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HomeAircraftHelicopterAerial Photography and Video › Ring....Ring....Hello...T his is the FAA, Got a minute?
12-11-2004 03:51 AM  13 years agoPost 1
waterskier

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Crosby, Texas

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Received a call from the FAA today...The call was from Michael Lukacs with the office of Policy & Planning of the FAA. He got my number off my web site, and called to find out more about our segment of the UAV industry. Very nice guy. They are researching the UAV industry from top to bottom to decide on how they should regulate it.....(not a question of if...only a question of when and how much) they just had a presentation from Boeing yesterday. He indicated that the FAA does not feel that our segment of the market should be regulated in the same manner to that of Boeing products and the like. I emphasized to him that we are all operating on small profit margins, and low gross incomes (especially compared to Boeing) I told him that any regulation would most likely adversely financially effect our business, but if the FAA felt that we must be regulated, they should make a sub class to separate us from the Boeings of the world, and thus a different set of regs for us. He also asked about how I felt about them regulating the helis and the equipment we flew...As an airline pilot that deals with the FAA on a daily basis....I think this would be a tough one....you would have to get the OEMs, pilots, examiners, A&Ps and several other groups on board...... I felt that it would be better to create a pilot certification process.....Similar to a commercial pilot license.....Pilots would demonstrate proficiency to a designated examiner. There would be a set of regs that all commercial operators would have to adhere to, including maintaing their own equipment. This would create a lot of credibility, for such things as insurance, and a level of protection, by separating the certified operators from the non certified.
I know there are a bunch of you guys out there that are yelling NO NO NO……I am not excited about the FAA getting in my business either, but I think it is coming weather we want it or not… I think the best thing we can do is work with them to create a set of regs that would meet their goals of safety, and ours of profitability……
Has anybody else received call from their friendly FAA Rep.???
Your thoughts…..

Greg

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12-11-2004 04:04 AM  13 years agoPost 2
Doug

rrElite Veteran

Port Saint Luice Florida....

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"Hi, I'm from the FAA and I'm here to help you"

First member of Member of Bearings Anonymous

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12-11-2004 04:14 AM  13 years agoPost 3
vetrider

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Daleville, AL (Ft.Rucker)

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There would be a set of regs that all commercial operators would have to adhere to, including maintaing their own equipment. This would create a lot of credibility, for such things as insurance, and a level of protection, by separating the certified operators from the non certified.
You put Regs and Insurance in the same statement and you can't see where this is NOT going to SCREW all the people involved EXCEPT the insurance companys. hahaha

In theory your mean well but your years of HAVING to accept the FAA, and getting use to it, has clouded your judgement of the RC hobby and small business practices.

Just my $.02

Nolan

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12-11-2004 04:56 AM  13 years agoPost 4
daggit

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Claremont, MN

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In a perfect world "we" could regulate ourselves, but the sad fact is that helicams are popping up everywhere. Often, they could be in the hands of inexperienced operators.

The FAA would be the first to blame for not checking competency of commercial R/C pilots if something happens. It is thier duty to address this issue. Hopefully it will be done in a manner that doesn't kill the industry.

.

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12-11-2004 05:32 AM  13 years agoPost 5
MPA

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Australia

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Hi, I'm from the FAA and I'm here to help you
I have some important news for you, are you sitting down,
um, no, perhaps you should be bending over to take this news.

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12-11-2004 05:42 AM  13 years agoPost 6
Rajun151

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Sugar Land, TX

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vetrider,

I don't think he chose to be called, nor did he "prep" for the conversation.. Please do tell us how you would have handled it better.
Would you have told them off and dared them to regulate us? You don't know Greg or his history with the airlines or the FAA for that matter, so I don't think you have much to stand on with your clouded judgement comment.

Obviously, the majority of us here would prefer not to have to deal with any regulations but I believe in time they are going to be thrust on us anyway. Just wait until someone is injured or killed when something goes ary. It is going to make news and then someone is going to start screaming regs.. It is inevitable and unfortunate but the numbers are going against us in that regard. I would rather someone discuss this with them should they call in a even and educated manner than represent us in the manner that we are a roudy and wild group. Snub your nose at them (get on their bad side) and it is going to be up to us to fight to stay in business...

Oh, just my .02 cents..

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12-11-2004 01:43 PM  13 years agoPost 7
DANNO

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St. Petersburg, Florida

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the thing i dont understand really, is when you think of uav's you dont think of radio controll models flown at the local club, ut esentailly, that is what we are using. what difference does it make that there is a camera on board and we are selling the photos?
are all "UAV"s going to have to be regualted...even the recreational ones, because if you can say a helicam is a uav, then so is a little cox 2 channel glider. people have been hurt and killed flying rc "toys" at the flying field. whats the difference?

i know....it's probably inevitable. we need to work with the FAA if just to try and convince them that we are not the boeings or other defence contractors and should have seperate rules....if just to have certian restrictions placed on the actual heli itself, such as under a certian wieght, not capabele of autonomous flight...etc...something to keep the "toys" seperate from the "real" UAVs

(please note: im not suggesting we are all just fooling around with toy heli's, but what we do is not on the same level as "real" UAVs, and hopefully the FAA will make a distinction.)

www.skypiximaging.com

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12-11-2004 03:46 PM  13 years agoPost 8
waterskier

rrApprentice

Crosby, Texas

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Thanks for the backup Rajun!!!
I did not chose to be called, but thought my time would be well spent talking to him to get as much info out of him as he was out of me....
I think DANNO made a good point about the distinction between what we fly and the Boeings of the world…..the visual, non autonomous thing….
I think the FAA is waking up to mainly these type of UAVs, because they are the ones that specifically create an airspace issue for full size aircraft. As an unfortunate side effect of the FAAs look, we may fall under their view of UAV. Keep in mind what UAV stands for…..Unmanned Aerial Vehicle…..Does not say anything about size, speed, distance, operation, ect……The official government definition of UAV is still to be determined……the best thing we can do is help them define this and the rules that will regulate UAVs such that we can still afford to operate our business….

Greg

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12-11-2004 04:55 PM  13 years agoPost 9
FLAP

rrKey Veteran

Michigan

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I agree with Danno. And, I can see the need to regulate UAVs opposed to conventional RC aircraft. The amount of money required for those things leads me to believe that their intended use will not want be restricted to AMA hobbiest envelopes for recommended safe flight. For the most part, the majority of us fly under the AMA recommended altitude of less than 400 feet, and therefore, we should not be regulated anymore than any other RC hobbiest. As many folks do, I feel the government has entirely too much to say already. But, if they can tell us what we can watch and listen too (recent FCC crackdowns) they probably will get around to regulating this hobby too. A certification for a required skill level would be good...I think we all get a little apprehensive when we see the posts from the guys that are just getting started and wanting to jump right into the photography. But, it most likely would not stop there. In these dangerous times, I wish the FAA would concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

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12-11-2004 04:57 PM  13 years agoPost 10
vetrider

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Daleville, AL (Ft.Rucker)

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Your correct Rajun151, I re-read my post and it was ment to be sarcastic hence the ( ).

I've worked in ARMY testing, as a civilian, for 17+ years now and I can tell you that when the FAA started making mandates to the TH-67 fleet being used to train pilots at Ft Rucker your TAX dollars got a big kick in the nuts from the added expense. It hasn't stopped yet and it'll be the same for the private sector of UAV.
The FAA is going to legislate regs on the UAV market and it is admirable that one guy called from the FAA to get educated. The fact and shame of the matter is that he will not be the one making any decisions when it comes time to write the accepted regs. Someone who’s been in the good old boy system for 20+ years and has their own ideas will make those decisions. He'll probley be retiring to become a "Advisor" to an insurance company.
Now if you think I made all this up and it hasn't happened in different situations, your living in fantasy land.

waterskier, I wish you and all the private sector guys the best in the situation. All you can do is try and see.
In these dangerous times, I wish the FAA would concentrate their efforts elsewhere.
WELL SAID Flap.

Nolan

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12-11-2004 05:45 PM  13 years agoPost 11
cdrking

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Seattle

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Maybe after they regulate it the aerial photog people can start a Union and demand higher pay.

Jeff

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12-11-2004 06:16 PM  13 years agoPost 12
waterskier

rrApprentice

Crosby, Texas

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now there is the union spirit!!!!!

Greg

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12-11-2004 06:21 PM  13 years agoPost 13
fitenfyr

rrProfessor

Port Orchard, Washington

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Not new news...
Guys the FAA has been looking at this for sometime.

Greg,
Your comments and opinions given to the FAA were DEAD ON in my opinion.

Being a full scale pilot myself I can see the need for this regulation.
That said let me pop my .02 in here as to why Helicam or any other type of R/C aerial platform needs to be regulated.

1. Have you guys noticed the MASSIVE spurt in the past few months on members of just this forum looking to get into the business. Be it for hobby or commercial use there have been a TON of new people wanting to get started.
That is great I welcome them, but on the flip side I see a lot of inexperienced pilots asking questions about doing this..That worries me.
The level of skill required to do most jobs is usually aquired by many hours of flight time and then the confidence level has to be established to do those flights in a "confined" enviroment.
How many of the current operators still get the "willies" at some of the shoots because the emergency options are not wide open or those power lines are mighty close, etc....
Now wouldn't a basic set of pilot qualifications ensure that we will not be embarassed or worse yet SHUT DOWN due to an inexperienced pilot doing something over their skill level and causing an accident?
Yes standards or regulations will NOT stop accidents or someone willingly operating without meeting those standards, but it will seperate the "legal" operators from those that are not and protect us to a certain level from loosing our rights to conduct business.

2. There has to be a CLEAR definition made of several things.
What UAV's are and which "catagory" each fall into.
A system very much like the current structure of the full scale world would be easy to do and accomplish the task.
Along with that WE need to seperate the hobby level R/C from what UAV operators are doing for $$$$$.
Yes that means if you are going to any site that is NOT an AMA sanctioned flying fleld or private property that is set aside for model recreation then you ARE a commercial operator in the eyes of the regs or maybe you are just a "recreational" operator, but will still need to be "certified"
Even if you are shooting for fun you are in the same enviroment the rest of us working for $$$ are and need to follow the same rules and regulations set forth.
This is all saftey related here guys not the government trying to get us.
We all drive cars everyday and live with the motor vehicle code why shouldn't we have something similar for operating a UAV in the presense of an unducated and possible unprotected public?

If you are currently doing aerial photography or have a great desire to do it in the future you need to be proactive about this not complain that we don't need any regulation.
The regs are coming, like it or not so now is the time to be positive and try to help the FAA write something that will work for us.

RIch has opened a forum pretty much for just this interaction with the FAA. http://www.helicam.org.
He has established a line of communication with the FAA and they are aware of the growing numbers and issues with our industry.
PLEASE take a few minutes to read what has been discussed over there and join in. It is only for the betterment of the industry and the hobby to be active now.

Jeff,
You are not too far off with that.
If we stand together as a professional industry and can show some nationwide standards then doors will open for us.
Pay will go up for jobs, bigger jobs will come our way, the technology assoicated will grow, and MOST importantly the insurance industry will step up and write some viable coverage for our operations.

Being recognized as a segment that is in need of regulation is not a bad thing IMO. We just need to be ACTIVE and work to meet the common goals of the FAA and ourselves.
This is a great opportunity and we shouldn't sit back and complain.

Jason Stiffey
Fly Fast....Live Slow...

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12-11-2004 09:23 PM  13 years agoPost 14
MPA

rrElite Veteran

Australia

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What is being proposed, and supported here is:

When the toy helicopter with a camera on it is not making money from photographs, it has to operate unde the Model Aircraft regulations and doesnt have to be cerfied, or the operator of it.
But when it makes money from photographs it has to operate under UAV regulations and the operator must be certified.

Has anyone here considered the final implications of that.

As in, aksed the questions now that all will be asking after the regs come into effect.

Such as
If I take photographs with my Model Aircraft recreationally abiding by Model Aircraft regulations, what happens if I decide next year to sell some of those images.
But Im not flying the heli anymore because its winter, and I have no intention of doing commercial work when I do get back to flying.

Someone saw the images and wants to buy them.
Do I need a UAV certification then even though Im not flying now and when the images where taken it was recreationally ?
Becuase Im not certified am I prohibited from selling those images I shot recreationally, and how long cant I sell them for after I stop flying, 50 yrs ?
Never ?

And if I need a UAV certification, how can I then abide by the UAV regulations to sell those photographs, when I already took them under the Model Aircraft regulations ?

