Broad new UAS rules proposed today

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bmcj

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I heard a drone rep on the news last night and he said this surveillance issue is a real problem for them.
On the other hand, the news reported that the commercial drone organizations are endorsing this and say that it is a welcome change. I’m sure they fly (at least somewhat) professionally but get a public black eye from hobbyist yahoos who do reckless things without concern for the rules.
 

Hot Wings

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just being adopted? I really don't get the rationale...
The "rational" I hear is that having that many units will overload the ADS-b system.

@bmcj Sucker, as in lollypop, sounds like Zuker. You got the inference.
I'm expecting the OED, if they haven't already, to add the word Zukered as in "You have been Zukered"
 

Hephaestus

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The "rational" I hear is that having that many units will overload the ADS-b system.
Did I miss something? Did we have a magic spike of 10's of thousands of drones magically appear overnight that make it unworkable?

I should probably shut up... They'll do something stupid and my new garmin will need an expensive retrofit for a new standard...
 

Topaz

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Did I miss something? Did we have a magic spike of 10's of thousands of drones magically appear overnight that make it unworkable?

I should probably shut up... They'll do something stupid and my new garmin will need an expensive retrofit for a new standard...
If the proposed new UAS rule were passed today, and it had UAS use ADS-B, the ADS-B system would have to accommodate hundreds of thousands of new inputs in just three years from today. The FAA didn't design the ADS-B system to be that scalable and, given their record with the pace of ADS-B deployment and scheduled mandate so far, it's entirely unrealistic to expect them to scrap the current ADS-B system three days before its mandated use date (January 1, 2020), the date the FAA has been demanding for what, ten years?, and then completely redesign the system to accommodate all manned and UAS flights three years from today.

The fact that this new proposal creates an entirely separate UAS position-database system, and prohibits them from using the manned-aircraft ADS-B system, is entirely a move to protect the ADS-B mandate for manned aircraft. In any logical world where flight-separation between manned aircraft and UAS were the actual primary goal, both types of vehicle would use the same system. ADS-B, as mandated, can't scale to that number of users in a "politically reasonable" amount of time, so what we get instead is two entirely separate position-reporting systems. Two systems that don't talk to each other, and therefore cannot perform flight separation between UAS and manned aircraft. Ergo, flight separation of UAS and manned aircraft is not a goal of the new proposed UAS regulations, despite FAA claims to the contrary as part of their PR push here.

Even if the two systems were connected somehow, in a way that would allow them to screen both UAS and manned-aircraft position data for the entire airspace, in real-time, some new mechanism would be necessary to make use of that potential-collision data to divert one or both of the aircraft. As things stand today, ADS-B "In" isn't mandated and is entirely cost-prohibitive for small manned aircraft, which means that if flight-separation is to be accomplished, every single manned flight in the US Airspace would have to be under some form of "flight following" to warn the pilot of a UAS on a potential collision course. How else do you get the collision-avoidance data to the manned aircraft? If, instead, you have the system, upon discovery of a potential collision, take positive control of the UAS in some fashion, the UAS or its ground control station would need to have the capability to receive and act on that information in real time. Given that the reason all of this is being implemented in the first place is the political fallout of UAS operators ignoring the FAA airspace rules, are we now going to trust them to follow a direction to change the flight path of their UAS that pops up on their cell phone or UAS controller? That they'll suddenly start following the rules? If that were the case, none of this proposal would have been necessary in the first place. If we're expecting the FAA to develop an automated system that can, again, in real-time, for every brand and model of UAS, take positive control away from the operator and perform a collision-avoidance maneuver, I call "foul." That kind of system makes NexGen look like a hobbyist exercise by comparison, and how many decades has the FAA been working on NexGen? They're going to develop the tech, the rule base, and implement such a system in three years and enforce retrofit onto all the hundreds of thousands of existing UAS?

Riiiiiiiiight.
 

BBerson

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My guess is the FAA wants to prohibit ADS-B "Out transmitters" for the drones. But I think they could require the drones use ADS-B "in receivers" so each drone could track nearby airplanes and autonomously avoid them. The airplane pilot need not be bothered with these multiple drones on his ADS-B screen.
But I didn't read the proposal past page 30 or something.
 

rc-rotorhead

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Was that “.55lb” or “55lb”?
0.55lbs or less is currently exempted. That is generally in the sub-micro category and less of a threat to full-size aircraft than the toy-grade models available from Walmart, et al. I have one as a curiosity, but prefer the giant-scale end of the hobby.

