Chris

Wellwood

, Canada

Posted on
2020-02-25 14:15:13
“I fly both commercially for surveying and environmental monitoring as well as recreational FPV. My commercial drones are absolutely amazing tools that allow me to collect survey data, remote sensing data, and conduct thermal wildlife surveys. From a purely scientific perspective this allows me to do a much better job at these scopes of work than I could do even 2 years ago and light years ahead of what was possible even 5 years ago. The technology is moving fast. However, to get the most from these tools they require modifications that would be illegal under the proposed FAA rules. Not because it makes them more safe or less safe, rather what appears to be an unawareness of how these tools are used beyond the current corporate pressures being put on the FAA. In this instance it’s not about the remote id hardware being added to the drone, it’s the political implementation that is restrictive and in turn detrimental. I have absolutely zero objection to making drone flight and our airspace safer. Quite the opposite, I fully support the portions of FAA proposal that do improve airspace safety. However, I feel overall the current proposal falls short of moving the needle on safety very far, instead targeting the development regulation and politics in somewhat of a vacuum. I would suggest that if safety was the main focus the Remote ID document would look very different. This matters to me personally as this type of aggressive behavior towards a hobby sets a precedent that other countries may default to if corporate pressures are applied by companies who would like to see airspace below 400 feet used solely for their own purposes. Another reason this matters to me is that an extremely high percentage of innovation seen in the drone world comes directly from U.S. based companies that will be forced out of business after the new rules are implemented. The innovation does not come from China etc., it comes from the U.S. from which the world benefits, and then gets built or copied in China but not truly innovated. Killing off the root of the innovation is an extremely sad day to see coming. The Remote ID rules read as though the FAA for thinly veiled reasons have deemed it an acceptable loss to appease corporate pressures. On the FPV front, building and flying drones that I design and create from scratch is an incredibly enjoyable way to obtain new skills relevant to new arenas of technology and design. Sharing this with my eldest daughter is even more enjoyable as it is a hands-on way for her at the age of 7 to learn about flight, electronics, coding, and complex problem solving. Think of it as Lego, how many of today’s engineers and innovators grew up playing with construction or design toys with the open world of designing your own robots or whatever could be dreamed up. I know I did. The hobby of FPV offers those same things, try it for yourself, you might be surprised! It is not a readymade toy in a box built by someone else. It is something that one researches, selects components, sources them, builds, programs, and troubleshoots to get the creation you want. Flying is only part of the fun, and definitely only a small part of the skill set wrapped up in the FPV hobby. I would encourage the FAA to view the FPV world as a resource rather than an opponent. At your disposal is a vibrant, passionate community of people with an obscene capacity for problem solving and technological innovation. Yes, you will get knee jerk emotional reactions to these proposed changes, not because the community is a volatile mess but rather because people sincerely love this hobby and are watching its demise. I would suggest it doesn’t have to be that way.”
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