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Comment: Re:Why in America? (Score 1) 152

by Obfuscant (#47435601) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

And you would be completely correct....except for SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT, which effectively exempts the FAA from almost any authority over anything that could legitimately be called a model aircraft used in a legitimate way.

The last part is your opinion, but the actual rule doesn't put it that way. For example:

(4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft;

Making a 180 and flying above a manned helicopter is interference with that helicopter, and is certainly not giving way to them. Further, the definition of "model aircraft" requires that it be:

(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft

Two miles away is not "visual line of sight" of something the size of a Phantom. If you think the pilot was maintaining "visual line of sight" as his craft was flying between buildings to get away from the cops, you're wrong.

Further, it would be interesting to find out if any of the neighborhoods he'd been flying this thing in were closer than 5 miles to any airport, or if he even considered that problem.

Effectively it puts the AMA in charge of regulating model aircraft,

As long as those model aircraft meet the definition of model aircraft and operate in according with that law. Which is one way of saying that the AMA is not in total control of model aircraft, just a limited subset.

Comment: Re:Ballsy (Score 1) 152

by Obfuscant (#47434959) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

No commercial operations? The government shouldn't be blocking the testing or development of new technologies without a strong reason for doing so.

They aren't. I've already cited the UAS information from the FAA.

There is a big difference between testing and development using the existing production system and using limited areas and tight control. The latter is the correct way of testing and development, as any software engineer should be able to tell you.

Frankly, if the drones stay outside of controlled airspace

That's going to be very hard for a 50 MPH Amazon delivery drone to do, and even the toys can wind up there without much trouble at all. Given that Amazon has a strong presence in Seattle, and downtown Seattle has Boeing field, that means the controlled airspace extends from the surface up. SeaTac has even more restricted airspace, which includes a surface up for a distance of 30 miles.

and don't cross state borders,

You do not want the chaos that would ensue if airspace was regulated at the state and local level.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (Score 1) 302

I read TFA. It was a Phantom. Yes, it's a toy. BUT, the exemption applies only to toys that are flown with visual contact. I.e., a tiny thing like this, two miles away, isn't being flown under visual control. The camera that it carries points only one way, and if the police helicopter approached from the rear the operators would not have seen it. It is quite possible that they did a 180 and flew back over the police helicopter (as the transcript from ATC says). If they did that, while not under visual control, and could have been sucked down into the chopper blades, it was reckless. It wasn't the police fault that they turned and flew back over, it was theirs, and it was only because they didn't actually have their aircraft in sight the whole time.

Also, the statement by the chopper pilot that he didn't know what to charge them with is irrelevant. He's not the one who arrested them, and he may not know the exact crime that was committed. He doesn't have to.

Comment: Re:First contact? (Score 1) 93

Unfortunately, we didn't have any openings for reactionless engine technicians or 4th order energy engineers.

You misunderstood. It was the aliens looking for cheap human labor that could be exploited. I mean, you go all the way to Alma Crematoria to take a job and it turns out you're becoming an indentured servant, what are you gonna do? Are you going to be able to afford a ticket back to the Earth? You think you'll find another job there, without good language skills and a degree from an Alma Crematorium university? You may wind up picking cabbage ... or working at Walmart. By the time you get there they'll have stores.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (Score 1) 302

please stop calling these things drones.

I'm using the term that was used in the summary, which was almost certainly a quote from TFA.

Is a quad, hex, or octo copter a helicopter?

If this thing was large enough to be hovering near the bridge and visible to the pilot of the police helicopter, it was almost certainly not a toy or model aircraft, so yes, in this case, it was a helicopter.

FAA is already trying to impose some pretty severe restrictions against modelers.

There is no indication that this was a "toy" or "model" aircraft. I would also appreciate a citation from the other commenter who said that toys were exempted from this, to see if the exemption covers something as large as this apparently was.

Comment: Re:Why in America? (Score 4, Informative) 152

by Obfuscant (#47432937) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

Your definition of "clearly" is very different than most people's I think...

It also differs considerably from what is found in federal law. 14CFR1:

1.1 General definitions. Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

That says nothing about carrying people. The difference between airCRAFT and airPLANE is also clear, same section:

Airplane means an engine-driven fixed-wing aircraft heavier than air, that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its wings.

The airPLANE is a fixed-wing heavier than air airCRAFT. That means that airCRAFT includes hot air balloon, gliders, and yes, drones. And even the definition of airplane does not include a requirement that people be aboard.

But wait, quadcopters aren't fixed-wing, so are they covered?

Helicopter means a rotorcraft that, for its horizontal motion, depends principally on its engine-driven rotors.

