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DC Area Drone User Group Message Board Drones and Society › UAVs, the FAA, and 2015

UAVs, the FAA, and 2015

Jonathan R
user 61079222
Washington, DC
Post #: 2
a very thorough article as to what the US Legislative bodies are examining for the 2015 deadline for UAV legislation.

a couple quick thoughts
1. depending on your level of skepticism, the focus on privacy may make you warm and cuddly inside or the paranoid kind of cuddly inside (individual results will vary)
2. off in the distant future, it would be important for these congressional bodies to hear from the amateur flyer community. perhaps, since we are in DC, we can lend a hand in that eventually?
Christopher V.
Group Organizer
Washington, DC
Post #: 7
As a starting point, here's a list of congress members who are interested in UAS technology:

Another useful group to contact would be AVUSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International):­

Amateur fliers in general help bring public acceptance to UAVs which is important to the government, DoD, and law enforcement as they seek to get more of these UAVs and UASs in the sky.

Small entrepreneurs in the UAV area are also affected the same way as amateur flyers and are likely to support the same cause.

FYI here's a fact sheet from the FAA about Unmanned Aerial Aircraft Systems:­
Basically, you're supposed to get COA or SAC-EC to fly unmanned aircraft, particuarly above 400ft or anywhere near airports/air traffic.
Timothy R.
user 2271588
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 3

You read my mind regarding being a voice for the amateur drone community in the policy world, and I am glad you are thinking about this as well. I'm waiting for our group to grow a little more and perhaps get a bit more organized. Then I would like to setup an internal member dialogue about how we want to engage on this. In the meantime, we can all be educating ourselves on these issues. Christopher has done us all a service by providing some initial places to look.

Right now the AMA is the voice of the amateur aviation community and based on my interaction with a local AMA affiliated RC club they seem to have very different interests then we do. The president of the group I spoke with stated that they had had to promise up and down to the FAA that they would not allow their planes to fly autonomously or put cameras on them, which is of course exactly what we are all about! If we don't speak up for our own interests we can't trust that others will do so on our behalf.

I look forward to engaging more on this issue and thank you for raising it for the group.
A former member
Post #: 3
"The president of the group I spoke with stated that they had had to promise up and down to the FAA that they would not allow their planes to fly autonomously or put cameras on them,"

Hi Timothy. Any idea why this particular club had interaction with the FAA and why they had to make such promises? Are they flying in a zone that is otherwise restricted? As you might know, the AMA has published rules which basically allow FPV and autonomous flight at club fields. Granted, the planes must be kept within line-of-sight, including the ability to fly manually unaided. The AMA, I believe, is actually on our side in some respects. There must be something unique about this particular club site. Either that, or the president is not current with AMA guidelines.


Edit: Here are links to the AMA documents I mentioned:


Gustavo Z.
user 56452902
Alexandria, VA
Post #: 12
I just read a very interesting article in Wired Magazine, about a University of Virginia professor and two college students who worked with MITRE to 3D print a drone.
I liked the article because it shows the potential of drones to capture aerial imagery for remote sensing, but I didn't like these two paragraphs about 2015 and hobbyist autopilot systems...

Hitting their fully-Android goal has a purpose: by 2015, there’s an expectation that UAV drones will be permitted to fly in the national airspace. MITRE is help to determine the policies for this, and Balazs states that the FAA’s requirements may make it difficult for hobbyist autopilot units to receive full clearance. One reason is the FAA’s demand that the circuitry will have intelligent crash landing capabilities, so drones, as Rotner puts it, “don’t crash into a highway.”
They believe the Android platform will be suitable for these requirements. “You’re going a system that can see where it is and determine a soft area to direct itself to,” Balazs explains. “The hobbyist systems are fantastic but they’re never going to move into the non-hobbyist FAA requirements. We’re trying to make our system work with this. The phone can very easily determine the road instead of a green patch on the road.”
Jonathan R
user 61079222
Washington, DC
Post #: 4
Hi Tim and all,

I'm glad were all thinking along the same lines, and Im doubly glad you guys have been thinking a couple steps further than I had. I agree that as numbers grow, influences grow, and its great that there could be a duality to this group: the hobbyist/tinkerers/flying part, and the influence.

Secondly, the wired article is here:­
and you should all check it out and read it, maybe because I'm the Jonathan in it - that's my group at MITRE, that's half of my quote and I'm happy to talk about it at the indoor fly in and explain what I meant. Or here if asked to
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