Small Business Committee hears from UAS entrepreneurs

By Emily Aasand | July 29, 2015

Small Business committee members heard from various industry personnel who presented to help the committee examine the innovative use of the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by small businesses, as well as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s process in developing rules for wider commercial application.

“There are moments when we can unleash a positive force of innovation and job creation if we do not smother it with regulations,” said Steve Chabot, R-OH. Most of the time, the government misses these moments, and we’re left to wonder what could have been. While we must promote public safety and proper usage of unmanned aircraft, we must ensure that the regulations are carefully crafted so that they don’t prevent this new industry from innovating and helping grow our economy. As Chairman of this Committee, it is my goal to work with the entrepreneurs leading this industry to make sure it can be the positive force that we all know it is.”

Michael GilKey, CEO of 3D Aerial Solutions LLC, was one industry leader who testified on behalf of UAS benefits to agriculture. Small UAS allow farmers to identify, analyze and manage variability within fields for optimum profitability, sustainability and environmental protection.

“Aerial imaging offers greater coverage by sampling every point in the field at the camera’s image resolution,” said Gilkey. “Small UAS like our eBee can fly much lower than manned aircraft and can offer extremely high image resolution. They can also operate very inexpensively and virtually ‘on-demand.’”

“Unmanned systems hold the potential to truly revolutionize our economy and way of life in the United States,” added Gilkey. “However, the highly restricted nature of the current interim rules and the slow pace of permanent rulemaking continues to stifle the ability of small business to capitalize on this market’s potential… Small business people like me are slugging their way through the obstacles and bureaucracy to fulfill our dreams of creating this new industry. We are pioneers, determined to succeed and believe the country and world will be beneficiaries.”

Brian Streem, CEO and founder of AeroCine, Tim McLain, professor of mechanical engineering & director for the center of unmanned aircraft systems at Bingham Young University, and Brian Wynne, president and CEO of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International also testified.

“The FAA’s efforts to integrate UAVs into the national airspace are commendable in the face of extraordinarily challenges,” said Streem. “We recognize the FAA prefers the incremental approach of crawl, walk, run. But right now regulation in the United States is sorely lagging behind the technology, which is sprinting.”

“UAS increase human potential, allowing us to execute dangerous or difficult task safely and efficiently… Given the technology’s potential it is important that the FAA finalize the small UAS rules as quickly as possible,” said Wynne. “Moreover, Congress needs to pass—and the President needs to sign into law—an FAA reauthorization measure before the current authorization expires on September 30, 2015.”


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