|The eye – and missiles – in the sky.
The San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) have filed an application with the Federal Aviation Administration to create a “drone zone”.
California raises its taxes repeatedly, driving out other business but government contractors who simply charge cost +20% or +30% don’t care what the tax rate is. Northrup Grumman, a major drone producer, has relocated branches of its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program to Southern California. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, which produces Predator drones, is located in Poway. The UAV industry in San Diego County clocks in at approximately $1.3 billion, and that number is growing fast.
Within a few years it’s expected to be a $10 billion industry or even higher, as aircraft move from piloted to pilotless. In thirty years, a pilot’s career in the US Air Force may consist of sitting in a trailer, munching on Ho Ho’s and drinking (smaller than 32 oz) soft drinks while he flies the video game style drone controls. So while the number of genuine flying humans will decrease, the demand for drones will exponentially increase.
The FAA is prepared to greenlight six test zones across the country, and over 40 applications have been filed or will be filed shortly, according to theSan Diego Union-Tribune.
The FAA website describes the goal of the test-site program: “The research done at the test sites will help the FAA develop regulatory standards to foster UAS technology and operational procedures. The effort also will add to the data we need to eventually permit routine UAS operations in the NAS.”
Have no fears. Be of good cheer. After a 13 hour filibuster on the floor of the US Senate by Senator Rand Paul(R-KY), Attorney General Eric Holder sent him a short, tersely worded letter that indicated that the President of the United States did not intend to use these aircraft against unarmed, innocent US Civilians on American soil at the present time.