Good day folks;
I talked with Richard Posey (FAA) last week as I wanted clarification in regard to the certified pilot requirement and a few other points. The following is an incomplete summary of the information obtained.
Note: if you choose to contact Mr. Posey, please ensure you have a note pad handy with your well thought out and researched questions or concerns. This will also provide a place to take notes.
This information was directed toward the sale and certification of UAS aircraft.
1. The pilot of a UAS UAV MAV must be a certified pilot. In addition, the aircraft must have a mode C transponder, and, an emergency TFR must be submitted prior to flight.
2. As stated elsewhere in this forum, any vehicle that lifts off the surface is considered in NAS.
3. Law Enforcement does qualify as a government agency and can apply for the waiver.
4. There is discussion in regard to the possibility of 2 more classes of UAV, those less than 30 lbs and those less than 4 lbs.
We discussed other UAS manufacturers and the length of time it has, and will take to get through the process. Lets just say this was discouraging (2 years plus) The University of New Mexico has been through the process. The 477 page document created outlining their experience and the procedures required is very informative: http://www.psl.nmsu.edu/uav/roadmap/
It seems that the existing FAA regulations where ported over into an area which requires a great deal of thought. The special capabilities and automated safety features of some UAS vehicles would seem to encourage an edict from the FAA to leverage said safety features to help ensure overall safety for persons and property either airborne or not.
I happen to be a Private Pilot, but strongly believe training in relation to UAS aircraft must be customized. Perhaps standard ground school would be appropriate, but specialized flight training needs to be conducted based on the type of aircraft flown. Perhaps there will be "Type" certifications similar to existing aircraft classification (Land, Single Engine, Fixed wing, UAS, Under 4 lbs) categories.
I can not help but think that we could be helping people, indeed saving lives, with the correct implementation of UAS technology. I wonder how far behind we will be on the battle field compared to other "countries" with less restrictive polices (if any at all).
The hope is that the sort of ingenuity demonstrated on sites such as this will be encourage and rewarded. We will see how long and at what cost.