FAA Information

There is no shortage of folks saying the FAA has sold out and is out out get us. From my perspective, having worked WITH the FAA for the past three years to help them resolve this difficult issue, They are not against anyone or any group. I have provided substantial data to the FAA over and above the Concept of Operations that a lot of others have provided. I am now working to provide more useful information in support of the upcoming ARC.The FAA needs data, real, actual, live data to show that our type of operations are not dangerous. Many of us have collected very useful data in the form of photograph files from out sorties. I have 11,000 photographs in my archive and at an average 25 photos per sortie that equates to 480 incident free sorties. All my photographs are the result of "recreational" flying because I am not allowed to do this commercially. I would expect all your files to be "recreational" too.What I need is information on the:Time period:Number of sorties:Incident data: (This is incidents which could have resulted in a dangerous situation involving people or property. Just crashing your airplane is not an incident. Loosing it and not knowing where it came down is an incident.)Aircraft type:Name of aircraft:Aircraft specifications: (Include modificatins to stock aircraft.)Operational environment: (Urban or Rural.________________________________________In my case this is the data:Time period: May 2003 to present.Number of sorties: 480 (11.000 photographs at 25 photos per sortie.)Incident data: None.Aircraft type: Slow Stick.Aircraft specifications: Brushless motor.Operatinal environment: 90% Urban, 10% Rural._______________________________________No identification data will be provided to the FAA. I will use Operator A, B, etc. This data will be provided to the FAA SUAS Program Office and will be used in support of the ARC and in briefings to their management to support our cause.Some solks will try to make this out to be something bad but it is an honest effort and an opportunity for everyone to do something positive for a change instead of just bellyache and jawbone about what the FAA is doing to us.Regards, John ZanerZaner Aviation, LLCwww.zaneraviation.com

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  • John,

    The RTCA SC-203 wrote a 'Best Practices' document that was submitted to the FAA back in the late fall of 2006. Through a complete botch of this submission, I believe the document led to the Jan/Feb announcement by the FAA, effectively shutting us down. Remember, there are both Federal and COMMERCIAL reasons people want UAVs grounded in the Civil and consumer sectors of the US!

    However, SC-203 was actually comprised of quite a few people who actually knew their stuff and had some great ideas on how to operate UAVs safely in the US. This document, if it could be found online, may be a good resource for additional data to collect for inclusion with your submission.

  • LTA (Lighter than air) aircraft are not exempt from any of the current FAA rulings for UAVs, so I am not too sure what advantage a blimp would be. In fact, unless you have a trailer or large van to move your aircraft around in the effort is not usually worth it.

    I have only flown a blimp a few times, a kite, and a balloon - all for AP work. In all instances, we usually couldn't get the shot we needed for whatever reason (wind, turbulence between buildings, trees in the way, etc.).

    Neal, I believe you are correct on the rulings in Canada. In fact, I know quite a few people who have registered their businesses with Canadian Aviation and are operating under their auspices, even over such highly populated areas as metropolitan Vancouver and Toronto.

    Air4All is another entity in the EAU that is trying to create regulation for UAVs. They may set some sort of precedence for us. www.air4all.net
  • I just did a quick check of the rules up here in canada and it appears anything flown recreationally and under the weight of 35Kg or 77.2 lbs is considered a model and exempt from regulation. I would be a great resource for anyone considering building a UAV if this site had a page dedicated to the applicable rules and regulations for each country.

    to quote the transport canada site:

    "unmanned air vehicle" means a power-driven aircraft, other than a model aircraft, that is designed to fly without a human operator on board; (véhicule aérien non habité)
    (amended 2003/12/01; no previous version)

    "model aircraft" - means an aircraft, the total weight of which does not exceed 35 kg (77.2 pounds), that is mechanically driven or launched into flight for recreational purposes and that is not designed to carry persons or other living creatures; (modèle réduit d'aéronef)

    The following is a link to the full Canadian Aviation Regulations page: here


  • As far as I know, which is diminutive in the grand scope of things, there is NO way to fly ANY unmanned aircraft in US unrestricted airspace for commercial profit without a site (or aircraft experimental) COA.

