BigNutz

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  1. Hey Yo's: Real quick up front, as a quick aside before you dive in. Any time I am involved in a debate, argument, or making potentially contentious statements or claims, just keep in mind, I am doing so fully cognizant of the potential that the side or conclusions I am supporting, could be absolutely dead wrong. I could have assessed something with flawed or incomplete data, or I could have simply made an error or am just wrong. So, I just ask that if you think I'm full of hot air, tell me why instead of just attacking my character or reminding me chicks don't dig orange hair...I already know!! So with that said, let's dive into this shit! (Please, no comments about potty talk, Moderators. If that's grounds for suspension, a stern talking to, or anything, we need to talk, for reals.) Whilst not at the level of confidence or control I have for my Bebop 2, I am pleased to be able to report that I'm at least operating my new (to me) Phantom 3 Standard in ways which are not as consistent with what most would expect from someone who has a touch of the Downs. So that's good, and listen, no complaints that my crass humor somehow hurt someone's feelers. It was done deliberately as part of your community's cultural tweaks needed now that you're part of my industry. Now then, back to the matter at hand. Obviously, like most who would still consider themselves as new to the sUAS/ Drone sector/ community, I am in full acknowledgment of the 800 lbs. gorilla who plays the part of the sector leader, that being of course DJI. For the record, and completely off topic (again), being accustomed to the US dominating every other global players in absolutely all aspects of civil aviation (I'll concede gliders and Light Sport are the domains of the EU, but NOTHING goes to China), having to watch even the newest sector, the drone community, all being expected to kiss the ring of the most influential stakeholder by an unacceptable margin, and the fact that we're talking about a single Chinese company, well, it makes me sad. It makes my tummy-tum feel yucky anytime I'm faced with the realities of the sUAS community's already culturally entrenched large scale resignation exhibited by the masses that all major or relevant sector-wide decisions regarding the priorities, next directions, and the potential resources invested towards for developing the next generations of innovations and feature advancements for both sUAS hardware and software, are being trusted to be unilaterally developed by one Chinese company. I know that's the norm for you guys, you probably don't see why that's a problem, and would be content to allow it to perpetuate moving forward. Well, one profit-driven corporation based in the US, never mind one based wholly in country which represents the US's most capable "near-peer" military adversaries, is absolutely not going to remain. That type of setup is beyond inconsistent, and I'd be comfortable saying a scenario which will never be irreconcilable with some of the US aviation industry's core cultural tenets. Don't worry, this is a good thing for you. Now, instead of a single company having all the say, releasing to the marketplace what they decided will be the next direction, then having the rest of the other manufacturers scrambling to play catch up, the industry as a whole will be provided resources to use, and as a community will set what is needed and what the next level of awesome will be. Then, all the manufacturers who feel they have something to offer with the strategy are all invited to come together and decide how the resources get used. And all the juicy data and innovations developed are free for all users and stake holders to use in their initiatives. Why? Because as a member of this industry, yes, you're beholden to regulations and limitations. But those big-boy pants rules also come with a codified mandate that the FAA place an equal level of priority and resources in the expansion and growth of the industry as a whole. Yeah, so, I'm just saying, forget stupid Remote ID tantrums, you guys are going to watch this shit get real and do so all while DJI tries to figure out just how they will fit into this new reality which will develop. If they are smart, and keep doing what they have, only being WAY more open about tech, they'll be good. But trust me, if they try to outdo or retain their asinine superhero level of global market-share, or even the elevated industry stature they've enjoyed for the last decade by foolishly trying to compete with the super-nerds working at the FAA Tech Center in Atlantic City or match the resources being funneled by the FAA, it'll be embarrassing for them. I hope they don't. For the record, I still maintain the single reason the Chinese were able to somehow claim an unprecedented global dominance in an emerging industry which I had always anticipated would eventually find it's way over to the rest of the aviation industry, where the US is the undisputed and readily acknowledged pimp boss of the world. China's civil aerospace industry is experiencing significant struggles at best, never getting out of the starting gates at worst. Their mistake was trying to emulate the designs and processes of the Russians. Yeah, oops. Anyhoo, I was a very vocal critic of the FAA's stated and clearly understood reluctance, thus decision not to begin regulating drones, at least the Commercial ops and Manufacturers. My concern was the fact that by not regulating these aircraft, they were not providing the regulatory framework which could be used to provide them access to the NAS, even if just limited. Because when I was there in 2009, there were no Commercial Drone Ops which were legally being conducted in the US anywhere, because they were told, No. This was back before the waiver or COA systems were mature enough to be used in any way to allow a manufacturer the access to airspace they would need to innovate and conduct R&D. I warned the guy's I knew in the UAS Program Office that if they didn't let companies innovate in our airspace, they would not wait, and would simply pull up stakes and go to a country which would. Does China have a less restrictive national airspace that DJI was able to access? Nope, in fact, their airspace is ALL locked down HARD by the military and General Aviation can go eat a pee pee if they don't like it. Because the Chinese can make some no shit savvy decisions, someone saw the potential, and was high enough in the party to get the military to give the company plenty of access, and we have now what results. Alright, I'm done. If you're Chinese, or Russian, and I hurt your feelers somehow.......I honestly couldn't care less. But we can still be civil, right?
  2. Hey Yeah, I understand the justifications driving the requirements. I've been involved with the FAA in one way or another for the larger part of 3 decades, and even spent a brief 2½ years working in their environmental compliance of airspace rule making shop. One of the most common misnomers about the FAA which everyone involved in aviation is what it is that drives the FAA's culture of safety, and the true nature of the resulting regulations imposed. It seems like an obvious answer to most, make sure the all the airplanes operate safe and in an organized fashion. That is true, but it's what drives that desire for safety and efficiency which people don't realize. First, though, it's important to understand a few things about everyone's favorite Federal Agency! First is the FAA is easily the highest paid Federal Agency in the US Government. There are a couple reasons for this related to the propensity of employees to stay WAYYY longer on the job than any other agency, which results in a larger number of employees ascending to the highest regions of the pay scale. Second, what most people understand to be a single mission oriented agency, called the FAA, operates as a single organism, and utilize just a single voice. They also assume that I once all govt agencies, the FAA makes a point that all subordinate departments push in sync towards the same direction. The reality is that the FAA is actually an umbrella organization which houses no fewer than 10 separate organizations which all cover-down on a set of specific aspects of the civil aviation industry. Don't mistake these division as being what we see in companies with different divisions to handle certain aspects of a common product line. It's not hyperbolic at the least when I say the term "airplane" is where any and all commonalities they all share ends. These sub-organizations all have distinct regulatory roles which are VERY clearly designated with deep lines in the sand. They don't have a slightly unique version of the same overall corporate culture, they each have very deeply entrenched, distinct, unrelated, and often incompatible cultures depending on (my theory) the types of people and personalities the nature of their work attracts. And as you can probably guess, despite the clearly marked boundaries of mission and authority each holds, there is a fair share of mission creep and overlap. So there are the occasional hissing and spitting slap fights any time someone who shouldn't have lifts their leg on somebody else's tree. Alright, third and final, and the actual answer to the question of what drives the FAA's culture of safety. One of yous guys made the point that any drone ID systems implemented would inherently be limited in their effectiveness with preventing in-flight drone collisions. That statement is absolutely correct, and I would contend that shortcoming would extend to avoiding drone v. manned aircraft collisions as well. The FAA also knows this, acknowledges it, and when the NTSB recommends year after year that they develop mitigations for this limitation, the FAA does what they do, and moves on. They ignore you for saying it, and provide the NTSB with a carbon copy of last year's carbon copy listing of why unless they have Congressional mandates to do so, they don't care. Here's the truth that take some aviators a little bit of time to reconcile and come to terms with when they realize it. The FAA is many things, often conflicting things, but are charged with establishing minimum standards for aircraft, airports, airmen, airspace, and all the systems that connect them. Based on a Congressional delegation, the FAA plays the role of sole regulatory authority for anything and everything concerned with aviation in the US, as well as holding all authorities to conduct oversight and enforcement of the industry. Paradoxically and in many ways conflicting, they are also charged with the encouraging and nurturing all social and economic aspects of aviation in the US. They are required to expand and innovate in perpetuity. Finally, they have the all the different missions needed to make it all go. This is where the efficiency and safety aspects are critical. The margins of error the FAA continuously calculates and refines when setting standards for system efficiencies and safety of flight are done so at an amazingly granular level, are incredibly difficult to comply with, and are why flying in an airplane is safer than sitting on the couch watching TV. However, all of the characteristics, and millimeter sized efficiencies, and microscopic scale minimum safety margins are not implemented to save the lives of those brave pilots or to protect the investments of those airlines, or to ensure the drone community can avoid crashing thier new drones and fly again tomorrow. They don't particularly care whether or not they delayed a Cessna pilot trying to take-off. Nothing they do to increase safety or efficiency, aside from a few distinct offices who are required to make aviation bigger, is done for the users of the National Airspace System (NAS). In fact, when developing safety standards, the users are often perceived as the risk factor. The FAA is required by law and concerned with ensuring the safety of two groups of people. They are the "flying public" and citizens on the ground, and that's it. This is apparent with a number of factors when it comes to small GA ops which are of course manned aircraft. I suspect the biases, which are in many cases fully justified, are going to be even less advantageous for the UAS crowd. Now, I'm not saying the people at the FAA are callous to the lives pilots and don't care about their safety. All I'm saying is the charter is hyper-focused on reducing aviation mishaps for the sake of the citizens, not the operators. The operators are the ones who create the safety issues and must be regulated. And just to say it one more time, the decision to reinvent the aircraft self-ID wheel frustrates the hell of me, but in no way surprises me.