So drones are helicopters, unless they're the fixed wing version. And gosh if the FAA doesn't have the authority to regulate flight of helicopters.

Now what about this "high altitude" limit on the authority of the FAA? Sorry. That's just nonsense. There is well-established case law that the FAA can (and does) regulate the use of aircraft down to the surface. 14CFR91 is the federal law covering general operating and flight regulations, and is applicable as follows:

91.1 Applicability. (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section and ÂÂ91.701 and 91.703, this part prescribes rules governing the operation of aircraft (other than moored balloons, kites, unmanned rockets, and unmanned free balloons, which are governed by part 101 of this chapter, and ultralight vehicles operated in accordance with part 103 of this chapter) within the United States, including the waters within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.

Notice that "aircraft" clearly includes kites and even moored balloons, because these had to be specifically exempted from coverage by this part that covers "aircraft".

And 14CFR91 contains rules that apply to aircraft all the way to the surface of the earth. For example, Class B, C, and D airspace extends from the surface up to the specified altitude (it differs), and the "Mode C Veil" extends from the surface up to 10,000 MSL for a distance of 30 miles from the applicable airport. Thirty miles. And 14CFR91.131 clearly says:

91.131 Operations in Class B airspace. (a) Operating rules. No person may operate an aircraft within a Class B airspace area except in compliance with Â91.129 and the following rules:

That kinds makes it clear that the FAA has authority to regulate aircraft from the surface. That cite is just one example of many.

There is no "high altitude" limitation to the rules, and the only reference to "high altitude" that I know of deals with a class of VOR that has a "Standard High Altitude Service Volume". The only thing that "high altitude" might refer to is as a lay description of Class A airspace, which runs from 18,000 feet MSL up to flight level 600 (about 60,000 feet MSL). Note that there are also Class B, C, D, E, and G airspaces which the FAA regulates, so there is a lot of precedent for FAA regulation well below "high altitude". Many of the FAA rules contain an exemption similar to "except as required for landing or takeoff", which also make it clear that the FAA has the authority to regulate aircraft activity at well below "high altitudes", since landings almost never occur at high altitude.

Your argument really feels like the kind of games sovereign citizens and other conspiracy theorists play

Yes. Loopholes based on lay use of terms that are specifically defined in the regulations.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (Score 2) 302

Just because there are no law that forbids flying RC aircraft over a populated area

But there is. 14CFR91 is the basic regulation of aviation. It applies to:

Â91.1 Applicability. (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section and ÂÂ91.701 and 91.703, this part prescribes rules governing the operation of aircraft (other than moored balloons, kites, unmanned rockets, and unmanned free balloons, which are governed by part 101 of this chapter, and ultralight vehicles operated in accordance with part 103 of this chapter) within the United States, including the waters within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.

No exemption for unmanned aircraft. And aircraft are defined as:

Â1.1 General definitions. Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

That includes "drones". As for the "VFR separation rules" some others keep mentioning, here it is:

Â91.111 Operating near other aircraft. (a) No person may operate an aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard.

Now, if the drone operator did a 180 to fly back over the helicopter, then the drone pilot broke this rule. Was he breaking any other rules prior to that?

Â91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General. Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes: (b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

The bridge is a pretty tall structure, and I think New York City constitutes a congested area. If the drone was not higher than the bridge by at least 1000 feet, he's breaking this rule.

What about the helicopter? Continuing:

(d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surfaceâ" (1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA

Since the helicopter pilot was in contact with ATC, one can assume that the FAA was ok with this.

In short, helicopters have a different set of rules than other aircraft, and drones are covered by exiting regulations.

Just as there are no explicit law text forbidding reversing in ones car in a parking space -

I really can't figure out what you are referring to here. What is "reversing in ones car"? Sitting backwards? Or parking on-street opposite the flow of traffic?

Comment: Re:Wikipedia survives it (Score 3, Insightful) 131

by Obfuscant (#47427567) Attached to: How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

With google maps, a phone number change might not be apparently a bad edit until you call it, and even then if it was setup with the sole purpose of misrepresenting a business, then it will be difficult to verify.

Even worse, if the information is a website to reserve a room at a hotel, the only people who will know that the link that takes you to or some other reseller is bogus is the hotel itself. Did I just get sent to when I clicked on "reserve a room" because this hotel wants me to go through, or did some nefarious bad guy point me to his website so he can scam a commission?

Comment: Re:IETF next (Score 2) 309

by Obfuscant (#47420053) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

Yea, but they don't get sued for the things people use the roads they designed for. Which is what's happening here.

