Which means a lot more work for the nearly 45,000 employees at the FAA.
Why? Because FAA is way behind in developing the drone regulations Congress has mandated, and this failure is putting the U.S. way behind other countries where drones use far less fuel and create far less noise to get certain jobs done. Also, because FAA liberally defines the ‘National Airspace System’ to include not just at legitimate aviation locations such as places where quiet drones could monitor rush-hour traffic at 500- to 1,000-feet altitude (instead of those noisy traffic watch helicopters and planes), but also at absurd places far below real aircraft, like:
- the 400-foot altitude that the neighbor kid carefully stays within while flying his radio-controlled model airplane … all with clear approval of FAA, up until a couple months ago;
- the 100-feet of airspace above your house, which you might enjoy using with an aerial camera drone, to capture nice aerial photos of your garden or home project;
- or even (arguably) the classroom air between your son and his target when he decides to launch a spitwad (which NTSB recently decided can be treated as an ‘aircraft’, and is thus subject to FAA regulations).
Here’s the Radio Shack ad for today’s big sale. The quadcopter in the upper-right corner, with the glow-green rotors, costs only $60 and is for kids 12 and older.
The red helicopter in the upper left costs only $15, and claims to be for kids 8 and older! Which makes one wonder: will FAA be sending inspectors to elementary school auditoriums to discuss with third-graders, ‘How Kids can Help to Keep the National Airspace System Safe’?