UAV110 Drone Legislation

Sony AeroSense prototype

Drone legislation in the news: private property overflights in California, mandatory drone geofencing, and weaponized drones for law enforcement. Also, ALPA responds to pilot encounters with drones, counter-drone systems, and a Sony prototype drone.

News

Drone no-fly zone in California will stifle innovation, say industry advocates

The California Assembly has passed a bill (SB 142) that prohibits flying a drone under 350 feet over private property without permission. The bill is awaiting signature by Governor Jerry Brown and if it becomes law, flying below 350 feet would be considered a trespass violation.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who authored the bill said, “People should be able to sit in their backyards and be in their homes without worrying about drones flying right above them or peering in their windows. We need to balance innovation with personal and societal expectations.”

AUVSI Statement on Passage of SB 142 in the California Assembly

Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), released a statement on the passage of SB 142 in the California Assembly. The statement says, in part:

“AUVSI is deeply disappointed with the passage of SB 142 in the California Assembly. While the industry supports the safe, non-intrusive use of UAS technology, SB 142 creates inconsistencies with federal law that has the potential to further confuse UAS users and stifle economic growth in California. The Supreme Court has ruled that property rights do not extend infinitely into the sky. Only the FAA can regulate airspace; states and municipalities can’t.

“The passage of SB 142 is further proof that it is necessary for the FAA to finalize its long awaited rules on small unmanned aircraft. There is much uncertainty about where operators should and shouldn’t fly and for what purpose. For the safety of our skies and to ensure that there is no confusion between state and federal law, we need Washington to make finalizing these rules a top priority.”

ALPA: Airline pilots ‘very concerned’ about UAVs

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) president Tim Canoll noted, “pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, from a total of 238 sightings in all of 2014 to more than 650 by Aug. 9 of this year.”

With respect to small UAVs operated below the airspace used by commercial aircraft, ALPA advocates: educating operators, using “geo-fencing” to keep small UAVs from operating within 5 mi. of airports, UAV registration at point of sale so owners can be identified after an incident, and “more formalized” enforcement.

For larger UAVs sharing the airspace with airliners, ALPA would like to see FAA regulations and oversight the same as for airliners: operator licensing and collision avoidance technology.

US senator to introduce proposal for mandatory drone geofencing

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer proposed an amendment as part of the FAA Reauthorization Bill that would require manufacturers to implement geofencing on all drones.

Chuck Schumer’s No-Fly-Zone Rule for Drones Won’t Work

At the recent DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, researchers easily defeated the Phantom geofencing. The DJI Phantom III’s geofence uses a database that contains a country, city, a timestamp, and, the latitude and the longitude of the no-fly zones. The hacker downloaded the database and started just changing entries to make the Phantom ignore the no-fly zones set by DJI.

Additionally, some Chinese researchers reported they could disrupt the geofencing through GPS spoofing, which is illegal but not impossible.

Exclusive: U.S. government, police working on counter-drone system – sources

U.S. government agencies are working with state and local police forces to develop protection systems for vulnerable sites. New York police used a microwave-based system last New Year’s Eve in an attempt to track a drone in Times Square. This test was part of a program with the Department of Homeland Security, the FAA, and the Defense Department.

Sony shows off Aerosense camera drone prototype

Sony and ZMP Inc. have formed the joint-venture company AeroSense and they have a prototype drone that can take off and land vertically. Payload capacity is expected to be 22 pounds, with a two hour plus flight time and a top speed of 106 miles an hour. These autonomous drones could be used for infrastructure inspection and land surveys in difficult to access areas.

First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist

Law enforcement in North Dakota can now fly drones with “less than lethal” weapons, such as Tasers, rubber bullets, and tear gas. The original draft of House Bill 1328 actually prohibited weaponization of drones, but a law enforcement lobbyist added language that significantly modified the intent of the bill.

Mentioned

Robots in the Sky: Cracking Down on Drone Law

An infographic highlighting current laws surrounding drone usage, and what changes we may soon see in the future.

Batteries Carried by Airline Passengers: Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

The FAA describes the kinds of batteries allowed in the cabin, those allowed in checked luggage, how to calculate wattage, and other important information.

 

UAV109 Who has the Right to Write Drone Laws?

Dr. Ella Atkins in the Autonomous Aerospace Systems (A2SYS) Lab

We talk with Dr. Ella Atkins about UAS privacy regulations, regulatory and legislative jurisdiction over the airspace, developing a drone safety culture, and UAS air traffic management challenges.

Guest

Dr. Ella Atkins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, where she is director of the Autonomous Aerospace Systems (A2SYS) Lab.

Dr. Ella AtkinsElla received her BS and MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her MS and PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Her research focuses on task and motion planning, guidance, and control to support increasingly autonomous systems, with a focus on small UAS and aviation safety applications.  She has an extensive history of successful collaboration with NASA.

Ella has authored over 150 journal and conference publications and has served long-term as an associate editor of the AIAA Journal of Aerospace Information Systems (JAIS). She has served on numerous review boards and panels, including the 2013 NRC committee to develop a research agenda for autonomy in civil aviation, the NRC Aeronautics Roundtable, NRC NASA Aviation Safety program review board, and Decadal Survey of Aeronautics (Panel E).

Ella is past-chair of the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, AIAA Associate Fellow, IEEE senior member, small public airport owner/operator (Shamrock Field, Brooklyn, MI), and a private pilot. She serves on the National Academy’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) (2011-2017) and was a member of the IDA Defense Science Studies Group (2012-2013).  She currently serves on the steering committee and as Graduate Program Chair to the new University of Michigan Robotics Program.

The Flying Robots video features Professor Ella Atkins describing the unusual unmanned aircraft that are being built at the University of Michigan Aerospace Department.

UAS Privacy Regulations

Should we create privacy rules specifically for UAS, rather than dealing with privacy more broadly? Privacy is already covered under existing ground-based laws, and new technology doesn’t necessarily imply a requirement for new laws.

Peeping drones: UAV caught creeping on Vancouver sunbather

A woman sunbathing topless on her private balcony says a quadcopter tried to take pictures of her.

Regulatory and Legislative Jurisdiction over the Airspace

Who controls what airspace: the federal regulatory agency or State or local communities? The FAA has claimed purview over all the airspace, but the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Causby stated that landowners own and control the “immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere” just above their properties. More discussion is needed about the low-altitude airspace and the ability of local communities to create their own standards based on their local situation.

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape

In 2015, 45 states considered 156 bills that were related to drones. In total, 26 states have enacted drone laws, and six more states adopted resolutions.

Austin, TX Requires PPL For UAV Flying

Austin, Texas now requires a private pilot certificate to fly a UAV. However, one can fly if they have a document indicating permission from the property owner.

Developing a Drone Safety Culture

The lack of common-sense rules at any government level is resulting in anarchy.  Manufacturers claim they can “stay out of legal trouble” by marketing to hobbyists who are unregulated and who don’t know where to fly.

Some solutions:

  • Achieving a drone safety culture requires that manufacturers, commercial operators, and regular citizens learn responsible behaviors. “Know Before You Fly” will gradually catch on once we make it through a generation that grows up with drones.
  • Creating “drone parks” in urban areas would give people a place to freely fly.  Right now hobbyists really don’t have guidelines of where to go (apart from rural AMA fields which were typically designed for fixed-wing model aircraft) so they fly wherever they like.
  • Focus separately on “safety” and “privacy,” otherwise the solutions may not make sense. For example, it may be safe to fly over a large open field, but the landowner may not want to be filmed at low altitude.  Or, everyone might want great aerial views of a public concert in the park, but such flights are very risky until we are really confident the drones won’t have problems and crash into the crowds.

Pilots Who Fly Drones Into Wildfires Are Idiots. Punish Them

Kentucky Man Faces up to 10 Years in Prison for Shooting Drone Trespasser

License Plates for Drones Could Make Rogue Operators Accountable

University of California, Berkeley researchers have developed LightCense, a low altitude identification system for drones. The hope is that it would make drone operators more accountable.

Air Traffic Management

Recent proposals for management of unmanned commercial traffic involve altitude layering. But those do not contemplate the immediate reaches above the landowners, or what may be on the ground below.

This presents challenges, such as dealing with commercial drone entries into immediate reaches (landowner-controlled) airspace, and integrating drones into airspace clearly needed for manned flight operations. It may be appropriate to reconsider the 500 foot altitude line of demarcation, and also to add an “immediate reaches” layer.

A “drone highway in the sky” would not necessarily follow a ground-based road network. The real question is whether a low-altitude “highway in the sky” would be designated and “taken with compensation” like our ground-based roads, or whether the “sky” will be “taken without compensation.”

Compounding the difficulties in resolving these issues is the problem that people are very polarized – they either “love” or “hate” drones. A more informed public view would almost certainly be more moderate and reasonable.

Do We Really Want Amazon’s Drones to Swarm Our Skies?

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan offers opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students: student team competitions, undergraduate or graduate research projects, and course projects.

Design and use of UAS can be found in the engineering, aerospace, robotics, and computer science departments. Others such as civil engineering, architecture, biology, and journalism do not design UAS or their software, but they have begun to use UAS to support their research and education activities.

UAV108 Drone Sightings by Manned Aircraft Pilots on the Rise

Google Project WingReports of unmanned aircraft sightings by pilots on the rise, FPV racing gets a financial boost, Google tests package delivery, proliferation of rogue drones, and knocking down drones with light, sound, and shotguns.

News

Pilot Reports of Close Calls With Drones Soar in 2015

According to the FAA, pilots reported 238 unmanned aircraft sightings in 2014. Through August 9, 2015, more that 650 sightings had been reported at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet. The FAA is doing four things:

  • The FAA is working with industry partners through the “Know Before You Fly” campaign to educate unmanned aircraft users about where they can operate within the rules. The Campaign was founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition.
  • The FAA is supporting the “If You Fly, We Can’t” efforts to help reduce interference with firefighting operations.
  • The FAA is working with law enforcement officials to identify and investigate unauthorized unmanned aircraft operations.
  • The FAA is encouraging the public to report unauthorized drone operations to local law enforcement.

Drone roundtable: Cooling down the UAV hype

Fortune gathered up a roundtable of drone experts, and reported on their comments concerning the sUAS NPRM, the Section 333 exemption process, regulations, and obstacles to airspace integration.

Drone racing league receives a $1 million investment from Miami Dolphins owner

Billionaire Miami Dolphins owner and billionaire property developer Stephen Ross has invested $1 million in the startup The Drone Racing League. CEO of the new League ,Nick Horbaczewski, has previous experience producing sporting events, and is planning to hold the first race later this year. They hope to turn FPV racing into a significant spectator sport.

Google is testing drones in US airspace by piggybacking on NASA exemption

According to the Guardian, Google has been testing its Project Wing drone delivery system for over a year in US airspace under NASA’s Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). Google intends to demonstrate the use of cellphone signals for automatic air traffic control. This might involve using cellphone frequencies to file flight plans and receive direction from air traffic control systems.

Boeing shoots down UAV with 2 kW laser

As a part of exercise Black Dart, an anti-UAS exercise took place at Point Mugu in California. Boeing used its Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) with a two kilowatt laser to shoot down a UAV by holding  a beam on its tail for 10 to 15 seconds. It was guided by an infrared sensor with a range of up to 40 kilometers.

Sounds can knock drones out of the sky

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has been looking at the effects of resonance on the inexpensive gyroscopes used in drones. Researchers found that some gyroscopes could be forced to resonate at frequencies that caused them to generate erroneous outputs, causing the drones to fail.

Videos of the Week

Will Sutton: Homefree (Freerunning the Isle of Man)

Sent to us by Rob in Perth, this impressive video of freerunner Will Sutton was filmed from an octocopter.

When Animals Silence the Drones

@dronemama found this compilation video of animals taking down drones. It includes the recent video Eagle punches drone out of sky.

Listener Feedback

Listener David takes us to task on our comments in Episode 103 on Fly4Me gets FAA approval, launches ‘Uber for drones’. Is Fly4Me expanding its business on the basis of its Section 333 exemption, or not?

Kenneth sends us Man Shoots Down a Drone with a Shotgun and wonders if there will be a business model some day to equip homes with automated drones that are used to chase other drones off your property! We talk about this growing trend where property owners are taking “defensive” action.

Ron writes to us with some information and advice about the use of LiPo batteries in hobby applications like quadcopters. These batteries can be extremely dangerous if not stored, used, and charged properly. We advise all LiPo battery users to be informed and heed all safety procedures.

Chad sent us Boys flying high in Jamestown that describes some youngsters who are doing shoots with a DJI Phantom 3 and a camera for real estate companies, and getting paid for it. While you could laud the boys for their industriousness, you might also question the legality of their commercial activity.

Charles sent in Rogue drones a growing nuisance across the U.S. where we see that stories about rogue drone operators are showing up with alarming frequency. They have impeded firefighting efforts, buzzed commercial aircraft, crashed into objects, and injured people. FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta says, “I’m definitely getting much more concerned about it.” and that the FAA will adopt “more stringent enforcement” measures in cooperation with law enforcement.

UAV107 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Unmanned Aerial Systems

Embry-Riddle Unmanned Aerial Systems

We talk with faculty members from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University about their unmanned systems degree programs. Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s College of Aeronautics currently offers a Master of Science in Unmanned Systems, a Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications, and an undergraduate minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems.

We talk about how programs are developed, the types of programs offered, the value they provide to students, and the opportunities available in this emerging industry. Embry-Riddle actively works to bring UAS awareness to the aviation community with participation at events like AirVenture Oshkosh and the Reno Air Races.

For a detailed look at the career opportunities, see the Embry-Riddle study, ERAU-Worldwide Unmanned System Related Career Opportunities: 2015 [PDF].

Guests

Faculty from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide

Dr. Ken WitcherDr. Ken Witcher is the dean of the College of Aeronautics. In this role, Ken leads a team of more than 700 active faculty members who support more than 14,000 students enrolled in 15 degree programs. Witcher’s aviation experience includes 20 years of service in the United States Air Force. During this time, he served as superintendent of an operational test and evaluation squadron and field training detachment chief for F-15, F-16, F-22, H-60, A-10, MQ-1, and MQ-9 aircraft and supporting systems. He also served as a team member of the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, Thunderbirds. Witcher was an appointed member of the Nevada UAS test site selection panel and previously served as Chair of the Nevada Aerospace and Defense Sector Council reporting directly to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board. Reach Dr. Witcher at Kenneth.witcher@erau.edu.

David ThirtyacreDavid Thirtyacre is an assistant professor and chair of unmanned flight operations in the College of Aeronautics. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, master’s degree in aerospace science, and is currently a doctoral student in aviation at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. Thirtyacre recently retired from the U.S. Air Force with 27 years of duty in the fighter community and over 3,500 hours in fighter aircraft. He spent the last 17 years of his career at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and served as an operational test pilot and director of advanced programs at the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. In this role, he was the point person for advanced program operational planning; and the integration of air, space, and cyberspace domains with fifth-generation aircraft, unmanned systems, national capabilities, and other Department of Defense assets. Additionally, he is a multi-engine commercial pilot and certified flight instructor – instrument. Reach David Thirtyacre at thirtyad@erau.edu.

Stefan KleinkeStefan Kleinke is an assistant professor and program chair for the Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Application (BSUSA) degree program in the College of Aeronautics. Stefan earned a Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Worldwide in 2010 and is a military aviation veteran with 15 years and 3,000 total flying hours experience as pilot and instructor on Tornado and T-38 jet aircraft. In this role, he was heavily involved in student and instructor training, standardization and evaluation, and aspects of air traffic control and airfield management. He also holds civilian qualifications that include Airline Transport Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License for helicopter and seaplane, Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic and Aircraft Electrical Technician certifications, as well as FCC GMDSS Radio Operator and Maintainer license with Ship Radar Endorsement. Reach Stefan Kleinke at kleinkes@erau.edu.

Video of the Week

AtlantikSolar – 81 hour endurance world record flight

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich recently established a new world flight endurance record with an 81-hour continuous solar-powered and autonomous flight. The 6.8kg aircraft is called the AtlantikSolar 2 UAV. This demonstrator flight is a precursor to an Atlantic Ocean crossing next year.

 

 

UAV106 UAS Traffic Management

NASA UTM Chart]Observations from the NASA Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management Convention, including the Amazon Prime Air proposal for drone traffic management.

Guest

Max Trescott attended the NASA Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management Convention (or UTM) and gives us his impressions of the event. Max is a general aviation pilot, a certified flight instructor, an aviation author, and a glass cockpit expert. He also flies quadcopters.

Discussion

The UTM convention was an opportunity for NASA and others to share their visions for managing low altitude commercial drone traffic. Presentations were given by Amazon, Google, Cisco, FAA, NTSB, DOD, California DOT, law enforcement, and others. There were panel discussions, vendor displays, and demonstrations.

Google talked about the role of “Airspace Service Provider” (ASP). Under this concept, UAV operators would file flight plans with an ASP, which would then coordinate these with other ASPs to ensure non-conflicting flights. Google is said they are developing a lightweight, low-cost dual band ADS-B transceiver. FreeFlight Systems showed prototype weighing just 215 grams.

Amazon details its plan for how drones can fly safely over U.S. skies

Amazon drone management proposal

Amazon Prime Air vice president Gur Kimchi described Amazon’s idea for a drone air traffic management system. In Amazon’s view, drones with different capabilities would have different airspace rights, with an underlying control system managing it all.

Airspace under 200 feet would be designated for low-speed local traffic. Drones in that zone wouldn’t require the most sophisticated collision-avoidance technology. Airspace from 200-400 feet would be for high-speed transit – the highway for drones. Sophisticated sense-and-avoid technology would be a requirement there. Finally, a no-fly buffer zone would exist from 400 to 500 feet.

UTM builds

As a technology enabler, NASA is developing an airspace management control system. They plan four “builds” of the software over the next 4 years. Build 1 is a reservation system for exclusive access to the airspace and is due out August 2015. The culminating Build 4 in March 2019 would manage beyond line-of-sight drone flights in congested urban areas.

UAV105 Guns on Drones

Weaponized quadcopterA weaponized quadcopter, shooting down drones, legislation that would permit disabling drones, and nine ways to not be an idiot.

Guest

Max Trescott joins the conversation. Max is a GA pilot, a certified flight instructor, aviation author, a glass cockpit expert, and a budding drone pilot.

News

Handgun-firing drone appears legal in video, but FAA, police probe further

Father Says ‘Flying Gun’ Drone Video Broke No Laws

About that handgun-firing drone

Viral Video Of Gun-Firing Drone Renews Interest In Legal Restrictions

An 18-year old Connecticut student mounted a handgun on a drone and made a video of the gun firing. Law enforcement isn’t yet sure how to treat the incident, which apparently took place on family property, saying that no Connecticut state laws were violated.

The FAA may not have any regulations that prohibit conducting this activity on private property away from others. It may come down to state law governing the handling and discharge of firearms.

The Connecticut state Senate recently passed a bill banning weaponized drones, but the legislative session ended without action by the House of Representatives. The bill may now get priority when the next legislative session starts in February.

Shooting Down Drone Costs California Man $850 Penalty, One Angry Neighbor

A man visiting his parents in California was flying his hexacopter when a neighbor’s son shot the UAV out of the sky. According to Ars Technica, he thought it was a CIA surveillance vehicle. The owner of the UAV wanted compensation for the damage, and a small claims court judge ruled in the owner’s favor. But the operator has now produced a record of the UAV’s flight pattern. The drone didn’t cross the property line and wasn’t hovering as claimed.

Hold fire! Shooting your neighbor’s drone could be a felony

The FAA considers drones to be aircraft, and shooting down an aircraft has stiff penalties.

Hillview man arrested for shooting down drone; cites right to privacy

UPDATE: Drone owner disputes shooter’s story; produces video he claims shows flight path

Police in Kentucky responded to a report of a firearm discharge, and to find a man who shot down a neighbor’s drone which he says was hovering over his property and invading his privacy. The man was jailed and charged with wanton endangerment and criminal mischief for shooting down the drone. Both parties are considering legal action against the other. The shooter faces a September court hearing for the criminal charges brought against him.

California Lawmakers Want to Let Emergency Responders Disable Drones

In response to recent incidents where small drones hampered firefighting efforts, state  lawmakers introduced a bill in the California Senate that would give emergency workers the ability to disable drones without fear of charges.

UAV Pilots: Rule #1 — Don’t be an Idiot.

The author presents nine guidelines for safe UAV operation explained in simple terms that explain the logic behind each:

  1. Do not fly anywhere around fires or closed airspaces
  2. Do not fly near the President or his house
  3. Do not fly past where you cannot see your UAV
  4. Do not fly over 400 feet
  5. Do not fly near an airport
  6. Do not fly near nuclear facilities, power stations & other important places
  7. Do not fly over people or their property without their permission
  8. Do not fly if you are drunk or high
  9. Do not fly in bad weather

Videos of the Week

Drones at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

A tour of the many drone activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015. The new Aviation Gateway Park featured an 80-by-80-by-30-foot drone cage for all attendees to experience flying a drone or take part in an obstacle course.

Aerial Ireland: Fastnet Rock

Fastnet Rock is a small islet in the Atlantic Ocean and the most southerly point of Ireland. It lies 13 kilometres from the Irish mainland. Due to its location, Fastnet was known as “Ireland’s Teardrop,” because it was the last part of Ireland that 19th century Irish emigrants saw as they sailed to North America. Via listener Tom.

Mentioned

Aviation Careers Podcast Episode 87, Drones and Your Aviation Career

Google, NASA work together to design drone air-traffic-control system

Local police first in Pa. licensed to deploy drone

UAV104 Monarch Inc. Founder and CEO Eileen Shibley

Monarch Inc.We talk with the founder and CEO of a startup that is providing commercial UAS services for precision agriculture and other industries.

Guest

Eileen Shibley

Eileen Shibley is the founder and CEO of Monarch, Inc. Monarch designs, engineers, and manufactures unmanned commercial aerial systems for the agriculture, energy, and land survey industries. Eileen incorporated Monarch, Inc. in 2014, and her team began providing customers with small UAS for the purposes of high tech aerial mapping.

Monarch uses a combination of robotic aircraft, unique cameras, and advanced software to provide customers with detailed maps of land and objects below. Monarch corporate headquarters, showroom, and factory are based in Ridgecrest, California.

Before founding Monarch, Eileen had a 30-year career with the U.S. Department of Defense where she was a strong advocate for unmanned systems in the Navy. She and her team created the world’s first integrated battle space (IBAR). She also served two assignments in Washington D.C. as China Lake’s liaison and advocate for technological advancement.

Discussion

We talk about the products and services that Monarch provides, the industries it supports, and the hardware and software being developed and used by the Monarch team. Eileen explains how she was involved in the project to have California designated as one of the six FAA UAS test sites, and when that was unsuccessful, how Monarch came to be formed out of the passion for the emerging industry.

Eileen tells us about her experience obtaining a Section 333 exemption from the FAA for precision agriculture. Monarch has also received Certificate of Waiver Authorizations (COAs) to operate their quadcopters within a California State Park in order to research and map an historical site:

Monarch, Inc. Named in Two COAs Granted to California State Parks; Uses to Include Exploration of Landmark Gold-Mining Ghost Town

Eileen offers her thoughts on “rogue” operators who offer commercial services without benefit of proper FAA authorization. Monarch actively works to grow community awareness and we touch on training and on industry self-regulation vs. being regulated by others. Eileen also provides some advice for those thinking about starting a business that uses UAVs as a tool.

Monarch in the field

Mentioned

These beginner books can help you select your first quadcopter and learn to fly:

 

UAV103 Matternet Tests Autonomous Package Delivery

Matternet ONEPackage delivery by autonomous drone, drone company management changes, making interfering with firefighters illegal, drone service on demand, North Dakota innovation hub, drone photography contest results, USAF addresses pilot shortage, and accidents increase in Netherlands.

News

Swiss Postal Service, Air Cargo Carrier Begin Drone Testing

Freight carrier Swiss WorldCargo announced on July 7 that testing had begun using the Matternet ONE drone for small package delivery. The quadcopter operates autonomously and can carry one kilogram up to 10 kilometers on a single battery charge. Matternet says the drone uses “secure routes that adapt to weather, terrain and airspace [and] allow Matternet ONE to fly autonomously beyond line of sight, without the need for a human pilot.” The cloud-based routing system … ”guides the Matternet ONE along a secure route at low altitude – between 50-100 meters above ground – adjusting for inclement weather, avoiding tall buildings, mountains and restricted airspace.”

Chinese Manufacturer DJI Hires Prominent ‘Drone Lawyer’

Brendan Schulman, who defended Pirker against the FAA, has left law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel where he was head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice. Now Schulman is Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs at drone maker DJI.

Other movements in the industry include:

  • Amazon hired former Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) counsel Ben Gielow in September as its senior manager of public policy.
  • Amazon appointed Sean Cassidy, a former Alaska Airlines pilot and first vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, as director of partner relationships in March.
  • Last August, Google hired David Vos, a technology entrepreneur and former Rockwell Collins senior director, to lead its Project Wing effort to deliver packages.
  • In April, Francis “Chip” Sheller, the former Aerospace Industries Association vice president of communications and research, became vice president of communications and public affairs for Aurora Flight Sciences.
  • Former deputy director of the FAA’s flight standards service, John McGraw, acted as a consultant to video production companies applying for an FAA sUAS exemption.

After drone diverts fire-fighting planes, lawmakers want fines and jail time

California representative Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) introduced H.R. 3025 to the House of Representatives, which would make it a criminal offense to interfere with firefighting efforts on federal land.

Fly4Me gets FAA approval, launches ‘Uber for drones’

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Fly4Me received a Section 333 exemption to “conduct community training workshops, research and development, and aerial inspections of buildings and land within the United States.” Now the company wants to establish a marketplace where customers book flights and pilots bid on projects. Customers are able to interact with the pilot during the flight and stream FPV. A beta version of the platform was released June 17, 2015.

Is the Silicon Valley of Drones in North Dakota?

Grand SkyNorth Dakota wants to be an innovation hub for drones. Grand Sky Development Park is set to open this summer at Grand Forks Air Force Base as a UAS Business and Aviation Park. The facility features 1.2 million square feet of hangar and office space, and a runway for drones. The state invested $5 million in infrastructure and $7.5 million more in grants for runway improvements.

The 2015 Drone Aerial Photography Contest

Dronestagram announced the winners of its second annual photo competition. The contest was judged by National Geographic and Dronestagram CEO and founder Eric Dupin. Nine photographs are depicted from the more than 5,000 entries submitted. Contest sponsors included National Geographic, Kodak, Parrot, Go Pro, Hexo+, Picanova, Hobbico, and Adobe.

AF rolls out details to improve RPA mission

The U.S Air Force has a plan to address the RPA pilot shortage that includes a Critical Skills Retention Bonus for RPA pilots, assignment of about 80 Undergraduate pilot training graduates to RPA squadrons beginning in August, and spending more than $100 million to buy six next-generation ground control stations, training simulators, and contract instructors.

UAS Accidents Rise in Netherlands

According to the Dutch Transport Ministry, inspectors received reports of 8 small unmanned aircraft accidents in 2012, 15 in 2013, and 27 in 2014. Most of the incidents were reported by manned aircraft and professional drone users and eleven of the 2014 incidents involved a crash landing close to people or buildings. New rules governing the use of drones come into effect later this year.

Video of the Week

Feeding Corn in Iowa

A Hagie machine applies liquid fertilizer to miles of corn with Y-Drops. Filmed with an DJI Inspire-1.

Mentioned

Our Real Red Selves

This book contains the work of three authors, including Harry Giles’ Drone, which explores modern warfare and office life. Harry tells us that there will be a performance of the poetry in August at the Edinburgh Festival this year at Summerhall.

 

UAV102 SheDrones

SheDronesWe talk with Leslie Bates regarding her efforts to get young women and girls involved in the growing field of unmanned aerial systems.

Guest

Leslie Bates

 

Leslie Bates is the founder of SheDrones, an emerging non-profit which is being created to engage, educate, and train girls in unmanned aerial systems and related technologies. SheDrones will also support and collaborate with existing drone-specific STEM programs and organizations dedicated to women in related tech fields.

Leslie is a 15-year energy industry veteran and became interested in drones after researching their application in energy infrastructure development and maintenance. As the mother of two daughters, Leslie felt compelled to not only explore the future potential of the UAS industry, but also an expanded role for women within it.

Leslie is currently learning to fly various drones and obtaining her private pilot ground school license. She’s also continuing to develop and manage the SheDrones organization and partnerships, and expand its social media presence.

Visit the SheDrones website, follow @SheDrones on Twitter, and be sure to check out SheDrones on Facebook.

News

No Drone Zone

2015-FAA-193_UAS_Toolkit

 

The FAA is offering a “digital toolkit“ to federal, state, and other partners to help educate unmanned aircraft operators that flying in certain areas is prohibited. Materials for the public outreach program includes downloadable “No Drone Zone” signage in a variety of formats.

 

Videos of the Week

It’s a bird! it’s a plane! it’s a… Snoopy drone? Inventor builds quadcopter shaped like beloved Peanuts character

They’ve turned almost anything into a drone, why not Snoopy too?

DJI Stories – The Elephants of Tanzania

DJI is working with farmers and rangers in Tanzania to use a Phantom to prevent conflict between farmers and elephants and protect crops. Read more at: http://bit.ly/DJITanzania.

Mentioned

Meet the women shaping the future of the drone business

Fortune takes a look at four female leaders in the industry: Helen Greiner, CEO and founder of CyPhy Works; Dyan Gibbens, CEO and founder of Trumbull Unmanned; Lisa Ellman, law partner at Hogan Lovells; and Sally French, social media editor at MarketWatch and creator of TheDroneGirl.com.

Flying Grounds

Helping schools, governments, and organizations implement innovative UAV/Drone programs.

Drone Nationals

The Fatshark US National Drone Racing Championships at the California State Fair July 15-17, 2015.

UAV101 Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge

Aurora Flight Sciences CentaurThe optionally piloted Centaur flies at a UAS test site, a NASA-led team tests a sense and avoid system, more bad drone behavior, and an interview with the founder of the Kashmir World Foundation.

News

Remote-controlled passenger flights 5 years away, CEO says

An Aurora Flight Sciences Centaur was flown over the New York UAS test site from Griffiss International Airport. The Centaur is an Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA) based on the Diamond DA42 twin engine airplane. It becomes the first large-scale fixed wing unmanned aircraft to fly at an FAA-approved test site.

Aurora CEO John Langford believes that unmanned aircraft will ultimately make aviation safer, and we may some day see passenger flights with aircraft like the Centaur. The Aurora website has a video of the flight.

NASA tests advanced Ikhana and Global Hawk technology

A team led by NASA is testing a sense and avoid system using the Ikhana UAV, a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Predator B that was acquired by NASA in 2006. Testing in June included 23 encounters with a Beech C90 King Air acting as the intruder. Besides NASA, the team includes General Atomics, the FAA, and Honeywell.

The current test phase includes validation with the Ikhana of sensor, trajectory, and other simulation models. Other tests will utilize a Lockheed S-3B Viking jet from NASA’s Glenn Research Center acting as a high-speed piloted surrogate aircraft.

Seattle police seek pilot after woman knocked out by falling drone

A drone crashed into a building during a parade in Seattle, then fell and struck a woman in the head. Unconscious, she collapsed into her boyfriend’s arms. The drone was turned over to police, as were a physical description and photographs of the man believed to be the pilot. The drone was described as costing about $1,200 and weighing about two pounds.

Guest

Princess Aliyah PandolfiPrincess Aliyah Pandolfi is founder of the Kashmir World Foundation, established in 2008 to improve the lives of people and animals worldwide. Their projects create healthy habitats for humans and wildlife, and emphasize education, vocational training, job creation programs, and endangered species protection.

Kashmir-Robotics is hosting the worldwide Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge to foster innovation and invention in the design, fabrication, and utilization of unmanned aircraft to assist with counter poaching and illicit wildlife trafficking.Kashmir World Foundation
Can 3-D Printed Drones Help Save Wildlife? is a National Geographic video about the Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge.

Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge

Videos of the Week

FPVRACING.TV Time Trial Course #2

This video shows what FPV multicopter racing looks like from the quad’s perspective.

Sticks of a Mini Beast

A dramatic view of high speed FPV flying that shows the video feed from the multicopter as well as the operator’s hands on the controller. For more, see Mr. Steele’s Youtube channel

Flytrex Sky – The first delivery drone

The Flytrex Sky claims to be the world’s first internet connected drone that serves as a personal courier.