Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mountains of Paperwork

One of the things we keep going on about is the amount of paperwork that needs to be done. It really is enormous. There are two sets of paperwork that any team that wishes to compete need to be aware of. The first is that of the X Prize Foundation's and the second is the FAA. Neither is nontrivial. However, the latter is emphatetically the heftier of the two.

The X Prize Foundation's requirements are not too bad. They require the team to register, make some presentations, and keep them up to date each month on the team's progress. Our registration came in at approximately 24 pages. The presentations are approximately twice that in PDF form. The monthly updates are about two pages in length. Again, still nontrivial.

Other the other hand, there's the FAA requirements. oy. They require a burn time waiver, a tethered flight waiver, and a permit for flying your vehicle. These overlap, but they are not the same. The example permit application that the FAA places up on their webpage is 75 pages long and omitts some big "attached documents." Ours came out to be 92 pages long. The burn time waiver comes out to be around fifteen pages. The tethered waiver, which we haven't yet submitted, is around ten pages so far and growing, but we're holding off on submitting this as yet.

This has all been generated since the X Prize Foundation said go in mid June...and based on what we have been told there will be some revisions and growth needed in the FAA application. We don't have a dedicated paper generator and it has been causing us some problems as far as resource contention. It has impacted our testing and coding. As a consequence, we will be pushed to the limits in order to make our deadlines. Sleep is not an option. At least until the papers have been served.

That is why we are strongly recommending any participating teams in the future have a dedicated writer/paper generator/human printer. This person is someone that needs to be more than jsut a technical writer. This must be a person that grasps everything that will be covered in the writing. This person also has to have very good people skills as well: they have to interact with the FAA, XPF, and the whole team seamlessly and flawlessly. Making enemies of any of the above causes the cart to lose its wheels, folks.

Switching gears, we have some more thank yous to put out. These go out to the following people:

1. Andrew Gray
2. Pascal le Rudulier
3. Rachael Moore

That's a wrap for today and we hope you will join us again soon.

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