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Comment It just doesn't make sense (Score 1) 403

So say the citizens of the world all have the NSA approved encryption with back doors that are super secret and the NSA is the only ones in through them.

Then along comes Dr. Evil and his group. They decide to use some non-NSA approved encryption, maybe something they made up. No back doors, and super long keys.

The NSA gets to look at our communications until the cows com home, but the bad guys still have encrypted stuff that no one can break for a hundred years.

How does having NSA approved encryption help?

Comment The article is confusing as the summary. (Score 1) 345

The article talks about the "round dials", as if the 747's are all steam gauges. The 747-400 has a glass cockpit, and they even talk about the 747-400 simulator. The 747-8 is a modern jet, built about the same time as the 787.

Pilots say "scarebus" sometimes, and there is a rivalry between Ford and GM, like Boeing and Airbus.

The 787 may seem more economical, being a twin, vs the 4 engines, but it is complicated. See: http://flyingandtechnology.blo...

More people fit on the 747 than on a 787, so it takes fewer trips to haul the same number of people. The 747 makes a better cargo aircraft for large items. It is complicated. They will continue to fly for the rest of my lifetime I am sure.

Comment Re:The relevant regulation (Score 1) 176

As a pilot, I don't want to bump into a drone of any kind. The actual damage/result is unpredictable. Will the drone hang on to something, will the drone cause damage to my aircraft. Where will the drone end up when the impact occurs? Will the guts end up in the air intake, causing my engine to quit? Will the drone crack a light, will the drone go through the window? F=MA and you can't change that, I am flying at 150mhp, your 5lb drone can do serious damage, bend metal, break plastic, or more.

Even if it doesn't cause a crash, it will likely cause damage to the aircraft. Think of you car being hit by a golf ball. It may break a window, or put a dent in the hood, causing the owner/insurance company to pay $$ for something that the driver was innocent of.

Imagine doing your job, and someone is throwing rocks and your have to go through the area. Sure the person throwing rocks isn't doing anything illegal, but they may damage you.

Fire fighting is dangerous. Firefighting in an aircraft is dangerous. Throwing extra objects in the air near the firefighting aircraft makes the firefighting even more dangerous.

The golden rule needs to apply to the drone operator and the firefighters.

Comment Good and Bad (Score 1) 345

Much of the modern C++ dialects seem to be a winner. Certainly smart pointers and templates can be good, and are an improvement over the older C++ concepts. C++11/14/17 add features that make writing broken code harder.

Like anything, with much power comes much responsibility.

Lambdas and templates when overused make debugging next to impossible. I was working on some code that was so far nested in a bunch of templates, I couldn't use GDB to make any sense of it. Eventually I tore apart the templates to find a small bug in one of them.

Also the G++ compiler errors don't often point to anything meaningful. Missing a semicolon can result in a paragraph of errors, one may point at the actual error.

Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate C++, but you earn your pay using it.

Comment Re:Anyone who knows avionics knows he's full of sh (Score 2) 200

The Avionic box was probably designed in 1984, using hardened chips of the day. Chances are, it uses a 80186 or something of equal power, but no Linux, or Windows. Certainly there was never an IP stack in the OS, and there were never any ethernet connectors on the box. There is an ARINC-422 connection, which is mostly GPIO pins, not much serial.

Yes, there could be updates to the box, but the certification process is very time consuming. There are paths for software updates, but the hardware has almost no changes over the last 30 years.

Yes, Chris Roberts is full of Sh** and is causing peoples heads to explode for no good reason.

Comment I could see it (Score 1) 355

When I was 19 or 20 I was a whiny jerk to my professors. I let a couple cute girls copy off my test in a comp sci class they had no business being in.

When I went back to get more schooling at 30, I got really tired of listening to the 20 year old whiny jerks in the comp sci classes I was in, The professor basically gave up on the last two weeks of one course because the whiny jerks belittled him into not moving forward with the last part of his class. I wish he would have stuck with it, because about half the class would have failed that part of the final test.

Comment ICAO, RTCA and Avionics manufacturers are thinking (Score 2) 113

This report is just a warning, then CNN gets it and asks broad questions "could someone do this??" and an expert who hasn't seen the architecture says, "sure, it could happen". He wants to say "but, in the real world, no!", of course the CNN anchor cut him off. It is possible that the pilots iPad may be connected to the passenger cabin WiFi if the pilot was connected earlier, but forgot to switch over. Connecting the iPad to the aircraft will only bring in power, nothing else. There is no way to control the autopilot from the iPad, no way to reroute the plane from the iPad.

Most connected aircraft will have two routes to the ground, the cockpit and the IFE (passenger cabin). There are many documents about the thoughts that the manufacturers have. Firewalls are good, and may be used in some cases, but so far that is rare.

Comment This will only not work (Score 1) 213

On rainy and windy days, over farmland, during the holidays and in cities.

