Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 17

02/02/2016 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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01:06:02 PM Start
01:06:17 PM HCR17
01:52:04 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HCR 17-SUPPORT AVIATION INDUSTRY; USE STATE LAND                                                                    
1:06:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO.  17, Supporting  the aviation                                                               
industry;  and  urging  the governor  to  make  state-owned  land                                                               
available  to  the unmanned  aircraft  systems  industry for  the                                                               
management  and  operation  of   unmanned  aircraft  systems  and                                                               
related research, manufacturing, testing, and training.                                                                         
1:07:00 PM                                                                                                                    
GINGER  BLAISDELL, Staff,  Representative Shelley  Hughes, Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, on  behalf  of  Representative Hughes,  prime                                                               
sponsor, stated that  HCR 17 is offered by  the Unmanned Aircraft                                                               
Systems  (UAS)  Legislative  Task  Force ("the  task  force")  in                                                               
support of UAS companies and  manufacturers utilizing state lands                                                               
for  research,  testing,  training, and  general  operations  for                                                               
unmanned   aircraft.     She  stated   that  components   of  the                                                               
legislation are  outlined in  some of  the "Whereas"  portions of                                                               
HCR17, and some  of the information, including  statistics on the                                                               
landmass available,  came from U.S. Senator  Lisa Murkowski's web                                                               
site.  (Technical difficulties) an  enormous resource that is not                                                               
being utilized  for this  industry with  the unpopulated  or low-                                                               
risk land for these types of flights.                                                                                           
MS.  BLAISDELL   explained  that   the  second  portion   of  the                                                               
statistics  came  from   the  Federal  Aviation  Administration's                                                               
(FAA's) federal budget,  "some of the kind things  they say about                                                               
Alaska  and  really promoting  this  industry."   Therefore,  she                                                               
advised,  the task  force believes  that putting  this resolution                                                               
before  the  legislature will  encourage  state  agencies to  use                                                               
state land for the purpose of benefitting Alaska's economy.                                                                     
1:08:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  asked Ms.  Blaisdell to clarify  the intent                                                               
of HCR 17.                                                                                                                      
MS. BLAISDELL answered  that "we have one  individual online" who                                                               
has entered into an agreement with  a state agency to secure land                                                               
space to  fly drones  unhindered by  other structures  and highly                                                               
populated areas.   Consequently, the individual  is mastering his                                                               
skill by  using state  lands.   She pointed  out that  some state                                                               
agencies may  be unaware of  the existing opportunities  in terms                                                               
of  entering   into  contracts  or   making  land   available  to                                                               
manufacturers  and pilots  seeking training  hours.   She offered                                                               
that the UAS industry may be  able to bring some economic benefit                                                               
to Alaska.                                                                                                                      
1:10:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES   inquired  whether  space   is  currently                                                               
limited and whether there are specific guidelines for drone use.                                                                
MS. BLAISDELL replied that currently  UAS hobbyists can fly their                                                               
aircraft just  about anywhere  for recreational  purposes, except                                                               
within  five  miles  of  an  airport.    Although,  she  advised,                                                               
commercial users, with  FAA exemptions, can fly  their drones for                                                               
commercial purposes  which may provide  more area latitude.   The                                                               
goal of  the resolution is  to increase commercial UAS  access to                                                               
state land, she explained.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked for  confirmation that  the proposed                                                               
resolution would be  directed at commercial users,  as opposed to                                                               
private individuals and their drones.                                                                                           
MS. BLAISDELL replied that's correct.                                                                                           
1:11:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  stated that  she wanted to  add (technical                                                               
difficulties) but of  course it's a concurrent  resolution, so it                                                               
would  not be  binding.   A  portion of  the  task force's  duty,                                                               
assigned legislatively,  was to encourage the  development of the                                                               
private sector UAS industry, and HCR  17 was in response to that.                                                               
The  task force  realized  that  20 percent  of  Alaska is  state                                                               
lands, which  is 5  percent of  the entire U.S.  land mass.   She                                                               
suggested that in  the event the state could  remove barriers and                                                               
offer that space  to local, national, and  global UAS businesses,                                                               
