The issue of privacy has muddled the drive for UAS safety regulation. My own belief is that many of the things that most concern privacy advocates, such as flying low enough to look in someone's window, may also be unsafe, and that effective safety regulations will go a long way toward addressing the privacy concerns. But the FAA must not allow such misgivings to stand in the way of implementing its primary charter. Its mandate is safety.
The history of aviation safety regulations is, sadly, one where rules are promulgated largely in response to accidents. We cannot, should not and must not follow this path on SUAS. Rules will evolve based on experience and practice, but we must start somewhere. The FAA should release the SUAS NPRM immediately so we can all get started.
John Langford is a longtime aeromodeler and the founder and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.