RCAPA Reporter - Important information, breaking news, and legislative actions....

Lots is going on at the RCAPA Reporter regarding both the Hobbiest as well as the Professional UAS AP community. Visit and see the latest reports from the UAS2008 meetings in Paris, or the AUVSI meetings in San Diego where Patrick Egan and Ira Buckley are in attendance, both representing RCAPA, its members, and the UAS AP community at large. The RCAPA Reporter is free, available to anyone with an interest in the news and information, and requires NO membership to visit and view its contents. Things change daily, news is released when received, and your comments, questions, and suggestions are ALWAYS welcomed there via the various feedback areas or email links. Check it out TODAY!!!!

Joe Bennett
Editor in Chief - RCAPA Reporter

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No one is calling you any names, nor attacking you or your opinion either. What I would love for you to do though is if you could post either a copy of the COA you flew under, or a link to it that can be viewed by the public. It could of course be obtained by using the FAA FOIA site, but would be easier if posted by you. Hope you can help everyone out who might be interested in what you had to do to obtain the COA, and how you went about accomplishing it. That type of information would be of immense help to others who might wish to do studies and research in co-operation with government entities as well. Thanks in advance for any assistance you might be able to provide regarding obtaining a COA from the FAA....

Joe Bennett
Editor in Chief - RCAPA Reporter
Director of Flight Standards - RCAPA
Great suggestion, Joe. Wayne, maybe a blog post on "getting a COA"? No need to give away more than you're comfortable with, but any advice you've got would be fascinating.
Found the below informational synopsis' at the WSDOT site located at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Research/Current/ about halfway down the listings. Good information there about various projects and studies being undertaken....

Joe Bennett
Editor in Chief - RCAPA Reporter
Director of Flight Standards - RCAPA

Remotely Operated Aircraft (ROA) Test Flight (CSR & QR Funds)

Remote Operated AircraftBudget: $47,636
Technical Monitor: Traffic, Maintenance, & Aviation offices
Principal Investigator: Georgia Tech
Research Manager: Kim Willoughby

Remotely operated aircraft, or ROA’s can be used for avalanche control and search and rescue operations. This project is testing the ROA’s ability to carry cameras, operate in mountainous weather, and locate individuals in mountainous terrain. The flight operation, which took place on September 11, 2007, will demonstrate the performance on a specific ROA in mountainous terrain (Cascade Mountains adjacent to SR20).

What We Hope to Accomplish: Determine the ability of a ROA to carry cameras and remotely operate them, locate individuals (for search and rescue operations), and to operate in mountainous terrain and weather.

Transportation Applications of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (CSR) Budget: $70,000
Technical Monitor: Ted Trepanier
Principal Investigator: Ed McCormick, UW
Research Project Manager: Doug Brodin

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming smaller and less expensive. These aircraft are small enough to be launched from a pickup truck but still large enough to be equipped with cameras and sensors that can provide low-cost aerial information. This situation holds considerable promise for WSDOT since a UAV could be used for data collection and aerial surveillance in areas where geographic locations of potential transportation-related problems are only crudely known.

What We Hope to Accomplish: This project has two objectives. The first is to explore the utility of UAV for enhancing the avalanche control and search and rescue operations undertaken by WSDOT. The second objective is to explore the larger institutional issues behind the use of a UAV by WSDOT. The operational experience gained with UAVs will help all agencies involved (including WSDOT, FAA and USDOT) develop usable UAV policies for public transportation agencies. These policies will become increasingly necessary as UAV technology advances and more non-military organizations push to use UAVs.


I was talking about non-COA/Experimental certed flying, so no need to get worked up.

The proposal RCAPA presented at the ARC which I helped to produce does not prohibit "autonomous" flight specifically.
The Class B and C in particular could well be guided by an "autonomous" type system BUT the operator must ALWAYS have eyeballs on the system while airborne and ALWAYS be able to assume full manual control on a moments notice.
The kicker here is the ability to sense and avoid.
To date the ONLY fully developed sense and avoid out there is a set of human eyes and ears looking and listening for potential development of a conflict of airspace and an alert operator poised to take action to avoid that conflict.
I just discussed this very issue at length with a top FAA official in San Diego after Mr. Anderson's speech and FAA agreement with the RCAPA position with regard to this is total.

Ira Buckley, RCAPA Public Information Officer
Glad to hear it. That are exactly the rules we've been operating with here all along. Not sure why there should be much controversy about this, since these guidelines have been in place for years. Line-of-sight, 400ft and pilot-in-command (able to take over manual control at any time) are reasonable, clear and safe.

I look forward to the day where there are clear guidelines beyond line of sight, as well, but until then we're strongly encouraging our members to follow the existing rules.
just to clarify I've been told specifically "unassisted LOS" ie no FPV or binoculars ect
Thank You Mike,

For articulating that so clearly.
All I would add is that RCAPA is also looking out for the interests of the AP hobby community as well, they are our future, but the primary issue we are forced to address at this time is commercial use.

I also want to state clearly here for the record that we are singing from the same sheet of music as the FAA when it comes to the need for sense and avoid ability.
As of now the ONLY fully developed sense and avoid is a set of human eyes and ears able to directly observe the system in flight and the airspace around it for to a considerable distance with the goal being to avoid developing a conflict of airspace with a very wide safety margin.
I have spoken with high level FAA officials about this many times and anyone who thinks they will accept less than this is dreaming.


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