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FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones 218

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-hire-some-people-who-understand-technology dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For about a decade, Gene Robinson has been putting cameras on remote-controlled model aircraft and using them in search-and-rescue missions. But now the Federal Aviation Administration has shut him down, saying his efforts violate a ban on flying RC aircraft for commercial purposes. Robinson doesn't charge the families of the people he's looking for, and he created a non-profit organization to demonstrate that. He also coordinates with local authorities and follows their guidelines to the letter. The FAA shut him down because they haven't designed regulations to deal with situations like this, even though they've been working on it since 2007. 'So it's difficult to argue that his flights are more dangerous than what goes on every weekend at RC modeling sites throughout the United States, which can include flights of huge models that weigh 10 times as much as Robinson's planes; aerial stunts of nitromethane-fueled model helicopters; and the low-altitude, 500-kilometer-per-hour passes in front of spectators of model jets powered by miniature turbine engines.'"
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FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

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  • by WoodstockJeff (568111) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @02:15PM (#46734707) Homepage

    It is a fundamental principle in the United States that, unless something is illegal, it is legal. Regulations, therefore, should enumerate what makes something illegal, not what makes it legal. To do otherwise prohibits the possibility of inventing better ways to do something, until/unless the regulations are modified to allow it.

    The problem within the FAA is that they have regulations that work both ways. In most cases, they tell you what you CANNOT do to remain legal, in others, they tell you what you MUST DO to remain legal.

  • Re:Fuck the FAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sir-gold (949031) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @02:21PM (#46734745)

    All this guy has to do is wait for the next missing person to show up dead from exposure/injury, and then go to the local paper saying "I could have saved this person, but the FAA wouldn't let me"

  • Re:It is a Hobby (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @02:23PM (#46734757)

    Lots of non-profits pay their executives salaries between 150,000 and 650,000 dollars. Plus lots of benny's like free gala's every month, travel, etc.

    And, just thought of this: Churches are non-profit and make millions or even billions of dollars, their executives travel and drive really nice cars and have plush offices (not to mention owning tons of land).

  • by mpe (36238) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @05:57PM (#46736049)
    Here's a small Parrot drone at 1553 feet in the UK. It's little, but if it was sucked into a jet engine, the engine would definitely be damaged and might fail. In 2013, someone was flying a drone near JFK in New York and the drone had a near miss with a jetliner.

    Unless drones were to start flying in large numbers of "flocks" they are unlikely to be as big a hazard to aircraft as birds.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @07:32PM (#46736617)

    There is no reason that they need to be incompatible. Just require that all aircraft have a functioning ADS-B transceiver and TCAS, both manned and drones. Require drones to obey resolution advisories. That will eliminate most of the midair collision that exists today, manned or unmanned.

    You just destroyed the entire R/C aircraft industry in one instant.

    I'd LOVE for them to do this.

    The problem is that I can go out and fly my turbine powered 100 pound F16 at several hundred miles an hour for crowds of spectators with an old 72mhz radio that has pretty much zero interference rejection ... but I can't fly my 2 pound quad and take a pictures with it for commercial use even though my quad will never exceed 10mph and uses a DSSS based radio that will reject any signal that doesn't have the right GUIDs and checksums ... and is never used for in front of crowds, nor does it carry a half gallon of kerosene for fuel, and the quad has an auto pilot that will land it if it gets a low battery, over current, loss of control radio, loss of telemetry radio, or simply flying outside of the geo-fenced area.

    Its fucking retarded. Its okay as long as no one can possibly profit from it, but if there is profit, fuck it, the EXACT same thing is illegal, and there is NO WAY I can make it legal without treating the UAV as if it were an aircraft capable of carrying passengers for hire!

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