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FAA will miss 2015 drone deadline, audit says

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Old July 2nd 14, 10:47 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Posts: 3,953
Default FAA will miss 2015 drone deadline, audit says

FAA will miss 2015 drone deadline, audit says
Published July 01, 2014
The Federal Aviation Administration is “significantly behind schedule” in its
attempt to meet Congress’ September 2015 deadline for integrating commercial
drones http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/06/24/drones-head-to-college/ into
U.S. airspace, according to an audit report.

"While the capabilities of unmanned aircraft have
significantly improved, they have a limited
ability to detect, sense, and avoid other
air traffic."

The report
http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/FAA%20Oversight%20of%20Unmanned%20Aircraft%20Syste ms%5E6-26-14_0.pdf
by the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General warns that the FAA will
miss the deadline for adding drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems
(UAS) to America’s National Airspace System (NAS).

“FAA’s delays are due to unresolved technological, regulatory, and privacy
issues, which will prevent FAA from meeting Congress’ September 30, 2015,
deadline for achieving safe UAS integration,” the report said. “As a result,
while it is certain that FAA will accommodate UAS operations at limited
locations, it is uncertain when and if full integration of UAS into the NAS
will occur.”

The report said that the FAA has not reached consensus on technology standards
to help drones detect and avoid other aircraft and maintain data links with
ground stations. Auditors also found that the Administration has not set up a
regulatory framework for drone integration and is not effectively collecting
and analyzing drone safety data. The absence of procedures for sharing drone
safety data with the Department of Defense, the largest user of drones, was
also highlighted.

A law passed in 2012 aims to significantly increase commercial and law
enforcement use of drones over the coming years. Questions, however, are being
asked about the safety of the technology. A recent Washington Post
revealed that more than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed in
accidents around the world since 2001.

Last month, the National Park Service prohibited drones, citing noise and
nuisance complaints, visitor safety concerns and an incident in which park
wildlife were harassed.

The FAA appears to have its work cut out bringing this divisive
technology to America’s skies.

“The FAA agrees with the DOT IG’s recommendations and will carefully consider
them as the agency continues to move forward with UAS integration,” wrote an
FAA spokesman, in an email to FoxNews.com.

The spokesman acknowledged the challenges of safely integrating drones into
U.S. airspace, but said that the agency has made significant progress towards
that goal. The FAA, he wrote, has helped ensure four of six UAS test sites are
operational and has published a UAS roadmap that addresses current and future
policies, regulations, technologies and procedures. The agency has also issued
a Comprehensive Plan encompassing partner needs, and simplified the process
that authorizes UAS flights.

He also pointed to a rule issued for model aircraft, a plan to expand drone use
in the Arctic, and the FAA’s authorization of two commercial flights in the
polar region. The agency is on track to issue a proposed rule for small UAS
this year, he added.

Petitioning US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration
Stop Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations Within The National Airspace System

Dear fellow airmen and airline passengers,

Please take a moment to make our skies safer, and sign the petition:


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are currently unable to comply with the
fundamental basis for collision avoidance within the National Airspace System:
See and Avoid.

Here's the federal regulation:

CFR Title 14 Aeronautics and Space SUBCHAPTER F--AIR TRAFFIC AND
§ 91.113 Right-of-way rules
(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether
an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual
flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person
operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.

Currently the FAA permits UAV operations within the same airspace as airline
operations. That creates a public hazard to US air commerce.

While the FAA does require a ground observer or chase-plane for such UAV
operations, the fact is that the private UAV operators often fail to comply
with that requirement, thus posing a mid-air collision hazard.

Because UAVs were designed for military use, these blind UAVs, incapable of
complying with the regulations all other users of the National Airspace system
must observe, should only be permitted to operate within Restricted military
airspace, and not jeopardize public safety.

Current UAV operations pose a public hazard to airline travelers and other
flyers. It is irresponsible for the Federal Aviation Administration to permit
blind UAV operations within the same airspace used by manned aircraft that are
required to see-and-avoid. Stop this dangerous practice NOW!

Please E-mail your family and associates, and Tweet to get the word out. Send
this link: http://chn.ge/1enQSPd.

I was personally involved in an incident with a UAV that was reported by Joshua
Approach as being at my altitude and five miles ahead. The UAV pilot failed to
respond to repeated ATC calls, and I was forced to change altitude to avoid the
pilotless aircraft. A subsequent FOIA request failed to indicate any observer
chase aircraft in the vicinity, and there's no way a UAV spotter on the ground
could have seen us from over a mile below.

It's my understanding, that there is a bill before Congress to deploy more of
these blind hazards along our southern boarder, and there are six "UAS test
areas" being developed within the NAS. We've got to do something to stop this
potentially deadly encroachment by deep-pocketed military contractors with
powerful lobbying power.

Make your voice heard. Sign now: http://chn.ge/1enQSPd.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Larry Dighera

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