Our partner site, Drone Racing life published an article USDRA Chairman Dave Shevett wrote regarding the AMA. Folks should check it out, it’s good stuff…
Eventually, the drone pilots and the AMA started talking to each other, and realized everyone was on the same side. All it took was an understanding that enthusiasts and builders want to have fun and be safe. It soon came clear is there was a common cause for both the AMA and the new drone community. The public, the press, and the government were all forming their own ideas about what our hobby was about, and the ‘risks’ they saw with it, and in our eyes… it didn’t match with what we all knew.
The FAA has opened up it’s comment period on the new proposal for registering UAV’s. Under the tongue-bending title “Clarification of the Applicability of Aircraft Registration Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS”, the site is now looking for comments and feedback on the proposal. If you have an opinion on this topic, now is the time to voice it!
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta today announced the creation of a task force to develop recommendations for a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The USDRA is supportive of this process, and believes the FAA is acting in the best interest of the public. We have reached out to the FAA requesting that we have input into the decision process, so that the racing community will not be adversely affected by any new rules that are forthcoming.
The New Hampshire Techfest is hosting a USDRA Drone Race Day at Windham High School in Windham, NH during their event on Saturday, October 24th, 2015. This event is open to the public, and welcomes pilots of all skills and interests. The USDRA will be holding organized races, open demonstrations, ‘show and tell’, and other games.
Huffington Post interviewed the USDRA yesterday on the pending California bill:
“When people hear the word drone, the first thing they think of is camera platforms hovering over their houses … and one of our biggest challenges when we’re talking to folks is that not all drones are the same,” he said. Not all have cameras.
Shevett also pointed to the difficulty of keeping drones from accidentally crossing boundaries, especially in rural areas where the boundaries aren’t always clear.
“If one of these strays over somebody’s property line, even if it’s just going around a turn or whatnot, is that suddenly an arrestable offense?” he asked.
The California House of Representatives has just voted to amend the Civil Code to make it illegal to fly “Unmanned Aircraft” over private property to an altitude of 350′ without permission of the owner:
(a) A person wrongfully occupies real property and is liable for damages pursuant to Section 3334 if, without express permission of the person or entity with the legal authority to grant access or without legal authority, he or she operates an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system less than 350 feet above ground level within the airspace overlaying the real property.
As of this writing, the bill has passed to the senate after passing in the house. It is not yet law.
It’s unsurprising this sort of legislation is coming through the pipeline, in the wake of certain incidents involving shotguns. This particular legislation is aiming to clarify the ambiguity regarding “Below 400′ AGL” airspace. The FAA provides guidelines to safe operation, but are unclear on how low an operator can legally fly…
Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
Don’t fly near people or stadiums
Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization.
Jim Moore, associate editor at AOPA, came out to NAFPV2015 and chatted with the specwing and drone pilots there, including a nice long chat with the USDRA…
Pilots who stick to manned aircraft need not worry much about this crowd. With hundreds of hours and hundreds or thousands of dollars invested in their flying machines, the FPV race pilots were well-briefed and careful to avoid exceeding the 400-foot altitude limit (most stay very close to the ground), or allow their drones to stray out of sight. Drones operated carelessly or in ignorance of airspace regulations, or by those who just don’t care, have drawn the ire of the FAA, and conflict prevention remains a major concern of AOPA and other organizations.