A Call to Arms in Drone Advocacy – DUG Newsletter May 2017

Most of you are now aware of the recent repeal of the FAA’s Recreational Drone Registry.

What you may not know is that the Drone User Group Network was instrumental in funding John Taylor’s legal expenses, aiding in his defense. Thanks to your contributions to the DC area DUG fund and your DUG National membership fees, we were able to raise enough money to fight for our rights as drone operators and as citizens. We appreciate your continued support and encourage you to join DUG National to further our cause.

There is a lot of discussion on social media and in user forums regarding this case, the two remaining cases that John Taylor is bringing against the FAA, and the effect this all has on FAR Part 336. It is our opinion that we are likely to see more restrictive proposed legislation come down the pike due to its repeal and we urge you to help us come together and speak in one voice so that we can preserve and further our rights to fly recreationally and commercially without undue and prohibitive legislation impinging on our rights. Without Part 336, The FAA could require all recreational drone operators to be licensed Part 107 operators.

Part 336 basically states that there will be no new regulations made by the FAA regarding recreational model aircraft. The FAA registry is in direct violation of Part 336 and represents governmental overreach. We cannot permit legislators to bend or break the law in regulating our hobby and/or livelihoods.

If it seems like drones and drone operators are under attack, you are not mistaken. In addition to the siege on recreational operations, Senator Feinstein of CA. has proposed a “Drone Federalism Act.”  It is something of a contradiction in terms as it would give individual jurisdictions the ability to regulate their airspace below 200’AGL (Above Ground Level) and most recently the White House’s proposal to have the ability to detect, deter and destroy and drone in the NAS (National Airspace) without public recourse or right to bring suit. These are severely restrictive, contradictory and punitive proposals that we need to band together as a community to combat.

Let’s also be clear that a majority of operators feel that regulation is necessary in some way. We agree that some rules are required and welcome the opportunity to participate in the process helping craft regulation that we all can agree on. Regulation that isn’t so onerous that we are forced to break the law in order to recreate or operate commercially.

We are witness to a sea change in how work gets done. The UAS (Unmanned Autonomous Systems) industry has seen tremendous growth in the last several years and is likely to alter the landscape of many business sectors including shipping and logistics, personal transportation, agriculture, GIS, survey and mapping, and cinematography to name just a few. Our nation has been at the fore of innovation for more than a century.
As our society becomes more automated we must educate and train our students to work and thrive in a changing economy. By effectively proposing to outlaw civil drone use, our legislators are being extremely short-sighted as well as ill informed.

It is up to us, as a community, to work proactively to promote positive drone use and to further lobby our congressional representatives.

We urge you to get involved with The DUG and to contribute your energy to our community of safe, responsible, and proud drone users.

Within the next few days, we will be announcing a webcast to serve as a town hall meeting for the UAS/Drone Community. Our desire is to bring the many factions and regions of our network together for a discussion about how we more effectively get our voices heard where it matters and how we work together in protecting our right to use drone technology constructively and positively.

I look forward to hearing from you all in the coming weeks.

Steven Cohen,

DUG – The Drone User Group Network

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