone run the numbers on how long and what it will cost for the laundry list of
items needed to accomplish BVLOS? Does it even make sense for an industry that
can’t make ends meet it in the VLOS envelope? It only took about 30 years to bring
the RC hobbyist under perceived control. We have “well clear” to figure out. Has that
been determined for the near-miss for drones and manned aircraft yet? Onboard
and certified detect and avoid, RID that will stand up to legal challenges, aircraft
certification (flying over people), and a UTM system that can overcome the existing
certified manned aviation shortcomings. That is a tall order for an agency with an
aversion to progress. Golly, I wish Peggy Gilligan was here to see all of the progress.

FAA UASIO quoted from 2019 –

This time it is RID: “If we don’t get Remote ID correct, it’s my view that we will
never have UTM,” says FAA UASIO’s Jay Merkle at the latest DAC 2.0 meeting.
(Thanks to Bill Carey for the quote.) If I were you, I’d start holding your breath now.

After what we have seen come out as RID, very few people I have spoken with will
even call parts of it good or correct. So, what does that mean for the folks who were
assured that their collective shafting of the hobbyist would usher in a new age of
flying over people without Huerta’s parachute company and flying BVLOS? Like it
or not, you are looking at a 10-year event horizon for BVLOS. If, and that is a big IF,
we get a standard adopted, we will more than likely have to wait a few more years
to come up to speed on hardware and software certification. September 16, 2023,
for the RID, and deadline is only eight years and one day past the congressional
mandate for the FAA to fully integrate UAS into the NAS (September 15, 2015).
Timeline sliding?

No UTM for drones; what does that mean for AAM? Anyone still buying the
standards bullshit needs to go and get their head examined or hit their clients up for
more money. That waste of people’s time has been going on for 16-plus years, and
we are going to break down the ROI (Return On Investment) right here and now.

Seven hundred plus standards have been published by various groups
worldwide. Yet, there is only one standard that a CAA has adopted. Brazil’s ANAC
adopted one ASTM standard.

I know, how about a risk-based approach without data and peer reviewable science?
The stakeholders couldn’t manage Point Of Sale aircraft registration, but the RID is
going off without a hitch. Yea, I’ll buy that for a dollar. This is pretty much what is
happening in the North American aerospace ecosystem now. It is a disturbing trend.
Folks develop technologies here and wait around for either certification or rules,
finally, run out of money, and the Chinese buy up the IP for pennies on the dollar.

Unfortunately, there is no silver lining to report at this time.

Patrick Egan
Patrick Eganhttp://patrickegan.net/
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).