Part 107 Predictions
Today is the 1st day of the applicability of Part 107. A year ago the nattering nabobs of negativity (credit: Spiro T. Agnew) were declaring that the FAA’s failure to issue the Congressionally “deadlined” rules for UASs would be fatal for the development of this burgeoning industry; while other omniscient prescient clairvoyants saw disasters and threats to the public order. In spite of this bimodal distribution of the criticism, the rule is being implemented today.
Here are 16 prognoses about the drone future, 2016 and beyond:
- In one of the foreign jurisdictions which threw together some very loose rules designed to attract entrepreneurs, an accident will occur of sufficient magnitude that the previously pro-Drone preening elected officials will demand an immediate lock down of these dangers to society.
- Some US Attorney will enforce 18 USC 32 and bring a criminal felony indictment for shooting down an aircraft/UAS/drone. The case may well be a high profile case involving a well-known figure’s country estate being protected by a neighbor’s shotgun.
- The FAA will issue a compromise of its record $1.9M civil penalty in which SkyPan International, Inc., the notorious violator of myriad FARs with its drone photography, commits to implementing a SMS program. The company agrees to demonstrate how risk management principles will establish different operating parameters for UAS flights for which it was violated. A settlement payment of $500,000 with the deferral of the remainder was announced on the condition that SkyPan adheres to Part 107 and the SMS requirements. Counsel for SkyPan was commended for his melding on the FAA’s new SMS/Enforcement Philosophy with the new Part 107 in a ground-breaking fashion.
- The FAA will extend its Compliance/Cooperation based Enforcement Philosophy to Commercial UAS companies to those which adopt an acceptable SMS program.
- There will be several enforcement cases instituted and closed against UAS operators who choose to ignore the rules. The gun totting and fire shooting drone in Connecticut may be the poster UAS for this. Heavy sanctions will be collected.
- AMA and the FAA will establish a cooperative stance which gives its members, based on technically supported waiver requests, greater operating freedom and privileges/responsibilities.
- The Members of Assure COEUAS and/or the UAS Test Sites and/or private companies will adopt the suggestion given by the FAA. develop the technical justifications needed to be granted waivers from Part 107
as suggested in this video:
Night time flights
Flights over people
Above 500’ flight
Combinations of the above
A good precedent to review, as to what the FAA might require to waive these limits, would be the process involved in evolving the ETOPS variances.
- FAA regulatory adjustments
- After extensive experience with these waivers, the FAA will amend Part 107 to allow all operators, which can meet the risk-based limitations, to do the same.
- As the new technologies emerge (see # 9+10), there will interim and final revisions to Part 107 based on these enhancements. Remember the angst that the IFR of the new Part 48 caused?
- Public (NASA) and private consortium establishes a non-governmental ATC system for UASs. It is a highly automated with few employees and has very low operating costs.
- It is constantly technologically refreshed system thus its safety is constantly improving.
- The capital investment is largely from existing cellular towers (only the supporting computers/software are added costs).
- Both fixed and variable costs are paid for by “user fees” which look VERY much like existing smart phone charges.
- The “billing system” is programed to include recognition that flights in congested airspace are charged more than operations at hours/ locations where the demands on the system are relatively minimal.
- Private entrepreneurs will buy the aerial rights over rights-of-way owned by powerline and pipeline companies as well as median strips of highways. These aerial expressways will provide safe, high volume trails for large commercial operators. Use will be subject to tolls. The separation of these UAS flights will be reduced by technology like RVSM.
- Some of the above public and private entities will develop an affordable, reliable “sense and avoid” system which may be a component of the ATC system and/or completely independent thereof.
- Above #6-10 will all be first introduced in the US and become operational here before any of the so-called drone friendly jurisdictions.
- Insurance companies will establish parameters which differentiate risks among operators. Those, which can demonstrate that they can meet the platinum standards, will have lower premiums.
- The insurance companies will sponsor research which develops RFID-like instruments which are included in all future drones (if a drone attempts to enter the UAS ATC [#10] without an approved RFID, it will be immediately defined as a rogue and the closest law enforcement agency authorized to “bring it down) and which permits easy identification of ALL UASs. That enhancement will improve operator responsibility and increase UAS safety.
- This private sector initiative will escalate the number of educational institutions offering courses qualifying for the platinum rates. This positive trend will
- result in safer UAS flying,
- will further lower risks and
- will reduce the cost of recreational/professional drone flights.
- Items #12-13 will lead to dramatic increase
- in the popularity among recreational and professional fliers,
- in the numbers of drones and
- in the types of uses.
The future registrations will exceed all forecasts.
- The level of UAS flights will be so great that it exceeds the ability of the FAA to deal with the volume of regulatory responsibilities. Congress will establish a new federal agency, UAS Federal Organization (FUFA). Its budget will be supported 100% by user fees.
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