And If I am not certified I can operate under simple Model Aircraft regulations, but to do one paid job I need to be certified as a UAV, then when I am certified as a UAV and operate under the UAV regulations for the paid job, do I have to operate under UAV regulations on my ensuing flights where I am not paid or do I revert back to a Model Aircraft regulations being the flying is for recreational purposes ?

And if the regulations say (as they intend to) that ANY use of a Model Aircraft for commerce, payment or reward for any part of the operation of a Model Aircraft requires a UAV certification.
Do Model Aircraft fliers at events that fly the Model Aircraft they sell have to have UAV certification?
They fly their Model Aircraft to demonstrate the Model Aircraft they are selling at the event or to promote their Model Aircraft businesses.

Does a person paid some from of reward like accomodation to fly at a Model Aircraft event have to be certified as a UAV because the regulations state that any payment or reward for any part of the operation of a Model Aircraft requires a UAV certification?

There are more questions the regulations pose.
If anyone can answer those Id like to read it.

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12-11-2004 10:40 PM  13 years agoPost 15
DANNO

rrKey Veteran

St. Petersburg, Florida

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those are some good points MPA. its all where you make the split between recreational use and commercial use. yes we do charge for the photographs we take, but i still think we are alot closer to the guys at the club flying for a hobby, then we are to companies that produce large multi million dollar unmanned airplanes.....and i think we should try and convince the FAA that we dont belong in that catagory, and if regs are to be placed they should take into account that we are basically using the same "UAV"s that the guys at the rc club are using....

im trying now to think of a comparable field that is regulated where you can do it recreationally but not charge for it ,and have stricter regulations if you do it commercially....
pilots need a commercial lic but its because they are directly dealing with the lives of paying passengers for the most point. commercial truckers need it because they are operating different kinds of vehicles than what a regualar drivers lic allows you to do...you can use your car for commercial use with out a commercial lic.
i guess what i am saying is that if we are going to get regulated i hope its for what we are, not what the FAA might want to lump us with.....and it probably up to us to make that happen.....so my thanks to all who are actually talking with the FAA trying to make it easier for us to stay in business in the end...

www.skypiximaging.com

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12-12-2004 04:09 AM  13 years agoPost 16
waterskier

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Crosby, Texas

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MPA-
Good questions...Believe me I am not welcoming the FAA, just trying to work with them for my and the industry benefit. As to the line of your questions, I think you can refer to the way the FAA handles the destinction between private and commercial pilots for the paid vs. non paid pics.
MPA-
"Do Model Aircraft fliers at events that fly the Model Aircraft they sell have to have UAV certification?
They fly their Model Aircraft to demonstrate the Model Aircraft they are selling at the event or to promote their Model Aircraft businesses."
Private pilots can fly an airplane for demonstration of sale without being certified as a commercial pilot
MPA-
"If I take photographs with my Model Aircraft recreationally abiding by Model Aircraft regulations, what happens if I decide next year to sell some of those images.
But Im not flying the heli anymore because its winter, and I have no intention of doing commercial work when I do get back to flying."
FAA "No private pilot may partake in a flight for compensation or hire" If when you flew the flight you can demonstrate that you were not doing it for commercial means (to sell the pics) then what you do after the flight is over is your business......But if push comes to shove, you might have to prove that you did not comense the flight with commercial intent.
MPA-
"And If I am not certified I can operate under simple Model Aircraft regulations, but to do one paid job I need to be certified as a UAV, then when I am certified as a UAV and operate under the UAV regulations for the paid job, do I have to operate under UAV regulations on my ensuing flights where I am not paid or do I revert back to a Model Aircraft regulations being the flying is for recreational purposes ?"
You must be certified as a commercial pilot to do commercial work, but if you are not doing commercial work, you revert to the private pilot rules.
MPA-
"Does a person paid some from of reward like accomodation to fly at a Model Aircraft event have to be certified as a UAV because the regulations state that any payment or reward for any part of the operation of a Model Aircraft requires a UAV certification?"
Full scale acrobatic pilots regurally compete in events, They are opperating under private pilot regs because it does not meet the critera of a commercial job.

