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Isabella | UAV Coach

FAA Reauthorization Bill to Reach Senate Floor: Possible Impacts and the Future of Drone Regulations

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4 minutes ago, Dave Pitman said:

I don't have the link on me right now.  But I read a paper somewhere, and I think it was an official FAA document, that the intention is to have ALL uas activity in controlled airspace go through LAANC at some point.

I would imagine that would be the case.

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45 minutes ago, Dave Pitman said:

Ive been a member of AOPA for over 20 years.  I'll send Mark Baker (the pres) an email asking what it would take for AOPA to take up the cause.  Don't know if I'll get a reply but the effort is minimal so why not.

I have as well.  About four years ago I was on a conference call with the President of AOPA, not sure if it’s the same guy, the President of EAA, ALPA and some FAA “official,” I mostly listened while all of them damned the UAS community with faint praise.  

The guy from the EAA was the only representative that appeared to be interested in discussing working together, it was painfully obvious the others had no intention of allowing UAV into the NAS.  

After listening to this for about an hour I had enough, I interrupted the guy from AOPA, as far as I was concerned there was no need to integrate sUAS into the NAS.  Now we all know that was a losing arguement, but I went on to explain that when I joined AOPA there were approximately 635K members, at the time of that call AOPAs membership had dwindled to less than 300K.  That’s remarkable considering that at the time just about everyone flying a multirotor would have done anything to fly a real helicopter.  UAVs are a gateway drug to aviation and AOPA should be embracing commercial UAV.  

It’s been four years and I’d like to think a more balanced view of UAVs has emerged so maybe contacting AOPA is a good idea. We tried starting http://www.acuas.org/ in the hope that we could gain enough traction and then try to partner with AOPA. 

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46 minutes ago, Ed O'Grady said:

While the new regulations for hobbyists are significant, in the real world it probably makes little difference.  FAA has no enforcement of Part 107 as it stands right now and there is no reason for them to increase that.  They are increasing cooperation with local agencies for the purpose of investigating reported sighting by commercial aircraft around airports, but I sense that's more of a political gesture than anything else.

I don’t think it’s so much about enforcement over individuals as it will be tightening the regulations for insurance and manufacturers. 

The more commercial aircraft are encouraged to report drone sightings the more the FAA can hide behind the need for safety to restrict access to consumer UAVs. 

It’s pretty easy to expand the nanny state without enforcement.  It’s the reason that organizations like the AMA and companies like DJI are tripping over themselves to suck up to the FAA.  

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1 hour ago, Av8Chuck said:

It’s been four years and I’d like to think a more balanced view of UAVs has emerged so maybe contacting AOPA is a good idea. We tried starting http://www.acuas.org/ in the hope that we could gain enough traction and then try to partner with AOPA. 

 

AOPA has definitely been courting RPs since 107.  Whether or not they have a real interest is another thing.  I would think they see the amount of certs being obtained and would like to have a descent percentage of that joining their ranks. 

Regarding ACUAS; who is "we"?  How many have joined?  I may have seen it mentioned before but I'm not sure.  There are lots of guys interested in this subject. How many really, I don't know.  Do you have a road map of action beyond getting members? 

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It was PatR, Dave and myself.  It was started when there were a lot of attorneys starting organizations dressed up like an advocacy groups.  They really didn’t have much interest in the UAV market other than to separate gullible people from their money. 

We formed based on a simple premise, if there’s no law against it, it’s not against the law.  You are innocent until proven guilty and if the FAA wanted to regulate UAVs they had to follow the NPRM process.  No amount of threatening people and unilaterally deciding the rules gave them the authority to punish people.  Too many people at the time we’re willing to go along with whatever the FAA said.  Ultimately when Part 107, which did go through the NPRM process, was released I think we were vindicated. Not like that really matters.  

Not sure how many people joined, maybe a total of 2500 people over a two year period.  Unfortunately when Part 107 came out most people thought the need for advocacy was over.  We discussed what direction we wanted to take it but Dave was ready to move on and I was starting get traction with my drone business so although we didn’t shut it down and has languished. 

The irony is the more successful we become using drones the more of a need I see for this type of advocacy or political action organization.  When we were two guys in a garage I didn’t have a lot to lose, now that the valuations are getting into the millions I’m terrified some bureaucrat is going to end it with a stroke of a pen with absolutely no accountability.    

Part of the problem is there really isn’t a commercial UAV market.  It’s a tool that enables operators to create a digital representation of the analog world, the market your in depends on the application of the data.  I don’t think there’s an advocacy group for a hammer?  But then that means that maybe the FAA should be the one regulating it.  

All of this is in conflict because the FAA is prohibited from regulating commerce,  but that’s the unintended consequences to their regulations. So maybe the advocacy needs to come from the market that benefits from the data, farmers, engineers, first responders, etc..  I don’t think there’s a one size fits all answer. 

At  least if we had a professional trade organization they could help the different applications understand and get involved with the appropriate rule making.  

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Excellent points.  UAS are definitely just tools.  But operators as a group are the ones in need of advocacy.   Just like trucks and tractors are just tools for diverse purposes but the operators band together. I don't know what the answer is.

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But wait, there's less! Couldn't resist the Ron Pompeil play on words!  Regardless of the numbers that FAA throws around and along with other industry folks as well, how many Part 107 Certificate holders are really interested in any serious pursuit of commercial sUAS activity ? Hey, Chuck has a serious enterprise happening and others here may as well, but I really believe that any advocacy group would be hard pressed to garner, let's just say, $300 annually to support sUAS activities and support efforts to watch dog FAA regs from more than a small percentage of Part 107 folks.  We still have no idea as to how many Part 107 folks will actually re-up.  I have,  and thanks to Alan's cram sheet, I got a 93 but nobody cares (nor do I actually - I passed).  My question is, and I suppose I will get blasted here, where is this "industry" really going?  Is it going anywhere?  What is that direction and on what scale?

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1 hour ago, Ed O'Grady said:

...how many Part 107 Certificate holders are really interested in any serious pursuit of commercial sUAS activity ? 

My question is, and I suppose I will get blasted here, where is this "industry" really going?  Is it going anywhere?  What is that direction and on what scale?

Good questions.  

I'm not sure why you would think you would get blasted...

How many got certified just because they could and it was so easy to do so? They probably aren't interested.

How many got it because they wanted to use UAS in their existing job and wanted to be legal doing so?  They probably aren't interested either.

How large is the group that really care if small scale uas operation is regulated out of it's young existence?  I certainly have no idea.

 

 

 

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There are a lot of questions about aerial surveys, 3D models etc., what's the purpose?

We do aerial surveys to create very accurate "3D reality-models" and "digital-twins."  How much companies are willing to pay for them depends on what they want to use them for.  They pay from $10K to $50K per model.

These models are simply digital representation of analog assets, why are they worth so much?  Because they enable civil engineers to transition to digital engineering.  The digital twin enables companies to collaborate both internally and across their value chains in ways that can provide a step change in productivity as well as design and maintenance.

As the transformation to digital continues the need for these kinds of models is going to increase at an astounding rate.  A couple of things to keep in mind; in order to create models that are accurate enough that engineers trust, they are not created using consumer drones and camera's.  This is not just about the UAV, it's about changing the way businesses understand and interact with the physical world.  

The key to success is there really a digital transformation taking place? If you believe there is then this is going to be huge.  If you don't then maybe all of this isn't a good idea.  

There are a lot of large companies working on the digital transformation and we've found that once you can develop a workflow that proves your accuracy there are more customers than we can possibly take care of.     

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