That was very interesting and thanks for posting it.
Don't believe everything the medial puts out.
The COA application process is still in place.
You must be a public entity to even apply and you must prove it.
You must have at minimum completion of ground school - a private pilot's license is preferred
You must obtain a 2nd class flight physical
It STILL takes a long time to get a COA
You cannot fly ANYWHERE else in your jursidiction without a standing COA
You will only be allowed to fly the 4.4lb aircraft for training purposes and to prove proficiency.
Then you will be eligible for review for use of a 25lb aircraft.
So in essence, very little has changed. The online application has been there for 5 years. They can say "expedited" if they reduce the application time from 9 months to 8 months. That is an improvement.
Some of the PR that came out early was a bit "optimistic" to say the least.
It's easy to tell that you know what you are talking about. Are you an FAA employee or perhaps a UAS operator yourself?
Like to hear more about your experiences--would be very interesting.
Yes, been in the "biz" for a while. www.rpflightsystems.com No, I'm not an FAA employee but they do know me first name We have been working with them since 2007 trying to find a way to fly in the NAS. We have been doing Search and Rescue (SAR) work since 2005 www.rpsearchservices.org as a 501(c)3 non-profit. We are credited with 10 recoveries to date. It's been difficult but we're still hanging in there.......
I will be coming out with an E-book called "First to Deploy - Unmanned Aircraft in Search and Rescue" hopefully this month. It's basically primer and list some of our techniques and highlights a few of our missions.
Good to "meet" you. That sounds like very rewarding work. SAR certainly fits one of the 3 primary UAS applications that are too dirty, too boring (Like staring out the window as miles and miles of terrain slides by) and too dangerous for human pilots. I work at a university and we occasionally fly research UAVs. Lucky me, I'm the COA specialist here. You were spot on about the length to get one. FAA's 60 day estimate is a cruel joke. My first took 9 months. We just recently had to provide a letter from our Attorney General stating that the university was public and that our 26 lb UAV would not carry passengers for hire! But you know all of this...
It's hard to imagine the incredibly powerful feeling you must get when you succeed in finding someone that's lost. You have my heartfelt respect and admiration for doing this.
The book sounds great! I don't see it offered on Amazon. Will you post info on how to order a copy?
Any chance you might be coming to the ATL area for the 2nd Annual "Pecan Patch" FPV Meet next weekend?
Back to work for me. Have a terrific weekend!
Indeed it is gratifying! Now if we could just get them to call us in BEFORE things get too stretched out. We made a recovery last month and the weather was the biggest factor, but it was 5 days after the 2-1/2 yo went missing. We have to look at as providing closure for the family - only way you can do it without going a little crazy.
The book is in the final edits and hasn't been published yet, but we're getting close. One of the missions I highlight is in your neck of the woods, or a little south anyway in Irwing County, GA. We mapped most of that county looking for Tara Grinstead and that case is still open.
Spoke with an FAA official today on that very subject (COA's) and they have really added an additional step in there for law enforcement that wants to use UA. The 4.4 lb "training wheels" COA is stretching the safety thing as far as they can. The fact that you have to PROVE that you're a public entity is just ridiculous. How else can my county be categorized? Maybe a non-profit...
Wished I could come out to y'alls FPV. I got pretty dang used to the hospitality we were given for the 45 days we imaged Irwin County. Are you at Georgia Tech? What kind of airframes are you flying? Using FalconView? Inquiring minds want to know!
We got a new aircraft delivered yesterday for a big show-and-tell at work. It's a Griffon Aerospace "Outlaw ER" UAV with 17 ft wing span. It will be used as a platform for experimental electronics programs. This will be the biggest unmanned plane that I've flown to date; the first few flights will be a LITTLE nervous.
How cool is that!?!?!? Where will you be flying that bad boy? How long did it take you to get your COA? Ours was right at 9 months. We have been flying the MLB SuperBat all this week and it flys really nicely for high wing loading.
The first few launches and landings were a bit tense - always are when you are about to chunk $100G in the air! You'll get used to it though. What autopilot does the Outlaw use?
Good luck and keep us posted on your flights!
This is all sweet... Waiting on a book and some direction. :P