Danno
Good comments as well-
I think the division between the Boeings of the world and us helicam opperators can be compared to the difference between FAA Part 121 opperators (the airlines, American, Delta, continental) and FAA Part 91 guys (Flight Instructors, Aerial photographers, pipe line servay) Most of the 121 guys are big corps like Boeing, and the 91 guys are small business owners like you local flight instructor....
DANNO-
"commercial truckers need it because they are operating different kinds of vehicles than what a regualar drivers lic allows you to do...you can use your car for commercial use with out a commercial lic. "
If I am correct, I think that all commercial opperators of vehicles that opperate on phblic roads need some form of CDL (Commercial Drivers License)....Plus you can legally opperate an 18 wheeler without a CDL as long as you own it and are useing for other than commercial opperations...all you need is a Drivers license (just like flying PPL)....Beginning to see a trend.....

Greg

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12-12-2004 04:57 AM  13 years agoPost 17
Danny R

rrNovice

Atlanta, GA

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Real security, or just an illusion?
One thing we all should ask ourselves is if any such regulation would actually serve a useful purpose or is it just to provide the illusion of security?

Far too often government regulations are just to keep honest people honest. Those who would break the rules or act unsafely will do so if the regulations are there or not. Thus for most, the regulations just provide more paperwork and hassle for honest citizens.

It seems the majority of concern is about untrained pilots causing damage or injury to others. What most fail to realize however is that if they do, they are already liable for that damage. No additional regulations are needed. Its the same as if a driver gets behind a wheel of a car. It doesn't matter if they have a license or not... if they have a wreck and are at fault, its their responsibility.

If the goal is security, does anyone think a regulation would prevent someone from using such a device?

Thus far the only laudible goal I can see for regulation is if it provides a means of insurance for professionals. However given the crash rate for this hobby, I think its doubtful that any company will ever provide a reasonable policy anytime in the near future, regulations or no.

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12-12-2004 07:04 AM  13 years agoPost 18
HeliCool

rrApprentice

Florida

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Another thought
The FAA has been thinking about how to regulate Model Aircraft since before 9-11. Dont you think they havent already thought about AP helis being their "in" to regulating all model aircraft? If they are able to regulate the RPV doing AP then it is a legal shoe in for them to then regulate the entire industry. Just ask any Rocketeer how easy it is to fly their models now? I would bet that you couldnt find a Rocketeer very easy anymore! That is because Govt regs have pretty much stomped out that hobby completely. You have to be certified to launch them, the only way to get certified is to be certfied by a certified rocketeer. Then they also regulate building engines and regulating when and where you can launch.

These things will be restricted sooner or later but its up to us to hold back how far they push us in the corner.

Rich

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12-12-2004 07:35 AM  13 years agoPost 19
MPA

rrElite Veteran

Australia

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waterskier

Its fine to support things but you need to define what you are supporting first.
And to do that you need to ask the questions that cover all implications.

As to the answers
Question 1 and 2
Private pilots can fly an airplane for demonstration of sale without being certified as a commercial pilot
FAA handles the destinction between private and commercial pilots for the paid vs. non paid pics.
It would equate to pilots of full size if we had a Model Aircaft commercial operting certification, but we dont
We just become a UAV.

Their Aircraft doesnt change from a one designation to another like ours do..
Our regulations do not make such definitions as you describe.
Any similarties to full size aircraft operations are assumed.

The actual regs only define "Any reward or payment earned directly or indirectly from the operations of the Model Aircraft"
Full scale acrobatic pilots regurally compete in events, They are opperating under private pilot regs because it does not meet the critera of a commercial job.
But that criteria applies to full size aircraft, it doesnt apply in Model Aircraft and UAV regulations.
In Model Aircraft and UAV regulations the definition is stated once and that definition does not include anything more than, any direct or indirect reward or payment"

It even goes to the point of stating "reward" so you dont even have to be making any money at all.
Just rewarded.
I dont see how you can assume that some commercial uses under that definition can called non commercial when any reward be it payment or not is considered commercial activity, if its a Model Aircraft.

What defines full size aircraft is in the regulations covering "Aerial Work" and those explicitly exclude UAV.
So far the FAA has cut and paste from the CASA regulations we have and nothing is there to say they will make any variations to that.

Cheers

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12-12-2004 07:40 AM  13 years agoPost 20
MPA

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Australia

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Thus far the only laudible goal I can see for regulation is if it provides a means of insurance for professionals.
Ask the insurance underwriters and youll find that once you become certified as being commercial operator your premiums will go UP.

And at that point your previous insurance covering your "Hobby business" as a Model Aircraft, may evaporate as not all will be willing to insure a fully certified UAV.

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