Drone bill would be bad for business
(Editor’s note: The following letter was written and addressed to state Sen. Steve, Hinebauch. The Ranger-Review is reprinting the letter at the author’s request.)
I am a Registered Land Surveyor in Montana. My office is in Lambert and I have been continuing the Survey Practice of Mr. Richard Guenzi (Glendive, circa 1955) since 2001. As a Land Surveyor for 40 years, more that anyone, I am acutely familiar with the issues surrounding real property rights.
2 years ago I received a 333 Exemption from the FAA to commercially provide aerial sensor data acquisition such as photogrammetry. Since then I have provided services to Federal and County Governments along with Private Clients.
As you know, we (us rural folks) are sometimes late in the game in seeing the benefits of new technology. In the past it was electricity and telephone service that was long in coming, not to mention more modern technologies like cell phone service. Many folks in the past where hesitant to embrace these advances because they were wary of large corporations and did not wish to encumber their private property with easements that were needed to construct the required infrastructure that would eventually benefit us all.
The UAS technology has been used in the United States for several years now, and many have invested wisely as they can easily see the many benefits that can be derived from an ability to carry data sensors to a new vantage point. Such sensors do not always incorporate photography. For example Lidar Scanning, Gas and Chemical detectors, Multi-Spectral Imaging are just a few payloads that can provide information that can be beneficial in maintaining the Health and Safety of the Public. Not all Drones are carrying a high definition camera that is pointed at you.
Some have no payloads at all and are in the air for “recreational” purposes. These are the drones (actually their operators) that are giving the industry a bad name and might be the restricted use considered in your proposed legislation.
Certain aspects of data gathering with a UAS require the UAV to fly outside of and around the “area of interest” in order to obtain requisite angles and “points of view” that will result in accurate and actionable data. Commercial Operating of a UAS requires a rigorous understanding of FAA Rules and Regulations, Certification through testing and many hours of training that result in operations that are safe and professional.
I would like to cordially invite you to my Office here in Lambert where I would enjoy sharing my knowledge of the UAS Technology, some of our Projects and demonstrate the many benefits that will be virtually eliminated with your proposed Legislation.
Roger W. Meyer