U stands for unavailable

U stands for unavailable

Pull up a sandbag, rant trousers on, high horse-mounted. Blame Bruce for highlighting these videos and making me think.

Uncrewed, Unmanned, or Remotely piloted, it does not matter how long we argue about what our drones are called. It is all part of the great handbrake.

The continuous shuffling of chairs and tilting windmills must stop. Whoever has the most cash to bend the ear of aviation regulators and departments of transport is winning. Once again CUAS companies are driving a bad drone narrative and planting stories in right-wing newspapers.

Grassroots innovation and common sense are being defeated at every turn. Matt Williams has an excellent video that should be watched.

The UK CAA is doing a terrible job of communicating its goals and plan instead producing inaccurate or no advice at all.

The industry is now recovering from the effects of Brexit. The Tory obsession with tearing up EU rules which is pushing the UK backward. Just sticking with EASA was the most sensible thing to do.

That is not without risk, the liberal use of the word explosion in the recent SORA discussion has annoyed many.

I have always thought I had honest and fair communication from the CAA when I was in the manned flight business. It seems commercial drone operators in the UK are treated with disdain, one-person operations are not worth their attention and big American corporations are going to sail in and show the UK how it’s done. 

Lets park though that there own regulators the FAA stuffed around for 10 years before they really started anything. 

The FAA is now showing its hand with CBOs. I will insert an excellent video from two of them, the FPV Freedom Coalition and Flite Test. It says it all really if the FAA sticks to its concept of only 4000-places model aircraft can fly friction-free in the USA then that will be the end of many school and club activities that have taken place for more than 100. Stuff rich in STEM goodness.

Where did my Unavailable term come from?

All of us have been affected by tragic images coming out of Turkey and Syria. The earthquakes have changed that part of the world.

Tethered drones to establish cell phone towers restoring communications. Small delivery drones rapidly transport critical medicines. Large delivery drones moving food and water. These platforms should be there, they all exist in the world, we have passed the wouldn’t it be nice to phase. 

The thing they all have in common is that their adoption worldwide has been throttled by manned aviation regulators. Training schemes are not grounded in best RPAS practices or touch on human factors at all.

Often with business compliance at a cost great than or equal to manned flight training. 

But just as long as something is in the place however poor regulators can point to it when ministers ask questions.

NGOs have to be risk-averse and put their limited resources into sustainable dependable systems and procedures. When they see the constant moving of deck chairs and the high cost of entry they must surely put rescue robotics back up on the nice to have shelf.

Manufacturers could drop platforms into the laps of rescue works but that would be of no use. They should be constantly training and planning for local and international disaster events and ready to work with other nations at a drop of a hat.

Somebody has to take the keys from the clown car regulators are driving. I can say this because I am older than 50, I don’t think anyone over 50 should be in the drone decision regulation-making room. Anyone in the room should be able to demonstrate 1000 hours of fixed-wing and multirotor pilot in command time and none of those hours should be in DJI gear!

In 2008 when sUAS News started only ex-military folks could have applied but now there would be a large cohort of suitable civilians that would qualify.

The band is still playing but surely the manned aviation regulators ship is sinking, they don’t have the knowledge, skills and passion to imagine the future.

When better tools are available to those that risk everything to help others should we not as a community be pushing our elected officials to make sure the regulators who work for us, are upto speed, on time and on target. 

In what year will rescue robots at scale come of age unless we all start applying pressure, 2030, 2040, 2060?

All of us want a safe modern digital sky, even Bruce, but it feels like the largest group of aviators by a country mile (drones) are being demonised with no supporting evidence whilst GA kills somebody somewhere everyday.

Regulators stop pandering to AAM/UAM VC funded BS and start supporting things that are real. 

Gets off high horse.

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Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.