Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2018

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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12  October/November 2018 unmanned systems inside Program (IPP) is supposed to be researching how state, local, tribal and federal off icials rules would work together to regulate small drones, but the program has al- ready excluded local management of airspace, no matter how low. What if Congress voted to allow states to develop their own drone rules below 200 feet? That would leave 200-400 feet for eventual FAA rulemaking, but give the states a chance to more swiftly enact vi- able drone rules. States that don't want to opt in could remain under federal control. I believe several states have the expertise and moti- vation to create commercially viable drone rules that they could harmo- nize with other states quicker than the FA A will develop viable drone rules for nationwide operations. I can hear the commercial drone lobby crying "patchwork laws!" as I write this. They fear states will cre- ate drone rules that vary wildly, forc- ing commercial drones to comply with 50 sets of state rules instead of just one set of federal rules. This is a valid concern, but if it's clear the FAA won't or can't move quickly on work- able small drone rules, wouldn't it be better to put some faith in the rea- sonableness of our state law makers versus waiting years, maybe decades, for the FAA to unlock the industry? Did multiple state automotive rules prohibit the trucking industry? If Amazon, Walmart and Google can track the individual preferences of millions of customers, can't they friendly state in the Union given the large number of private and charter pilots in the state. It's no wonder the first type-certified drones f lew in Alaska and why DHS, Department of Interior, DOD and even the Canadian Armed Forces all turn to Alaska for drone advice. Like North Dakota, Alaska has a deep bench of expertise and deep pockets from its oil industry. K ANSAS: Kansas has an FA A UAS Test Site (under the Pan Pacific UAS Test Site), two ASSURE uni- versities, an IPP team, a very large aerospace manufacturing presence, a state-wide drone certificate of au- thorization and a supportive legis- lature, governor and congressional delegation. Kansas doesn't have the deep pockets of North Dakota, but they have the same deep bench of expertise. Kansas could make drone rules rapidly. MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi has an FA A UAS Test Site (under the Pan Pacific UAS Test Site), a DHS UAS Test Site, houses ASSURE head- quarters, has the Army National Guard's only UAS Training Center, has three drone manufacturers along with an extremely supportive state legislature, governor and con- gressional delegation. There are many more states that can make small drone rules safely and quickly. If you add up the states with DOD/DHS drones in state and involved with ASSURE, the FA A UAS Test Site program, the IPP and Pathfinder programs, it adds up to 27 states. That is more than enough states with a vested interest and the expertise to accelerate small drone rules. What do you think? Should Congress give them a shot at it? General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (Ret.) USAF WOULDN'T IT BE BETTER TO PUT SOME FAITH IN THE REASONABLENESS OF OUR STATE LAW MAKERS VERSUS WAITING YEARS, MAYBE DECADES, FOR THE FAA TO UNLOCK THE INDUSTRY? track 50 sets of drone rules? Won't a local approach to rules encour- age local drone industries versus big conglomerates and monopolies? States reliably harmonize laws when there is economic incentive to do so via the Uniform Law Commission. Indeed, the ULC has already drafted a "Drone Trespass" law that sets rules for f lying low over private property that can be used as a cornerstone for state commercial drone rules. Several States in part have every- thing needed to gather data, test pro- posed rules in a safe environment, and quickly draft state drone laws for other states to adopt or use as guid- ance. Some states that can lead this effort today include: NORTH DAKOTA: North Dakota has an FA A Test Site, a leading FA A ASSURE university provid- ing drone-related research, an IPP team, A ir Force/Depar tment of Homeland Security drones based in state and a very supportive state legislature, governor and congres- sional delegation. They also have oil money and are willing to invest it into making North Dakota a lead- ing drone state. North Dakota has the deep bench of expertise, the po- litical will, and funding to quickly draft rules, test them, and get them passed in to state law. ALASKA: Alaska has an FAA UAS Test Site, an ASSURE university, an IPP team, Army drones in state, and a supportive state legislature, governor and congressional delega- tion. Alaska is also the most aviation-

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