You have probably seen this drone swarm story/video floating around on the internet. I will use it
to help illustrate what it would take to do the same here in the US of A. The punchline on this
exercise is how poorly crafted, and onerous federal regulations chill innovation.

I’ve been at this drone thing long enough to be laughed at for even implying the Chinese would
be making and selling us thousand-dollar drones way back in 2009. Back then, the USA still had a solid lead on Unmanned Technology and we were firmly resting on our laurels as the commercial ban had only been in place for two years.

This video is from China, and missing are the chides and barbs from the drone “experts” that this is fake and that the Chinese are incapable of this level of technical sophistication. It is safe to say that the Chinese have proven themselves capable and good on them.

So, you’re a disruptor here in the USA; if you wanted to do the same, you would need to file for some waivers to fly the navigable airspace between the blades of grass. Technically, bamboo is part of the grass family, Poaceae, according to botanical taxonomy.

This is the waiver shortlist –

14 CFR § 107.31 – Visual line of sight aircraft operation.
14 CFR § 107.33 – Visual observer.
14 CFR § 107.35 – Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft.

No worries, the FAA is ‘open for business,’ so you’ll be ready to swarm it up after sixty to ninety days, assuming you get approved in the first go-round. Have trepidations about the waiver process? You can always take the easy way out and enlist an expert cut and paste consultant for the task. You may want to do your due diligence as bargains can sometimes be more expensive in the long run.

A word to the wise, The Amazing Grogan is gone, so if any new FAA waiver Guru figures out some additional safety of the NAS exemption or waiver was missed, you could be staring down the barrel of a six-figure fine. You may want to make sure the cut-and-paste pretend aviation shyster has malpractice insurance.

For you DIY disruptors this is a representative sample of an approved waiver application for 14
CFR § 107.35
https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/policy_library/section_352_responses/media/107_35_for_se
ction_352.pdf

Congress may have mandated full NAS integration for September of 2015, but Gary Mortimer and myself latched on to the US Air Force prediction of 2047 for full drone NAS integration. Let’s hope that 2047 isn’t the one that comes to true!

@TheDroneDealer on Twitter and Gary Mortimer can be followed @TheDroneSangoma

By 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).