FAA NPRM: The goal is to create toll roads in the sky and eliminate most recreational flight

“We’re building infrastructure to manage drones, those flying 400 feet or below and weighing 55 pounds or less,” Healander said. “We’re building highways in the sky or toll roads for commercial and recreational drones.

Source: Group pushing for drone highway over our heads

Looks like the  real reason for the Remote ID NPRM just got loose! Its about creating toll roads in the air six feet off the ground in our backyards.

The FAA, Homeland Security, and private industry have taken ownership of the air in your backyard (and inside your home – see my NPRM comments) and then will charge you a fee to access this airspace.

The FAA says it has the right to regulate the “navigable airspace” of the United States and it, not Congress, has defined that to be ground level and up.  This means the airspace in your backyard starting at ground level.

In the NPRM, the FAA envisions a world where only “compliant” drones are sold. A compliant drone is not capable of flight if it cannot receive a GPS signal – in other words cannot be flown in most indoor locations as GPS signals do  not penetrate most buildings. Through this NPRM, the FAA regulates your use of indoor airspace too. Thus, the FAA is asserting it regulates all “air” in the United States including inside your own home.

But, says the FAA, you can use the airspace in your backyard or inside your home if you pay a fee to be monitored in real time, sending data through your cellular phone data plan ($)  to a third-party, privatized air traffic control system, charging a fee for service.

This regulatory scheme is predicated on a hypothesized massive threat from model aircraft.

If you read the above article, the people quoted vastly exaggerate the risk of drones – as noted in my own comments on the NPRM, the FAA left out that “industry experts” said there was no drone, in one of their examples, and in another scary story they told of a drone flying over a stadium, the FAA left out that it was flown by a child. Four of the FAA’s cited references went to “page not found” errors.  If the threat is so great, why do they have to omit key details in their evidence?

The goal is to privatize the airspace and restrict  use to the wealthy, large corporations and government. That is what many in industry want to happen and they are pressuring the FAA to adopt rules that would meet industry’s desire. From the above linked article, we see this is the case – the goal is to create toll roads above our heads.

The FAA’s NPRM on Remote ID  seems written by industry and Homeland Security – and  eliminates as many recreational users of the airspace as possible  to privatize the airspace for profit. By mandating real time tracking and logging of every recreational flight, the FAA may use software to find infractions, even minor ones, and automatically generate fines. This creates a “fear” factor that will ground most everyone.

Post 9/11, the FAA tweaked regulations in a way that largely grounded many of the nation’s ultralight aircraft. They did this by eliminating the waiver for 2-seat ultralight trainers – this largely ended the availability of flight training for ultralight aircraft and the ultralight market collapsed.  20 years ago, popular air shows had acres of ultralights on display. At a huge air show I attended more recently, there were five ultralights on display. Everyone I asked told me the same story – the FAA de facto eliminated ultralight flying – because, they said, Homeland Security was scared of ultralights. And they all noted that air shows used to have acres of aircraft.

The FAA  will not ban model aircraft but instead are being pushed to create rules and regulations that have the same effect, limiting model aircraft to the wealthy (and limited locations) and to drones operated by the AmazonUPSGoogle cartels flying 100′ over our homes, collecting aerial surveillance imagery and wireless signals that will be analyzed for consumer product opportunities (and sold to local governments and law enforcement as well), and for use by international foreign espionage. (Think of the business intelligence  gathered from low flights over competitors business facilities.)

The “cat is out of the bag“, so to speak. The primary purpose of this Remote ID NPRM is to privatize the airspace for industry. The FAA   can accomplish that by exaggerating  the risks of model aircraft and use that as justification to create an expensive, Rube Goldberg-like complex, expensive, privatized air traffic control system. Entrepreneurs see an economic opportunity to create toll roads in the air to clear out the airspace for industrial applications.  Those entrepreneurs do not have a business unless you are mandated to subscribe to their services. (A  genuine business would sell its products and services based on value to the customer – here, there is generally no value delivered to recreational flyers.) To that end, they have run a PR campaign fostering fear and hysteria over recreational drone usage in order to provide cover for unnecessary and draconian regulations.

I hope you have filed comments with the FAA – comments are due by March 2nd. There is plenty of information on this blog on how to do that.

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