It has been a lot of hard work, but today it was all worth it when the Section 333 exemptions were granted to the MPAA endorsed Drone filming applications. Where many of the voices in the United States thought the process to be dead, to be simply an excuse to prevent regulations for drones, my colleagues and I at USC have always believed that the FAA was determining the best way forward in the interest of Safety.
September 25, 2014 will go down in history as the day the dam broke. Now, commercial enterprises – focusing on safety and utilizing the safety manuals and operator’s manuals reminiscent of manned aircraft – will be able to participate in the economic developments of UAS. The FAA got it right folks and anyone that tells you otherwise doesn’t have a clue.
The movie industry is ideal as a first step toward integration. They have an understanding of high risk operations, of protecting highly valuable assets on the ground as well as in the air, and they have a respect for enforcement of standards, procedures, and policy requiring a variety organizational protections and reporting mechanisms. They have also dealt with aviation safety before, however they will need continued training and education to ensure they fully understand the UAS ramifications for safety in a larger operation.
The FAA is focusing on safety and in their press release found here: http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=17194 they say precisely what safety requirements are for other organizations to be a part of this exciting new commercial opportunity – “Safety manuals”, safety procedure, safety training, and ways of enforcing safety precautions.
Sound Familiar – that’s right… we are WELL on our way to the Safety Management System protocols required in airports, required by ICAO, and used as the leading standard for manned aircraft. This makes sense folks – UAS operate in a hazard rich environment even more hazardous in the characteristics of non-collocation of pilot in command.
Today is a good day for the FAA and I hope everyone in the drone community – yes even those who bemoan every decision and every action of the Federal government – sees this as a big win! Look for smaller companies with extensive aviation background to help provide the safety expertise needed to be successful.