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Begun-the drone wars have_MKII.
Comedy’s Confounded Collision Confusion.

Lot’s of ‘C’s there – which could be rolled out to ‘SEE’ to which the word ‘AVOID’ could be added to make one of aviation's basic  tenets – See & Avoid. This implies looking and being able to see what you are trying to avoid.

“We’ve ‘beefed up’ the rules” say’s Carmody – “Great” say the Senators, all happy now. Alas, their smiles are premature. Why?

Now, I don’t know which school of thought the aeronautical geniuses CASA employ come from, but it ain’t reality based. No matter, I shall explain, for the non flyers out there, some of the rudimentary flaws in the CASA thinking related to trying to keep ‘drones’ and aircraft separated; won’t take too long.

When the weather is awful, aircraft which need to land at the aerodrome affected by low cloud, poor visibility, rain and wind conduct what is called an ‘instrument approach’. This is a ‘procedure’ which takes the aircraft, in a very safe, orderly manner, from overhead at a safe height progressively down toward the runway. The aircraft may only descend to what is known as ‘the minima’. Say the instrument approach kicks off at 4000 feet and takes the aircraft down to 600 feet above the airfield (minima); if the crew can’t ‘see’ the runway then they are obliged to ‘go around’ which means climbing back to a safe height. All routine and perfectly safe.

Now let’s take our aircraft back to the 600 foot point again only this time, the runway is sighted – the aircraft has now become what is known as ‘visual’. The Captain now has a couple of options – land straight ahead or; circle. When the weather is liquid and lousy with low cloud scudding through along with rain showers; or bad light; or the suns glare through the haze; a fog bank below and ahead; the pilot may elect to conduct what is known as a ‘visual circling approach’; to a more favourable runway. Quite legal and, executed properly, safe as houses.

Once the aircraft is established in the ‘circling’ area, provided the visibility is not less than the minimum specified and the pilot can maintain ‘visual contact’ with obstacles, the aircraft may descend further to maintain that in flight visibility. There are restrictions on this, which vary between aircraft – depending on the approach speed. The minimum height and maximum speeds promulgated are to facilitate standard rate turns and a stable approach to landing – once again – all perfectly sane, sensible and safe.

For a SAAB or Dash 8 approaching an aerodrome like Bathurst or orange the parameters for a visual circling approach are: (i) a maximum distance from the aerodrome of 4.2 nautical miles (7.77 kms); (ii) no lower than 400 feet above the ground until the final approach path is intercepted. Safe, sane, sensible and routine although a busy time for the crew, one demanding their full attention.

Could someone please explain why, for ducks sake, CASA have allowed drone operations within the ‘circling area’ of aerodromes? At 5.5 kms (3 nautical miles) at 400 feet in piss poor visibility a small, basically white ‘drone’ cannot be seen. Yet they are legally sanctioned to be there – WTD. Aside – ‘Class B (chartered) aircraft may be as low as 300’ and at 2.6 nms (5 Kms) and operate with one, busy pilot. For this aircraft the ‘drone’ is a very high risk collision  element. It’s even worse for the bigger aircraft.

I’ll own that the percentage probability of a drone buggering about on a bad weather day , within the circling area are slim, probably anorexic – however, the scenario does serve to illustrate the wooly minded, amateurish thinking the tax payer funds – in the name of air safety. Drones, legally allowed to operate within the aerodrome circling area. An area of low flying, in poor weather and maximum risk. Get your bloody act together CASA.

Toot -FDS - toot.- MTF definitely; Hell, I ain't even watched the video yet. Ambles off muttering curses while shaking head................
“K” makes a valid point. The ‘visual circling approach’ is not, these days at least, a common practice. It however a legal, legitimate procedure available, at discretion to a pilot. I, personally, have not done too many, but enough to pass an educated comment. At 4.2 nms from the strip at 400 hundred feet, in very ordinary weather – you need to be paying attention. What you must not do is ‘de-stabilise the approach’ this is no place for avoiding anything, no time, no space and bugger all wriggle room. In fact, on reflection, I reckon I’d take the hit if a drone popped out of the murk. It’s a risk, but IMO the lesser of the two weevils.

