An update on FAA UAV regs (and a call for an organization to represent us)

Wayne Garris passed along this important update on the FAA UAV rulemaking process and what you can do to ensure that we amateurs continue to have a safe and lightly regulated place in the sky. (Short form: contact Robert Blair below and express your support for the creation of a new organization to represent amateur and small commercial UAV operators)

"Just giving everyone an update. Scott McKinnie and I had what we believe was a successful trip to DC. We believe that we can achieve an exemption long before the FAA makes rules and that is encouraging. Attached is a summary of the trip, the “Guidelines” for the exemption, FAA certification summary, FAA AC91-57 on model airplanes, FAA UAS rules, an explanation for the exemption, and most importantly a “Call to Action” to create a national organization focused on UAS for Natural Resource Management.

Scott and I opened the door and started the ball rolling, but we need your help now. Please forward any or all of the documents to customers or anyone else that you believe would benefit by creating this organization. If you have further questions please contact me. Thank you for your time and I hope to gain your support.


Robert Blair

Robert Blair

PineCreek Precision
15401 Blair Hollow Lane
Kendrick, ID 83537

He also provide several helpful background documents:

--Call to Action
--FAA Certification Summary
--DC Trip Recap
--FAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
--"UAVs are Coming" (a 2006 article on the problem of UAVs in the US ...
--FAA Advisory Circular 91-57 on Model Airplanes (original 1981 FAA r...

Views: 641

Comment by Howard Gordon on April 19, 2008 at 8:03am
The "DC Trip Recap" is very interesting reading, and the strategy is brilliant. Congratulations to Robert Blair and Scott McKinnie on their progress in addressing this issue.
Comment by Patrick Egan on April 19, 2008 at 1:05pm
There’s already an association that has been in existence for almost four years. As an association we have participated in both the ASTM F-38 and RTCA SC-203 and interfaced directly with the UAPO. This same association also holds the distinction of being the only representative body from the U.S. for the ICC (International Coordination Council), which will interface with EuroCAE WG 73. The Association has already been invited and delegate named for participation on the sUAS ARC (Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rulemaking Committee, Order 1110.150 dated 04/10/08).
More info @
Comment by John Zaner on April 19, 2008 at 5:21pm
I dont't think the trip was successful at all. Results spell success.

As for RCAPA. We need more than just chair warmers and name droppers.
Comment by Craig on April 19, 2008 at 6:04pm
I would also suggest engaging Colorado in your efforts. Attached is an AAR from the large blizzards of 2006 where over 15,000 head of cattle (among other livestock) were lost. Much of the problem was locating range stock, determining what roads may/may not be open, determining where to air-drop hay, etc. The local are activated a veterinary reserve corps, put out a notice to vet students, etc., and snowmobiled them in to attend to the animals. Check out page 14 of the attached document which describes the Emergency Management GIS teams not being provided enough data, such as which roads were open, conditions of passes, etc.

Further, there's an entity tied into the veterinary reserve corps, State of CO, etc, called the Colorado State Animal Response Team, , that evacuates companion animals and livestock from areas in disaster situations (e.g. blizzard, fires, etc.). Further, USDA/CEAH is based in Fort Collins (Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health), responsible for disease surveillance both domestic and foreign. Finally, you have CSU Vet School that is here and very active in animal population health issues and who are tied in with USDA, Colorado Dept. of Ag, Colorado Dept. of Health and Environment, etc. From my experience, some of these folks are very forward-leaning and open to using new technology/methodology....also in my opinion, they would need to be shown the applications as well as the technology.

Question: are you aware of any source of funding to explore the applications of UAS's in Ag? Might be a good idea to run a couple case studies of realistic scenarios to bolster your argument. Showing results of realistic applications can go a long way...I can think of several folks out here that would be interested.

Please let me know how I can assist (send me an email to discuss further).



Comment by Craig on April 19, 2008 at 6:06pm
CO SART - link didn't add.
Comment by Mike Myers on April 19, 2008 at 6:39pm
Robert should get ahold of RCAPA.They are recognized by FAA and have support and a contact line with Oberman. They might also want to contact Ryan Work, Legislative Director for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5). I met with him about small planes, agriculture, and FAA
Comment by Howard Gordon on April 19, 2008 at 6:52pm
"I don't think the trip was successful at all. Results spell success."

Good luck with that attitude. You're dealing with a government agency that's clearly opposed to opening up regulated airspace to anything which makes their job more difficult, and if you think they are just going to roll over, you are dreaming.

The approach taken by these guys to engage legistators and leverage agriculture votes is the first viable strategy I've seen to addressing the issue, at least for one group of users. Unfortunately, it is tough to see this as a general strategy for the aerial photographers - the closest might be some kind of real estate lobby, but that's a stretch.
Comment by Patrick Egan on April 19, 2008 at 9:13pm
I wouldn’t call 15 meetings in two days unsuccessful, but then again what do I know!?!
Comment by John Zaner on April 19, 2008 at 9:24pm
If your objective is to have meetings then you were a complete success. Remember the conference call I was invited to sit in on with you guys before your trip? I didn't go along with your need to have my endorsement and I told you that your effort had no chance.

RCAPA is recognized by the FAA. The question is - recognized as what?
So far I have not seen you make a dent in the FAA nor do they even know what you represent. So far it's just a bogus inflated membership list. If you attend the ARC just what is your position? I have asked this before but so far no answer.
Comment by Patrick Egan on April 19, 2008 at 10:05pm
ORDER 1110.150 states (if you haven’t seen it, it’s linked over at the Reporter site)

6. Committee Membership
a. The committee will consist of about 20 members, representing aviation associations, industry operators, manufacturers, employee groups or unions, FAA and other government entities, and other aviation industry participants.

A safe assumption would be that the RCAPA’s recognition is in the aforementioned criteria.


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