FAA vs UAV's; Impact on DIY'ers ?

I have only casually been following the discussions about recent FAA advisories regarding use of UAV's, capped most recently with Patrick Egan's report from the March 4th UAS Airspace Panel.If I understand correctly, non-commercial users can fly unmanned aircraft in accordance with FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-57, but commercial users (e.g. aerial photographers) require a Certificate of Authorization (COA). The language of the new FAA UAV Policy, published here - http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/E7-2402.htmseems pretty clear -"The FAA recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding that they are legally operating under the authority of AC 91-57. AC 91-57 only applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes its use by persons or companies for business purposes."It goes on to state that"The FAA has undertaken a safety review that will examine the feasibility of creating a different category of unmanned ``vehicles'' that may be defined by the operator's visual line of sight and are also small and slow enough to adequately mitigate hazards to other aircraft and persons on the ground. The end product of this analysis may be a new flight authorization instrument similar to AC 91-57, but focused on operations which do not qualify as sport and recreation, but also may not require a certificate of airworthiness. They will, however, require compliance with applicable FAA regulations and guidance developed for this category."So what is the status of this safety review ? Was the March 4th panel related to this review process ? How does all of this impact DIY builders ? The FAA seems to be pretty clear about a continued requirement for UAV operators to maintain line-of-sight with their aircraft in any case.

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  • That was a report about an AUVSI chapter meeting, that panel had no official bearing on what the FAA does but is/was more of airing of ideas/frustration by the UAS community. As the RCAPA ARC delegate I should have a better idea on the direction (or flavor), after the ARC kick off meeting at the end of this month.

    For those of you that watched the live NTSB webcast you now know what we’re up against.
  • I'm new to the site, so I'll try not to ruffle feathers.
    My interest in UAV started while I was job hunting for a sales or marketing position. I thought combining my life long enjoyment of R/C models with sales was a natural. In talking with companies though, I found out that the FAA takes a dim view of any UAV not used for military or recreation. Commercial use of any UAV absolutely puts them in a snit.
    I'm not an engineer, but I know how to find and talk to them, and I'm convinced a small, slow, lightweight UAV exists that would pose realistically no threat to any aviation, property, or life.
    I've talked to ranchers, farmers, and law enforcement, and universally they state they would be most interested in such a UAV. Two ranchers I talked to offered to buy them outright and be the test case for them, they were that excited about it.
    What the FAA, industry, and interested parties need to understand is that a "no threat" UAV exists right now, and the industry would leap into it to create new models. They've invested (with govt help) a ton of money into UAVs. Commercializing them will help the economy, enviornment, and a whole host of citizens.
    Instead of studying this from a typical government "worry the thing to death" aspect, let them set their limits; even 200', under 20MPH, less than 2 hrs. flight range, under 40LBS, and so on would work right now. Let them tighten them more, and industry would respond.
    I'll find my job, retire, and die before the FAA gets this thing studied.
  • Mac boffin
    let me explain the world to you
    All the S%$#%$#T that you play with (personal computers,cellphones,and many high end items)are first created in peoples backyards and garages because they wanted to make the item which at the time did not exsist or was only avaiable to the rich.
    goverments get ripped off by large companys who make big profits by using the law and departments of govement to stop cheaper methods from been devolped.
    i bet you that after the wright brothers first flight the railway companies aproached the goverment to try stop any more tech from happing because of a threat to their profits.
    the uav companies who charge high amounts for their products are behind this Not common sense.
  • People trying to create UAV jobs R concerned about the total ban on flying for commercial purposes & the total ban for all weight classes. Other countries seem to be going for a 1000ft ceiling and common sense instead of forbidding it.

    The current Big Things are now shedding 63,000 jobs a month. It's time to create the next big things. Opening up the NAS for business could be an easy solution.
  • The effect on hobbyists is UAV's will stay a hobby & not a career unless U want to move to Beijing.
  • Well, I would think that most of the UAV's on this site fall into the hobby category. They are model aircraft modified to be UAV's. They are usually under the control of an R/C transmitter (switch on the Tx turns on/off the autopilot).

    Line of sight is pretty key for the FAA. I can see us wanting to do stuff beyond visual range but only in very limited circumstances, perhaps at a contest where spotters are in place. We certainly should not be doing that until the design is well tested.

    I think that for such a contest it would be required that you demonstrate that your UAV will not violate some restricted box of space. i.e. It will crash before it flys outside the box. If wind pushes it outside the box it will shut off the motor and crash. Also it will should not violate some altitude ceiling. I think we have to be proactive in building these safeguards into our designs even if they are not intended to leave the line of sight.

    Outside those special circumstances we should always have visual line of sight and a direct radio link.
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