Summer FAA Waiver and Security Updates

The NAS may be an unsafe place this summer, and you didn’t even know it. Everyone else did, including Dan Elwell, Earl Lawrence, the FAA IG, DoT, the guy in charge of the 107 waivers as well as the managers of the FSDO’s and other interested manned parties. I’m sure the FSDO managers are going over the logbooks and program like they were part of the Mueller team leaving no crash or shoot down unturned. They were made aware of the FAA position on the 107.31 and 107.33 waivers being invalid if the responsible party left the company yet the waiver is still valid.

The PrecisonHawk BVLOS waiver head Huan-cho is still not on the payroll. Crazy, you’d think this would have been the most valuable no-show job since Jimmy Hoffa was running the Teamsters.

Secondly in the safety of the NAS breaking news department –

Who is in charge of safeguarding the US taxpayer? DHS is assessing the risks at airports, and other installations and the FAA may be inadvertently giving the weasel the keys to the henhouse?

It is common knowledge that the PRC has given DJI investment. Even the other Chinese manufacturers will tell you about tax breaks, marketing and tradeshow reimbursement, engineers, facilities and other goodies. Okay, I can understand that, but at what level or percentage of investment from the PRC constitutes a tipping point from toy company service supplier (USS) to giving away the store to a Class A adversary?

Same investment tipping point question for control of the rulemaking process on the DAC and other various ARC’s, committees be they Blue Ribbon or not? What if other organizations in the FAA orbit know? Do those affiliated organizations and their representatives have a duty or obligation to speak up before taking and spending hard-earned taxpayer money?

Cut and past of the FAA’s (italicized) reply to my summertime questions –

Patrick,

See the responses below.

  1. I know it is summertime and folks are on vacation, but I am requesting further detail or elaboration on the LAANC service provider vetting prior to disseminating the 99.7 SSI data. The prior answer missed the security mark. Some very alarming information is coming to light on just who is really behind certain drone companies, and there are some potential national security implications.

    For reference: Was Dà-Jiāng Innovations vetted for possible security issues and direct investment from the PRC prior to the data transfer?



    The LAANC program provides a mechanism to onboard companies wishing to provide services to operators. Companies must comply with FAA rules to be accepted into the program and continuously demonstrate that compliance.

    • All the data that is required to be used in the USSs’ products is publically available (The National Security UAS Flight Restriction areas created pursuant to 14 CFR 99.7, Special Security Instructions, is public information). The USS requirements, including a list of specific data and sources, are called “USS Operating Rules” and can be found here: www.faa.gov/go/laanc. All USSs meet the same set of technical, security, and legal requirements to participate in the program. Additionally, LAANC complies with the Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act, which includes data collection requirements on the Federal Register for public comment so the public understands what data fields that are being collected by the USS are sent to the FAA for airspace authorizations. Currently, 14 USSs are FAA approved to provide the UAS operator multiple products/platforms to select from for an airspace authorization. In parallel, the FAA provides a mechanism for airspace authorizations (Drone Zone) for those UAS operators who prefer to work directly with the government versus a third party.
  2. Any updates on the Precisionhawk Part 107.31 waiver validity yet?
    • PrecisionHawk has a waiver to 107.31 that is valid through 08/31/2020.
  3. I am interested in learning more about the FAA’s QA/QC process for the new KnowB4Fly app. Folks are reporting anomalies in the data and that they are being given erroneous information. This could pose a serious safety issue for the NAS.

    One of the examples shared with me for reference –

    I live and work in the 15 to 30 mile radius of the Washington DC SFRA. It is permitted to fly drones in this area, subject to the rules that all drone pilots have to follow anyway. Less than 55lbs, less than 400 feet, etc. Read this FAA link, which states that flight is permitted subject to these rules. https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/community_engagement/no_drone_zone/Your app says that flight is prohibited in this area. I am really disappointed that you got this wrong, because if you can’t get DC right, with the FAA HQ, what guarantee is there that any of the rest of the USA is right?

    • We are updating our website to include information about how experienced Part 107 and public aircraft operators with justification can file a request through the on-line Access Program (AAP) to receive FAA authorization to fly an unmanned aircraft within the 15-mile radius inner ring. In addition, we will work with our partner, Kittyhawk, to update the B4UFLY mobile app to provide guidance that reflects what is on our website.

THX

Marcia Alexander-Adams

Office of Communications

Headquarters, Public Affairs Manager

800 Independence Ave., SW

Washington, DC 20591

Further reference for those of you not following the several month long PrecisonHawk non transferable invalid 107.31 and 107. 33 waiver saga –

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