The Solution Has Got To Be In Here Somewhere


By Patrick Egan who is currently on a plane to Norway

(The go-forward plan for the rest of us.)

The FAA has long since left the academic, amateur and small business end-user and the public in the dust as actual participating stakeholders. The only “full-spectrum” of stakeholders invited are the DOD vendors with lobbyists and political friends. (Maybe if I wrote Buck McKeon a six-figure check I’d get two slots on the UAS ARC??) You’d think that shame or sentimental ideas of participatory democracy might come into play with something so important. The only place you see or hear that is in old movies, and or stories from old-timers who remember a way of life where people were good for their word. Unfortunately, it would appear that Mr. Smith left Washington D.C. many years ago.

Those who have followed the sUAS News writings might well understand the old shell game. For the newcomers, three card Monty or the pea and the shells is the U.S. UAS airspace integration game.

Yes, some of the stories may be obscure, but I’ve had to utilize allegory and aphorisms as a courtesy and not come right out and to expose the source. Don’t want to ruin someone’s career, backroom deal, or whatever angle they may have going. No shortage of that over the years and from folks in this effort that all purportedly say, “we all want the same thing.” They will straight up blackball people (some possibly their own kin) without any reservations totally devoid of either scruple or moral compunction. You’ve got Federal employees banning or reassigning other federal employees for not going along with the program. Then there’s the one way ticket to Pariahville (formally Palookaville) for any stakeholder who’s script they (or the DOD folks) don’t dig.

For those of you that think it too fantastic to be true… I wish. Heck, I was almost kicked off of the current FAA BVLOS committee before I even accepted. (It would appear that those not well practiced in the art of bootlicking are not really welcome??) A couple of choice quotes for educational purposes.

The ARC debated your inclusion on this working group for some time. However, the FAA wanted your organization involved, so feel free to delegate to someone else at RCAPA.”

And most of you thought the FAA was the only group sandbagging the process.

We all hope you are constructive and keep the bomb throwing to a minimum. This is not a seat on the ARC, but a working group, and it can be revoked at any time.”

Bomb throwing!” Does this sound like “we all want the same thing?” It lacks a certain inclusive tone, but I don’t want to be accused of nitpicking.

On the other side of the coin, you go quietly along with the program, and there is more than likely a nice golden off ramp in your future. Maybe a DOD vendor or some other cushy spot where you can go play the do nothing game till your interests become vested. Funny (ironic) part is… it takes a few years for a new employer to realize what type of “we all want the same thing” they got.

Read the rest of Patricks article here

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  • Patrick, please know that many of us share your concerns and want to help!

  • Hey Gary I don't think the US government cares about being in the lead here. I think they'd rather sit this out and watch.

  • Oh! I feel your pain. Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Moderator

    The USA lost any lead in 2007 but even then it really had no great lead. 

  • What a mess, sadly reflective of the self serving and not public serving realities of all American politics these days.

    Maybe it just seems even worse for the FAA because it is what matters to us, but to me it actually seems like they are going out of their way to make it as bad as it can possibly be.

    There are now plenty of other global examples of how to reasonably handle this sort of thing and they appear to be judiciously ignoring all of them.

    As it appears now, the United States could come out soundly on the bottom in UAS of all types (other than military of course).

    World leader - no more with special thanks to the FAA.

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