#ncga: drones and waivers, oh my.

legisThe House Judiciary IV committee had a hearing this morning.  (Of course, we had moles in the room.)   One of the topics they discussed was the new regulations governing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, aka “drones”) in North Carolina.  Of particular interest in that discussion, was this dialogue involving Reps. John Ager and John Torbett

Ager: “In the interest of transparency, will the CIO release information
about who the waiversare granted to?”

Answer from drone bill sponsor  Torbett: “I would see no reason
why not to, actually. I can’t give you — not being the CIO, but I
can’t imagine the reason that they would not, unless, of course, he’s
dealing with such things that might deal with national security.”

Q: “Yeah, and that relates to my follow-up question. I’ve had a
constituent that was worried because they believed that there was a
waiver for the Blackwater facility in North Carolina, and I don’t know
anything more about that, do you uh, would that be the sort of

A: “What’s that called now?”

Q: “Moyock?”

A: “Moyock. Thank you very much. There has been no waiver for Moyock”

(Oh, you can click here for the audio of that conversation.)drone


Moyock is the community where the company formerly known as Blackwater was established.  It changed its name to Xe, and then US Training Center, and then was sold and renamed Academi.  (The founder of Blackwater is no longer involved in this company.)  According to Academi’s website, they are a  contractor in the field of security for commercial and government clients.

Torbett declared there has been NO waiver for Moyock.  But let’s refer back to a  January 21, 2014 presentation by the state CIO — THE point person on drone regulation here in North Carolina — before the House Committee on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (page 12 specifically):

Current NCUAS Status ?

  • NCSU’s Next GenerationAirTransportation (NGAT) division has led the state’s flight operations to date
  •  Received Certificate of Authorization from FAA and subsequent CIO approval for research at 3 remote sites: 
    • Hyde County (submitted as FAA test site) 
    • NCSU Butner Beef Cattle Farm 
    • Moyock 
  • FAA test site decision does not impact NC program and future plans ? Program will focus on jobs, education, and assessing the capabilities of UAS technologies for integration with state and local governmental agencies.