FAA UAS Symposium And AUVSI, Grafters Of A Feather

I grouse about the cost every year and primarily because the goal is supposedly education. If that is true and we are concerned about the “safety of the NAS,” wouldn’t it make sense to bring as many people as possible inside the tent? Instead, the high price, usually $769 in person and now $375 for online episodic adventures, serve to weed out those that most need educating instead of enforcement. The silver lining, at least you know you are getting the virtual experts upfront.

If that were the case, the show would be put on by the FAA at a public facility like they do for the DAC or NASA does for their wildly successful and well funded UTM program. Secondly, the AUVSI shouldn’t be able to shutout news outlets by arbitrarily determining whom they want to charge admission. Wait; what?! Yes, one of the job’s AUVSI memberships pays Tom McMahon the princely sum of $255,000 a year to determine who gets press credentials for the FAA UAS symposium. That information gets past over to Erik Amend at the FAA UASIO to tell people, well, sorry, Tom at AUVSI said no.

From the 2018 AUVSI IRS form 990 –

Don’t just think it is the NGO folks raking in the money as the FAA was paying Earl Lawrence $202,729 to run the UASIO, and say no. Incidentally, that is more money than Ali Bahrami makes as Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety! Jay “he loves the junkets” Merkle gets compensated $202,729 a year and can’t even manage an email or call back about flagrant and egregious bogus and BVLOS activity, what about the safety of the NAS? I don’t know if it was just an 18-month fluke, or it just takes that long to plan the next European junket?

Where is my cut of the $82 Billion?

I also grouse about the free marketing the FAA generously bestows upon the UAS show organizer. Emails, social media posts, and program endorsements by public officials have tangible marketing and advertising value, especially when coming from a .GOV email address. Besides the credibility of emails coming from the regulator, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in value in direct marketing to citizens and global aviation enthusiasts.

Is that savings past on to the taxpayer, no? Contrary to being passed on to the poor jamoke who is paying $69 million +/-

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