- Mar 12, 2017
- Reaction score
And thinking who is going to think to look in the Federal Register every morning to see if any new regulations apply to them?But on September 9, 2015, the FAA published its revisions in the Federal Register.
See 80 Fed. Reg. 54,367.
And Congress has determined that publication in the Federal Register is sufficient to give notice of the contents of the document.
150 documents from 47 agencies (259 Pages)
12 Proposed Rules
3 Significant Documents
updated on 04:45 PM, on Friday, May 19, 2017
15 documents from 14 agencies
updated on 08:45 AM, on Friday, May 19, 2017
Statistical proof of the above using the FAA's huge bird/wildlife strike database spanning 25 years:Jet Airliner Pilot on Airliners vs. Drones
Much ado has been produced by the media about the hazards of drones flying in proximity to airliners, but Im happy to report: its much ado about nothing.
The hazard presented by unwanted objects in an aircrafts flight path is nothing new. In fact, each year hundreds of bird strikes are dutifully and without fanfare reported by airline pilots as is required by law.
(Actually, there were 13,795 bird strike reports made in the US in 2015 alone):
Whats new is the opportunity for media and aviation pundits to claim more screaming headlines by overstating the drone hazard.
First, consider the typical, average weight of the plentiful waterfowl populating the bird sanctuaries neighboring JFK, LGA, ORD, DFW, SEA, PDX, LAX, SAN, DCA, SFO, BOS and most Florida airports to name but a few. The weight varies from the 10-13 pound goose to the heavier seabirds like pelican which can weigh up to 30 pounds.
Although the the media and some wannabe aviation pundits claim there are drones of 50-60 pounds, the fact is, the new, popular hobbyist drones are marvels of lightweight miniaturization, weighing a fraction of that.
Now, consider the exposure: while the new hobbyist drones begin to enjoy an increasing level of retail sales, the bird hazard numbers literally in the millions. By sheer numbers alone, bird conflicts and even bird strikes dwarf the number of drone sightings by airliners, but theyre simply no longer news.
Plainly stated, the traveling public and thus the media understand the exposure, accept it, and like the National Highway Traffic Safety traffic death toll, ignore it.
Trundle out the new menace of drones and heads turn, headlines accrue, news ratings uptick, and those who know little about jetliners begin to smell fear.
So lets even go beyond the hazard and foresee an actual impact with a drone. I once flew from Pittsburgh to DFW with duck guts splattered all over my cockpit windscreen after hitting what maintenance technicians estimated to be a ten pound duck. There were two primary consequences I had to deal with.
First, I had to look through duck guts for two and a half hours. They partially slid off, but most froze onto the window at altitude and stayed. Second, the crew meal enroute was less appetizing with the backdrop of frozen duck guts. Thats it.
None of the birds went into either engine. No aircraft systems were affected. Nobody (besides Pittsburgh tower) knew until after landing when we filed the required reports.
This is a pretty good predictor of what might happen if the rare, statistically minute chance of a drone-aircraft collision were to occur: likely, nada.
Yes, there always the potential for engine damage when a bird, man made or real, is ingested by an engine. Nonetheless, of all the birds man made or real populating the skies around every major airport, drones are a minuscule fraction of the whole group that air travelers sensibly overlook day to day.
So why not focus on that reality rather than the shrieking media and aviation experts offering unlikely and often, absurd what ifs?
The answer is, the latter sells news, while the former undercuts the self-appointed aviation experts in and out of the media.
So the choice is yours. You can embrace the misguided drone hysteria served up by the news and experts, or apply the same logic you do to every daily hazard including the drive to the airport (over 32,000 traffic deaths in 2014) which is: drive carefully, and dont sweat the small stuff.
Anything else is much ado about nothing.
Just because someone defies an overreaching government...
Does not make them irresponsible...
Crews spotted five drones in the area of the fire, and the firefighters were forced to ground their aircraft until the drones stopped operating in the airspace.
The problem is not the act of registration per se, it's about the FAA's perceived right to require it and the corresponding violation of Congressional mandates for them relating to hobby aviation. This acts as a "foot in the door." That this is a violation of that mandate has now been proven in court (for now). What makes this even worse (and more suspicious) is that using the FAA's own extensive data it can be shown statistically that accidental collisions of manned aircraft with hobby aircraft are NO THREAT. P-E-R-I-O-D.I wan't talking abut those who did not register with the FAA.
