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Drones May Be Allowed to Share U.S. Skies
The Washington Post ^ | 100403 | Renae Merle

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.


(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: airspace; domesticdrones; domesticsrones; drones; dronesus; saturation; uavs
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?
1 posted on 10/04/2003 6:51:36 AM PDT by Archangelsk
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To: All
Aww man! Enough of the fundraiser posts!!!
Only YOU can make fundraiser posts go away. Please contribute!

2 posted on 10/04/2003 6:53:17 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Archangelsk
I'm okay with it and I fly (as a passenger) every week. These UAVs are all piloted by someone on the ground. For these vehicles I say, "What's the difference between having a pilot in the plane or on the ground?"
3 posted on 10/04/2003 6:56:08 AM PDT by BeerSwillr
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To: BeerSwillr; Criminal Number 18F
Which turns into a complacency issue. Afterall, if you're not at risk then you will naturally relax (happens all the time in simulators, unless your job is on the line).
4 posted on 10/04/2003 6:58:24 AM PDT by Archangelsk (Air conditioners are for wimps.)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Motherbear
What cracks me up is that the same people who spend most of their time here wigging out about the border situation will freak out about this, re:Patriot Act, blah, blah, blah.

6 posted on 10/04/2003 7:04:26 AM PDT by The Coopster (Tha's no ordinary rabbit!)
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To: Archangelsk
As a pilot, I have to say not no, but hell no, to this idea.

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.

7 posted on 10/04/2003 7:24:57 AM PDT by Thermalseeker
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To: Archangelsk
EXPLOIT ROBOT LABOR!
8 posted on 10/04/2003 7:27:54 AM PDT by JOE6PAK ("Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."-Hector Berlioz)
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To: BeerSwillr
And those pilots on the ground don't even need to be on US soil. You could farm it out to Indian drone-pilots!
9 posted on 10/04/2003 7:40:11 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed
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To: Archangelsk
I wonder how long it will be until the US Military develops these as UAVs:

FYI, that's an HK (Hunter-Killer aka Human Killer) from the Terminator movies.

10 posted on 10/04/2003 7:50:06 AM PDT by xrp
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To: Archangelsk
What's the big deal? I drive to work every morning surrounded by mindless drones.
11 posted on 10/04/2003 8:18:09 AM PDT by Redcloak (Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.)
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To: Thermalseeker
..but when I contstantly hear ATC make mistakes with piloted A/C..

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.

12 posted on 10/04/2003 8:21:07 AM PDT by Thommas
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To: Archangelsk

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)

13 posted on 10/04/2003 9:48:02 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans
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.
14 posted on 10/04/2003 10:38:10 AM PDT by Archangelsk (Air conditioners are for wimps.)
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To: Archangelsk

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.)

15 posted on 10/04/2003 11:01:25 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans
Privatizing ATC has been tried in Europe and the results have been dismal, it's why we have flocks of foreigners training here rather than over there (cost). Incidentally, nearly all of these flocks are training to become hired pilots rather than GA ones.

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.

16 posted on 10/04/2003 11:08:10 AM PDT by Archangelsk (Air conditioners are for wimps.)
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To: Archangelsk
Yeah, these drones will actually be used on the border areas. For what? Making sure an illegal doesn't sprain his ankle without help being called in within minutes? They certainly have no intention, as they prove every day, of detering his progress north, so this must be to eleminate injury or starvation, spy on border patrol groups, and citizens.

More likely drones will eventually be airborne to watch citizens, especially if any revolution begins to forment within the Balkanized masses.
17 posted on 10/04/2003 11:13:59 AM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: Archangelsk
Is this from Terminator I, II, or III?
18 posted on 10/04/2003 11:17:05 AM PDT by per loin
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To: Archangelsk
Actually, wouldn't the advantage of automated air transport be more of an advantage for smaller cargos where the cost of the pilot is a larger fraction of operating costs?
19 posted on 10/04/2003 11:44:42 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Archangelsk
I like the idea personally. But then again I love robots and new technology... more time for us to create art and music. :)
20 posted on 10/04/2003 11:52:39 AM PDT by PureSolace
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To: Thommas
Really? Constantly?

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."

21 posted on 10/05/2003 6:52:17 AM PDT by Thermalseeker
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