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Mar 16, 2008, 03:48 AM
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Aussies are very involved in UAV. I cant go past most university display stands without seeing at least one. Here is a UAV challenge in Queensland held yearly. I was thinking of entering a team with my work.
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Jul 09, 2008, 01:58 PM
I've seen a few flying around, do all of them use GPS?
Last edited by stev9960; Jul 10, 2008 at 08:13 AM.
Aug 14, 2008, 08:09 AM
Registered User
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:

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.
Aug 14, 2008, 08:28 PM
SlowStick Test Pilot
patrickegan's Avatar
If you want a little peak into what we submitted, you can read these…
Aug 26, 2008, 08:14 AM
Registered User
Well written Patrick.

While reading this document I wondered if the inclusion of a pilot certification may be appropriate. I do not want to add clutter, but is seems the collective RC/UAV community could define appropriate skill levels for RC pilots.

Electronics available today could also be leveraged to control and limit a given aircrafts position in relation to horizontal position and altitude. Since it is possible for an aircraft to "know" its relation to controlled airspace and air born or ground obstacles it can therefore avoiding them.
Due to the "best of the '50's" equipment approved and still used in most GA aircraft, I would assume there is some resistance to fully automated collision and control systems from the FAA's perspective. While I agree to some extent, where is the balance between innovation, safety, and regulation?
The private UAV community may be the place for the application of the latest technology providing a proof of concept arena and perhaps, future regulatory acceptance.
We can dream can't we?
Aug 26, 2008, 09:38 AM
SlowStick Test Pilot
patrickegan's Avatar
Thanks, I can’t take credit for writing he guidelines…

Sure, some sort of pilot certification will probably be part of the standards for commercial operations.

The problem with relying on technology is standards for certification, and then certification
Aug 26, 2008, 05:20 PM
Aircraft Designer Guy
AJWoods's Avatar
How does this set of regs apply to an R/C manufacturing company like GreatPlanes? Technically if they want to develop a new aircraft for sale, at some point they are flying it in the NAS as a company for profit. Does this imply that the FAA can crack down on R/C model manufacturers, since what they are doing isn't for "recreation"?

Latest blog entry: Stol f-16
Aug 27, 2008, 11:24 AM
Registered User
Gannet AME's Avatar


After reading all of this and knowing the FAA position on manned WIGs. Am I right in believing that there are no FAA rules or regulations applicable to unmanned WIGs (Wing in Ground Effect) Vehicles?
Nov 02, 2008, 12:05 AM
SlowStick Test Pilot
patrickegan's Avatar
There are regs for everything including ground effect. Many gray areas with what is commercial when charging, someone (FAA), will have to write terminology that delineates the, who, what, where and how it dovetails with capitalism.
Nov 08, 2008, 10:44 PM
Registered User

Un-regulated areas.

Regarding CLARKST's comment about being behind on the battlefield compared to countries with little or no regulations, they don't have them because they don't need them ; such countries tend to have very little "private flight", if any ; and not that much of military flight either. Any UAV types flown will be under the control of the military, who will advise their own people of danger areas ; nobody else has any business in the airspace, so if they "happen to have an incident" they will probably want to keep quiet about it anyrate. (Been there and operated with some of those military myself.) Two factors ;as a little research into international data sources will show, there aint much to worry about "On the battlefield", although it must be said that the West are not fielding very "state of the Art" equipment either, except experimentally, although no doubt that will change. (The engine in the Shadow is a twenty years old design for instance). Partly this is because "The enemy" have little or no aerial ability in such conflicts as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. If ther did have both those areas would be a whole other story!. Given the amount of use of missile carrying Predators in Afghanistan/Pakistan they should get the idea before long. And then?
Nov 09, 2008, 12:07 AM
SlowStick Test Pilot
patrickegan's Avatar
Unmanned UAS hunters are in the works…
Nov 09, 2008, 04:19 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by patrickegan
Unmanned UAS hunters are in the works…
Everybody's works! (apart from US UAVs operating near Kubul, which are hunted by large airliners!)
Dec 31, 2008, 12:51 PM
Its all fun
Tonystott's Avatar
I have to disagree with the statement that Australian regs for UAVs are progressive. this is exactly the opposite of my experience.

A primary example is the split of UAV classes:
-Sub 100g
-Between 100g and 100Kg
-Over 100kg

In the middle class (and all model aircraft used for commercial purposes or flown out of line-of-sight are classified as AUVs) you need the following to obtain a UAV operator's certificate:-
* General Aviation ground school course
* Aviation communications ground school course
* Equipment maintenance and operation course run by the manufacturer (good luck with that)
* UHF two-way radio tuned to tower frequency (for communication with passing aircraft - seriously!)
* Comprehensive operations manual
* Comprehensive maintenance manual (including lifing of components)
* Inspection of operations base by nominated CASA personnel
* Successful flight demonstration in front of nominated CASA personnel

In addition, separate authoriation is required for the UAV Maintenance officer.

Cost of obtaining approval will be charged at a rate of $140 per hour, so CASA quoted a price of between $3,500 and $5,000 to "walk me through the process". CASA declined to allow me access to any information previously submitted by past applicants (with prior removal of identification of course), so I had no idea as to what level of detail would be required.

There are other requirements, but you get the idea. None of this is in any way unreasonable for the operator of a 100kg UAV, but it starts to look rather silly if you are looking at a Slow Stick or a Trex 450...

Despite the regulations being in place since 2002, there are less than 10 approved operators in the whole of Australia, clear proof that the intention of the regulations was to stifle small operators with red tape.

So I sold my AP gear and now use a mast, kite and hot air balloon, none of which require CASA approval if used under 400 feet.

Now here comes the scary bit.... The Australian "father" of these draconian regs, a Max Walker, is generally revered by civil aviation bodies around the world as the guru of UAVs, and he personally boasted to me that he believes FAA will adopt Australia's regulations.

So anything any of you can do to achieve a more realistic result in your own country would have to be a good thing. Coming up with less harsh requirements for line-of-sight operation of aircraft weighing less than (say) 10kg would be a start.
Jan 02, 2009, 11:41 AM
Registered User
Pack AE's Avatar


Hi, I'm a lurker on these forums, but I wanted to give kudos for this particular awesome thread.

I was wondering if there have been any interesting recent developments in regards to SUAS regulation? I've heard of a potential "4-4-40" lightly regulated class (no bigger than 4 ft wingpsan, no heavier than 4 lbs, no faster than 40 kts), which seems to jive with the RCAPA letter above. Are you guys hearing anything encouraging with regards to this?

Those of you that are intimately involved with this process... if you had to estimate, when would you think we'll start seeing large numers of SUAS in the NAS? Still think 2010-2012 is realistic?
Jan 05, 2009, 01:07 AM
SlowStick Test Pilot
patrickegan's Avatar
It was 4-40-400. 4lbs 40knots 400’

With what’s on the table, maybe larger numbers of vendor made craft in that timeline.

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