PAUL’s first rant…
It’s only a matter of time… before one of these UAV’s comes into contact with another airplane. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big of a “technologist” as anyone, but the level of technology required to keep these things separated from “the rest of us” is NOT THERE YET! Most of the UAV’s of the world are piloted by a guy in a mountain cave in Colorada in front of a computer screen with a joystick. Some, are flown locally from an inconspicuous trailer in the Walmart parking lot, but they all require a radio signal to the UAV via a satellite data link… that is where the problem starts! The system latency of a long distance, point to point satellite signal can be several seconds AT BEST… imagine a 400 MPH vehicle being controlled by someone who only knows where it was 3 or 4 seconds ago.
Skin in the game… When we are flying the RV-9A around, we are always looking for other planes, even if we are on an instrument flight plan. The most basic rule of flying is “see and avoid”… I don’t think this can be done as effectively from a cushy seat in the Colorado “bat cave”… what does he have to lose? If the drone, Captain America is “flying”, “scrapes paint” with my little plane or God forbid a 737 with 184 souls on board, he goes home a little upset and the rest of us get shipped back in a pine box!
LANDED – WTF???… Details of todays incident in Maryland can be found at this link on USA Today. You gotta love the mainstream media’s view of what happened. Look about 2/3 of the way down and see the quote “CNN says the drone landed in a marshy area near Salisbury Md.”…. LANDED!!!, I was always taught that a great landing was one you could walk away from and a good landing was one that you could still fly the plane after. Apparently, CNN thinks that any drone in a SMOKING HOLE has landed!
Time and a Place… Don’t get me wrong – I think these things have a place “in theater” during war time and “off shore” for for testing. But, PLEASE don’t put me face-to-face with this 176 Million dollar RC plane operated by Captain America until his seat is rigged with a little C-4 plastic explosive that is set to go off when we make contact!
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