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[DPRG] FAA and Commercial Drones

Subject: [DPRG] FAA and Commercial Drones
From: David P. Anderson davida at smu.edu
Date: Sat Jan 11 16:41:24 CST 2014

Also mechanical failure.   These things break.  Even if the control and 
software were perfect, which they are not.  Lots of angular momentum and 
spinning sharp things. All held together with those 1/4 cent plastic 
ball-links.  What faith we have.

I can go to the local flying field and fly my camera-equipped remotely 
operated drone or quad-copter (if I had one), just like any other 
aircraft at the field, subject to the same rules.  I see guys there 
doing it all the time.

It's questionable, however, if I can fly up and down my block over the 
roofs and yards of the neighbours and their playing children with my 
remotely operated vehicle.   I would say that to do that, you had to 
have some sort of license and there needs to be rules in place govening 
the allowed airspace.  Can you buzz around a crowd at eye-level?  If 
not, how high do you have to be?  And so forth.   Just like to drive on 
the public streets requires a licence, and a set of rules.   There's 
also a commercial driver's license, if you want to do it for pay, the 
requirements are stricter.   Seems like the same thing might apply.

The FAA-AMA  "memorandum of understanding" was, I think, more about the 
AMA's fear that the new drone technology would make our traditional 
hobby illegal.   I think it was sort of a way of carving out a 
pre-exemption for the AMA from whatever drone rules are eventually 
adopted.  We'll see...


On 01/11/2014 04:14 PM, Rud Merriam wrote:
> I suspect there is not a lot of difference for this type of footage 
> since the operator is probably in visual range of the drone. Much as 
> with your flying events the operator can see if something else is 
> entering the airspace. The problem with manual drones comes when they 
> are out of range of the operator and cannot see the helicopter 
> approaching at 100s of miles per hour...and the helicopter pilot 
> cannot see the miniscule drone. That is also the case with autonomous 
> drones - incomplete situational awareness.
> I expect the FAA is working to avoid a lot of case-by-case discussions 
> by simply saying "NO!" now.
> There is also the FCC involved since the frequency space also needs to 
> be deconflicted. Spread spectrum may prevent an evil operator from 
> taking over another drone but it cannot prevent loss of control. Even 
> if the operator retains control what if the video link is lost because 
> of jamming?
> Technically the amateurs are not, unfortunately, regulated, yet. I 
> spotted something but cannot provide a reference about the AMA signing 
> an agreement with the FAA on drones.
> I stumbled on this researching accelerometer and gyroscope fusion for 
> my SRR rovers.
> - 73 -
> *Rud Merriam K5RUD
> * /Mystic Lake Software <http://mysticlakesoftware.com/>
> /
> On 1/11/2014 3:58 PM, David P. Anderson wrote:
>> Interesting find, Rud.
>> I was wondering what the difference is between this video footage, 
>> shot by a remotely operated drone, and video footage shot from 
>> helicopters, which we see on TV all the time.
>> I think the last line in the article, to the effect that it can't be 
>> allowed because there are no rules in place, makes sense.
>> I'm a card-carrying member of the AMA and fly helicopters at AMA 
>> sanctioned fields and events.  We have LOTS of "rules in place" that 
>> are required for safety, with the enforcement proviso that your AMA 
>> liability insurance will not cover any mishaps if you were not 
>> following the rules.   That, and the other flyers yelling at you, 
>> form a pretty strong incentive to follow the rules.
>> I haven't observed amateur drone and quad-copter pilots following ANY 
>> rules at all.   From where I sit, that looks awfully dangerous.   
>> Especially flying around crowds, flying OVER crowds of people, taking 
>> off and landing in unsecured areas, etc, etc.  Risky business.
>> So, bring on the rules!   I think they are sorely needed.  The AMA 
>> might be a good place to start.  They've been thinking about these 
>> problems for decades.
>> best
>> dpa
>> On 01/11/2014 02:55 PM, Rud Merriam wrote:
>>> We had a discussion following the Amazon drone announcement. The FAA 
>>> responds to commercial usage of drones in no uncertain terms - not 
>>> legal.
>>> http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/235239/faa-on-drone-recordings-by-journalists-there-is-no-gray-area/
>>> -- 
>>> - 73 -
>>> *Rud Merriam K5RUD
>>> * /Mystic Lake Software <http://mysticlakesoftware.com/>
>>> /
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