Alaska could receive  a better slice of the economic  pie in this                                                               
burgeoning industry, which is the basis of this resolution.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE NAGEAK described Alaska  as an aviation state with                                                               
thousands  of private  airplanes flying  throughout the  state in                                                               
small and large towns.   Representative Nageak voiced his concern                                                               
as to  how the  drones would  be regulated  to ensure  safety was                                                               
given  due  consideration  during  its policy  development.    He                                                               
related a story about a  friend in the [Matanuska-Susitna] Valley                                                               
who has  an airstrip on  his property,  and he noted  that pilots                                                               
tend  to migrate  toward  areas uninhibited  by  power lines  and                                                               
trees.   He  reiterated his  concern regarding  interference with                                                               
other  aviation traffic,  and that  Alaska should  work with  the                                                               
industry  to  ensure  that  the  rules  and  regulations  address                                                               
pertinent safety issues.                                                                                                        
1:15:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   ORTIZ  requested   verification  that   the  FAA                                                               
currently grants permission for UAS commercial operations.                                                                      
MS. BLAISDELL confirmed Representative Ortiz's understanding.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  inquired whether,  moving in  the direction                                                               
of policy similar  to what HCR 17 calls for,  the FAA would still                                                               
remain the organization in charge  of monitoring and managing the                                                               
UAS industry.                                                                                                                   
MS.  BLAISDELL  replied  that  the  proposed  resolution  applies                                                               
specifically  to  commercial  operators,  and  currently  an  FAA                                                               
Section  333   exemption  is  necessary   in  order   to  operate                                                               
commercially.  In  order to obtain the  FAA exemption, commercial                                                               
operators  must  have  a  pilot, ground  crew,  and  a  certified                                                               
aircraft, with certain  requirements to be met  before becoming a                                                               
commercial  operator.     In  addition  to   the  exemption,  she                                                               
explained,  there   is  a  requirement  that   commercial  pilots                                                               
broadcast a  Notice to Airmen  (NOTAM) informing other  pilots of                                                               
the commercial flight plan even in  the instance of a small piece                                                               
of UAS  equipment.  Other pilots  can quickly check a  website to                                                               
see who is  flying and where in  order to avoid each  other.  Ms.                                                               
Blaisdell  advised that  commercial  UAS pilots  are required  to                                                               
have the  same licenses as  pilots of conventional  aircraft, and                                                               
they are  held to  the same safety  parameters as  other aviators                                                               
overseen by the FAA.                                                                                                            
1:17:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  noted  that  the title  of  the  proposed                                                               
resolution does  not appear  to exclude  the private  sector, yet                                                               
that was the  intent of this resolution.  She  suggested that the                                                               
title  be rewritten  to  more specifically  explain  that HCR  17                                                               
would not apply to the private sector.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  clarified that the intent  of the proposed                                                               
resolution is to allow and  encourage commercial UAS operators to                                                               
operate  over  state   owned  property.    She   noted  that  the                                                               
resolution would not ask anything  of private property owners and                                                               
asked Representative Stutes for further clarification.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  stated  her  understanding  in  that  the                                                               
resolution  would only  address commercial  users of  drones, and                                                               
the  purpose of  HCR 17  is  to prohibit  private operators  from                                                               
using the same state lands  commercial operators would be granted                                                               
access to.   In her interpretation, she said, the  title does not                                                               
specify this exclusion.                                                                                                         
1:19:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAISDELL directed  attention to page 2, lines  20-22, "BE IT                                                               
RESOLVED that the Alaska State  Legislature supports the economic                                                               
growth  of the  unmanned aircraft  systems industry,"  and stated                                                               
that  the legislation  is  designed to  focus  on the  commercial                                                               
aspect of  drone use.   Currently, under  FAA rules,  hobbyist or                                                               
recreational   use  operators   are   not   governed  under   FAA                                                               
regulations.   There  are guidelines  for  safe flying,  advising                                                               
operators to avoid airports and  dangerous situations but private                                                               
operators are  not currently regulated,  and she  emphasized that                                                               
HCR 17  is focused  on the  industry aspect  because it  has much                                                               