CASA have authorised ‘drone’ operations within the most critical part of an instrument approach sequence; close to the deck, in poor visibility, slow and configured for landing. Hitting the drone would be much better than loosing stability by avoiding it and, would beat the crap out of trying to dodge it.

Second the motion to ask CASA WTD are you thinking with – yesterdays porridge, perhaps?
DW1: Estimates latest - Confused

Via Buzzfeed today:

Quote:A One Nation Staffer Was Let Off With A Warning For Flying A Drone Over Parliament
A man who flew a drone to Bunnings for a sausage sizzle got a $900 fine.

Posted on October 30, 2017, at 2:11 p.m.
[Image: joshtaylor-v2-17162-1502165667-0_large.j...ality=auto]
Josh Taylor
BuzzFeed News Editor, Australia

One Nation staffer James Ashby was let off with a "counselling letter" from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for flying his drone over Parliament House and over politicians involved in a rugby league event in June.

Facebook: video.php

The video posted on Pauline Hanson's Facebook page included footage shot high above the rugby league field where Hanson and several other politicians including Michelle Landry and Graham Perrett were participating in an NRL event early one morning before State of Origin. SBS recorded footage of Ashby flying the drone.

Parliament House is partly in a restricted area for flying drones, according to CASA's Can I Fly There? app.

[Image: sub-buzz-12980-1509329877-1.jpg?downsize...ality=auto]

In August, Labor senator Glenn Sterle lodged a formal complaint with CASA about the incident, and in a Senate Estimates hearing on Friday, CASA's head of legal affairs, Dr Jonathan Aleck said that the case had been closed with a counselling letter sent to Ashby as punishment.

A counselling letter is a formal record that a breach of the law has occurred, and advises that if it happens again the recipient of the letter may face "enforcement action" which can include fines of up to $9,000.

Aleck said that during the investigation, CASA couldn't gather enough evidence to show breaches of the law, such as flying too close to people or directly over them.

"Convenient as it would be to rely on video footage on Facebook, forensically that is problematic," he said.

Without sufficient evidence, Aleck said, it would be difficult to prove the case if Ashby had challenged the fine in court.

CASA had interviewed Ashby as part of the process, and LNP MP Michelle Landry.

[Image: sub-buzz-13395-1509330926-6.jpg?downsize...ality=auto]

"Our efforts to interview Ms Landry were unsuccessful at this point," Aleck said. LNP Senator Barry O'Sullivan, an ex-police detective, said it wouldn't be hard to identify other people in the video.

"I bet you a carton of XXXX beer that I can come back with a dozen names," he said.

Sterle said it was obvious the video was shot on a drone.

"I can tell you right now, the camera wasn't in the back of a magpie's bum." - Big Grin

In notes read out during the hearing from CASA investigators, Aleck said that when investigators had asked Ashby what permission he sought to fly the drone, Ashby indicated he had inquired with the Australian Federal Police and they had no issue with flying the drone. When CASA asked the AFP if they had spoken to Ashby about it, they said he had not sought permission.

"We inquired of the AFP and the organiser of the event and no permission was sought," Aleck said.

Both Labor and Liberal senators suggested that Ashby was treated differently to the general public in the investigation because he was a political staffer. Aleck said that was not the case.

"The political affiliations of the individual did not come into this," he said.
Last year, a man who recorded a video of his drone flying to hardware store Bunnings Warehouse to pick up a sausage sandwich was warned he would face a fine of up to $9,000 for the video. CASA said in the committee hearing on Friday that the man was ultimately fined $900.

[Image: sub-buzz-31860-1509330267-3.png?downsize...ality=auto]

Aleck defended charging the Bunnings man and not Ashby, stating that in the Bunnings video the drone was visibly flying over a crowded parking lot, and a road, which he said was not present in the Ashby video.

O'Sullivan indicated that Ashby might be called before the committee to give evidence about the incident.

BuzzFeed News has sought comment from Ashby.

6 [Image: pdf.png] Answers to written questions taken on notice by the AFP on 19 September 2017. Received on 17 October 2017.

7 [Image: pdf.png] Answers to written questions taken on notice by the Department of Parliamentary Services on 17 October 2017. Received on 26 October 2017.

Taking up the "K" OBS and the P7 follow up:

Quote:P9: "..Could someone please explain why, for ducks sake, CASA have allowed drone operations within the ‘circling area’ of aerodromes? At 5.5 kms (3 nautical miles) at 400 feet in piss poor visibility a small, basically white ‘drone’ cannot be seen. Yet they are legally sanctioned to be there – WTD. Aside – ‘Class B (chartered) aircraft may be as low as 300’ and at 2.6 nms (5 Kms) and operate with one, busy pilot. For this aircraft the ‘drone’ is a very high risk collision  element. It’s even worse for the bigger aircraft..."

P7:"..The ‘visual circling approach’ is not, these days at least, a common practice. It however a legal, legitimate procedure available, at discretion to a pilot..

..At 4.2 nms from the strip at 400 hundred feet, in very ordinary weather – you need to be paying attention. What you must not do is ‘de-stabilise the approach’ this is no place for avoiding anything, no time, no space and bugger all wriggle room...

...CASA have authorised ‘drone’ operations within the most critical part of an instrument approach sequence; close to the deck, in poor visibility, slow and configured for landing..."

From the ENR AIP here is the visual circling approach criteria:
Quote:Note 2. The pilot should maintain the maximum practical

obstacle clearance. The minimum obstacle clearance

requirements are:

Categories A and B - 300FT;

Categories C and D - 400FT; and

Category E - 500FT.

Note 3. The circling area is determined by drawing an arc centred

on the threshold of each usable runway and joining these arcs by

tangents. The radii are1.68NM for Category A, 2.66NM for

Category B, 4.20NM for Category C, 5.28NM for Category D and

6.94NM for Category E. Runways less than 1,000M long are not

considered usable for Categories C, D and E.

1.68NM = 3,111M

2.66NM = 4,926M

4.20NM = 7,778M

5.28NM = 9,779M

6.94NM = 12,853M.

With that in mind I decided to visit the 'CASA' approved 'Can I fly there?' app:

Quote:Can I fly there? - Drone safety app

Not sure about where you can fly your drone?

We’ve teamed up with Drone Complier to produce an easy-to-use smartphone app illustrating where you’re not allowed to fly.

These areas include within 5.5km of controlled aerodromes, in approach and departure paths of non-controlled aerodromes and helicopter landing sites, as well as in restricted or military airspace. The app also highlights ‘caution’ areas around unregistered aerodromes where aircraft could be flying.

The ‘Can I fly there?’ drone safety app reflects the standard operating conditions for those flying their drone commercially (under the excluded category of commercial operations) and is a valuable educational and situational awareness tool for both commercial and recreational drone flyers.


The app is available on Android and iOS devices, with a web-based HTML5 version also accessible.
[Image: drone_app_google.jpg]
[Image: drone_app_apple.jpg]
[Image: drone_app_web.jpg]

What I discovered is that in almost all cases, where an airport has recognised visual circling approach procedures as an extension/addition to a published IAP, there has been no consideration for the circling approach criteria i.e. radii off the runway thresholds. In other words the 5.5km rule is solely based on the airport; or HLS reference point - UDB! Dodgy  

MTF...P2 Cool
“K” mentions in a post somewhere the ease with which video evidence of Aleck contradicting his own pony-pooh was easy to discover. Here’s an easy one to start your collection with:-

“Aleck said that during the investigation, CASA couldn't gather enough evidence to show breaches of the law, such as flying too close to people or directly over them.”

Furry muff – John Quadrio would love to hear that methinks; but the howler

"Convenient as it would be to rely on video footage on Facebook, forensically that is problematic," he [Aleck] said.

Well, well, ducking well; whodathunkit – may Quadrio now sue the skinny, sorry old ass of the regulator, the one that buggered him up so completely; on exactly that calibre of evidence.

