Lots and lots to read and think about but the FAA has published a press release today.

Here's one bit


1. Establish Applicable Certification and Training Requirements for Pilots/Crew Members, Other UAS Operational Personnel, and Appropriate Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Personnel

1.1. Determine the roles and responsibilities of applicable pilots/crew members, other
UAS operational personnel, and appropriate ANSP personnel for safe UAS integration.

1.2. Develop and propose regulatory changes, as required, to define licensing (certification) and training requirements for pilots/crew members, other UAS operational personnel, and appropriate ANSP personnel (address in 14 CFR Part 61,
63, 65, and 141-147).

1.3. Publish, if required, final rule requirements for applicable pilots/crew members, other UAS operational personnel, and appropriate ANSP personnel.

1.4. Begin training and certification initiatives for pilots/crew members, other UAS operational personnel, and appropriate ANSP personnel.

2. Approve Applicable Medical Requirements and Standards (e.g., address 14 CFR Part 67)

2.1. Develop and propose regulatory changes, as required, to define draft medical requirements and standards.

2.2. Publish, if required, a final rule establishing medical requirements and standards.

3. Establish Applicable Airworthiness Certification Requirements

3.1. Facilitate the initiation of applicable classification and basis of airworthiness certification.

3.2. Facilitate the development of draft airworthiness design standards.

3.3. Develop applicable draft airworthiness certification advisory circulars.

3.4. Approve and publish final system airworthiness certification advisory circulars.

3.5. Ensure that a robust and integrated test environment is available to develop, test, and evaluate UAS.

3.6. Administer certification, including Advisory Circular (AC) guidance and oversight.

This graphic might worry folks, especially as we know how much the FAA can make things slide


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  • LOL
    Not easy to obtain PPL =)

  • On the one hand I agree that the FAA has the completely unenviable and virtually impossible task of integrating UAS into American airspace and from what I have seen, they are not getting massive new funding (or much of anything really) to assist themn with this task.

    They already have their hands totally full just trying to regulate piloted airspace and here comes a whole new field with many more types of vehicles and capabilities.

    So far they have really taken the only reasonable course open to them - namely delay every thing as long as possible so that you can retire before you actually have to do this.

    Truly, it is an utterly thankless job like my friend who was put in charge of computer security at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, He felt like Malcom McDowell in Oh Lucky Man when the Securities and Exchange Commission walked in the door.

    That said, it is going to be really hard for them to not screw over us, the little guy, what infrastructure there is is devoted to dealing with government agencies, Universities and Giant Corporations.

    They have been basically ordered not to mess with us hobbyists, but likely hobbyist will become a lot more tightly defined and exactly what and how a hobbyist can fly will also be much more narrowly defined.

    And I think they are going to have one devil of a time dealing realistically with small scale commercial uses like farmers and photographers.

    They are already very painfully aware that the first time a 10 kilo Octocopter falls out of the sky on some 5 year old's head that everybody is going to be pointing fingers at them.

    Basically, this is likely to get really ugly before it gets sorted out in anything remotely like a reasonable fashion.

    God help us all!

  • The fact is that is the FAA tries to treat the local photographer whos using a homemade hexacopter to take video of a parade the same as the state police with a long duration surveillance drone theyre going to end up with the same Wild West we have right now. People arent going to stop flying, there just going to try to hide it better.

  • @Brian the point is, a Flamewheel F450 with a GoPro on it, used for farming or real estate photography, is not a commercial "Predator Drone", and it shouldn't be regulated like one.  This is a hamfisted attempt to control everything, because the idiots in charge can't understand the range of technology involved here.

  • I am really surprised by a lot of these reactions... Where are the DIY users who are also licensed pilots? If you have no background or understanding with what regulation goes into even a small personal plane you are in for a serious reality check when it comes to applying that to a UAS.

    When larger (basically anything above X pounds or wing span) start venturing into the navigable airspace it is a serious game changer. At that point they are pilots/airplanes and should be treated as such, no matter the use or intent. I don't envy the FAA as this is their primary responsibility: "UAS must be integrated into the NAS without reducing existing capacity, decreasing safety, negatively impacting current operators, or increasing the risk to airspace users or persons and property on the ground" (Pg 4 of the UAS Roadmap). They are not out to accommodate hobbyists or industry. Industry, specifically big DoD projects, have just been the ones to already treat them as aircraft and have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the existing FAA manned regulations.

    Commercial Operations: Once again if you are unfamiliar with how the FAA licenses commercial operators you need to do some research. There may be some leniency for sUAS operators but for anything larger scale I am expecting some variant of CFR 14 Pt 119 (maybe Pt 91 for some operations) type of air operator certificate required by the operating entity. The takeaway here is that yes, it will be expensive to obtain. But everyone will have the same barrier to entry much like current manned operators.

    Before people jump on me about sUAS, I do believe that will get sorted out by size and altitude limitations (not to mention proximity) to allow for very open use based on some general rules, probably an updated AC91-57.

    It may not be great for everyone but it is a start. A long, painful start... I have been carefully following this as a professional in the industry and as a pilot try to keep in mind the task of keeping millions of people already in the airspace daily safe, including myself.

  • exactly Cory, same here, another organization is the UAPA here is their link oh, and I am in NorCal and am a member of all 3
  • Well, either way, if we don't get organized, we're screwed.  I'd like to turn this into a business without having to take out $50K+ in loans to pay for government red tape and overpriced "certified hardware".

  • Moderator

    Whoa, whoa.

    1)  Until very, very recently the AMA did not allow FPV or any flights beyond VLOS or autonomous control, and actively lobbied against recreational autopilot use.

    2)  RCAPA is a wonderful organization, but realize that most of it's membership are interested in commercial aerial photography.  Where their priorities co-exist with recreational flight, great, but remember this may not always be the case.

  • @Cory, join the AMA and the RCAPA, they booth are fighting for us

  • So, they are going to treat a small lightweight quadcopter the same as a large drone a company like Google will put in the air?  You've got to love our hamfisted government.

    So, what can I do, where can I sign up to help get this garbage changed?  I live in Southern California. Are there any organizations for this kind of thing here?

    Thanks in advance!

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