It was overturned on the basis of a 2012 regulation that prohibited the FAA from enacting additional model aircraft regulations. That doesn't mean that Congress can't go ahead and pass some laws on their own... and I think they should. Once some jet comes down because it sucks a drone into one of its engines and kills 200 people, then there's going to be a huge outcry... best to nip this is the bud now before the lawyers get involved. Lock drones to a 400' ceiling, unless you pay for a commercial license and enter some kind of unlock code. Registration was a cheap, easy first step, and it puts some level of responsibility upon the drone operator. That's why all the drone makers were in favor of it... the alternative is that THEY will have to do something, and THEY will end up paying for those lawyers.
A slightly interesting case from a legal standpoint, but the appellate court is correct in ruling that the FAA lacked legal authority to make such regulations because it had been specifically prohibited by Congress. Legislation trumps regulations, so I think it is pretty doubtful that the FAA regs will get reinstated on appeal. The only basis for appeal that I can see would involve the FAA arguing that drones somehow do not fall under the definition of a "model aircraft". However, that seems very doubtful; even the FAA (see https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/ admits that the definitions of "model aircraft" is quite broad: 1) capable of sustained atmospheric flight; (2) flown within visual range of the operator; (3) flown for recreational purposes. Interestingly, this definition from the FAA website does *not* agree in detail with the actual legislative definition in the 2012 act, though they are not too different (the legislative definition does not mention "sustained atmospheric flight" but does impose a 55lb weight limit). Under either definition, I believe the FAA has no winning case on appeal. Notably, there is no altitude limit in the legislative definition of model aircraft; that was the FAA's idea.
Re hazards, jet engines are designed to withstand ingestion of birds the size and weight of geese. In a multi-engine jet airplane, the odds of a single hobby drone sized object causing a crash are not very high since the aircraft are designed to be able to land with only one engine running.
And as for the FAA getting new legislative authority over hobby drones, I think the near absolute ban on publishing any regulation about hobby aircraft under 55 lb (see HR 658--67 S 336 here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Sec_331_336_UAS.pdf) in the 2012 legislation would trigger a serious response from various parties if there was a congressional attempt to alter it in any significant way.
This has been hashed out on RCGroups.com, but a couple highlights...
A ceiling does no good unless you have a hard floor for manned craft. They aren't really supposed to be that low, but they do it all the time. The only way an attitude limit on models helps is separation. If manned craft are below that, it's worthless. And if you want to see people pitch a fit, suggest a technical limiter to keep them up in addition to keeping us low.
The idea of a passenger liner crashing over a model is pretty far fetched. But hey, do some testing and lets quantify it. So long as methods and raw data are openly available for outside analysis. If only there were a group with funding for increasing aviation safety...... Oh, they are busy making illegal power grabs...
Ok, that might have been below the belt, but it's not wrong...
The one proven impact between an R/C plane and a manned plane was a giant scale, gas powered R/C vs a biplane. The manned plane landed safely.
For safety, I think a program like HPR waivers for higher altitudes, larger craft (maybe) and long range FPV has merit. Again, keep the models and the manned craft separate.
Frankly, a lot of R/C hobby users would be willing to work with FAA if they were doing anything remotely sensible. Instead they think we're wanting to drop butter on people...
Anyone who thinks once a government regulation is passed it somehow "protects" them from further regulations on the same hobby/sport are kidding themselves. Bubba's gonna bubba, and every time he does something dumbass that gets media attention the response is going to be "The regulations aren't enough, we need more!!!" Rest assured if the drone regs were still in place and someone flew his model rocket in to a plane or the White House the press would be HOWLING for more regulations on rockets, probably using the drone regs as an example! (Drones have to register, why not rockets, blah, blah, blah).FAA lost this round. But it wasn't that big a deal to register. NEXT thing they come up with, will likely be WORSE. And with fearmongering politicians it would be so easy for congress to change the laws to allow FAA to do far worse. And again our rocket hobby might be swept up into the next round of whatever the FAA does.
The FAA promulgated a regulation that contradicted a law. You can't do that. Someone rightly challenged it in court and won. This kind of government overreach goes on all the time and needs to be monitored and stopped.
That said, irresponsible operation of ANY model, rocket or airplane matters not, can result in additional scrutiny and regulation.
If we want to keep the government out of our hobbies, we need to act responsibly.
If you prefer corporate governance to civic governance, it sounds like DJI is there for you.
Sorry, but Im on the other side of the fence (somewhat) on this. Drones CAN be a threat to aircraft, people, and property. Flown correctly, no they are not. Flown irresponsibly, yes they are. Having them registered was a small deterrent towards operators who flew irresponsibly and now even THAT is gone. Now I have to deal with pilots and their drone reports without the possibility of the irresponsible operator being caught.