Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2018 - JAN 2019

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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14  December 2018/January 2019 unmanned systems inside by James Poss, Maj Gen (Ret.) USAF General Overview sUAS waivers and airspace authori- zations (they cannot reveal propri- etary or commercially sensitive in- formation). FA A also must provide real time confirmation that an online waiver request has been received by the FAA and must provide applicants the status of their application. THE ISSUE: I know what you're thinking: "Surely Congress didn't have to make a law to tell the FAA to do this?" But yes, yes they did. FAA culture is well known for its "bring me a rock" approach to aviation waiv- ers (i.e. you can never bring the right rock and they won't tell you which one to bring). I never knew why they did that, but the process got out of control when the FA A went from dealing with a few dozen airlines and a handful of manned aircraft manu- facturers to thousands of drone com- panies. I'm still pessimistic on get- ting the FAA to open up. Note: they can use propriety information as an excuse to withhold data. THE WINNERS: The commercial drone lobby, tens of thousands of drone small businesses. THE LOSERS: FAA culture. SEC. 358. UAS PRIVACY REVIEW. The Comptroller General (CG) of the United States has 180 days to review the privacy issues associated with UAS operating in the NAS. THE ISSUES: Drone privacy is a political hot potato impeding drone rulemaking progress. The FAA right- fully argued they do aviation safety, not privacy. DOJ was my favorite to lead a study, but Congress gave it to the CG because the Government Accountability Office works for him and they do big, cross-agency reports for a living. The CG is, by law, inde- pendent from the other executive de- partments so they aren't pressured to present the view of a particular Cabinet member. THE WINNERS: The FAA (big bul- let dodged). THE LOSERS: The Comptroller General. (Don't let that potato burn you!) SEC. 360. STUDY ON FINANCING OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SERVICES. The CG has 180 days to study how to recover UAS regulatory costs and payment for air navigation services. THE ISSUES: In an Act with a lot of massive improvements, this might be the biggest. This will help derive a cost model for the UTM industry and f inally allow the FA A to hire enough experts to get drone waiv- ers and rules moving at the speed of business. The FA A was always comfortable with a fee for service UTM system, but had been dancing around the issue of using fees to re- cover staff costs. This settles the is- sue and hopefully gets drone regula- tion on the fast track with more FAA manpower. THE WINNERS: FA A (bigly), the UTM industry. THE LOSERS: Smaller drone op- erators (although I hope not) and the Comptroller General (this is a BIG task.) SEC. 372. UAS SAFETY ENFORCEMENT FAA must establish a five-year remote ID pilot program and figure out how to help federal, state and local law enforcement detect drones operating illegally. They shall establish a pilot program to use remote ID for safety oversight of UAS that are not in com- pliance with federal aviation laws. THE ISSUES: The FA A hasn't re- leased anything on remote ID, de- spite working the issue for nearly two years after DOD and DHS refused to coordinate on further drone rules until the FA A mandated remote ID. In the FAA's defense, they could only offer a partial solution because they couldn't force hobbyists to carry remote ID until Section 44809 re- moved this obstacle. Remote ID is the cornerstone to C-UAS, large scale commercial drone usage and drone privacy. THE WINNERS: FAA, DOD, DHS, DOJ, drone privacy advocates and the commercial drone lobby. They've been after this issue for years and putting their lobbying/congressional education where their interests are certainly worked. THE LOSERS: Hobbyists and a few consumer drone manufacturers that feared remote ID would stif le sales. SEC. 373. FEDERAL AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES The CG has 180 days to study and re- port on the roles of federal, state, local and tribal governments in the regu- lation and oversight of low-altitude drone operations in the NAS. The report must address gaps in federal, state, local and tribal authorities, how much regulatory consistency is need- ed, and the infrastructure needed to monitor/enforce drone laws. THE ISSUES: The CG takes on an- other big drone issue—which makes you think Congress doesn't trust the FAA to move on some thorny issues. The IPP is supposed to be collect- ing data on how the feds and locals should work together, but it sounds like the CG will set the tone on drone privacy with this report. The com-

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