From the SUAS Feed
Earlier this week a pilot from Idaho was preparing to begin a spray run through a field. Barely visible ahead of him was a small stationary object. He decided it must be a kite since a bird would not remain motionless. As he neared the object, it rapidly shot straight up. The pilot took evasive action but it passed so close to the airplane that he was unsure if it had missed the aircraft and spray system. It was close enough for him to be able to identify the make and model of the quad-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). He did not see the vehicle again as he finished the field but he did see the suspected operator/pilot in a car near the field. When he went to the next field, the car followed him where he observed the car’s occupant taking pictures with a hand-held camera.
Full article here: UAV near miss with crop duster
Strobes and make the UAV body in bright visible colors ( Orange may be). Most of them are dark colored frames which makes for poor visibility from up there. The model pilot may be worried on visible orientation issues and bright colors can be applied to top of the frame.
Well I think you've pretty well summed it up Paul!
The million dollar question is: What do WE do?
Its apparent that the FAA is in no particular rush to get things done so I think your suggestion of a committee may be the best option. Obviously we need a group dedicated to these kinds of issues and from what I hear/read none of the existing organisations are making any substantial progress.
Frankly I'm surprised no one has stepped up to the plate on this one. According to one article I read the UAV sector alone was a 76 billion dollar industry last year. Thats a lot of funds floating around!! Surely more than just hobbyists want to see this market continue to grow!
The ONLY way we're going to be able to make it happen ourselves is to make ourselves; expecting any help from the FAA or the FCC is going to kill this hobby in the cradle. We need to come up with a system that we, the UAV pilots, consider to be a standard, and it needs to work with the existing FAA and FCC requirements for amateur use.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure even now, small aircraft aren't required to have or monitor location transponder frequencies; they are only required to file a flight plan and monitor Public Address Air Frequencies.
The only thing I can think of that might be feasible would be a device which continuously broadcasts the UAV's GPS altitude and location, via SPOKEN WORD, on one of the existing local air public address frequencies, and requiring the UAV operator to monitor those frequencies for response from manned aircraft.
This means the burden of responsibility will be on the UAV OPERATOR to equip himself and his UAV properly, and to know what local and federal air traffic laws apply regarding operating altitude and distance, as well as knowing what the applicable Air Traffic RF frequencies are and if these laws and frequencies vary from locality to locality.
Even with this simple solution we run into trouble; now we have issues with the FCC, which might find this practice hazardous as it "clutters up frequencies meant for human communication" with automated signals. This is a real concern; it is one of their main concerns when dealing with allocation of frequencies.
Now... I can see commercial UAV users doing this; especially if it paves the way for them getting permits, which leads to legitimization of the use of UAVs, which leads to them being able to get insurance, and which leads to all sorts of the right kind of people getting money in their pockets, meaning we UAV users now have some representation as a group.
I can even see many of the hardcore experimenters and amateur UAV pilots doing this; they've got a LOT of money tied up in their hobby, and they want to legitimize it as well.
But where we run into a problem is when that farmer's son, or his neighbor's son, whines and cries for a Phantom and gets it for Christmas because "Hey, at least he's not asking for a motorcycle". And then His neighbor's neighbor's daughter gets one... and another neighbor... and another...
What we consider "sparsely populated" is still potential for dozens of these large toy UAVs flying in the flight path of any single utility aircraft like crop-dusters or surveyors or cargo haulers. These toys are still big enough to be dangerous to manned aircraft, yet they are marketed to kids and beginners who by definition will not know about ANY of that regulatory and air traffic safety stuff.
The random "lone outlaw" flyers will be the excuse that's used to get rid of all of us; but it's the kids and noobs that don't know enough to know they should know more than they do... THEY are the real hazard, and the ones we need to find an answer for; some means of making it safe for them to fly too. Because they are ALSO where at least half the money in this booming industry comes from; so their interests really do need to be considered or again, the entire hobby is going to get flushed.
Now... what do we do?
Lets form a committee to study the problem! ;)
What about a frequency already in use though? That way they wouldnt have to purchase anything and while it wouldnt alert us to their presence it would at least give them some warning. Keep in mind that while outfitting a single plane with a transponder for a few bucks sounds great, small businesses like crop dusting outfits with multiple aircraft may have a hard time shelling out a grand or more, and you can bet the bean counters with the major airlines are gonna balk at the idea of shelling out enough cash to fit out an entire commercial fleet. If there is no initial expense then they dont really have a leg to stand on and it shows that the UAV community is making a concerted effort to fit in. We are the new kids on the block after all.
sorry Eric I agree not all the problems we are having come from the right motivation but as someone with nothing to gain small UAVs are a real danger in the skies.
The problem we have is not the technological problems involved in solving the problem. It's mostly that powerfull forces want this to be seen as unsafe. Hence this thread, This thread is based on a lie, A lie told by someone with something to gain from keeping us out of the airways. There are many more. A corrupt state senator in my home state of Texas, tried to ban FPV to protect criminal polluters, that supported him.
Getting it certified for flight would cost much more. Its simple if an RPAS operator hears a manned plane he should get out of the way. ADSB will be the end game.
there are many feasible solution, what you seeing now is the same kind of freak-out that happened when cars started getting licensed and where told they had to put seatbelts in. because you know putting those seatbelts in were just going to put the car makes out of business. (yes they really did say that)
They monitor hundreds. the work much like a scanner. But what we already have is plenty. adding a scanning 2.4 ghz or 433mhz receiver and a high gain antenna, (full scale planes have lots of room compared to our little craft) would cost a couple hundred bucks, if their were a standard. A high gain antenna is useable because they are so much faster. A UAV is not going to hit them. They only have to look forward. Our little 250mw transmitters will go miles with a good high gain facing them. The retrofit for even small aircraft would cost less than a tank of gas.
Surely there is a given set of frequencies for aircraft comms. Would it be so difficult to say that the lowest channel in the assigned frequency range would be for UAV transponders? Dont most comm radios installed in manned craft have the ability to monitor 2+ channels simultaneously?
Not trying to be a smartass here, just trying to come up with some feasible solution.