This is a re-post of a May 2014 “tongue-in-cheek” piece focused on the need for the FAA to move drone regulations ahead at a faster pace. With Tuesday’s NTSB ruling, it is crystal clear Congress needs to demand rapid delivery of drone recommendations from the FAA. But as we all know, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” and as Gregory McNeal, Forbes Contributor, said on Tuesday “The FAA is where innovation goes to die.”
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. Mr. President, we now need a Drone Czar!
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