There’s a whole lexicon, a rich vocabulary within the English language which may be used to define ‘Aleck speak’; me I’m as common as muck, so I’ll just call it BOLLOCKS and be done. Arrgh - what the hell - here's another to add to your collection of How he who do voodoo, do do do - so well.  Yuk, yuk, Yak.......

Drones, what drones?

Pick a quote any quote Big Grin - CASA Hansard is out:  Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee(Senate-Friday, 27 October 2017)

Examples, via the @AuSenate Wink :

Quote:ACTING CHAIR: I want every Australian out there to hear this very clearly. If you do break CASA's rules, and you do fly your drone over a beach, a park, events or sports ovals, you would expect, if there's people around, that you will not be charged, Australia, because a One Nation staffer did not get charged. What's the difference?

Mr Carmody : It depends on the individual circumstances of the investigation.

ACTING CHAIR: Give me a clue what that actually means—the individual circumstances?

Mr Carmody : Individual circumstances are clear. It depends on firstly—that matter was made public. I saw the video. It depends on whether, for example, members of the public are injured, whether they are frightened, whether they complain; whether or not it looks like a deliberate error or merely an oversight. There are a range of people—if someone who is, for example, extremely well qualified and is a qualified drone operator and then breaks the rules, that would be different. So there are a range of circumstances.

ACTING CHAIR: What if they're a pilot?

Mr Carmody : Again, it depends. And I understand it this person is a pilot. This was the first time. Normally, unless there is something egregious, we will make a decision for an educative letter or a counselling letter. It will not make any difference whether it's a staffer or a member of a political party or anyone else.

Senator GALLACHER: Or a pilot.

Mr Carmody : Yes.

Senator GALLACHER: You can't be serious. The bloke knows the rules of aviation. He knows the risks posed by drones. He is aware of the law more than anybody else in this place. He's a pilot, for goodness sake. They're all talking about the potential threat that drones pose.

Mr Carmody : As I said, we have a very clear, coordinated enforcement mechanism. We apply it across the board for all penalties, including this one, for all offences. The cases are judged on their merits and a penalty is applied.

ACTING CHAIR: You are inconsistent—you being CASA.

Dr Aleck : The only other thing I'll say is that when we issue an infringement notice, which is the more serious response, as opposed to a counselling letter, which is more serious than an educative letter, we have to be able to be reasonably confident that if this matter were to be prosecuted there would be a successful prosecution. Because if a person elects not to pay the notice, just like a motor vehicle fine, they can go to court. So the evidence has to be there to substantiate to the claim. We do have any number of those cases where we believe that the evidence is sufficient to substantiate such a claim.

Senator STERLE: Let's come back to this one. The evidence was posted on Facebook and then the TV channels picked it up and ran it and what not. What more evidence did you need? If a drone fell out of the sky and bonked a politician on the head, I don't think too many people would be worried. It might even help some of them! But what more did you need in this case? Please explain to me. I've got this horrible feeling in my head that just because this person happens to work for One Nation they should be treated different than anyone else. You're making me bring the political stuff up here because I'm saying to all Australians go out there, break the laws, who cares? Just tell them you're a member of a political party and you'll get treated differently. Help me out. You're a lawyer.

Mr Carmody : I reiterate that the political affiliations of the individual didn't come into this.

Senator STERLE: Let me tell the rest of Australia who are listening out there that this sounds very stinky. If you were to lean on one of the bars here tonight at 6 o'clock and say, 'Listen brother, what do you reckon about this?' I don't think you're going to walk out of there with the answers that you expect that you're giving here in this committee. Let me run a few other things in front of you. I wrote to you, as Mr Carmody said, and you wrote back to me. I was asking for similar situations. I don't want to bore, Chair. 19 January 2015 was—what does AIN stand for?

Dr Aleck : Aviation infringement notice....

...Dr Aleck : I recognise that. Convenient as it would be to rely on video footage that appears on Facebook, forensically that's problematic.  That's not a CASA invention. Don't think that we didn't investigate this, because in fact we did. We sought to get as much footage as we could, including a question to the individual for any footage that he happened to have. But the likelihood of getting that—

Senator STERLE: The pilot who knows the rules, or should do.

