Okay, so let’s have this first blog post be a little tongue in cheek fun. After all, if you can’t laugh at yourself, well, laugh at the government as they are always a source of comedic relief. And what better way to start your day than with the FAA? Okay, coffee, continental breakfast, wake-up sex, and power stretches might be better, but let’s do this…
Welcome to the aviation industry!!! You’ve purchased an aircraft that the FAA and NTSB have both deemed is actually an aircraft. Of course your “aircraft” can’t carry anything more than a few paper clips. There is no boarding or deplaning of the aircraft. To fly commercially you will need to be licensed (well, certificated) and clear a TSA background check. You must be able to understand sectional charts from the decade your Grandparents were first married. Better spruce up your equipment with a three plus mile strobe for night flights. And don’t forget to decipher the METAR – that’s Greek for “My Environment’s Tolerable After Rain”.
Leave it to the FAA to make these the requirements for you to fly your UAS. After all, you will not be able to launch or land your “aircraft” at an airport or even fly near one (for the most part) as only aircraft are allowed to take-off and land at airports. Your “license” is for your wallet and your wallet only – there isn’t likely to be a Federal law enforcement officer (local and state law enforcement don’t have federal jurisdiction) to demand it of you for a flight on a street corner. The skies are friendly to you so long as you have no drug related felony (prison time for attempted murder and you’re still going to pass that TSA check). Airplane pilots will report that they can see your “aircraft” from miles away while cruising at 300mph at all times of the day and night at altitudes impossible for UAS to reach even if you don’t have strobes and yet are afraid of crashing into your aircraft because they can’t see it. And you didn’t need that METAR notice as you looked out the window, saw it raining and put your bird back on the desk – no flying today fellas.
But once the R-3 solar storm passes, go ahead and fly on Captain!!! Obviously you can call yourself Captain, Flight Director, Maverick, Red Barron or Commander. No one is going to stop you from being the head honcho of your bird. But if an Eagle swoops in, you’ll be decrying “bird strike” like the rest of the pilots talking on the VHF radio that you can’t employ for your “aircraft” operations. Oh, and if that Eagle causes you to crash, well, suck it up buttercup. The NTSB won’t investigate your “aircraft” crash as they only are required by law to investigate all aircraft mishaps. Congratulations! You are a pilot, just not a Pilot.