Soliciting input for a unified DVi comment to the FAA at DVinfo.net

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Old July 18th, 2014, 10:12 AM   #1
Obstreperous Rex
 
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Soliciting input for a unified DVi comment to the FAA

Jim Michel's post reminds me that the end is fast approaching for the comment phase of the FAA's proposed re-write of rules and regulations governing UAV applications for commercial and non-commercial use in the United States. The deadline is next week, end-of-day on Friday July 25th.

Read the proposed rules document at Regulations.gov

I'm wondering if we have anybody here who is willing to write up a unified statement clarifying what will hopefully be a majority consensus among all of us, that DVi can submit as its official comment to the FAA. I don't know enough about the subject to draft one myself but I know that we have plenty of folks here that have educated opinions about the issues put forth in that docket.

The UAV application landscape in the U.S. might seem like the wild west right now, especially with the FAA's recent loss in the Huerta vs. Pirker case, but you know they will appeal that decision to the NTSB and you also know that new rules and regs are coming down the pipeline. The comment phase is your chance to get your voice heard where it counts.

Anyone who cares enough about the new FAA legislation to help shape it should indeed submit their own individual comments. What I'm asking for here is a unified statement (that we can all hopefully agree upon!) that I'll submit on our collective behalf for DV Info Net. And it doesn't matter to me if you don't reside in the U.S.; you're still a DVi member and DVi is based in the U.S., so your opinion still counts as far as I'm concerned. Any takers?
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Old July 20th, 2014, 12:30 PM   #2
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Re: Soliciting input for a unified DVi comment to the FAA

Thanks Chris for providing a forum to post this in and encouraging people to comment.

If anyone is interested in commercial sUAS (small unmanned aerial systems) then irrespective of ideology it is important that you comment on this issue. Once the comment period has ended the FAA supposedly will have sixty days to issue the final ruling after which there will be another comment period. If you don't comment now you will not have standing and will not be able to comment after the final rules have been issued.

Comments are not like votes, so cutting and pasting this comment and submitting it will have no effect, I'm simply posting this so that others might be inspired to write there own or you can paraphrase this comment. Either way feel free to quote from this comment.

I'm not an attorney and I did not parse the rules and comment on the specifics, I'm also not interested in telling the FAA how to do their job, my concern is simply that they, intentionally or otherwise are about to tell me that I can't do mine. As a pilot and a cinematographer/photographer commercial sUAV combines the two things I love doing and I see no reason why the desire to make a living doing this should be restricted.

sUASSBC

The Honorable Michael P. Huerta Administrator
Office of the Administrator Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20591

July 20, 2014

Re: FAA-2014-0396 Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft

Dear Administrator Huerta:

This sUAS Small Business Consortium comment represents a group of business people, including their respective organizations, who are deeply concerned about the proposed rule making governing the use of model aircraft in U.S. airspace.

It is our position that the rules submitted for comment are flawed in a fundamental way in that they do not address the needs, and opportunities, of the business community to avail of model aircraft for commercial purposes, other than to declare that activity illegal. The clear intent of Congress was for the FAA to regulate this established and previously growing sector in its entirety, not just the hobby segment. We embrace that intent. Guidelines do need to be set for the operation of model aircraft in a safe, effective and respectful manner. Hobby and commercial uses are indistinguishable in this respect. The same equipment is being employed by both for pleasure and business respectively.

There are serious negative consequences to not accepting the commercial use of model aircraft as a reality. The shutdown of US airspace to their use literally handcuffs the business community from moving forward, has killed off countless previously existing small enterprises and the jobs provided by them, and prevents the remaining and new ones from taking advantage of the opportunities presented by these technologies. As currently worded, only the largest corporations capable of fulfilling the certification requirements of Part 91 of the existing regulations, which were never intended to apply to model aircraft, would have commercial access to these technologies.

This is a nation which has advanced through grit and hard work motivated by the entrepreneurial spirit of countless generations. Even today, employment creation is largely focused in the small business arena. Underlying this growth is the freedom, within limits, to exploit opportunities created by technological advances and incorporate them in commercial operations, thereby advancing this nation at home and abroad. The freedom to act requires a known regulatory environment, one that sets reasonable limits but avoids to the extent possible, outright suppression of the spirit so well-embedded in our traditions by eliminating access to these technologies.

The rules therefore must fully encompass the commercial use of model aircraft, and set the guidelines for their use by the business community. There are others who have noticed this flaw and addressed it. I take particular note of the comment submitted by the American Modelers Association (AMA), excerpted in part hereinafter.

"FAA’s overreaching interpretation of the language in the Public Law is also evident in the rule’s interpretation of the requirement that model aircraft be “flown strictly for hobby or recreational use.” The application of this requirement is drastically narrowed by the examples provided in the Rule. Although the FAA acknowledges that manned aviation flights that are incidental to a business are not considered commercial under the regulations, the rule states that model aircraft flights flown incidental to a business are not hobby or recreational due to the nexus between the flight and the business. This again is inconsistent with FAA’s current regulatory premise and the assertions of other regulatory agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. For instance, an individual who owns and operates his own full-scale aircraft for his personal pleasure and recreation is allowed to conduct aerial photography as a private civil operator whether or not he/she intends to sell the photographs. However, under the Interpretive Rule, a model aircraft enthusiast who uses his model aircraft for aerial photography and subsequently sells the photograph to an interested party is no longer considered a hobbyist."

Without also promulgating proposed rules for regulating that same conduct when carried out for commercial gain, there is no way to know whether such regulations would be rational, or arbitrary and capricious.

In conclusion, we respectfully request that the current rules be temporarily withdrawn and rewritten to include another section which sets out guidelines which both regulate and permit the use of model aircraft for commercial purposes.


Respectfully submitted,

Charles Spaulding
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Old July 20th, 2014, 10:34 PM   #3
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Re: Soliciting input for a unified DVi comment to the FAA

Much appreciated -- many thanks, Chuck.

I saw your other discussion thread at FAA Petition

Thought it might be a good idea to have a separate one for "a unified DVi opinion" to submit, that is, if we can actually create such a thing.

Thanks again,
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Old July 21st, 2014, 10:23 AM   #4
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Re: Soliciting input for a unified DVi comment to the FAA

Actually. that's exactly what I'm creating. My argument with the FAA has little to do with regulating the safety of Drone flight, its to defend our right, the rights of realtors, construction companies, farmers, and the members of this community who might want to leverage aerial photography for their own purposes without actually having to be directly in or own a sUAS business.

So the next step in the process is to build a coalition of industry trade organizations and communities like DVInfo to hopefully provide more influence in the rule making process.
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