Well, I have my N numbers, so now we move on to the next steps.
I had a very nice conversation with the FAA’s Flight Standards office Friday afternoon. Among other things we discussed form 8050-88. That is the form that must be filled out by the “manufacturer” of an aircraft to be registered with the FAA. In my case, one of my birds was completely manufactured by DJI, but the other was assembled with parts from DJI and several other sourceso.
My Bird 1 – Phantom 2 Vision came out of a DJI box from B&H Photo so it can’t be represented as “assembled” in the US. It’s a “foreign” product. The California DJI branch web site that was run by Colin Quinn, DJIinnovations.com, now forwards back to DJI.com, where the US phone contact now redirects to TheNerds.net in Miami ….which is where you can spend hours listening to a repeating message about when how soon they will answer… which they never do.
The prospects for my Bird 2 (Phantom 2 H3D3) may be better- it was assembled in Jacksonville of parts from several sources, to which I added the GoPro, I may be able to convince Chad at UAV-Outlet to provide the documentation on the FAA 8050-88 form which I can then submit to the FAA Aircraft Registration division along with the $5 registration fee.
The form 8130-6, Application for Airwortiness Certificate may be a bit more challenging.
(Are we having fun yet?)
The person I contacted at the FAA registration office this afternoon confirmed that we can expect the “new” rules for UAV/UAS will not really be “new”, but will fit the existing standards for “regular” aircraft. We can expect adaptations for UAVs not too different from those for gliders, but the FAA will not be writing a new book of regs just for UAVs. But I think we knew that, which is why I am following about the same path I might be taking if I had just bought a Cessna off the assembly line, to see where it leads.
I’m running into “dust” from others on the same path but I have not encountered anyone directly; people in the FAA who say things like “Yeah, somebody else asked me that question”.
At one point I was directed to contact Richard Scheibel for his wisdom. Richard heads the Orlando office for FAA Flight Standards, and I was told that he has been handling “some of the many inquiries” starting to come in from UAV operators like myself hoping to begin the process in anticipation of the expected requirements.
However, I was not successful in contacting Mr. Scheibel.