Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2016-JAN 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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21 unmanned systems inside December 2016/January 2017 Executive Branch is good at finding ex- cuses to delay Congressional deadlines. Remember how UAS were supposed to be "fully integrated into the National Airspace System" by 2015? I think aggressive action by FAA Ad- minister Michael Huerta played a big role in the change. Despite distractions with privatizing air traffic, NextGen and airline security, Administer Huerta got personally involved in UAS about a year ago and his drive made a huge difference. He set up a Drone Advisory Council and then gave borderline impos- sible deadlines to his team on Part 107, operations over people standards, micro UAS standards and UTM. The Admin- ister realized NASA UTM was a great idea and made it clear that it's OK to take great ideas from others. Additional senior leadership pro- vided by Maj Gen (ret) Marke (Hoot) Gibson and Earl Lawrence made a big difference. They built on a great foun- dation provided by Jim Williams, but Jim was by himself and had to struggle for every resource he got. The combi- nation of Hoot working directly for the Deputy Administrator to handle UAS issues external to the FA A and Earl working inside the FA A turned Jim Williams' truly impossible job into two really, really tough jobs with much more impact. The fact that Jim, Hoot and Earl are all "big picture," collab- orative leaders fundamentally enabled FAA acceptance of UTM. However, the biggest impact came from reality settling in on the FA A's Air Traffic (AT) organization and their acceptance of UTM as a commercial enterprise. I know lots of folks bash the FA A over UAS, but you must look at UAS from the FAA's perspective. Our air traffic system is overloaded as is. Congress hasn't given the FA A a sig- nificant increase in controller man- ning in years. Congressional proposals to privatize AT funding have only add- ed to their stress. True, the expected efficiencies from NextGen are being realized, but are just being erased by ever increasing airline traffic. If you had an air traffic control system that struggled to do 10,000 simultaneous f lights, would you want to increase that figure a thousand-fold with UAS? What about providing radar coverage for non-cooperative targets below 400 feet? The FAA left the air surveillance radar business for ADS-B tracking years ago and even then, the old radar surveillance system just tracked Cess- na-sized targets above 10,000 feet. UTM's Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) algorithms need radars that can track bird-sized targets below 400 feet. Who is going to pay for all those radars? Commercialization is always a touchy subject at the FAA, particularly within AT. The FAA is always hesitant to "give" on commercialization lest it lead to loss of the entire AT organization. However, UTM'S GROUND BASED SENSE AND AVOID (GBSAA) ALGORITHMS NEED RADARS THAT CAN TRACK BIRD-SIZED TARGETS BELOW 400 FEET. WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR ALL THOSE RADARS? MAJOR GENERAL JAMES O. POSS (RET) is a leading expert on UAS, having targeted the first armed UAS strikes, designed the U.S. Air Force's remote split operations system for UAS control, and designed the Distributed Common Ground Station for UAS intelligence analysis. General Poss was the Executive Director of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence Team. He is CEO of ISR Ideas—an intelligence, unmanned systems and cyber warfare consulting company with decades of intelligence community experience, coupled with insider FAA knowledge.

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