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jtprouty

The Perceived Threat of R/C and UAVs

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Hi All,

Not sure where to post this with the new forum..... The following information was taken from Monday's issue of the GovernmentExec Daily Briefing and shows just how much people are seeing our homegrown activities as a threat. Being involved in the UAV business and in current Homeland Defense testing in how to defend against just such an attack I can see that we may very well face strict regulation aimed a limiting our abilities to fly our aircraft using anything other than direct radio control and only within visual range. I'll post more information as it becomes available.

" Daily Briefing

September 22, 2003

Regulatory future for unmanned vehicles pondered By David J. Wallace, National Journal's Technology Daily CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The increasing range and capabilities of remote-controlled vehicles has made some jobs easier for law enforcement and military officials. However, the same devices are making it harder to distinguish hobbyists from potential threats, a specialist in unmanned aerial vehicles said here last week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Computer-controlled planes using global positioning systems (GPS) and other technology could pose a danger despite regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration on craft lighter than 500 pounds or less than 55 feet long, MIT professor Eric Feron said at the school's Industrial Liaison Program, which connects sponsor companies with research at the university.

"There is a discussion for how to regulate them so they don't become a homeland security danger—or even a threat if people live near an airport," he said. "The issue is much broader than that."

Who should be allowed to buy such machinery? That is just one question facing several government agencies.

One manufacturer, Advanced Ceramics Research in Arizona, builds unmanned aircraft costing $500 each for remote surveillance, he said. Hobbyists can create gas-powered or electric planes, helicopters and other craft. The trans-Atlantic flight of an 11-pound airplane from Newfoundland to Ireland in April 2003 demonstrated the possibilities of using commonly available materials.

Feron showed a video of a computer-controlled helicopter than can replicate some of the most dangerous maneuvers and some that might be too risky for humans. The craft spiraled wildly in S-like turns and rolls, a feature that could help craft enter canyons or urban settings that he said are too dangerous or too small for manned aircraft.

Border-control agents, military officials and police agencies can use the devices to "see" remote areas without endangering people and then send the people if needed, he said.

Feron and his students are developing algorithms for unmanned flight that could permit the craft to sense and respond to threats, or to changes in internal or external conditions. Unlike autopilot systems that manage basic flight, the maneuvers offer more options such as hovering, distance flight and escape that are not available to larger aircraft that require onboard humans.

"Maybe a traditional way of flying is not enough," he said. "Bees or flies don't fly the same way as an F-22." Such a system could be used to compute optimal trajectory between two waypoints to minimize costs, travel time or fuel consumption, he added.

Unmanned vehicles in sea and air also are approaching an ability to perform functions, not act merely as remote cameras. Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis, the director of MIT's Sea Grant College Program, said improvements in battery life, communication and remote operation have enabled machines to identify and remove unexpected materials from below a ship's waterline, eliminating the need for human inspection.

"The next challenge will be intervention: machines that assemble, recover items, sample returns and manipulate objects underwater," he said.

Brought to you by GovExec.com

Jim Prouty

UAV Systems Engineer

IntelliTech Microsystems, Inc.

htt://www.intellitechmicrosystems.com

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I have always thought model-aircrafts should not be too large, in order not to be too provoking or too dangerous otherwise.

What is "large" can of cource be discussed. What is the central point is the weight, not the way it is controlled.

Extremely large models should be legal too but they should be legally controlled (requiring licence and registration, just like guns) such models should have explicitly announced legal operating areas, or maybe explicitly announced prohibited operating areas. I do not like regulations or limitations regarding my hobby. I do understand some journalists like to express a supposed threat (like they always do) and I understand that could be a problem for us hobbyists.

The probability you will ever be killed or hurt by a remote controlled miniature aircraft is conciderably less that the probablility you will die from a meteroite impact.

The threat you mention is only a ghost, a spoke, a poltergeist. It is only theoretically a threat. It is only a threat to the mind of those people being afraid of it.

You know, our Ministier of Foreign Affairs, Anna Lind, friend of Mr. Powell, got stabbed to death in a mall a couple of days ago. The knife was taken from a shelf in the mall...

That is an example of a threat.

If anyone send you a letter, it is more probable you get hurt or die from some jerm they might have, than the possibility you might get direct or indirect hurt from a UAV built from readily available components as you describe.

Best Regards,

Bosse

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I prefer to concentrate on the positive sides of UAV's, not the possibility to use them as weapons. Just like many of you American guys do, regarding guns, I react just like a hedgehog, when something is mentioned about model air-crafts being posible threat.