Dr Aleck : Yes. In any case, what we needed to be able to demonstrate was not just a video of someone flying something and then people in the frame; we're trying to identify circumstances in which we could show, in the video, or from evidence, testimony provided by the individuals involved, that the device was closer to them than it should have been. As I said, it looks like it was, but it wouldn't be very difficult for a defence attorney to say, 'Hang one—here's a photograph of this thing flying around. Here's a frame with people in it, but I don't see a frame with this thing flying around very close to another person. In fact, how do I know that this frame wasn't taken it at this point and this frame taken at that point?'

You and I might agree that it's pretty plain, but in order to prevail in a court you need to have at least that much evidence. That's evidence that we were unable to get because we couldn't get sufficient video from those who had it, and because those from whom we sought advice about if they were present and if they would be prepared to say that this thing came within less than 30 metres of where they were—we're still actually looking for that, but it's academic at this point. We weren't able to get that. We weren't able to obtain that evidence.

Dr Aleck : The first thing we'd have to do is identify who those people were. We were able to identify—

CHAIR: Listen, seriously. Come around, I'll put an hour into it for you. I'll identify who it was in the parliamentary wings here that were playing rugby that day, if you like. My question is, how many of those did you locate and interview?

Dr Aleck : We identified one person who was the closest to a likely infringement subject and we attempted to interview that person. We obtained some information from that person's office. It was a member of parliament.

Senator STERLE: Who was it? Tell us who the member of parliament was. I know who was on the Facebook video that was broadcasting out there. Who was the member of parliament?

Mr Carmody : While Dr Aleck is looking for the information, I make a point, if I may. For a similar event around the country, I would not invest significant investigative resources in interviewing 40 or 50 people for an event like this that did not result in a serious outcome. I don't have the resources to do that. If it resulted in a serious outcome, I would. If someone was injured, I would.

Senator STERLE: So you wait until something's happened?

Mr Carmody : I do not have the resources, for every drone incident—

Senator STERLE: You're consistent on this, Mr Carmody, because five months ago you sat in that seat and told us there's nothing to worry about because we haven't had an incident. So you're consistent. Wait until something goes wrong and then we'll panic.

CHAIR: Can I say to you: I honestly could walk out of here now, and I may—I may. I'll make a couple of phone calls and I'll bet that, within less than 10 minutes—I'll bet you a carton of XXXX beer—I can come back to you with a dozen names, and I'm no longer an investigator, but I'm in the building.

Dr Aleck : I wouldn't doubt it, but, when someone contacts someone and says an investigator from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority seeks this information, oftentimes we don't get the responsiveness we would—

CHAIR: Oh, Mr Aleck, this is lame.

Senator GALLACHER: Can I just say this: why wouldn't you just issue an infringement because there's clear evidence that there's a breach of the rules? You could issue the infringement and, if you get taken to court, that's how infringements work. The police don't sit down and say, 'I think Senator Gallacher was speeding, but I'll need to interview every motorist that he was driving with or anyone else in the car. It's evidence, visual evidence. It's a breach of the rules; give them an infringement; behaviour changed. No-one takes an infringement to court when they've done the wrong thing. You're coming in here saying, 'We would have no possibility of getting a conviction.' That doesn't stand the pub test, as Senator Sterle said. The bloke got fined at Bunnings and you've got a penalty there of $180 and 50 penalty units and you say he was fined $900. If you times 50 by $180, it's $9,000.

Dr Aleck : Senator, a penalty unit is an infringement and, under the legislation, it's assessed at a fraction of the amount a court could fine if the person were found guilty. Five per cent is what we apply.

Mr Carmody : So five times $180 becomes $900.

Senator GALLACHER: That also would have great difficulty getting through the front bar of a hotel.

Dr Aleck : May I say also, Senator: when a police officer issues an infringement notice for someone speeding, the police officer is present and witnesses it.

CHAIR: You've got video evidence. Someone's put it out there, as with the Bunnings case, where they've actually boasted about flying down to Bunnings and picking up a sausage. And you've taken action, quite appropriately, in my view, and you issued an infringement. When it happens around Parliament House, you take a different view: you can't find witnesses, you can't interview people and you have no prospect of success of prosecution. Simply, you should have issued the infringement and let the other person defend themselves.

