“The Age of The Drone” from Zoot Pictures – Premiers 19 Feb 2015

“The Age of The Drone” from Zoot Pictures – Premiers 19 Feb 2015

The documentary from Zoot Films is releasing on Canadian Broadcast Corporation at 9PM tonight, 19 Feb 2015.

I am unsure how or when it can be viewed outside of Canada.  I will have access to this soon, as Zoot Pictures is sending me a copy of the DVD. Hopefully I can get my hands on it soon, and I will share my opinion.




From Zoot Pictures:

There’s a new revolution happening overhead. The drones are coming.

A combination of Military research and mass produced cel phone technology have enabled a new wave of domestic drones. Amazon.com plans to deliver goods to your door using drones and Google has designed a drone like no other. Farmers in Japan already spray 90% of soy crops with drones.

But drones also raise many issues. Anyone can fly one, putting them into restricted airspace and endangering lives. Flying by remote makes it impossible to know where the pilot is.

There are huge concerns about privacy. There are super-surveillance drones that can see objects six inches across from 30,000 feet, and track your movements all day long.

At the same time Drone Journalism is the new medium that allows the watched to watch the watchers.

New capabilities of incredible speed and precision are being tested, with drones built to look like birds and bugs. There are future uses that are still only ideas, but coming fast.

The drones have come home and are here to stay.

The question is: who gets to use them, and how?    

The timing couldn’t be better for Zoot Pictures, given the recent resurgence in news on “drone legislation” activities from the FAA.

Here’s the latest on that…

From the AMA on Wed 18 Feb 2015:

FAA Releases Proposed sUAS Rule

After years of delays, the FAA released its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for sUAS on February 15, 2015. Although we are still sifting through the 195-page proposed rule, at first glance we are cautiously optimistic.

Since the beginning of the regulatory process in 2008, the path that got us to where we are today took several unusual twists and turns.

AMA’s position from the very beginning was, and will always be, “No modeler left behind!” Along the way, AMA and the FAA were able to address a number of concerns and came together to find reasonable solutions. We were able to resolve these concerns because the FAA looked favorably on AMA and our strong safety program that has stood the test of time for nearly 80 years.

In 2008, the FAA‘s initial thoughts were that it would “regulate model aviation by exempting it from regulation.” As the process progressed, the FAA changed direction and began leaning toward a comprehensive set of “operating standards” that would be the guidance for modelers.

AMA and some dedicated AMA volunteers representing many of the aeromodeling disciplines worked for over two years alongside the FAA in developing those standards. The work was tedious, sometimes tense, and was made more difficult by frequent turnover in personnel within the FAA‘s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office (UASIO), the office within the FAA charged with drafting these new rules.

In 2010, recognizing the challenges we were facing, AMA asked Congress for its support. In February 2012, after nearly two years of hard work, Congress passed the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Within this act is Section 336, titled the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (the AMA amendment).

This amendment, while recognizing the FAA‘s authority over anyone-including model aviation enthusiasts-who could be an eminent danger to other users of the airspace, limited the FAA‘s ability to create any new rule or regulation for model aircraft. Shortly after the passage of this act-and in part due to a change in management within the UASIO-the FAA‘s position began to shift away from the concept of a hard set of standards for model aircraft.

We find ourselves today, nearly seven years after the process began, looking at a proposed rule from which, for the most part, model aviation is exempt. As the FAA administrator said, “… this proposed rule does not affect those who want to fly model aircraft as a hobby or for recreation.” It appears AMA and the FAA found a way to regulate model aviation by exempting it from regulation.

Although we are optimistic, there is a long way to go before this proposed rule is finalized. There is a period for public comment, and it’s possible that the FAA may make some modification to the proposed rule.

AMA is also intent on working with the FAA to resolve the differences we have with the FAA‘s Interpretive Rule issued in June 2014. The Interpretive Rule is the FAA‘s interpretation of the provisions in the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, and there a few areas where we believe the FAA may be misinterpreting Congress’ intent when it included the special rule in the 2012 act.

As the country’s premier community-based organization representing model aviation enthusiasts, AMA has invested significant resources in both manpower and dollars in advocating for, and working toward, the goal of aeromodelers continuing to enjoy model aviation much as we have in the past. The NPRM is a good step toward making that happen.

Once we have had a chance to fully digest the NPRM we will report back to our membership.

for updates on AMA’s Government advocacy efforts.