Skip to comments.Drones May Be Allowed to Share U.S. Skies
Posted on 10/04/2003 6:51:36 AM PDT by Archangelsk
Drones May Be Allowed to Share U.S. Skies
By Renae Merle Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, October 4, 2003; Page E01
NASA launched a program this month budgeted at more than $100 million aimed at allowing unmanned aircraft to share the skies with commercial airliners, bolstering what the defense industry hopes will eventually be a multibillion-dollar market for drones.
The program would initially permit unmanned aerial vehicles, known as UAVs, to fly at about 40,000 feet, which is above most commercial traffic. By the end of five years, unmanned aircraft would be allowed to join general air traffic, flying as low as 18,000 feet. At that altitude, the aircraft could monitor border areas or check forested areas for fires, industry officials said. The industry envisions drones eventually moving cargo across the country.
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AMEN! When ATC shows me they have a handle on piloted traffic, then I'll reconsider, but when I contstantly hear ATC make mistakes with piloted A/C I can only imagine what unpiloted A/C would add to the mix.
FYI, that's an HK (Hunter-Killer aka Human Killer) from the Terminator movies.
Really? Constantly? With three levels of controllers, enroute/terminal/tower, in the ATC mix, thousands of flights daily, a steady stream of commercial flights in and out of major airports, to what constant mistakes are you referring?
Are you talking about the all those midair collisions we hear of attributed to ATC and not pilot error? You know, like when ... Or maybe that time of ...
Sure, ATC will have its errors. But throwing UAV's in the mix is no worse than dealing with an Arabic accented GA pilot who understands nothing being told to him/her.
As a pilot, I have to say not no, but hell no, to this idea. We have enough problems in controlled airspace with saturation and now NASA wants to put something that violates the whole concept of "see and avoid" in the mix?
The "see-and-avoid" principle applies to highway traffic and it results in 40,000 deaths a year. If we need to have cargo moved across country I would prefer it be done by a drone at 40,000 feet under GPS guidance and computer control than by some meth-crazed trucker five feet off my bumper.
(Apologies in advance to meth-crazed truckers)
Your assuming that aviation will ever have the lift capability that surface trucking has. As far as GPS guidance goes, it took a gazillion years (pardon my exageration) to certify WAAS and I think it will take a quintillion more to certify GPS, WAAS, and LAAS guidance.
True, government inertia can never be overestimated. I hope this talk of privatizing air traffic control could be an indicator that the regulatory climate is relaxing.
On the practical side, we use both ground and air transportation for parcels. Eliminating the cost of two pilots will change the ratio towards more air transport. Also Boeing is working on heavy lift capability (over sea.)
As impressive as the Pelican is, its carriage capacity pales in comparison to a Maersk ship, but its cost would give a herd of bean counters a heart attack. The cost of the overhead (crew) is miniscule compared to the efficiency, or lack there of, of the lift.
Yes, really. Constantly. Here is a recent example, but in my 28 years of flying I can cite many, many more not only in Chattanooga, but elsewhere as well. I fly several times a week in the vacinity of Chattanooga. Among other things I operate a glider tow business about 20 miles from CHA and I monitor Chattanooga approach for traffic advisories. In ONE recent flight, in a period of 45 minutes, I heard two different controllers clear two airplanes to land at the same time on the same runway. In one case it was a C-172 and a C-130 and in the other it was a Baron and the C-130. The C-130 was doing touch and goes and was staying in the pattern. There is absolutely no excuse for this. I also heard the same controller give THREE different airplanes the same transponder code. Mixed in with this a Northwest Airlink commuter called not less than SEVEN times for a handoff to BNA. He was almost out of radio range before the controller took notice and handed him off to Nashville. Bare in mind this was all in one fortyfive minute period and involved two different controllers. I have witnessed many other such incidents and Chattanooga isn't a busy field. I know quite a few people who fly both commuters and private aircraft in and out of Lovell field and all say "you'd better be paying attention, because ATC isn't."