Dr Aleck : Senator, there are any other number of cases where we have had evidence of an offence, of a contravention, and we've not issued an infringement notice. We've also issued a counselling notice.

Senator GALLACHER: We in this place have to set a higher standard and, if we do something that appears to be in contravention of rules, regulations, we have to be held to account. I fully accept that. And you are an entity in charge of aviation safety and, when you have a pilot breaking the rules and you wander around as if it's too hard, it doesn't look good. - Unlike Dom James who is embuggered for 8+ years on piss poor evidence and a dodgy original decision - FDS!

Senator STERLE: Dr Aleck, you're right. You have had footage and other incidents where someone has flown a drone in the wrong place, and one was the person we're talking about now: his employer. We know that. You've done that, but let us get back to this. This footage clearly shows it going over Parliament House. I can tell you now that the camera wasn't in the back of a magpie's bum. Big Grin That's pretty clear. Or maybe it was—maybe I'm on the wrong planet! It was flying over Parliament House and flying over the playing field. It flew over the road. There's a road between Parliament House and there. As it goes over this magnificent building here, heading towards the rugby field, it goes over a road. You're so full of inconsistencies. Going back to what Senator Gallacher said, why wouldn't you issue the offence and say: 'Mate, you go defend it. You're a pilot. You should know better'?
If there is a byline here it should be: "CASA consistently, inconsistent" - Dodgy

MTF...P2 Cool
DW1 Update: Drones in a tale of two hemispheres -  Rolleyes

Not normally very big on promoting CASA safety propaganda videos but I couldn't go past the following Prime 7 video that Cap'n Wannabe forwarded to me; mainly because for once Pinocchio Gobson would appear to be lost for words (or volume)... Big Grin  

One of the most at risk industry sectors to a low level inflight drone strike, with possible catastrophic implications, is the agricultural and aerial application mob, who are ably represented by Phil Hurst and the 4As (Aerial Application Association of Australia)

[Image: AAAA_website_Home_Banner_Small.jpg]

Two days ago Phil Hurst retweeted a @kiwicropduster tweet which had captured an excellent safety video titled "Flying Drones in rural areas", produced by the Colorado Department of Agriculture:

Quote:Drones in rural areas increasing pls rember aerial app ops as we cannot c them while trvling at 250 kph ovr crops

1:18 PM - 12 Nov 2017

Phil also asks a 'tongue in cheek' QON of Fort Fumble Rolleyes  :
Quote:Ummm... CASA ... Any comment? @CASABriefing

Quote:#FAA Administrator Huerta tells #FAATechCenter: your #aviation safety and #drone work is unparalleled in the world. 

[Image: DODfCiJW0AUcF-_.jpg]

Finally here is the Trump administrations adopted policy on drones, via Wired:

10.26.1708:00 AM


[Image: drone-TaFA.jpg]

WHATEVER AMERICANS THINK about drones filling the big blue skies of these United States, the president is jazzed about the idea of increasing air traffic—and he's working to make it happen. On Wednesday, Donald Trump signed a memo directing the Department of Transportation to create a plan to make it easier to fly a drone for commercial purposes in US airspace.

Other countries have pushed ahead with national drone networks, and professional operators in the US have long yearned to follow them up, up, and away. To that end, the feds are indulging them with a new effort: the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program.