Gun and airplane manufacturers do. In a classic case, an idiot modified his Piper Cub aircraft by removing the front seat and installing a camera, ignored the NOTAM that closed the airport he was intending to depart from, ignored the van the airport manager had parked on the closed runway, tried to depart, hit the van and conked his head on the camera he had installed. Estate sued Piper for making a dangerous airplane.

And, of course, remember something called Napster? They provided directories of potentially copyright infringing material, just like Archie, Gopher, and Veronica had done years before.

Comment: Re:The web is not a runtime environment. (Score 3, Informative) 586

by Obfuscant (#47418171) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

The only reason you can't use Turbo Pascal to make web pages is the compiler was never updated for the functionality but it very well could have been.

The web is not a runtime environment.

But web servers are.

The reason you can't use TurboPascal is because web pages run in the browser virtual machine,

Web pages are served by a web server, and the OP is exactly correct: TP was not updated to function well in a web server environment, unlike things like Perl that have modules to deal with CGI.

Of course TP doesn't execute on a browser like the javascript that is common, and web browsers will never see a pascalscript. but that wasn't the claim you responded to. "Make web pages" isn't just "run scripts on a browser".

Web languages, n the other hand, are predominantly for programming code on a server to generate markup, which is then interpreted by the browser to render output,

Right. And there is no reason that TP couldn't generate that output, except that it didn't get updated to to deal with CGI and you'd have to write your own library to do that. Or maybe someone has written one, I don't know. I don't care enough to look. I never programmed in it, I used TurboC.

Basically, if you are thinking your browser is a "platform", or you are thinking "the web" is "a platform" in the traditional programming sense, as the OP obvious is, then you are an idiot.

No, actually, he's quite right. It's a different method of programming, a different paradigm altogether. He didn't talk about programming the browser so that part of your statement is irrelevant, but as a design platform the web truly is different. At least before people tried to change a markup language into a full page layout and presentation language.

Comment: Re:Nope... Still irrelevant... But thx for the str (Score 1) 464

So you ARE insane!

Yes, you truly are the arrogant asshole I first thought you to be. You not only ignore the federal aviation regulations regarding minimum flight visibility for commercial operations, but the actual nature and variability of this monolithic "fog" you assume exists. You make numbers up from thin air (foggy air?) and try to prove something, which I thought was that "It's ALL on instruments." That's a direct quote. I've shown you that you are wrong about that claim by the simple fact that the regulations REQUIRE that the runway be visible prior to landing and that not seeing the runway means the pilot cannot legally land. (And I'll repeat the caveat that this excludes the rare cat III airport/aircraft/aircrew combination.) I cited the regulation. I've tried to instruct you on the standard operations during approaches at busy airports, where pilots are told "cleared for the visual" or "follow the company", which requires hand flying in visual conditions. I've shown that it is not ALL on instrument. That's all I needed to do to disprove a claim of ALL. Can you cite otherwise, or just insult?

You also made the ridiculous claim that "Pilots never get to see the ground if there is fog." That was trivially disprovable by personal experience. The only countering argument that you can manage is "you are insane". You seem unable to understand that a fog that has a visibility of the minimum for an approach will mean that the pilot will see the ground at higher than 1000 feet (1/6 of a mile) while he will not see the runway until he's 1/2 mile from it. He's seeing the ground. You say "never". I say "I've done it, been there." Once again, a single example refutes a claim of "never", even were there no other simple math to cover it. Do you believe there is some magic to fog that makes it thicker in the vertical than in the horizontal? You must, if you think pilots never see the ground when flying in fog.

And finally, your claim that "there is no light in the dark, rain, snow, fog... so windows would be useless" is just as patently absurd, as anyone who has driven a car at night can freely attest. It dark out. There is, according to you, no "light" and the windows are useless. Yet, millions of people drive at night by looking out those useless windows. They drive in the rain and snow. Flying an airplane is not significantly different in this regard. Pilots use city lights, stars, the moon, and especially the rotating beacon of the airport they are approaching, along with the approach and runway lighting systems, to fly their craft and land them safely, despite your claim that it being "dark" makes the windows "useless". And that has no dependence upon the size of the airplane. A 747, Airbus, 182, or even Skycatcher -- all have windows that pilots can see things through at night, in the rain, and even when it snows. (And again, I speak from this personal experience that you claim is irrelevant. It's only irrelevant because it proves you wrong.)

Now, I assume you have more pithy insults to use to deflect the truth, but I tire of dealing with you. I've only held on this long because it is fascinating to watch you hold on so firmly to your ignorance and even parade it about so proudly. And your last comment: "I do wonder if you're actually allowed to fly planes, or is that just your delusion too?" shows that you have never had any intention of a civil, adult conversation, since your only remaining defense of your ignorance is no more than "liar liar pants on fire".

Time is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen at once. Space is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen to you.