The positive side of people playing with hobby UAV's is that the knowledge of it is expanded extremely fast with no cost to governement at all. The potential is almost limitless from a civil point of view and at the present time, limited from a military point of view.

Best Regards,

Bosse

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Most of you guys could buy a rifle or handgun, just by filling in a form and come back in a couple of days and get the gun. In some cases, you might have the opportunity to get the gun right away and fill in the paperwork afterwards...

If you are member of the right kind of club, you might also have the option of getting your hands of an Assault Rifle. (Membership and a blank police registry post should do it).

However, you will probably find it slightly harder (!) to get the right to own heavier weapons such as grenade launchers and mortars, not to mention artillery guns.

That is because your authority think such weapons might be too dangerous I guess...

Model airplanes or hobby UAV's should not be confused with weapons.

Best Regards,

Bosse

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The fact is that they can be used as weapons when in the wrong hands and the government in the US is beginning to become concerned. Those of us that like to settle our nerves every weekend by playing around with our aircraft whether they are R/C or not would never think of causing any harm with them. There are those that would use them for evil deeds and some people are starting to take notice.

Even the president of the AMA has stated that he thinks it's wrong to fly a model under autopilot guidance (even though he was part of the team that landed Maynard Hill's cross-Atlantic flight.) That flight, by the way, is one of the things that is bringing concern about our intentions to light in the eyes of the rule makers.

My only hope is that they don't go overboard and put stringent control on us like the anti-gun advocates are doing. Anything, even guns, when used properly can be safe and not cause any harm.

Nuf said.

Edited by jtprouty

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My point is: Model Aircrafts should not be silly size.

Yours might be: You shalt not let them steer themselves.

I might think it is cute with a 150 gram J3-cub cruising around in my garden, under my secondary control, without breaking any laws.

I might also want to cruise around in the countryside with a 5 kg model with cameras and stuff, with remote vision and telemetry feedback.

Not nuff said,

And

Best Regards

Bosse

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Mine IS - Let US do what we want. I did not write the article, nor do I agree with them trying to limit our abilities to fly UAVs of our own design. Don't assume that it's my position as it's not. I am all for autonomous flight and currently enjoy doing it myself.

I'm also concerned that someone else is going to try to tell me what I can and can't do and if I have any say, they won't be able to. The whole idea behind posting the article was to make sure that everyone that could be governed by this policy in the US is aware of the possible threat to our hobby. There was another article stating pretty much the same thing in another publication last week that I didn't post. I hesitated in posting this one for fear of the lunacy that might ensue.

My fear was justified.....

Edited by jtprouty

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I, too, fear that at some point, someone will try to start telling us what we can/cannot do, based what could potentially be done. While I haven't yet begun autonomous flight,, I can see myself doing it someday. I do strap a camera and a BlackwidowAV system to my plane now, and have fun at it.

I've also seen some articles, and discussions on some internet bulletin boards, by people who are either sensationalists, or not knowledgable, or both, and who would like to see what we do clamped down on, particularly regarding the recent crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Maynard Hill's TAM 5. These people seem to believe that this is an easy feat, and any moron could replicate it. This is far from true, and some 50K was spent on the effort over the years, not counting the donated time of all involved.

Some people fail to remember that the first attempt on the World Trade Center, and the Murrah Federal Building were accomplished using rental trucks, fuel oil and Ammonium Nitrate. No one has called for the eliminating these items. Earlier this year I sat with an employee of the Government Accounting Office during the lunch break at a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Conference. We discussed some of the dvances in technology that have enabled us to do what we do, and his concern was how the technology could be used to wreak havoc and destruction. I countered that, despite all of the security concerns in place in Washington that week, when people were buying plastic sheeting and duct tape, and anti-aircraft sites were being set up around the capitol, I saw a Coca-Cola delivery truck parked right outside one of the many buildings housing vital government functions in the area. A properly constructed device could have done severe damage, with a large loss of life. I asked him if we should eliminate large trucks, diesel fuel, and ammonium nitrate. He didn't have much of an answer. When I suggested that a better way to dispense a biological agent might be to drive around neighborhoods on a summer evening with a mosquito sprayer mounted in the bed of a pickup truck, I think I drove my point home. There are far easier ways to deliver chem/bio/nuclear agents. One of them might be in one of the millions of uninspected cargo containers shipped into this country every year. 'Nuff said!

Ensignnolo

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Ensignnolo,

I am with you.

People tend to see threats in things that are hard to imagine or understand. Journalists love to express new kind of threats in order to make their paper rag more interesting. If anyone wanted to spread havoc, he or she would probably use simple methods, just like they have done so far. I do not want to mention what they might do in the future. However, delivery system of a mass destruction weapon, will probably be an ordinary human, possibly willing to become a hero. Such a system is very easy to program, you just have to tell it what to do, in plain speech.

Best Regards,

Bosse

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Here is an amateur uav being use for border patrol: http://www.americanpatrol.com/FEATURES/030...27_Feature.html

New Unmanned Aerial Vehicle May Be Headed Overseas

Palominas, Arizona - (Sept 26) -- Less than a week after it was first introduced to the public, American Border Patrol's new Border Hawk II unmanned aerial vehicle has been pressed into service in a test for the Department of Defense for possible deployment to the Middle East. According to ABP head Glenn Spencer, the DOD tests have delayed the start of UAV border patrols originally scheduled for September 22. "We could not ignore the call to help our troops," Spencer said.

post-8-1064782066_thumb.jpg

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I have seen those original photos from Iraq. To me, it looks just lika a hoax.

Best Regards,

Bosse

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Item from an open DOD Technical Support Working Group Broad Area Announcement 04-Q-4159

R932 RAIDS III

Develop a small radar system that has capability to detect very small radar cross section targets

such as radio controlled aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in both urban and open

environments. The system must have a detection range of at least three miles.

www.tswg.gov

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Are you guys sure that the threat of UAV's is because of someone using them as a weapon, or as survailance equipment. There are a lot of Area 51's out there I am sure of it. And if anyone with this equipment get's it in his mind to not only buzz by and take a few shots here and there but also publish it on a world wide web site!!!! - boy, will your Gov'ment be pissed.

I find it funny that you are allowed a gun as an American, but soon you will not be allowed eyes in the sky. Another One World Government scheme to control the masses.

As a Canadian, I am sure we will not be affected by YOUR (U.S.) laws.

RANT

I find that the way American's are acting these days and trying to make other countries follow their ways ("your either with us or against us attitude") is totally anti-World, and should be rectified. You are not the world police.... so stop acting like one. Milosovic (Yugoslavian Pres) on trial was protecting his own country from terrorists and the US media made him look like another Hitler. See the transcripts of his trial and he states: he was protecting his own country from these terrorists in his own country, and President Bush decided to go all the way to the other side of the World to do the same thing. Milosovic is on trial and Bush is being re-elected. What's up with that? Were they not fighting the same people. Big Ally babba tribe in Yugo now.

__________

Back to the Subject

I would love to be able to go on vacation with my plane..... sitting in the confort of my own living room watching my plane take-off from my own private runway and travel to far off lands, watching everything from my TV. Then I can edit it and send it into the National Geographic.

Side Note: Living in Toronto, there are a lot of Middle Eastern People all of a sudden all over the place. They have replace whites and black for that matter as the general populus around here. And everytime I am flying my plane, they all come around wanting to know what I am using and where they can get one. Hmmmmmm...... really! Now if this was a normal situation, no one would even blink an eye for everyone deserves a try at fun. But considering that most of the terrorist are hiding within the wood worxs, they could possibly be looking for an alternative to 747's.

I do notice that anything of a UAV type vehicle is very expensive right now. GPS can and does get turned off all the time by the US Gov!!!!!! So... looks like the balls in your court. Let the people unite together and make a law stating that there has to be some form of freedom - especially in the SKY. Who owns space? Well, if you want to go there, you need permission from the Gov. Really!

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Don't know about the rants, just know that the US government thinks that UAVs could be used as weapons no matter what size they are. There is currently active testing going on to see how to counter them (I'm involved in some of the testing since I manufacture an "affordable" UAV close to the DC area.)

The legislation that is currenlty in the works is a matter of flight safety to make sure the UAVs can be safely flown in controlled airspace which the FAA currently believes is anything above the ground.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) won't allow autonomous flight because they belive it spawns terrorists (their words).

Concerning GPS being turned off - not true. It is currently being used for navigation and even landing aids for full scale aircraft. Turning it off would cause a safety risk that is not worth taking.

As an American I don't agree with many of the laws that are passed but, nonetheless, have to (begrudingly) live with them.

I'm in the UAV market and know that they are going way overboard with their regulation. What doesn't help is when people get on the internet and brag about flying over 10,000 feet agl via video glasses or posting video footage of a helicopter flying under their video equipped R/C plane that's being flown via video link. Both of these examples were shown at the UAV convention in Anaheim last month and used as examples of why they think regulation is required. I personally know the individual in charge of the group writing the FAA regulations and know that they monitor these bulletin boards (as well as RCUniverse and the others) to see what's going on.