    That said, there is no agency currently capable of monitoring your airspace, documenting possible infractions, and writing you a ticket. Couple that with the fact that there is no fee structure by which to judge your actions, and you can see why the general consensus is to continue to fly in a responsible manner. Plus, the FAA is more concerned about air collisions than ground incidents. There is very little able to be coordinated between federal and local enforcements at this time.

    This 'oversight' on the part of the pilot can't last for much longer though. One major accident (inevitable in my opinion), and we will have the local law enforcement looking for those infractions and developing their own penalty structure. It is a fact, after all, that a county Sheriff has complete jurisdiction over his airspace if he assumes complete responsibility over it. Getting permission to fly from your local Sheriff is another way to fly legally, but get it in writing.

    There is, however, one more way to fly that is commonly overlooked and that would meet your needs in a perfectly legal manner. Go from fixed wing to VTOL and tether your aircraft! Stay below 150' AGL and you can fly anywhere you wish, at any time (excepting instances where local laws prohibit such actions). If you can fly an advertising balloon over your car lot, you can fly a tethered UAV!
  • The FAA released an updated PDF. It's sufficiently complicated to make sure no-one has any idea what the law is. The idea seems to be don't do anything stupid.

  • Well, I have been looking at the documentation released by the FAA over the last few weeks and I am concerned. John, could you tell us if it will be legal to use: a slow stick, with an rc system controlling it, lifting a Pentax Optio camera, for the purpose of photographing a house that is for sale? I don't yet see where that will be legal under the new FAA guidelines, or have I just not seen the right paragraph? The purpose of this flight would be commercial, for profit. Could you show me where in the documents I could legally make that flight?
  • Frank,

    You can expect to be required to show maintenance logs and intervals, flight data, flight demographics (population density, weather, location, etc.), equipment procurement, etc, etc, etc. As far as we know now, you may be required to show you have passed the written portion of a Private Pilot's license, and successfully passed a medical.

    All of these have been discussed to death by all of the entities working with the FAA to gain some sort of certification and classification process. As of right now, I'm not sure where it stands any more.

  • Hi John,

    I have quite a bit of information that may interest you. I have flight data from all of our civil and military flights over the past 4 years, including most of the disaster scenarios in the US. Several different platforms and several different control system types. I would venture to say we have over 3000 logged flights with only a few incidents.

    There is also a document I may can dig up that sums all of the US Air Force UAV activity, in broad scope. I recall it contains data on the number of sorties, incidents, failures, maintenance records & intervals, etc.

    There are several entities doing precisely what you are attempting to do in collecting information on the successes and failures of UAVs in the Civil, commercial, and industrial segments. I know several academic entities are doing it in the attempt to set up their own restricted airspace under FAA COAs.

    On the same topic, there is a new privately owned test facility in the works here in the US. I am a small part of that group, and we will soon be requesting individuals to come out and fly their wares in a restricted airspace while we collect the same data you are requesting. The edge is that it is indeed restricted airspace, under military and FAA agreements, and we will be able to control the data collection.

    Chandler Griffin
  • John, has there been any discussion of what information they will want logged and reported on a per flight basis? Given they are headed towards regulations, I am sure these will include some form of documentation on the part of the operators.
  • Time period: June 2005 to present

    Number of sorties: Unknown. Air vehicle has accumulated 2,315 miles as of March 2008.

    Incident data: No incidents

    Aircraft type: Fixed wing twin tail boom pusher configuration.

    Name of aircraft: Pegasus1

    Aircraft specifications: 104" span fixed wing. 72 inches long. 32cc gasoline engine powered. 20 pounds flight weight.

    Operational environment: Rural to remote.
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