035 Brendan Schulman Interview

by FliteTest | July 18, 2014 | (18) Posted in Podcasts

Brendan Schulman successfully defended the first federal case ever involving the operation of a commercial drone in the United States, Huerta v. Pirker. (appeal pending) Brendan has been into RC flight for over 20 years and enjoys many aspects of the hobby. 

Audio Link


Here are a few actions you can take:
As a US citizen, submit your own comments to the FAA on this new interpretation of what a model aircraft is here:http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FAA-2014-0396-0001

You can make a polite, informed and respectful comment and give a rating of the FAA on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/FAA?sk=reviews

You can sign a petition to have the FAA rescind the ruling. 

If you have a moment, please take all of the actions above. The FAA needs to know your feelings on this matter. With a group effort we can at the very least not watch our hobby banned quietly. We are by no means experts on the matter, so please share your thoughts below. 

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HilldaFlyer on July 31, 2014
Excellent content! I truly enjoyed this format and would encourage you to have more interview or similar formats with people in the hobby, even if it was a phone interview with the panel of podcast participants. This was really great and informative. I immediately submitted my comments. Go FliteTest.
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earthsciteach on July 18, 2014

Is there anyway that you can publish this in other formats (youtube, etc) so that more people can be exposed to this conversation? Outstanding, guys!

Also, (and I know you are a tad busy at the moment with FTFF) have you considered reaching out to news media to discuss this topic? Governmental infringement upon civil rights is a larger issue and should be of concern to everyone.
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Ultimate_Red on July 21, 2014
Certainly opening the issue to the media will be a brilliant idea. It could be used to educate the 'Drone thinkers' as I like to call them and show them that what we do is not fly drones that invade peoples privacy, although this cannot be said for all of us *cough* the millitary, we fly recreational 'toys' like car enthusiasts drive cars around race tracks and bird watchers like to watch birds. Furthermore, the argument could be made that most of us abide to the laws of frequencies and always make sure that people around us are safe.
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ric5 on July 20, 2014
If we don't unite and stand together on this FAA RC MODEL ruling It could be the death of our hobby. The old saying is united we stand divided we fall. Comment now and make your voice heard!
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pittboss84 on July 20, 2014
I have commented on the FAA's page. Asked my friends to do the same, after I told them about the new interpretation and restrictions. I've also emailed the airports around me saying that it will affect them. I've emailed my congressman, and senators. Is there anything else I can do? And when is the dead line?
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Eddy Current on July 23, 2014
This is a good news story, "Model drone finds elderly man, missing for three days, alive".
Read it here...

Quoting the story, "The missing elderly man, who has dementia, was located around 1pm Saturday in a 200-acre soybean field after a model drone, equipped with a first-person-view camera, discovered him alive."
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cetyl26 on July 23, 2014
This podcast got a link on the main AMA homepage!
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PeterGregory on July 23, 2014
Flitetest "scooped" 'em!
Well-timed for Flitefest, too.
Wish I could be there...
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PeterGregory on July 23, 2014
I've been trying to really understand the FAA interpretation issue for about two weeks in order to come up with commentary to submit during the FAA comment period - now two days away.

Best Sources I came up with:

US Federal Law 2012: http://tinyurl.com/ns6agda
FAA Interpretation: http://tinyurl.com/nb4m5po
Press Release from FAA June 23 2014: http://tinyurl.com/p7hzfhf
Do's and Don'ts of Model Flying per FAA Website: http://tinyurl.com/q53q32h
AMA's Rich Hanson Explains FAA Model Aircraft Rule: http://tinyurl.com/nfn694q
Flitetests podcast with Brendan Schulman: http://tinyurl.com/q47wrmk

The most disturbing things to me after really making an effort to understand the situation are
1. Lack of recognition of where the “hobby” has come. The term “model” is misleading. Is there such thing as a “model drone”? A drone is a drone is a drone – what is there to it that makes it a “model”? The term Model was relevant back when there was just manned aircraft and unmanned models.
2. Commercial value of design and sales of model aircraft, accessories, events in the US
3. The lack of recognition of the natural support and promotion from the hobby of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) development. Countless engineers and scientists owe early activity in model aircraft to their technology enthusiasm.
4. Treating model aircraft as full-scale aircraft that must adhere to CFR FAR rules
5. Lack of definition of commercial use where there are already numerous types of for-profit activity - as there should be
6. Where are the model-flying employees of FAA during all this? One has to believe model-flying enthusiasts abound in the FAA – are they being maligned in this process?

Realize commenting to the FAA is just 10% of what actually needs to be done – that is, change the law. The law has been with us since 2012 – now the giant is awakening.
For better or worse, model aircraft world has to grow up. AMA probably needs to reconsider the scope of its mission and activities.
I don’t think it necessarily has to address commercial activity, but it would be in its best interest of staying relevant to do that.
It even has opportunities in fee-based training.
It certainly has a role in keeping line-of-sight FPV off the FAA’s radar screen, and probably low-level flight beyond line of sight as well.
New technologies have broadened the scope of what model aircraft are about, what the expanded uses now are, and the many facets of commercial activities.
The FAA interpretation does not address this reality, even leaning on a dictionary definition of model aircraft – capricious behavior designed to oversimplify and limit the real extent of the “hobby”.

Realize the FAA is already authorized to enforce the rules as they see fit. The one source missing in my list that I would have like to read is Brendan's defense of Trappy - step by step what the charges were and what the defense was. What real teeth does the FAA have, and where & how did they over-reach.
We got a taste in the podcast, but not the full story.

One thing for sure is the giant has awakened. We have to exercise our rights to change the law. AMA seems central to that.
We’ll be living with this – challenges to our freedom – forever.
I accept that it will become part of the fabric of the “hobby”.
Get out there and comment, then contact your Reps, today.

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canuck on July 18, 2014
Well if you ever did decide to move to Canada we would be glad to welcome you. The Vancouver area affords year round flying, minus the rain. ;-) . As always your show is greatly appreciated and always enjoyable.

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Gantorin on July 18, 2014
What impact, if any, will this have on flite fest?
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MT Alex on July 18, 2014
Why am I not surprised that Feinstein is behind all of this?
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Battershell on July 18, 2014
I personally am thinking seriously about moving north to Canada!
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andre on July 18, 2014
That's 2 plugs for Canada in the past 2 podcasts. ;)

Hmm FPV Equipped Canadian Geese.
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Zeb Ludlow on February 13, 2015
Remember guys there more joking than anything when they talk about moving to Canada.(and maybe you are too) but I think we should stand together as American model flyers and protect are hobby.
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035 Brendan Schulman Interview