This may obsolete all the old radios.
It would mean the creation of a single-standard transmitter code for the U.S. market, and then the channel input/outputs would have to be standardized (no more mode1/mode2). I also see even more problems for glider and helicopter mixes if the FAA is looking to include an anti-collision and avoidance protocol in actual usage.
 

Hephaestus

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Won't the FAA liability be huge?

"You took over my drone and turned it into a burning hole in the ground"

The code for most flight controls are open source.

If I was American FAA takeover would guarantee that result and a lawsuit...
 

Topaz

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Won't the FAA liability be huge?

"You took over my drone and turned it into a burning hole in the ground"

The code for most flight controls are open source.

If I was American FAA takeover would guarantee that result and a lawsuit...
Which is why you're not going to see that kind of system. I just threw it out as a technical possibility.

At most, were the FAA try to do the deconflict from the UAS end, you'd see a computer-generated "ATC" warning being sent to the UAS operator, and they're expected to comply and avoid by following the direction sent. Which, of course, means you're counting on them to obey the rules again, which was the problem in the first place. I suppose this new system is "Big Brother" and, if they disobey the ATC command, they get a nice visit from the FAA and a fine. Not much incentive for people to join the system, then, especially non-commercial operators.
 

Pops

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So this sounds like the FAA will have to do more hiring of people for all the enforcement. Will the FAA contact the local law enforcement? Local police autos used to say "To protect and Serve" . Now in very large letters it says " ENFORCEMENT". I think, I'm getting the hint.
 

bmcj

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One of the sad parts of this proposal is it sounds like it will also apply to hobbyist RC model aircraft. That could take a large toll on the hobby.

It sounds like anyone with old equipment must apply in the beginning for specific geo boxes (probably small) in which you can fly non-ID capable models and drones, (but they might turn down your request). Once that window closes, there will be no new applications allowed. It is their intent to restrict and allow these areas to disappear through attrition.

I’m unclear yet about whether these are on ADSB frequencies and will there will be 24 hour monitoring of them. Is this going to overwhelm the system?
 

pictsidhe

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Quad pilots have two different responses for the FAA, a right and left version.
Easier and quicker to read than 319 pages, too... ;-)
No powder-keg... and not just my opinion... we stay 100% out of your aviation airspace, and you stay 100% out of our hobby.
This has come about because UAS pillots have not been 100% staying out of airspace that they should have done. If they had, the FAA would be chasing something else, instead.

 
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Hephaestus

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This has come about because UAS pillots have not been 100% staying out of airspace that they should have done. If they had, the FAA would be chasing something else, instead.
Then again everything in the sky that's unidentified the authorities and media report as a "drone near miss" not birds balloons 100000 other options - must be a drone flying illegally.


I've spotted TWO drones while flying. One was a large US military drone out off the coast near Seattle (global hawk?). One was doing crop surveillance - showed on adsb - and there was a notam advising he was working in that area.

I've still seen way more balloons and other fodder up in the air than drones...
 

pictsidhe

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I've seen several drones where they should not have been, from the ground. I therefore believe that it is not a rare problem.
 

bmcj

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This has come about because UAS pilots have not been 100% staying out of airspace that they should have done. If they had, the FAA would be chasing something else, instead.
i agree. Although Hephaestus makes a good point about other objects being wrongly identified as drones, I still think that there is a significant number of real drone incursions. That is why this has now become an issue. It’s a shame that they feel the need to cast such a broad net to guard against a relative minority. RC (and all) modelers have been very good at safety and self regulating for over 50 years. They should not have to pay the price for this problem. The FAA needs to address this action toward the non-commercial drone pilots and manufacturers.
 

BBerson

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On the other hand, the news reported that the commercial drone organizations are endorsing this and say that it is a welcome change. I’m sure they fly (at least somewhat) professionally but get a public black eye from hobbyist yahoos who do reckless things without concern for the rules.
The rules are always draft written by the commercial interests that hire lobbyists. Individuals don't have lobbyists.
We hope that AMA does something, but it's two against one. (airline lobby and commercial drone lobby)
 

pictsidhe

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Currently, it is proposed. If someone comes up with something better, or sensible tweaks, then it can be changed.

As I see it there is one essential difference between traditional RC and the new drones that are causing the problems.

Cameras.

The temptation with cameras is to go film things that others have not. Close ups of aircraft, sports events etc etc.

I know about the temptation as I have did some very crude aerial photography 25 years ago. The camera on an 18' stick (3 broom handles) was really good for crowds. I've also flown a kite carrying a point and shoot camera. That was rather hit and miss and the 35mm film cost money... A drone would have been so much better!

So, if the new rules only applied to aerial systems that record or transmit stills or video, that should keep pops happy with his foamie, yet stil give the FAA their big stick for the drones.
 
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