August has been fairly quiet for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Sort of like the U.S. Department of Transportation’s version of Miley Cyrus.
As we wait with bated breath to see whether the FAA can hit the November deadline for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for drones, here are all the goings on in August 2014.
Sunday August 3: New York Senator Charles Schumer calls on federal officials to speed up regulations for small, remote-controlled aircraft.
Monday August 4: In response to the FAA trying to limit (or, more accurately, eliminate temporarily) first person view flying, Tim Nilson, owner of Lumenier, forms the First Person View Trade Association. The FPVTA is essentially a lobbying group trying to show the FAA how their ill-advised rulings are harming an entire industry.
Thursday, August 7: The fifth official FAA test site for UAS opens at Griffiss Airfield in Rome, NY. Researchers from Cornell University received a Certificate of Authorization (COA) to fly a PrecisionHawk Lancaster drone for agricultural and sense and avoid research.
Also on Thursday, August 7: The FAA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety appears on a panel at the Air Line Pilots Association’s Air Safety Forum. His main message was the FAA is being methodical about UAS integration but it’s “not going to be as soon as people want.”
Wednesday, August 13: An FAA ruling shuts down the ride-sharing for airplanes putting startups like AirPooler and FlyteNow essentially out of business. AirPooler plans to ask the FAA for clarification on the ruling as it appears to be based on an NPRM from 1963 which very dubiously defines what private pilots are and are not allowed to do. Plus, this NPRM by definition, is not a law. Furthermore, ride-sharing/hiring a private pilot has been around since 19always. But now that it’s so easy to organize and is becoming a legitimate business, the FAA is getting involved. Wading through all the legalese of the ruling, it seems the FAA’s real reasoning for the ban on plane sharing seems to be “because we said so.”
Also on Wednesday, August 13: FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announces the final official UAS test site is now operational in Blacksburg, VA. Virginia Tech has been granted seven COAs to fly drones at the site.
Friday, August 22: The UAS America Fund, SkyPan International, FPV Manuals and Peter Sachs (of the recently founded Drone Pilots Association) files a lawsuit against the FAA. The organizations are suing the administration because the current rules for consumer drones are “a grave threat to science, research, education, and technological innovation across the United States.”
Tuesday, August 26: Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) writes a letter urging the Department of Transportation to grant Amazon permission to test the Prime Air delivery service. Toscano says there is “a compelling need for the FAA to allow Amazon to test their systems to ensure the next evolution in package delivery happens in the U.S. first” and that the FAA’s sluggish efforts to publish rules for private drones are “simply unacceptable.”
Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com