This new initiative will likely excite companies such as Amazon and 7-Eleven, but this is bigger than getting a quick delivery of Soylent or Slurpees. Drones—officially known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—have shown their worth in farming, insurance, oil and gas inspections, and aerial photography. They take on tasks that are time-consuming and even dangerous for humans, like when they were used to aid search and rescue efforts during Houston's Hurricane Harvey. “Drones are proving to be especially valuable in emergency situations, including assessing damage from natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes and the wildfires in California,” secretary of transportation Elaine Chao said in a statement. They also could provide a notable economic infusion by creating up to 100,000 new jobs and adding $82 million to the US economy by 2025, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, which lobbies for quadcopters and their ilk.
Of course, there's a reason the skies aren’t yet buzzing with drones.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which creates rules for everything overhead, values safety above all else. It's got a good thing going with commercial aircraft, and drones could easily mar its nearly perfect record. That's why commercial drones must currently kowtow to rigorous regulation. Wannabe operators must pass an exam packed with questions about tricksy airspace regulations. Without a waiver, they can't fly their drones beyond their line of sight, above 400 feet, anywhere near an airport, over people, or at night. The FAA has granted more than 1,300 such waivers and recently gave its first permanent exemption, allowing CNN to fly over crowds whenever it likes. (The news organization must still obey local flight restrictions set by cities or counties.)

The Trump administration wants to make the whole process less fussy. The newly created Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program will ask state, local, and tribal authorities for their input on how to craft rules for drones that please everyone—city authorities, park officials, professional drone pilots, private citizens, all the stakeholders who want a say in what happens in, or over, their backyards.

But the FAA doesn't want a confusing patchwork of rules.

In an effort to figure out what will work best, the DOT is accepting ideas from those local, state, and tribal authorities, who are invited to work with private-sector partners (how those partnerships will work, exactly, is TBA). Perhaps someone has a great plan for how to regulate those long flights where the drone pilot can’t watch the drone with their own eyeballs, for example. Or a proposal to only allow package deliveries in the middle of the night when the skies are calm. Or how to use counter-UAS security to keep drones away from places they’re not wanted. How to respect privacy will certainly be a big concern going forward. The DOT will pick at least five proposals out of all the projects and use those to run experiments over the next three years. Eventually, that will lead to national rules.

That's not an easy process, since these drones will have to share space with the large and small planes and helicopters that already fill urban skies. The FAA handles more than 40,000 flights a day.

“The US is far and away a much more complex airspace than nearly any other country out there,” says Jim Gregory, who leads the Ohio State University efforts for the FAA arm that tackles integrating drones into the national airspace system. Compared to Europe, for example, pilots of small aircraft have a lot of freedom to fly as they like. As long as they follow the rules, they don't have to file a flight path or get anyone's permission before taking off. You'd think that looser regulations would make for a warmer welcome for an influx of drones, but the opposite is true. “The implications of that unstructured environment make it more challenging to mix in UAS in a very dynamic and complex airspace,” Gregory says.

Meanwhile, countries with quieter skies are moving ahead. Some have already established national drone delivery networks. Rwanda went first, working with Silicon Valley startup Zipline to deliver emergency supplies of blood when roads are washed out in the rainy season. Tanzania is now doing the same. Switzerland will soon have a networkoperated by the California company Matternet, with a special permit from the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation.

Existing and wannabe commercial operators are already thrilled that things are finally moving along in the US. Flirtey, which has partnered with NASA, 7-Eleven, and Domino's Pizza on proof of concept drone deliveries, thinks fast-tracking regulations will lead to advancements everyone will benefit from, like mini mobile medical drones. “Flirtey has developed the technology to deliver emergency goods in disasters and ambulance drones that deliver life saving aid including defibrillators,” says CEO Matthew Sweeny.

The feds will release their full guidance on next steps in the coming days. They may not allow full-on flying freedom just yet, but it's possible the next time you stock up on Soylent, you'll be listening for the buzz of a drone instead of the brrrng of your doorbell.

MTF...P2 Tongue
DW1 update: 17/11/17.

Not sure what Sterlo & Barry O are playing at but yesterday the following was notified to the Senate:


Community Affairs References Committee

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee

Reporting Date

The Clerk: Notifications of extensions of time for committees to report have been lodged in respect of the following:

...Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee—regulation of remotely piloted and unmanned aircraft systems—extended from 6 December 2017 to 28 March 2018.
Hmm...maybe they're just clearing the decks - Huh

MTF...P2 Cool
NAAA on SAFE UAV Ops.... Shy

Another well presented and informative, UAV vs low flying aircraft, flight safety video - this time courtesy of the US Alphabet soup mob the NAAA:

MTF...P2 Wink

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