tighter  restrictions.   The  title  originated with  Legislative                                                               
Legal  and  Research  Services,  and   she  said  she  could  ask                                                               
Legislative  Legal  and Research  Services  whether  it could  be                                                               
rewritten for purposes of clarification.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES asked  whether  the intent  is to  exclude                                                               
private drone use.                                                                                                              
MS. BLAISDELL replied that there  is no exclusion language in HCR
17.  Therefore, hobbyists can  fly wherever they choose with very                                                               
specific exceptions, such as within  the boundaries of an airport                                                               
or over  large crowds.   Currently, private operators can  fly on                                                               
state land, she said.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES   asked,  hypothetically,  whether   as  a                                                               
private citizen she could operate a drone on state land.                                                                        
MS. BLAISDELL replied affirmatively.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE   STUTES    thanked   Ms.   Blaisdell    for   the                                                               
1:22:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES stated  that the  term "unmanned  aircraft                                                               
industry"  is being  used in  the United  States to  indicate the                                                               
commercial  industry, and  typically,  [in  reference to  private                                                               
operators],  the conventional  nomenclature is  "recreational" or                                                               
"hobbyist."    She  reiterated   that  the  resolution  addresses                                                               
commercial users,  exclusively.   She pointed  out that  a person                                                               
may  think that  industry  word includes  both  the hobbyist  and                                                               
commercial, but typically it is  being used solely for commercial                                                               
which is the way it is being used here.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES noted  that she  would like  to take  this                                                               
opportunity  to  educate  the  public  that  information  on  the                                                               
recommended    safety   guidelines    for   UAS    use   is    on                                                               
alaskadrones.org.   She  emphasized that  due to  the significant                                                               
number of  manned aircraft  operating in the  state, and  for the                                                               
safety of  the public, tragedies  and incidents must  be avoided.                                                               
Although, she acknowledged that is  a separate issue from HCR 17,                                                               
she wanted to remind private  UAS operators they should check the                                                               
guidelines  and  noted  that  they   are  currently  required  to                                                               
register their aircraft with the FAA.                                                                                           
1:23:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NAGEAK  offered that  it may  be prudent  to amend                                                               
the title  to include the  wording "commercial  unmanned aircraft                                                               
systems industry" or something similar.                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR  FOSTER  recommended  that  members wait  to  amend  the                                                               
resolution until  after public testimony and  any other committee                                                               
input.  He said he will  hold this resolution over until the next                                                               
meeting,  and  suggested  Representative  Nageak  offer  a  title                                                               
change as a conceptual amendment.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE NAGEAK  responded that he would  defer to Co-Chair                                                               
Foster regarding the  form of that amendment,  and reiterated his                                                               
desire  for  clarification  between recreational  and  commercial                                                               
users in the title.                                                                                                             
1:25:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  noted that  in addition to  safety, another                                                               
area of  concern is privacy  issues for private  property owners.                                                               
For example, an insurance company  using UAS on private property.                                                               
He asked whether there would  be sacrifices related to privacy if                                                               
[the committee] were to move in the direction of the resolution.                                                                
MS. BLAISDELL answered that a  benefit of flying over state lands                                                               
would  be less  concern regarding  [infringements] of  individual                                                               
privacy,  which  is  a  reason  state  lands  are  considered  an                                                               
opportunity to  bolster the economics  of the UAS industry.   The                                                               
task  force  received  national  attention  for  the  safety  and                                                               
privacy guidelines it  developed and, she pointed  out, Alaska is                                                               
one of the first states  to publish guidelines regarding personal                                                               
privacy.    She  added  that  the  guidelines  are  available  on                                                               
[Technical difficulties 1:27:30 p.m. to 1:27:35 p.m.]                                                                           
1:27:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER opened public testimony on HCR 17.                                                                              
[Technical difficulties 1:27:41 p.m. to 1:27:55 p.m.]                                                                           
1:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
[Technical difficulties.]                                                                                                       
STEVE  WACKOWSKI,  Operations   Manager,  Tulagaq  LLC;  Industry                                                               
Representative,  UAS Task  Force,  thanked Representative  Hughes                                                               
and Ms. Blaisdell  for their hard work in the  development of the                                                               
proposed  resolution.     He  offered   that  from   an  industry                                                               
perspective, the resolution sends a  strong signal that Alaska is                                                               
"open for business," and that [the  UAS industry] is in the state                                                               
to give  back to the economy  and provide jobs.   He advised that                                                               
in  his company's  3.5 year  history,  Tulagaq conducted  several                                                               
major  UAS  operations  in  the Arctic,  including  a  1.5  month                                                               
campaign in Wainwright where it  hired two locals to help support                                                               
operations  and   conduct  Science,  Technology,   Engineering  &                                                               
Mathematics (STEM) outreach  to the village school.    He pointed                                                               
out that  Tulagag is  owned by Alaskan  companies and  the Alaska                                                               
Native Regional Corporation shareholders.   This resolution would                                                               
send a  strong signal, and  he expressed his hope  that companies                                                               
like  Google,  Amazon,  and  Facebook would  look  to  Alaska  to                                                               
provide high-tech jobs and open up businesses.                                                                                  
MR.  WACKOWSKI noted,  in response  to a  previous question  from                                                               
Representative   Ortiz  regarding   safety,   that  the   federal                                                               
government  still regulates  all airspace  - state  land, private                                                               
land,  "two  inches above  your  back  lawn  to your  house"  and                                                               
considers  that airspace  within  its regulatory  [jurisdiction].                                                               
He said that [the commercial  UAS industry] has very strict rules                                                               
in place  for safety.   For  example, [commercial  UAS operators]                                                               
de-conflict  any   airspace  immediately  before   operating  and                                                               
usually  do not  fly  in  the vicinity  of  any manned  aircraft.                                                               
Further, he  noted, for the  Wainwright operation,  an individual                                                               
was  stationed at  the FAA  radar observing  the operations,  the                                                               
entire time, ensuring  there was no air traffic in  or out of the                                                               
operations area.                                                                                                                
MR.  WACKOWSKI  acknowledged  that  privacy  is  a  concern,  and                                                               
remarked that  frequently the drones  are not equipped  with "spy                                                               
cameras" as depicted on Youtube.com.   He continued that some UAS                                                               
produce  high-resolution  elevation  data or  are  equipped  with                                                               
synthetic aperture  radar for  detecting changes  in ice  pack or                                                               
conducting  fish and  game  counts.   The  capabilities of  these                                                               
aircraft  go well  beyond the  $200 UAS  available to  hobbyists;                                                               
these are  commercial operations producing  high-resolution data,                                                               
he said.   Frequently, he  commented, [commercial  UAS operators]                                                               
have  no  ambition to  be  near  other  people, homes,  or  other                                                               
aircraft;  therefore,  the  opportunity to  focus  operations  on                                                               
state land  and the air above  it would be ideal.   He reiterated                                                               
that  the proposed  resolution  would send  a  strong message  to                                                               
commercial  UAS industry  members who  may invest  in Alaska  and                                                               
provide jobs.                                                                                                                   
1:31:57 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE  COLLIGAN, Owner,  Precision  Flight  Devices; Member,  UAS                                                               
Task Force, said  he is a member  of the task force,  a long time                                                               
commercial operator in  mapping and geometric space,  and he owns                                                               
Precision  Flight Devices.    He thanked  the  committee for  the                                                               
opportunity  to  testify,  and  allowing  the  Academy  of  Model                                                               
Aeronautics  (AMA)  to  present information  to  the  [committee]                                                               
addressing best practices for hobbyist use  of UAS last year.  He                                                               
pointed out  that the  State of  Alaska has  received substantial                                                               
recognition  for   publication  of  manuals  and   its  proactive                                                               
approach  to safety.   At  the  end of  the day,  Alaska is  well                                                               
known,  not  only due  to  its  opportunities,  but also  to  the                                                               
state's open approach  and attention to safety,  privacy, and the                                                               
public.    There  have been  discussions  regarding  private  use                                                               
versus hobbyist use,  or commercial use versus  hobbyist use, and                                                               
he  explained  that  the commercial  operation  is  considered  a                                                               
meaningful use of the product or device.                                                                                        
MR.  COLLIGAN explained  that  the  proposed resolution  pertains                                                               
specifically to the profound hardware  side of the UAS operation,                                                               
but  opined that  in many  ways  the software  that promotes  the                                                               
hardware  is more  profound.   The software  utilized in  the UAS                                                               
industry enables three-dimensional  modeling, surveying, quantity                                                               
take-off,  environmental monitoring,  etcetera, within  the line-                                                               
of-sight for a  gravel pit or other small  operational areas, and                                                               
it  is used  by engineers,  surveyors, and  public agencies.   He                                                               
said   unmanned  aircraft   systems  have   excellent  logistical                                                               
advantages over airplanes in terms  of flying to remote areas and                                                               
under  clouds.    He  opined  that  increasing  the  ability  for                                                               
agencies and  the private sector  to practice and  develop skills                                                               
is the  purpose of furthering  [commercial use] on  public lands.                                                               
The  UAS  technology  is  coming, he  stated,  and  agencies  and                                                               
engineering  firms  are already  buying,  looking  at buying,  or                                                               
figuring out how to use both  the hardware and software to create                                                               
end-user products.                                                                                                              
MR. COLLIGAN related  that he is a life-long Alaskan  who has had                                                               
a nostalgic view of the [new  technology] ever since his Dad gave                                                               
him a  children's mechanic book,  published in 1940.   He pointed                                                               
out that an opportunity and  responsibility exists to start using                                                               
this  technology  for  the purpose  of  efficiency  and  creating                                                               
better products  for the  state and the  private sector.   During                                                               
the  presentation last  year,  he noted,  it  was discussed  that                                                               
hobbyist UAS pilots would appreciate  access to public lands, and                                                               
he compared  it to creating  a soccer field rather  than allowing                                                               
kids to  play in the  streets.   He remarked that  both hobbyists                                                               
and  commercial users  are looking  for  safe places  to fly  and                                                               
practice.  Although, he noted,  on the commercial side developing                                                               
practice  areas to  learn how  to  map wetlands  and other  small                                                               
projects is important to get things moving.                                                                                     
1:35:55 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN PARKER, Owner, Integrated Robotics;  Member, UAS Task Force,                                                               
stated that his  company was in the process  of developing sensor                                                               
technology  for  the  safe  operation  of  unmanned  aircraft  in                                                               
[Alaska] airspace, and he thanked  the committee for allowing him                                                               
the opportunity  to participate in  the hearing.  He  stated that                                                               
he supports HCR  17 as a beginning aid  to industrial development                                                               
of new technology  to help Alaska move away from  its reliance on                                                               
oil, gas, fishing, and tourism,  as its primary means of economic                                                               
growth,  and  he noted,  discussions  have  indicated that  those                                                               
industries have  been in  a significant downturn.   The  state is                                                               
currently  operating  in  deficit   spending,  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature needs to  determine if it is going to  support one of                                                               
the fastest  growing industries in  the United  States, projected                                                               
by 2025  to bring billions of  dollars into the U.S.  economy and                                                               
create hundreds of thousands of jobs,  he opined.  The task force                                                               
was established to  promote the safe and legal growth  of the UAS                                                               
industry in  Alaska and recommend  to the legislature a  means to                                                               
assist  the industry  grow within  the state.   Alaska  possesses                                                               
some talented  entrepreneurs in [the UAS]  technology sector, who                                                               
spoke earlier  in this hearing,  who have been thwarted  at every                                                               
turn in  their attempt  to grow  their respective  businesses, he                                                               
pointed out.   He said he does  not blame that on state;  it is a                                                               
consequence  of  circumstances  surrounding  growth  of  any  new                                                               
MR. PARKER said the Department  of Commerce, Community & Economic                                                               
Development (DCCED)  has worked closely  with the UAS  task force                                                               
to  identify ways  to  promote business  development  in the  UAS                                                               
sector.    One area  of  potential  growth  is to  acquire  grant                                                               
funding for UAS research projects  through the university system,                                                               
something the majority of the  UAS commercial industry cannot do.                                                               
He  opined that  Alaska has  more (indisc.  - coughing)  airspace                                                               
than the  entire rest of the  country combined.  A  great deal of                                                               
that airspace is state land, well-suited  to be used to assist in                                                               
the growth of the UAS  industry within the state through research                                                               
and  development,  and testing  and  training,  of both  unmanned                                                               
aircraft  platforms  and  their corresponding  flight  crews,  he                                                               
MR.  PARKER recommended  that  HCR 17  be  forwarded through  the                                                               
legislature to  the governor, and that  [the legislature] follow-                                                               
up with his office to  expeditiously designate state lands suited                                                               
for  safe research  and development,  flight testing,  and flight                                                               
crew training  for commercial UAS  operations.   He re-emphasized                                                               
that  his recommendation  applies  to  commercial operation,  not                                                               
recreational.  He suggested that  criteria be established for the                                                               
commercial industry to use state  lands based upon the conditions                                                               
currently required by the FAA  Sec. 333 exemption process, plus a                                                               
requirement  for  liability  insurance  with  a  minimum  of  one                                                               
million dollars per occurrence.                                                                                                 
1:39:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PARKER said  that while  he is  in complete  support of  the                                                               
FAA's safety mission, opined that  the state should open dialogue                                                               
with the FAA  to streamline the permitting process  as it relates                                                               
to UAS operations on state lands.   He related that the layers of                                                               
permits  necessary to  conduct any  flight operation  are slowing                                                               
commercial operations.   Commercial  operations with an  FAA Sec.                                                               
333  exemption have  a 200-foot  certificate of  authority (COA).                                                               
He stated  that it seems logical  and practical for the  state to                                                               
obtain  a  blanket  COA  for  state  lands  used  for  commercial                                                               
operations conducting  the aforementioned research,  testing, and                                                               
flight crew  training.   He put forth  that there  are commercial                                                               
industries  in the  State of  Oregon, working  directly with  the                                                               
State of Oregon's  agencies to obtain contracts to  work on state                                                               
lands for  those agencies.   He suggested  another way  the state                                                               
could  help  both  the  industry  and  itself  is  by  supporting                                                               
technology  incubators  to bring  more  of  this technology  into                                                               
Alaska.   He further  suggested that  this could  be accomplished                                                               
through  favorable leasing  of state  lands  for incubators,  tax                                                               
incentives, and support of specific  vocational programs aimed at                                                               
building the UAS industry.   Mr. Parker concluded by thanking the                                                               
committee for the opportunity to  speak and expressed his hope in                                                               
moving HCR 17 forward.                                                                                                          
[Technical difficulties 1:41:10 through 1:41:23.]                                                                               
[REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ asked a question regarding incubators.]                                                                   
1:41:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PARKER answered  that technology  incubators are  operations                                                               
that  support  the growth  of  technology  because some  emerging                                                               
companies do not have the  resources to finance their own growth.                                                               
He related  that this does  not necessarily refer to  financing a                                                               
given  company,  but  rather  its  resources.    For  example,  a                                                               
building could  be provided for  technology companies to  use for                                                               
their research and, he added that  incubators come in the form of                                                               
investors providing administrative support  to help the companies                                                               
learn how to grow.                                                                                                              
1:42:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER  questioned whether  there are any  exceptions to                                                               
the  five-mile exclusionary  area.   Take for  example, Nome  and                                                               
many other villages  wherein the airports are  essentially in the                                                               
villages, and  that most villages do  not have roads that  go out                                                               
five miles.   He pointed  out that under the  current provisions,                                                               
if an operator  wanted to shoot a tourism video  he/she might not                                                               
be able to use the drone to get the shot.                                                                                       
MR.  PARKER replied  that  the five-mile  exclusion  is a  safety                                                               
exclusion,  but  does  not completely  exclude  operations.    He                                                               
offered the  example of  an AMA  sanctioned aerodrome  within 1.5                                                               
miles of the center  of the runway in Kenai.   He said to operate                                                               
in  that location,  operators need  only notify  the tower  staff                                                               
that they are  operating in the area, what type  of aircraft they                                                               
are  operating,  how  many  people   are  present,  and  at  what                                                               
elevation they  will operate.   Clearly, it would  be undesirable                                                               
for  UAS  to  enter  terminal airspace  and,  he  commented,  the                                                               