A little autonomous drones will be badly affected by wind and weather. Sure on sunny calm days they will work fine. Some stormy night and you want that tin of cavier delivered, and the drone will be wet and blown off course. What happens when they are struck by lightning?

Over farmland, the airspace starts at 0ft. Ag Aircraft are allowed to stay 500ft away from buildings and people, meaning over a random corn field, the aircraft can fly until their wheels touch. Bumping into a 50lb drone at 100kts will leave a dent in the aircraft, and probably destroy your package.

The world is mostly got paths clear around most houses, except during the holidays. A string of christmas lights may not be detectable by a drone, so what should it do when encountering it.

The cities are very dynamic. Delivery trucks, cats, dogs all change the terrain around your house. what happens when a delivery drone is being chased and caught by a curious cat. How about a large bird attacking it. Say the UPS driver just delivered a pile of packages to the front porch, and now there is no place for the Amazon drone to put something.

Then what about security? Certainly all a nefarious person would need to do drive around following drones, and collecting packages before the residents collect them.

How about people who live within 5 miles of an airport. Drones are not allowed there. No deliveries for you.

Yea, lots of work, for little payback.

Comment Re:I'd rather the FAA get its ass in gear (Score 1) 60

Lets say the FAA makes an error (IE no means for coordination between UAV and Manned aircraft). The consequences of the drone taking out the EMT helicopter are quite big. Maybe the EMT helicopter only kills everyone on board, and not all the rescuers on the ground, then I guess it isn't so bad.

No, let them go through the process and get it right. Your local EMT will thank you someday.

Comment Dithering? I don't think so (Score 4, Insightful) 85

different rules for different folks.

The US is very flexible when it comes to aviation regulations. When you hear on the news "No flight plan was filed..." it is because not flight plan is required for most flights. Aircraft are allowed to fly where they want most of the time (500ft away from objects, unless congested areas). Other countries are more constrained with current manned aircraft systems, so it is easier to control where the manned systems operate, keeping them away from the unmanned systems.

Now the UAS community wants to mix it up. Flying manned and unmanned aircraft in the same airspace, will be a challenge. Keeping them separated will take special processes and procedures. Quantified right of way rules, operating in see (sense) and avoid situations. Today the only technology that will keep UAS and manned aircraft systems separate are the eyeballs in the pilot/operators heads.

Then there are all kinds of considerations beyond that. Maintenance is a big one. The batteries in drones are similar to phone batteries. From the factory, they run for a day, but after a year of regular use, they don't have the same capacity, and your typical quad copter has only one mode when the batteries die, and it isn't a glide mode.

How about coordination with other operators. The big wreck on the freeway needs a EMS helicopter to evacuate a victim, but there are 6 UAS systems (3 TV stations, 2 newspapers and a dude with his for the heck of it) filming the carnage. How do you tell the UAS systems to get out of the way?

So to make all this work, there are operator training items to consider, maintenance requirements, communications requirements, accident reporting considerations, insurance and stuff most folks haven't thought about. If you think the FAA can knock that out in a weekend, you are fooling yourself. Go have a read of the proposed Part 107 regulations. Lots of things are missing, it is just a start, and it is well thought out.

Comment Bureaucratic red tape (Score 2) 119

Can you promise the drone, out of your site, will not run into another aircraft, person or building?

For experimental situations over known terrain maybe autonomous drones will work fine. For commercial operations in situations where other aircraft may be operating (IE EMS helicopters, AG aircraft, other drones, etc), the drone needs to operate under the same rules as the manned aircraft they are in the vicinity of. Manned aircraft have to see and avoid other aircraft. It doesn't always work, but certainly with two pilots looking gives a fighting chance of one pilot noticing. Today pilots have a hard time seeing birds, and putting drones in their way will cause more accidents.

Please consider aircraft of all sizes and types. Sure a 5lb drone may not hurt a 747, but a 5lb drone will probably go through the windshield of a small twin engine aircraft. If the drone were to be ingested by a turbine engine, it is likely to cause damage to the engine (and destroy the drone), but who gets the bill. If I were running an airline, I would certainly want the $millions to repair that turbine reimbursed.

Comment Re:4 of 5 contained zero of the claimed ingredient (Score 1) 412

That is a fantasy. Class action suits only enrichen the lawyers running them. The lawyers get 30-50% of the settlement, where the other 100,000 have to split the rest of the settlement. Do the math quick, and a $20mill suit gets the lawyers say $5mil (40%). There is $15mil split between 100,000 folks or $150 per person. They probably don't even get that much when you figure what the administrative fees are.

I guess to Joe Sixpack, a free $150 will buy some beer, and make a weekend worth living again. Or maybe they will buy some protein shakes and bulk up to beat up the lawyer that promised 'em $millions.

If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly.