Posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2014 - 01:55 pm:
FAA halts beer deliveries via drone to Minnesota ice fisherman David Paulin
It's apparently a hazard faced by ice fisherman -- running out of beer while hunkered down on the ice. So it must have been a godsend when Minnesota's Lakemaid Brewery devised an ingenious solution -- using a six-rotor drone to deliver its six packs! But, alas, this example of Yankee ingenuity was shot down by FAA in the latest case of big government making life miserable for businesses and ordinary Americans. What raised the FAA's ire? As aviation website AVweb explained: "FAA rules allow the recreational use of remote control aircraft by hobbyists below 400 feet but the beer runs are a commercial operation and therefore illegal." None of this made sense to beer-deprived ice fishermen and nor to Lakemaid Brewery owner Jack Supple, who told NPR: "We were a little surprised at the FAA interest in this since we thought we were operating under the 400-foot limit." Videos of the seemingly routine deliveries are what caused FAA officials to go ballistic ahead of Super Bowl weekend. As AVweb explained: The service was operational and gaining in popularity when local FAA inspectors got wind of it via the video. The system might actually have been a reasonable real-world test of drone delivery, given the remote and sparsely populated site and the relatively uniform height of the ice fishing shacks. To order a case of Lakemaid, customers copied the precise GPS coordinates of the spot they picked for the drone to land and phoned those into a store on shore. The store clerk programmed the latitude and longitude of the landing spot into the drone's onboard GPS and let the technology take over. Supple said the drone would have been busy on Super Bowl weekend. "The fishermen are going to sit there from Friday 5 p.m. all the way through Sunday," he said. "That's a long time to be out there on a frozen lake." Disappointed customers and supporters of the brewery launched a White House petition drive but after an initial flurry of online signatures the effort has stalled about 99,000 names short of the 100,000 minimum required for presidential review. Minnesota, of course, is a solidly blue state, having elected Democratic presidents all the way back to 1972 -- the nation's longest such streak. All of which raises a question: How many ice fishermen who are Democrats will now be voting Republican?
I imagine Homeland Security has got to be concerned about these types of drones. I think they are really cool, but if terrorist groups rigged them with explosives, how would you defend against something like that? Lets say, 20 of them launched into a football stadium or something.
It's going to be interesting to see how they are dealt with for commercial operations and from a security standpoint.
"I imagine Homeland Security has got to be concerned about these types of drones."
Really no different than R/C airplanes and copters that have been around for decades. Or model rockets, or cars, or buses, or any other means of delivery.
"FAA rules allow the recreational use of remote control aircraft by hobbyists below 400 feet but the beer runs are a commercial operation and therefore illegal."
I also question the FAA's move to exert jurisdiction. "Commercial operation" could, by extension, be applied to using R/C aircraft for other things: say posting up YouTube videos, demonstration events where there is a cover charge, - I mean, where does it stop?
I think the difference between them and the radio control models that we have had is the ability to program in a destination and it flys itself. You can have it go off without having to be close to it to control it.
As far as where does it stop, I'm not sure it does as we have seen with the continuing encroachment on our second amendment rights. What does it matter if it is private or commercial operating below 400 feet?
I've been looking at airplanes. The newest, most modern & high tech stuff available, ( I also watch Top Gear, and read about Ferraris. I can't afford them either. )
I'm looking at $1600 avionics package that includes full collision avoidance, satellite feed weather, on a subscription service that gives a 2 seat hotrod ( which costs about as much as a higher end Corvette ) situational awareness that rivals the entire air traffic control system. You can glance at a screen and see a map with all the airplanes, all the traffic patterns, all the control zones, color coded, all the human terrain features like radio towers and power lines. AND the storms, so you can fly around them. Freaking amazing. Plus it shows a computer generated image of the world, and overlays your attitude. In high res. It's a video game wet dream.
That's what's in the optional package. Check a box on the order form, they ADD this to your plane.
The STOCK package has a full IFR capable navigation system, and gives you top of the line attitude displays, various readouts for altitude, direction, speed, VSI, and a full suite of engine gauges, including EGT & CHT for each cylinder.
On one screen.
Every aviator for the last 111 years would have sold his..... let's just say Amelia Earhart would still be with us.
Ourdee, they make drones that can carry your bowling ball, but it's illegal to drop it. Or much of anything else. If you have blank firing machine guns on your WW2 replica, you can't drop the empty cases either. Gotta use a catch bag. Might be fussy and authoritarian, but it's not really a stupid rule.
The cool part is that Beer, once again, proves it part in Human civilization.
Beer beats Amazon to drone delivery being REAL. Awesome!
historical rant feel free to skip ( beer was the first portable food. You can't carry wheat across the desert on a camel. But you can carry beer. It is probably the first trade good, and the first money. )
Beer as currency... The idiom 'Mind your P's and Q's' was coined from the Navy Experience of paying their crew in Pints and Quarts of Grog/Ale/Hooch
You would get a stipend of the fluid for your service, but your ration would be shortened for misbehavior or dereliction of duty; so to mind your P's and Q's was to watch what you did in line of the ship's rules so you were not cut off your booze quota
This and tons of other worthless stuff they teach you at Navy boot camp
Ridesinnm I imagine Homeland Security has got to be concerned about these types of drones. I think they are really cool, but if terrorist groups rigged them with explosives, how would you defend against something like that? Lets say, 20 of them launched into a football stadium or something.
The FAA people, at a local level, are often great folk, but the upper bureaucracy can be real jerks, and have the power to ignore courts. There have been multiple cases of serious abuse of power.
One example is an A&P instructor the FAA decided to hate, and not only lifted his license, but hounded his students to give up theirs with zero accountability or recourse. Even when the NTSB court reversed the FAA decision, they choose not to obey it, and set out to destroy the careers of hundreds of mechanics who did nothing wrong. When you are told, baldly, that you will be destroyed if you do not obey, and there is no legal remedy for a petty tin god telling you to give up your entire field of work....... ( deleted to stay out of prison ) ......
In one sense, I can understand the FAA's problem with commercial drones. They don't have the manpower or the basic idea on how to control this, except to simply forbid that which they cannot control.
And....if a drone can carry a case of beer, it can carry a Claymore mine. Anyone remember "Black Sunday" with Bruce Dern?
Judge Shoots Down Drone Ban • Nate Rawlings @NateRawlings
A federal judge has struck down an FAA-imposed fine against drone operators, ruling there's no legal way to prevent the commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles. The FAA can issue an emergency rule that bans small drones if it chooses to appeal the decision
A federal judge on Thursday struck down a fine imposed by the FAA against drone operators, saying there is no law preventing commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles.