Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 17

02/12/2015 01:00 PM House TRANSPORTATION

Audio Topic
01:06:43 PM Start
01:07:14 PM HJR5
01:36:30 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHJR 5(TRA) Out of Committee
+ Ambler Road Project Detail TELECONFERENCED
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Followed by Public Testimony if time allows
          HJR 5-RECOGNIZE ACADEMY OF MODEL AERONAUTICS                                                                      
1:07:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO. 5,  Recognizing  the Academy  of                                                               
Model Aeronautics.                                                                                                              
1:07:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES, speaking  as the prime sponsor of HJR  5, said this                                                               
resolution is  a work  product of the  Legislative Task  Force on                                                               
Unmanned Aircraft  Systems.   Last fall, the  task force  met and                                                               
recognized that the  Academy of Model Aeronautics  (AMA) has been                                                               
instrumental  in  the  nation  in   establishing  safe  and  best                                                               
practices to promote good use  of remotely-piloted aircraft, also                                                               
known  as   unmanned  aircraft.    This   organization  has  been                                                               
recognized by the FAA [Federal  Aviation Administration], who has                                                               
allowed  this community-based  organization  to lead  the way  in                                                               
setting safety standards.                                                                                                       
CHAIR HUGHES referred to three  items in members' packets provide                                                               
by FAA [but drafted by the AMA]  that help provide a sense of the                                                               
significance  the  AMA  has  had   across  the  country  on  safe                                                               
practices.   Each item contains  a link  to the Academy  of Model                                                               
Aeronautics  (AMA).   One, entitled  "model aircraft  operations"                                                               
contains a  link to  "Know Before You  Fly." Second,  the handout                                                               
entitled  "What Can  I Do  with  My Model  Aircraft?" provides  a                                                               
community-based set  of safety  guidelines, and  a poster  on the                                                               
FAA's website, which  is helpful for people who  may be hobbyists                                                               
or casual  users, and lists  a website, model  aircraft.org, that                                                               
redirects users  to the AMA's  website.  With the  increasing use                                                               
and  affordability   of  these   unmanned  aircraft   units,  the                                                               
Legislative Task Force on Unmanned  Aircraft Systems felt that it                                                               
was important  for Alaskans to  be aware  of the safety  and best                                                               
practices  promoted  by   the  AMA,  which  is  why   HJR  5  was                                                               
introduced.   She deferred to  Steve Colligan, who serves  on the                                                               
Legislative  Task   Force  on   Unmanned  Aircraft   Systems  and                                                               
represents the Academy of Model Aeronautics, to discuss HJR 5.                                                                  
1:10:17 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE COLLIGAN,  Volunteer, Academy  of Model  Aeronautics (AMA),                                                               
speaking as a volunteer for  the AMA, stated that model airplanes                                                               
and organized youth  hockey changed his life and it  was great to                                                               
be  involved  in  an  organization that  got  him  interested  in                                                               
electronics, mechanics, and doing something productive.                                                                         
MR. COLLIGAN said that the  Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is                                                               
almost 80 years old.  He  referred to a 75th anniversary document                                                               
of the AMA that describes  the history of the organization, which                                                               
existed  before  general  aviation or  commercial  aviation  even                                                               
existed.    People often  think  of  drones  when they  think  of                                                               
unmanned aircraft  and the differences  between a  model aircraft                                                               
and a  drone are  very blurred,  he said,  but since  radios were                                                               
first used,  there has always  been an evolution  in electronics.                                                               
Being involved with the FAA  and communities has meant constantly                                                               
adjusting safety  standards and  best practices to  represent the                                                               
next evolution  for the  AMA.  The  Academy of  Model Aeronautics                                                               
(AMA) provides  information to communities  and works  to promote                                                               
math,  science,  and  engineering.   During  this  latest  [model                                                               
aeronautics]  iteration,  which  he  called  "the  drama  of  the                                                               
drones," there  has been  a lack  of education  and understanding                                                               
even though the  AMA has had rules and safety  standards in place                                                               
for years.   Due to  these evolving  standards, the AMA  has been                                                               
proactively   incorporating  the   latest   standards  into   the                                                               
education process, he said.                                                                                                     
1:12:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COLLIGAN  reported that  the  Academy  of Model  Aeronautics                                                               
(AMA) has voluntarily been  self-regulated and self-insured, both                                                               
for the  pilots and  the airfields  in which  they operate.   The                                                               
latest example of  the collective effort between the  AMA and the                                                               
Association of Unmanned Vehicle  Systems International (AUVSI) is                                                               
the  "Know before  You  Fly" campaign.   The  AUVSI,  which is  a                                                               
worldwide international  nonprofit organization dedicated  to the                                                               
advancement  of  unmanned  systems and  robotics  for  commercial                                                               
operators,  includes  defense   contractors,  manufacturers,  and                                                               
governmental   agencies  that   represent  the   industry  coming                                                               
