The lagging federal effort to fully integrate drones into U.S. airspace is in danger of falling even further behind schedule.

A funding bill now before the Senate essentially would stop the process in its tracks by prohibiting the Federal Aviation Administration from moving forward until it completes a detailed report on drones’ potential privacy impact.

The report, called for in the Senate’s fiscal 2014 transportation appropriations measure, would be yet another hurdle in the FAA’s already complex, time-consuming drone integration initiative.

The agency has been charged by Congress to write rules and regulations allowing drones — now used primarily by the military, law enforcement and researchers — to operate commercially in U.S. skies by September 2015, but the industry fears that deadline is likely to be missed.

Requiring the FAA, which traditionally deals only with airspace safety and has little experience in writing Fourth Amendment protections, to craft a comprehensive privacy report would all but guarantee the date will be pushed back.

Leaders in the unmanned aerial systems sector warn that such setbacks will hamper American technological innovation and carry economic consequences.

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  • This is the funding bill:

    The relevant bit:

    Sec. 119E. None of the funds in this Act may be used to issue regulations on the integration of unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace until the Secretary submits to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations the report related to the privacy implications of unmanned aerial systems described in the explanatory statement accompanying this Act.
  • Well I think that this proposed new mandate for the FAA to enter into the privacy fray should be extended to include any activity above ground level. In particular, tree climbing has been ignored by Congress for far, far too long. Tree climbing has without question been the most widespread source of blatant privacy invasions for centuries, and it is an aerial activity. The obvious solution, since there is no hope of controlling the rabble, is to strictly regulate the location, size, foliage density and limb configuration of all trees, and who better to do that than the FAA?  George Washington was well aware of the threat trees pose and made a start with his trusty hatchet but apparently got sidetracked, which eventually allowed subversives like Johnny Appleseed to run rampant through the land, infesting it with these insidious bushy pillars of perversion!  Now the noble FAA, spurred into action by a heroic Congress, is our last hope of being freed from the constant paralyzing fear of the neighbor's teenager peering down through the leaves at our hot tubs!  

  • Moderator

    I personally think most devices are over sold and under deliver. I still believe the person with the super simple use that we have all overlooked will pitch up soon and we will all say of course and the market will switch on. I also believe now that flying a UA is simple and affordable post production will catch up.

    Its the oil exploration industry paying for it up there so they can afford it.

  • 100KM
    Well, I've been shaking hands and talking with many of the decision makers on the inside of the gubment. The word is $350,000 cessna replacements are out. The economics just don't add up. It doesn't matter how much influence or conspiracy or whatever anyone has. At the end of the day UAVs have to be cheaper then manned aircraft or guess what, they will be flying manned aircraft.
  • Moderator

    I think the advantage for small companies is that you can innovate faster.

    AV and Boeing have got got their golden tickets based on paperwork paid for by the US taxpayer in times of war I don't think allowing military platforms in first would be allowed in Europe. This does show the FAA knows small systems are out there it might also go a little way towards explaining why the FAA number for civil airframes is so small. There are less Ravens for instance in the wild than DJI has sold Phantoms in Switzerland. (7000)

    Gripping aside they are both great platforms, if a little bit expensive.

  • 100KM
    If I owned a big uav company like insitu or AV I would not like this one bit. These companies need large cash flow to survive. The war money is drying up and this just puts converting to commercial even further out of reach for the ex military contractors.

    Guys like me, 3dr etc. Companies building for the hobby market, we actually have customers. I for one have this thing called a regular job. I don't even need to make a dime from techpods to stay afloat. I think the hobby companies have a much better strategic long term out look.
  • True enough, it isn't about privacy, but who has the right to invade it and for what purposes.

    Big industry and the government want that right with impunity but are terrified that we the people of the united states might have it and use it to look at what they are doing too closely.

    Take a look at their reactions to Wiki Leaks and Snowden.

    All that secrecy on their part and invasion of privacy on our part is not making our country a better place.

    Big corporations have the lobbies and we have nothing, they don't work for us any more.

  • There are already laws on the books about privacy.. How about enforcing those or strengthening them.. But not requiring FAA to do congress's job.
  • TCIII...I couldn't agree more.
  • Admin


    What the Senate is afraid of is that maybe drones will allow you and me and everyone else to become mini-NSAs.:-)


    TCIII Admin


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