All posts by Edward

Prep’ing for more drone regulations: “Senators alarmed over potential Chinese drone spy threat”

Lawmakers who were briefed on hundreds of intrusions over the White House, Capitol and Pentagon worry about possible espionage.

Source: Senators alarmed over potential Chinese drone spy threat – POLITICO

In the past week or so, there have been multiple mass murder incidents (Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Virginia) involving guns or knives. Rather than address that, Congress and DHS would prefer to generate lots of fear over toy RC model aircraft.

This is prep work to have DHS (the power behind the FAA) write more restrictive drone regulations.

Even though they acknowledge there has been no actual threats – they use the monster under the bed approach to explain they are afraid. If we can imagine a threat, then we must be very scared.

They also come as Congress debates extending current federal authorities and adopting new ones to track the aerial vehicles as potential security threats.

….

“There’s YouTube videos that could walk your grandparents through how to update the software on one of these drones to be non-detectable and to do a whole lot of other things — get rid of elevation ceilings, all kinds of stuff,” said a government contractor who has helped to collect the data for federal authorities. “If you were to go buy a DJI drone at the store, it wouldn’t fly over airports or specific cities because of a specific no-fly zone. So, anything that we see in DC that is a DJI-manufactured product has been hacked or manipulated to enable flight in these zones.”

You can see where this is going – they will again propose to ban the sale of RC aircraft that can be modified – and likely resurrect their attempt to ban homemade RC aircraft altogether (which was part of the original proposal from December 2019). It will not stop actual threat actors – they can still build their own aircraft as has been done for 90 years!

Further, am guessing they will eventually propose that anyone flying a drone >250 grams end up with the equivalent of an FAA remote pilot license for all flights outside FAA sanctioned airfields.

All flights outside sanctioned airfields are already required to have remote ID (as of Sep 2023) – and the FAA is working with a third party to develop remote ID monitoring systems that will track everything in the air around all cities.

These news stories about “Congress briefed on intrusions”, or people in Europe arrested for flying drones over the incredibly remote Svalbard Island (must be Russian intelligence) – are groundwork propaganda to prepare for the next round of regulations. There will be more stories like this. You may remember those stories back in 2018-2019 of drones going to cause air disasters? Those disasters did not happen and haven’t happened since the new rules were enacted – but those rules are not yet in effect! – and nearly all scary drone stories vanished from the news.

But now we are back – not with scary air disaster scenarios but now it’s nebulous scary national security threats.

We see where this is going:

  • New regulations will be introduced requiring the FAA to track all drone flights using the Remote ID system, and a network of receivers throughout the country. It’ll be ADSB but for model aircraft. This is back to the original proposal – but shifts network tracking from end users to the network itself (where it properly belongs).
  • Homemade model aircraft will be banned – except for use at FAA sanctioned approved model airfields. This is what was proposed by the FAA in their original remote ID rules. In fact, the original proposal said it would gradually fade out approved airfields such that eventually, no homemade model aircraft could be flown anywhere in the U.S. While that was removed from the final rule, this line of thinking has probably returned.
  • Am guessing Congress will eventually require a drone pilot’s license in addition to the remote ID network. This is a guess but it’s the kind of thinking that goes on in Congress.

Update: In a related move FCC Bans Authorizations for Devices That Pose National Security Threat | Federal Communications Commission (refers to communications and camera containing gear designed and manufactured by selected companies in China)

3D TV might be returning

When 3D TVs became a thing just over a decade ago, they were an impossible sale:

  • Consumers had just upgraded TVs to HDTV – and were not interested in spending more money
  • There was little 3D content available via special DVDs and DVD players
  • And 2009-2011 was a time when the economy was devastated by the Great Recession

Now, things are different including that 3D content can (or could) be made easily available through streaming media, which was not available a decade ago.

Plus there are new applications for 3D. A decade ago it was for watching 3D movies – today, 3D is for gaming and business applications (think CAD). And, there is VR, which is a natural option for 3D too.

It’s a long shot, but hear us out: The stars are beginning to align for the much-maligned technology.

Source: It’s Time to Make 3D TVs a Thing Again | WIRED

Guessing will see a new round of drone regulations: “‘Swarm’ of drones spotted flying above UK nuclear plant”

In 2019, in the lead up to the FAA’s proposed rules on R/C model aircraft, the media ran frequent scary stories about drone sightings (many of which were not even real). The stories were so frequent, and so often wrong or left out critical details – that they seemed to have been a coordinated public relations campaign by those wanting to regulate model aircraft.

The result was Homeland Security wrote the FAA’s proposed rules, largely based on an assumption that anyone flying an R/C model aircraft is a terrorist (the hobby has been around since the 1930s…)

The sighting was one of two in the space of four days.

Source: ‘Swarm’ of drones spotted flying above UK nuclear plant

Now we have recent reports of “Russians” allegedly flying drones on the Svalbard Island, and in northern Norway. Then this – 11 reports over almost 36 months of drones near or over nuclear facilities in the UK.

The US rules on mandatory remote identification of newly sold drones takes effect in December (postponed from September due to technology delays). All new drones must broadcast their position and owner information. By fall of 2023, all drones and most RC model aircraft – must broadcast their position, or no longer be flown except at FAA approved airfields.

Wearing Eyeglasses and Using Camera Eye Viewfinders

Depending on the survey and the country, about 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 4 people have eyeglasses, even if not used all the time.

Most adults over age 45 have presbyopia, or the inability to focus at close range. They use reading glasses.

For those with distance vision and/or astigmatism or other corrections, they wear eyeglasses of contact lenses.

Most DSLR cameras have a diopter adjustment to enable one to look through the eyepiece viewfinder with or without wearing glasses or contact lenses.

My photo hobby involves 2D, 3D and video photography at events such as historical re-enactments, air shows, and character photography at comic-con.

All of these are “fast action” scenarios – taking off and putting on glasses in between photos has not been a great option. Consequently, I have been looking at other options.

I am fortunate in that I have had good vision all my life and did not get my first reading glasses until late 40s, and first distance vision correction in mid-50s, for use while driving. My distance vision correction is small enough I am not (yet) required to wear glasses while driving, although I do wear glasses as it is more relaxing on my eyes to do so.

Glasses and Photography

When I have been photographing at air shows, I tend to keep my glasses off so I can quickly put my eye up to the camera viewfinder. More recently, due to wanting to wear sunshades over my glasses, and making it easier to spot aircraft in the sky, particularly when they fly out aways before returning to the airfield, I’ve been wearing my glasses – then removing them rapidly into a shirt pocket so I could use my camera’s eye viewfinder.

But I have found this is not practical.

  • One, its time consuming to swap glasses off to take photos.
  • Two, lenses become dirty, quickly.
  • Three, I occasionally drop my glasses when doing this maneuver. Very bad.

I have myself carrying 3 sets of glasses.

  1. Generic dark glasses
  2. Distance vision glasses with or without clip on sunshades.
  3. Reading glasses
  4. And no glasses when using the camera.

At the last air show I attended, the “clipons” for my prescription glasses broke. Then I dropped my generic dark glasses, scratching the lenses.

Juggling 3 sets of glasses and 2 cameras has become a fiasco – and I began looking for better solutions.

So far, I have not yet found a solution.

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