together through a portal to access  information.  In fact, it is                                                               
a fulltime job  to keep abreast of regulations  and dispel rumors                                                               
related to  UAS (unmanned aircraft  systems).  He  emphasized the                                                               
AMA's  role:    to  educate   people  on  the  regulations,  best                                                               
practices, and safety.   He applauded the sponsor  and her staff,                                                               
[Ginger  Blaisdell], in  leading  the Legislative  Task Force  on                                                               
Unmanned  [Aircraft  Systems]  to  provide  a  forum  to  discuss                                                               
privacy, public  safety issues, and appropriate  uses of unmanned                                                               
aircraft.    He  relayed  that  [model  aviation]  technology  is                                                               
similar  to  gun  safety,  in   that  [safe  use]  is  all  about                                                               
education, appropriate use,  and standards.  Most  people are not                                                               
aware  of existing  rules related  to this  technology, including                                                               
that  operators  cannot  fly  within five  miles  of  an  airport                                                               
without  notifying the  airport, that  the operator  must have  a                                                               
copilot,  and  that  a  certification process  exists.    He  has                                                               
participated in  middle school training and  students are excited                                                               
for the opportunity  to have hands-on experience  and learn about                                                               
this technology.                                                                                                                
1:15:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COLLIGAN referred  to an  incident in  which a  man recently                                                               
piloted  an unmanned  aircraft/drone  that crashed  on the  White                                                               
House lawn.  At the time  the [Legislative Task Force on Unmanned                                                               
Aircraft Systems] began, 10,000 -  11,000 devices similar to that                                                               
drone were  used on U.S. soil  every month - from  one vendor and                                                               
one model,  he said; however,  each time  events such as  the one                                                               
just  mentioned occurs,  it  drives up  more  interest.   Through                                                               
community-based  organizations, especially  in Alaska,  the AMA's                                                               
mission  has  been to  promote  best  practices at  every  level,                                                               
including  ensuring state  and  government [agencies]  understand                                                               
current regulations.   In addition,  Alaska's weather  and [open]                                                               
space provides  for a  unique test environment.   Speaking  as an                                                               
individual, and  as a mapping  professional, he asked  members to                                                               
support the Academy  of Model Aeronautics (AMA).   Although it is                                                               
now technically possible  to equip a small drone  with a "Go-Pro"                                                               
camera  and   perform  intricate   quantitative  analysis   at  a                                                               
construction  site; unfortunately,  unmanned aircraft  technology                                                               
cannot  be  used  for  commercial  purposes at  this  time.    He                                                               
emphasized that  this technology  is evolving, but  also stressed                                                               
the importance of  having public involvement in the  process.  He                                                               
highlighted that  opportunities exist  to use this  technology to                                                               
manage resources,  vegetation analysis, and many  other things in                                                               
1:17:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  commented that  Alaska has  been on  the leading                                                               
front on [unmanned aircraft use], in  part due to the research at                                                               
the   University  of   Alaska   Fairbanks  and   the  number   of                                                               
entrepreneurs  in  the  industry,  but also  because  Alaska  has                                                               
significant air  space that makes  it a great place  for testing.                                                               
On the policy front, Alaska has  also taken the lead.  She shared                                                               
efforts  the   [Legislative  Task  Force  on   Unmanned  Aircraft                                                               
Systems]  took  once the  task  force  learned that  drones  were                                                               
expected to  be in the top  five Christmas gifts for  the season.                                                               
The task  force created and  provided an Alaska  customized "Know                                                               
Before You Fly" safety guidelines  sheet to distribute to vendors                                                               
in an  effort to encourage  parents to put the  informative flyer                                                               
in  the  package.    The  task  force  also  created  a  website,                                                               
Alaskadrones.org to  provide resources  to the  public, including                                                               
the safety guidelines sheet.                                                                                                    
1:19:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HUGHES, speaking  as the  Co-Chair of  the [Legislative                                                               
Task Force on Unmanned Aircraft  Systems], said she is encouraged                                                               
and  excited  about  the  industry uses.    She  emphasized  that                                                               
privacy  and  safety  will  continue  to  be  the  top  priority;                                                               
however, she  characterized unmanned  aircraft/drones as  being a                                                               
neutral  piece of  technology.   People  have expressed  concerns                                                               
about  drones  being used  to  spy,  but  she stressed  that  the                                                               
technology is  "neutral."   It is really  about how  the operator                                                               
uses the unmanned aircraft, so part  of what the Academy of Model                                                               
Aeronautics  (AMA) does  is to  promote casual  and hobby  use of                                                               
this  technology in  a safe  way, which  dovetails with  the best                                                               
practices the task force promotes.   These best practices include                                                               
making  sure safety  requirements and  regulations are  followed,                                                               
such  as checking  in  prior  to using  devices  at airports  and                                                               
operating them under  400 feet.  It also  informs operators about                                                               
privacy issues so they know where  to fly them and how to operate                                                               
them.   Since aviation is very  important in Alaska -  Alaska has                                                               
more pilots  per capita than in  other states - and  Alaska has a                                                               
limited number  of roads, it  has become especially  important to                                                               
educate  those using  drones about  when, where,  and how  to fly                                                               
them  to  prevent  accidents.     Certainly  it's  important  for                                                               
operators to  have fun, but  it's equally important for  users to                                                               
know how  to properly use  [unmanned aircraft].  As  Mr. Colligan                                                               
stated, the Academy  of Model Aeronautics (AMA)  has been working                                                               
on these issues for decades,  leading the way with education, and                                                               
[the task force] would like  Alaskans to recognize the AMA's role                                                               
and to encourage them to use the AMA's resources as guidelines.                                                                 
1:22:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  acknowledged how quickly  technology moves.                                                               
He asked  whether the industry  can keep pace with  questions and                                                               
wondered about concerns  of privacy in relationship  to the speed                                                               
at which this industry is moving.                                                                                               
MR. COLLIGAN, speaking as a  member of the Legislative Task Force                                                               
on Unmanned  Aircraft Systems, answered  that privacy  and public                                                               
safety is the  number one concern of the task  force and the task                                                               
force worked with  the Department of Law to  review other states'                                                               
laws.   One question that  arose was consideration of  the length                                                               
of time  to retain videos for  evidence.  He viewed  the unmanned                                                               
aircraft  technology  as   a  convergence  technology  disrupter.                                                               
Although  it  is  possible  to   outlaw  specific  devices,  each                                                               
component  [in   unmanned  aircraft]   consists  of   a  standard                                                               
electronic component  that has been  combined together,  he said.                                                               
As a hobbyist, he noted, there  are many ways to build drones and                                                               
it is currently possible to control  them with devices such as an                                                               
Apple iPhone; hence, the need for additional consumer education.                                                                
1:25:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. COLLIGAN said the technology  has advanced to the point where                                                               
drones are  safer and easier  to fly, using  multi-rotors instead                                                               
of fixed  wing models, in fact,  they are incredibly easy  to fly                                                               
and  are more  intuitive  to  use.   However,  the technology  is                                                               
different from a hobbyist's perspective  than from a professional                                                               
commercial operator's  perspective and the difference  comes down                                                               
to use and  intent, he said.  The U.S.  Supreme Court has already                                                               
tested  the  reasonable  expectation of  privacy,  including  the                                                               
invasion of privacy  or inappropriate use, and  it doesn't really                                                               
matter if  people are  taking aerial  photos using  a drone  or a                                                               
smart  phone since  the same  laws apply.   Although  some aerial                                                               
photos are not  allowed due to the FAA's  regulation of airspace,                                                               
people can  currently take oblique  photos.   Due to the  lack of                                                               
formal regulations,  it is especially  important for  everyone to                                                               
know the  rules and  to follow  best practices.   He  agreed that                                                               
technology is  outpacing bureaucracy  by two to  one.   The [task                                                               
force] and the  university embrace the technology  and working to                                                               
inform and educate consumers, including  requiring vendors to put                                                               
safety information in the box with the unmanned aircraft.                                                                       
1:27:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   STUTES  stated   that  she   is  all   for  this                                                               
[resolution] and she finds [the  technology] to be very exciting.                                                               
She recalled  when her  young son built  models with  his father.                                                               
She suggested that this technology  can also benefit people since                                                               
it will bring them outside and  into the sun, noting the benefits                                                               
of  vitamin D.   Today's  testimony also  reinforces her  support                                                               
[for   the  technology],   knowing   of   the  increased   safety                                                               
information  and  about  the  AMA's   website,  she  said.    She                                                               
characterized  this  technology as  bringing  the  50s into  this                                                               
1:28:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN said  he is  also pleased  to support  the                                                               
resolution.    He  recalled  using  model  aircraft  attached  by                                                               
strings and  how easily the models  crashed and broke.   With the                                                               
advent  of  radio  technology  came  lighter  materials,  but  he                                                               
recalled the carnage from errors  his son made while flying model                                                               
airplanes.   He acknowledged that  most people who buy  models in                                                               
stores don't  have any  idea about the  rules and  regulations or                                                               
best practices.   He offered his  belief that it is  important to                                                               
educate  the public  on safety  and about  privacy concerns.   He                                                               
