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Old 02-16-2015, 02:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Good question, Jim. The "leaked" document appears to relate to commercial use, but the issues it addresses are mostly safety-related. My sense is that there are going to be some rules for private use. The activities that you can readily see on YouTube, such as flights to over 2,000 AGL, flights into the clouds, etc.....and the news reports we hear of commercial aircraft reporting these things flying in close proximity to them....all of that needs to be addressed, whether the operations are commercial or private. Private operations likely pose the most risk, because there will be more of them.

Interestingly, apparently the manufacturers (such as DJI) are already trying to address some of the concerns with software. For instance, it is illegal to fly one of these things inside the Washington, DC SFRA (Special Flight Rules Area). With software, they can query the UAV's GPS, and if the aircraft is within the SFRA, they can disable the aircraft's motors, making it impossible to fly. I think you will see more of that. DJI obviously has a vested interest in preventing something similar to what we saw at the White House a few weeks back....and they certainly don't want news coverage of technicians pulling fragments of their product out of a big turbofan engine on a commercial airliner.
DJI is doing that as a "cover our ass" move. They're smart enough to know that people will come up with hacks to get around that GPS-override sooner or later. But this way, they'll be able to look at the FAA and say, "Hey, we did our part, the asshat that flew this one through the window of the East Room of the White House had an unauthorized firmware version."

With time, it'll be just like jailbreaking a smartphone. Unless Congress gets involved and mandates that all UAS must have an FAA approved software package with GPS enabled flight restrictions, there's not much they can do to prevent it.
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