  3. Good point. As a long time GA guy, I could offer a few examples of why the coverage needs to be reliable outside the vicinity of airfields. But none of that carries any relevance with respect to my objections to a plan which relies on the development and integration of a completely novel system which does nothing more than duplicate some of the most basic and elementary reporting functions of multiple ATNS systems which are already globally deployed and could very easily and cost effectively be expanded to meet the unique requirements of the UAS community. I suspect that it wouldn't take many FOIA requests or much digging around in the public domain before those who were looking to find that this system was sold to the FAA as the new hotness, chock full of marginally valid reasons why ADS-B just won't cut it, and was done so by a corporate contract company who stand to quietly milk the FAA and American people for a system that is duplicitous, underperforms existing deployed systems, and will become the bane of the existence for all UAS Operators in the US. Mark my words, this has a heavy coat of BS stank that will be good for no one but the company who is already developing delay plans to work the FAA over and over and over. This upsets me.
  4. I assume this question has already been chewed up and beaten like a dead horse, but I gotta ask. With respect to this internet based identity reporting thing. I assume the answer will talk about line of sight signal requirements and loss of signal at lower altitudes, but still. Why in God's name are reinventing the friggen wheel and not simply integrating a system directly into the existing ADS-B system? I don't care about loss of signal at low altitudes, there are 1001 easy solutions to mitigate that. Help me out here.
  5. Hey everyone, I'm really happy to have found this site, it's already answered many questions I've had. Quick background, I've been flying General Aviation aircraft since I was 14 years old (40's now), had my pilot's license before my driver's license, and while convinced I wanted to be a airline pilot stayed in the GA sector of the industry. As it sits now, I have roughly 2,000 hours logged during my training, instructing others, and selling aircraft in a defined territory. I also spent significant time maintaining both today rotary and fixed wing aircraft, lobbied on behalf of the GA community to a number of agencies, ended up being hired by one, the FAA, where I worked on environmental compliance of air traffic initiatives. Over the years I've earned my FAA Commercial SEL, MEL, with Instrument Rating, Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), CFI Instruments (CFII), Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI), and finally an Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) Mechanic certificate. While I have no stick time with any US military UAS operations, I did work directly with the crews to exploit the intelligence collected by them. And so my dad unexpectedly gets me a refurbished Parrot Bebop 2 about three Christmas's ago. At the time, all my first hand experiences with consumer UAS were with the cheaper, barely stable types which required a tremendous amount of attention to operate or prevent from crashing. Few had any type of image or video recording capabilities, much less any ability to stream the FPV of what the cameras collected. Because of those experiences, I didn't fly that aircraft for roughly 18 months for fear of crashing it. Then one day I just decide to try it, and found myself staring at this thing hovering a few feet in front of me, EXACTLY over the spot it was placed before pressing the Takeoff button, in awe of how far they had come. Without thinking about it, I ended up putting myself through a regiment very similar to the "building upon foundational skills" instruction I used with my flight students decades ago. This little drone, despite it's goofy model designation, never fails to amaze me any time I fly it. I've had a few "mishaps", let's say they were "arrivals" as opposed to landings, and it doesn't miss a beat. In fact, I've seen a few times where it very quickly and effectively recovered when one or more of the 16 rotorblades accidentally can't into contact with a tree branch, or the such. And now I'm looking at getting my Biannual Flight Review renewed in order to be issued my 14CFR Part 107 drone pilot license. I've already had discussions with some buddies in both the residential and commercial real estate sectors about providing some cool marketing material. I'll be upgrading to something equipped with a 4K video camera mounted with a fully articulating and stabilized gimbal system. Firstly, I'm here to learn from those who are smarter than I am in this, which is all of you. However, if anyone has a specific question which I might be able to address based on my background, I'll do my best to address it, or find someone who can. Looking forward to some engaging discussions! BN