agreed the  technology is advancing  much faster than  anyone can                                                               
keep  up  with so  he  applauded  this  effort.   He  noticed  an                                                               
amendment was in members' packets.                                                                                              
1:29:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  asked to comment  prior to taking  up any                                                               
proposed   amendments.     She  offered   her  support   for  the                                                               
resolution.   She  suggested  it might  be a  good  idea to  send                                                               
copies  of the  resolution  to other  organizations  since HJR  5                                                               
highlights  the  [Legislative  Task Force  on  Unmanned  Aircraft                                                               
Systems'] work with several  organizations, including the Federal                                                               
Aviation  Administration (FAA),  the University  of Alaska  (UA),                                                               
and the  Association for Unmanned Vehicles  Systems International                                                               
(AUVSI)  so  perhaps they  should  also  receive copies  of  this                                                               
resolution since the [legislature and  the AMA] plan to work with                                                               
these organizations.   She was not sure if it  was appropriate to                                                               
do so, but it seemed like it would be a good message to send.                                                                   
1:31:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COLLIGAN   offered  his  belief   that  it  would   be  very                                                               
appropriate and the  AMA's intent is to broadcast  this as widely                                                               
as possible.   He also pointed out that lots  of items, including                                                               
model aeronautics  are sold on  the Internet.  In  fact, Internet                                                               
sales have brought  people back to the local  hobby shops seeking                                                               
information  and  education.    He said  the  interest  in  model                                                               
aeronautics has  been good for  local industry and  for education                                                               
and awareness.                                                                                                                  
1:31:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FOSTER  said  that this  resolution  has  touched  many                                                               
lives.   At one time he  had a Buzzard Bombshell,  a Decathlon, a                                                               
Citabria, a  Southwest Cawell, and  a mini glider, which  are all                                                               
in pieces, he said.                                                                                                             
1:32:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES said she would  entertain a conceptual amendment.                                                               
She  also  thanked  members  of the  Legislative  Task  Force  on                                                               
Unmanned Aircraft  Systems.  She  offered her belief that  of all                                                               
the technologies,  this is the  fastest growing.  She  thought it                                                               
was very appropriate that the task force will run until 2017.                                                                   
1:33:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  Claman moved  to adopt  Amendment 1,  labeled 29-                                                               
LS0320\A.1, Strasbaugh, 2/12/15, which read, as follows:                                                                        
     Page 1, line 1, following "Aeronautics":                                                                                 
          Insert "for establishing safety guidelines and                                                                      
     best practices"                                                                                                          
     Page 2, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "coordinated rules of operation and safety                                                                     
          Insert "established safety standards and best                                                                         
     Page 2, line 14, following "organization":                                                                                 
          Insert "that promotes industry and community                                                                          
     safety guidelines and best practices"                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR FOSTER objected for purpose of discussion.                                                                             
1:33:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   HUGHES,   speaking   to   Amendment   1,   said   that                                                               
organizations   are   often    recognized   through   legislative                                                               
citations,  but this  resolution,  HJR5, does  not recognize  the                                                               
Academy of  Model Aeronautics (AMA) for  the sake of it  being an                                                               
organization, but because the AMA  sets the safety guidelines and                                                               
best practices standards so Amendment  1 changes the title of the                                                               
resolution.    On  page  2,  line  1,  it  inserts  the  language                                                               
"standards" instead of "guidelines."   On page, line 14, language                                                               
was  added to  the resolved  clause, as  follows, "that  promotes                                                               
industry  and community  safety guidelines  and best  practices."                                                               
She said this  is important since it emphasizes the  focus of the                                                               
AMA, rather than to recognize the organization itself.                                                                          
1:34:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER  removed his objection.   There being  no further                                                               
objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
1:35:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT   made  a  motion  to   adopt  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT explained  that Conceptual  Amendment [1]                                                               
would  add Michael  P.  Huerta,  Administrator, Federal  Aviation                                                               
Administration, as  well as any  other organizations  or entities                                                               
named  in [HJR  5] to  be added  to the  list of  those receiving                                                               
CO-CHAIR FOSTER  removed his objection.   There being  no further                                                               
objection, Conceptual Amendment [1] was adopted.                                                                                
1:35:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  moved to  report the  HJR 5,  as amended,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal  note.  There  being no objection,  the CSHJR
5(TRA)  was  reported  from  the  House  Transportation  Standing                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR5 ver A.pdf HTRA 2/12/2015 1:00:00 PM
HJR5-LEG-SESS-02-06-2015.pdf HTRA 2/12/2015 1:00:00 PM
KBYF_Brochure (4 Panel).pdf HTRA 2/12/2015 1:00:00 PM