pattern  altitude  at  Kenai  Airport  is  1000  ft.    Most  UAS                                                               
operators, especially  in "the hobby  grade," are  generally only                                                               
flying  their aircraft  to a  maximum  of 100  to 150  feet.   He                                                               
posited that  it is  a matter of  common sense  and communication                                                               
via NOTAMs  informing other airmen  of the intended  operation in                                                               
or near the five-mile exclusionary area.                                                                                        
1:44:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ, noting  the relatively  nascent nature  of                                                               
the  UAS  industry, asked  whether  there  has been  an  increase                                                               
[technical   difficulties]   in   collisions   with   traditional                                                               
commercial aircraft.                                                                                                            
MR. COLLIGAN  replied there  have been plenty  of reports  of UFO                                                               
sightings,  and people  will call  in and  report seeing  a small                                                               
unmanned system,  more frequently at  the hobbyist level  than at                                                               
the commercial level.   He opined there have  been some incidents                                                               
during military operations, but not  on the commercial side.  The                                                               
reality  is, for  the  existing millions  and  millions of  small                                                               
unmanned aircraft,  there has  not been  one commercial  or full-                                                               
sized aviation incident or crash, he  opined.  He stated that the                                                               
FAA's  sighting  database  is filled,  almost  exclusively,  with                                                               
reports from people  who have seen one in the  air, whether it is                                                               
an   approved  commercial   operator,   or   a  hobbyist   acting                                                               
inappropriately.  As a hobbyist  and a commercial operator, there                                                               
are boundaries and rules and  people need to respect each other's                                                               
privacy.   He continued  that it  does not  matter if  someone is                                                               
"taping a  phone to a  broomstick" and using  it inappropriately;                                                               
state  laws  prohibit  people  from   spying  and  "Peeping  Tom"                                                               
activities.  He clarified that  it doesn't matter what the device                                                               
is, it's the activity that is inappropriate.                                                                                    
1:46:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ asked  whether  sacrificing  privacy is  an                                                               
inevitable  consequence  to  society with  these  developing  UAS                                                               
MR. COLLIGAN  replied that  usage of cell  phones can  be traced,                                                               
have GPS,  and provide a  greater opportunity for  misuse because                                                               
smartphones  are more  intrusive.   People are  not aware  of the                                                               
information  they  are sharing  just  by  carrying a  cell  phone                                                               
around with them, and he described UAS as useful tools.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR FOSTER left public testimony open.                                                                                     
1:48:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER, on  a personal note, said he finds  the topic of                                                               
UAS  interesting, and  shared  information  about a  recreational                                                               
drone  type he  found particularly  exciting.   He expressed  his                                                               
appreciation to  the sponsor  for taking  the lead  on developing                                                               
legislation regarding  UAS technology,  and that it  is something                                                               
the  state can  embrace rather  than just  focusing on  concerns.                                                               
Although, he  said, existing concerns  need to be  addressed, UAS                                                               
opens new opportunities.                                                                                                        
1:50:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES emphasized that  as [the legislature] works                                                               
through  the  process  of  allowing  opportunities  for  the  UAS                                                               
industry,  the   privacy  issues  will  be   granted  significant                                                               
consideration.  She stated that  [the task force] interfaces with                                                               
the  public consistently,  and it  has had  ongoing conversations                                                               
with  law  enforcement  surrounding  these  issues.    There  are                                                               
ongoing areas of  concern, and public testimony is  open at every                                                               
task force meeting, with privacy being  one of the main topics of                                                               
discussion.   The  FAA claims  jurisdiction "all  the way  to the                                                               
grass  blade  in  your  yard"   and  there  is  some  controversy                                                               
regarding  jurisdiction,  she  said.   Privacy  and  jurisdiction                                                               
concerns  are  top  priorities  for   the  task  force  but,  she                                                               
emphasized  that these  must be  balanced by  allowing meaningful                                                               
and beneficial  use of UAS.   The technology can be  "a wonderful                                                               
tool in  good hands,"  and the  task force  strives to  ensure it                                                               
does get into good hands, she said.                                                                                             
[HCR 17 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR17 Sponsor Statement 2-1-2016.pdf HTRA 2/2/2016 1:00:00 PM
HCR17 ver H State land use for UAS economy 1-29-2016.pdf HTRA 2/2/2016 1:00:00 PM
HCR017A.PDF HTRA 2/2/2016 1:00:00 PM
HCR17-LEG-COU-02-01-16.pdf HTRA 2/2/2016 1:00:00 PM