Anyway, all I can say is I live where I live and I abide by the rules here. My world is a small one and I try to concentrate on what affects me directly. Change what I can, live with what I can't change, make the best of day to day life with my wife and kid, wish everyone well, and keep criticism of others under my hat.

Happy flying,

Jim

Edited by jtprouty

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Precisely the reason we shall all be regulated in the US in the very near future. There are going to be stricter controls put on us than on ultralights and it's coming very quickly.

Cheers,

Jim

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I've been flying RC for over twelve years and yea, I suppose it'd be cool to have the only robotic plane in the neighborhood, but I can't really see the need.

I don't have a problem using self leveling systems for stabilizing camera platforms but "true" UAVs are a whole other matter.

Ever wonder why you don't see many posts in Model Aviation Magazine from Isreali clubs? It's because they allready perceive the RC community as a direct threat.

The only real problem here is that there are probably hundreds of psuedo uav's out there now and pandora is allready out of the box. If the govt had limited this sort of thing earlier, the ordinary rc'ers wouldn't have so much hot air breathing down our collective necks.

The only thing the government can do now, logically, is to overreact. If we didn't have these bozos out there doing all this high altitude UAV stuff, and bragging about it on the net, this overreaction may have come more slowly or not at all.

The sad thing is that it's going to hit the hobbyist the hardest that can afford to deal with the headaches the least.

I can see all sorts of govt forms, and license fees coming our way.

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The only real problem here is that there are probably hundreds of psuedo uav's out there now and pandora is allready out of the box. If the govt had limited this sort of thing earlier, the ordinary rc'ers wouldn't have so much hot air breathing down our collective necks.

Government can not regulate what doesn't exist - that's a simple reason there were no regulations about self-navigating RC models to date. Only recent advances in RF/RC electronics make high altitude, long range fligths possible for an amateur.

My opinion is that people are free to do what they want unless they are breaking the law. And since there are no laws against high altitude flights, the air is free for people like Giorgio (and me :) ). BTW, congrats to Girgio and Simone for setting new FAI altitude record for electric model aircraft.

The sad thing is that it's going to hit the hobbyist the hardest

This is pure speculation - I'd say you are overreacting :)

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cyber-flyer

I have to agree with you there is nothing wrong flying UAVs or RPVs as long as it is done safely.

I don't know of any cases that a UAV, RPV or RC model airplane has been used in an inappropriate manner or as a terrorist weapon.

All we ever hear is O-my-GOD you are building something that the terrorist can use as a weapon you should be stopped.

I am getting dam tired of hearing it.

How ever I do know of 3 cases where commercial jets and and one case of a Ryder truck being used as a terrorist weapons.

Never I have seen or heard of any one wanting to ban commercial jets or Ryder trucks.

If there are guys out there that don't like UAVs or have no interest in flying UAV that is fine but please don't tell me any one else that we should be forced to stop because they don't like what we are doing.

If it had not been for UAVs I would have quit flying RC models years ago I was at the point that I was bored just boring holes in the sky every weekend.

Designing, building and flying autonomous aircraft was and still is very challenging.

Who knows how the the spin-offs from the work that we are doing will contribute to the advancements in the RC hobby but I know that someday it will.

Dave Jones

AUAV.net.

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This is exactly why we will soon find ourselves under the regulatory power of the FAA here in the US. From what I've seen they are considering very stringent regulations, even going as far as requiring the pilot of any UAV to have the same flight physical as a commercial pilot. Going too far? In my opinion, yes. We'll have more restrictions put on us than ultralights and probably even gliders. It's coming probably sooner than you think.

Cheers,

Jim

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I don't think I'm overreacting in the least. Before 911, did any of us in our wildest dreams even ponder something like the Patriot Act? That one bill pretty much gives the govt the power to take away any right or privilege. The more pages like the one I posted are out there, the closer the govt. will look at UAVs and then RC in general as a "possible" threat and in these times "possible" can mean "real" to a bureucrat. I'm not saying to not fly UAVs or whatever. I'm just saying that I do know a few in the intelligence community and they all tell me that changes are coming and they are looking at what's out there. One of my friends is an Army intelligence colonel and he's told me for the last few months that the govt goes into all these websites and takes notes. The government doesn't look at these things and says "No uav's or rc planes have ever been used in a threatening manner"....They look at these things and say "these uav's and rc models COULD be used in a threatening manner". These days, build something, anything and somebody, somewhere, will start considering the possibilities. It's a sad fact of the times in which we all live now. I actually think the idea of having a UAV is pretty neat, but I'm also aware of the times.

