It is quite amazing the mindset of the FAA when it comes to UAV operations. There is something desperately wrong here. I fully understand the need for air safety. And have absolutely no problems with that of course. But what i fail to see the logic is the more or less total BAN on amateur UAV development. Or should I say High Altitude UAV development. I guess if you stay below 400 feet you are Ok. But this is the part i do not understand.
I can launch, and do all the time already totally legally by the way with the blessings of the FAA. Balloons that carry payloads up to 6 pounds each, and up to 12 pounds if multiple payloads. And use balloons that are anywhere from only a pound or two to balloons that weigh hundreds of pounds even!
I can do this, and as I stated already do legally.
But to do a UAV at altitudes we do with the balloons up to 120,000 feet we can not do. Of course above 60,000 is un controlled airspace. And you should be able to do anything you want. But you need to travel through 0 to 60,000 first.
But the part the FAA has NOT given us an explanation to is this. two examples,
We fly our 4 pound experimental payload via a balloon, It rises at a speed of anywhere between 500 to 1500 feet per minute, exatly how fast the rise not too controllable, all depends on the lift placed in the balloon. The flight path is totally determined by the winds aloft. Whatever way the wind is blowing is the direction the balloon will go we have absolutely no control over this. The balloon reaches max altitude, and either pops or is terminated, (depends on the type of the balloon) and the payload starts to come down via a parachute. again totally un controllable, where it falls is totally dependent of fall rate and the winds aloft again. eventually landing wherever it lands,,
This is ABSOLUTELY LEGAL
Using the EXACT same guidelines as the example for payload weight , weight densities, etc, it falls easily into the legal definition of the above balloon flight in every way. But with one change, After seperation from the balloon we are able to steer the payload. Be it a standard payload with a parafoil type of parachute where we can steer it to directions we want. Or taking it one step further a true UAV glider where it still meets all the spec's needed to be legal,, but now is in the shape of the airplane glider. So again it's steerable!
Example is absolutely ILLEGAL and FORBIDDEN!!!
Ok we are thinking of safety,, which would you rather have,
1- a 4 pound box falling via a parachute to wherever it falls no matter where it is..and they do! we have had them land on tollways,, we have had them lane between taxi ways at OHARE international airport, we had them land at Nuke plants where they called out the bomb squads to check it out. But this is all fine and OK and no one has a problem with BUT........
2- take a 4 pound glider, and as it's coming down if it looks like it might be going somewhae not safe,, an airport, or major approach or departure lane,, or ny other not too safe situatiion so you deciode to steer it so it does NOT go there. Sounds great huh? But IN THE FAA'S EYES THIS IS TOTTALLY ILLEGAL. C
Can anyone at all see any logic in this?
Maybe I see we haul the glider up to 100 K drop it, fly it wherever we wish until it gets to 60 K then let go of the controls, and let it go wherever it does, then once it's below 400 feet then control it again and land it he he he
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The total logic just escapes me.