Can the FAA get ahead of the tidal wave of commercial drone activity in the United States? Amazon and 60 Minutes have opened the proverbial barn door on awareness of the drone opportunity. Capital and entrepreneurs are coming together to quickly introduce products, software, and applications to change the skies forever. Now, the question that remains is will the FAA provide leadership which does not impede the industry opportunity (spelled: JOBS) but does appropriately address safety and privacy issues.
The drone opportunity is projected to provide more than 100,000 U.S. jobs by the year 2025. Conservative, absolutely! Drones are going to touch every industry from agriculture to healthcare with applications which extend to delivery, security, analytics, and beyond. There is an argument to be made that drones will be the next “internet” of job creation in the United States.
So how do we create a pathway which will both expedite and guarantee the U.S. leadership position in this “rocket ship” of an industry? The answer is Leadership! The President should look to Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger to be the voice and face of this industry. Sullenberger, the national hero airline pilot who successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River is one of today’s most trusted icons. He is a an international speaker on airline safety and has helped develop new protocols for airline safety. His recent book, Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America’s Leaders is a look into leadership qualities that have been instrumental in building the United States. He is a man that can cut through Washington’s bureaucracy while at the same time addressing legitimate safety and privacy issues.
We have a Surgeon General. We now need a Drone Czar!