Edited by randall1959

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randall1959

If you think that the U.S. Government did not violate the rights of U.S. citizens long be for the Patriot Act was ever conceived of then you need to get your self a copy of The Puzzle Palace by James Bamford it is about the NSA, FBI, CIA, NRO and every other spook group that the U.S. has or have had, it even goes in to some that they may have that we don't know about and may never know about. It will open your eyes about the U.S. government and your rights as a U.S. citizen.

911 as tragic as it was, has been and is still being used as an excuse to implement the Patriot Act and strip away at our rights.

There was a case reported on NPR radio of a man with a web site for StatGate SG1 the F.B.I. used the Patriot Act to confiscate his computer and go to the company that was hosting his site to look for copy write materials. http://www.sg1archive.com/nightmare.shtml

I don't think that the Patriot Act should be used to help control the unauthorized use of copy writed materials.

I do believe that if the Patriot Act is going to be used in this manner that it will be the preverbal crack in the dike of the rights of the U.S. citizens.

"these uav's and rc models COULD be used in a threatening manner".

I am not saying that there should not be regulations placed on the operations of UAVs, what I am saying is that they should not be banned.

Just about any thing that we have could be used in a threatening manner,

Here in Florida on Wednesday of this week we had a guy try to run down Rep. Katherine Harris with his his silver Cadillac. http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/27/...3.harris.attack

Now should Cadillacs or all cars and trucks be banned?

No I don't think so.

"These days, build something, anything and somebody, somewhere, will start considering the possibilities."

You are correct perhaps we should ban the building of everything, We can all go back to living under trees or in caves.

And wile we are at it we can ban cars, trucks, plans, trains, ships and go back to riding horses or walk.

I agree with you that it is a sad fact of the times we live in but don't make me give up some thing that I enjoy because of what it COULD be used for and not what it has been used for.

I have given 3 examples of commercial jets and and one example of a Ryder truck and now one example of a silver Cadillac

being used as terror weapons yet NO ONE is trying to ban them.

With UAVs it's as my good friend Bob Young of Silvertone Electronics in Sydney, Australia says If you don't understand it then banned it http://www.silvertone.com.au/

If you think that it is easy to put a GPS in a model airplane and get it to fly to a way point, then give it a try you will find out quickly how difficult it is.

Those of us that are building and flying UAV have gone over this time and time again with new guys that jump on the we need to ban these dangerous UAVs

Bandwagon.

I will go over it one more time.

How much damage do you think could be done with a 15 lb model or UAV compared to a commercial jet?

If a 15 lb model or even a 150 lb model for that matter had hit the world trade center how much damage do you think it would have done?

There is a reason it was commercial jets used to attack the world trade center and the pentagon and NOT 15 lb UAV's.

Bigger bang for the BUCKS or in the case of 911 bigger bang for the death of the NUTS that hijacked the jets.

There is an endless supply of these crazies that are willing to die for there cause and that is far more dangerous than a 15 lb UAV could ever be.

I am more concerned with the 727 that has been missing for more that a year now and no one has any idea of where it is.

It is my understanding that some time before it went missing this aircraft was converted into a fuel tanker, making it highly desirable as a "flying bomb."

I will not go in to how it could be done but there are ways that that aircraft could be flown into the U.S. it scares the bejebers out of me to think that there is a stolen 727 some where in the world and no one has any idea at where it is.

http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en...727&btnG=Search

http://www.strategypage.com/messageboards/...ages/13-125.asp

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article....RTICLE_ID=34822

Please don't think that I am antiGovernment I am not but the Government is going to do what ever it wants regardless of how it affects me or any one that is building and flying UAVs or model airplanes so I will continue to build and fly them until I am told that I that I have to stop.

I am getting tired of the same old what they could be used for excuse as to why they should be banned.

I have been hearing it from the first day that I started building my first very crude UAV.

Dave Jones

AUAV.net

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It goes with the territory. You don't have to be flying a UAV to hear it these days. Everyone in the RC community has been hearing it since 911. I've been asked a thousand times how much my plane can carry, what it can do, so on and so on. I don't think they're worried about the guy that's doing things without malice. But the guy that is thinking about malicious uses will be downfall of everyone else. Like I said, the govt will overreact because that will be the only way to corral the problem in the way that they view things. Like I said, the little guy will be the one that suffers the most once the govt starts putting down rules and regulations.

Just like in Colorado, if you are seen driving a car that is smoking, you instantly get a ticket and they don't care if you can afford it or not.

If you apply this logic to the uav issue, as I'm sure govt will, the guy that does this as a hobby will probably be forced out of it over the hassle and the expense. I know guys that cropdust and every year since 911 they've had more and more BS rules and regs to follow and it's becoming very hard for the little guy to stay afloat.

Edited by randall1959

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