UAV090 Dee Jay Eye

X-47B Demonstrates Unmanned Aerial RefuelingThe X47B demonstrates autonomous refueling, 3D Robotics releases the Solo, India weaponizes small drones for crowd control, opinions on how the FAA can do a better job, and Auburn University plans to provide UAS pilot training.

News

X-47B Demonstrates Unmanned Aerial Refueling For The First Time

The Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle has successfully demonstrated autonomous aerial refueling, plugging into the aerial refueling basket behind a KC-707 tanker.

3D Robotics takes on DJI with Solo ‘smart drone’

The 3D Robotics Solo may be the smartest drone ever

3D Robotics Solo

3D Robotics released the Solo ready to fly quadcopter. They call it “The Smart Drone” and it includes an onboard 1GHz computer in addition to the Pixhawk 2 flight controller. It has full access to the GoPro camera (not included) and can stream live video. Price is US$1,000, or US$1,400 including a GoPro gimbal mount.

Security from the sky: Indian city to use pepper-spray drones for crowd control

The Senior Superintendent of police in the northern India city of Lucknow says they’ll use small drones with pepper spray to control mobs and unruly crowds. The drones they are using cost between $9,560 and $19,300, and will be fitted with a camera and pepper spray. Lucknow police have already used camera-equipped drones to monitor crowds at a recent religious festival.

FAA Speeds Up Small Drone Exemptions. But Why Not Just Issue Blanket Exemption?

This opinion piece argues that rather than issue exemptions one-by-one for sUAS operations, the FAA should issue a blanket exemption.

Auburn University receives nation’s first FAA authorization to operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School

Auburn University says it has received FAA approval for a new Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School as part of its Aviation Center. Bill Hutto, director of the Auburn University Aviation Center said, “We will conduct commercial flight training for operators of unmanned aircraft systems outdoors and untethered. We will have the ability to offer training courses at different locations here and around the state for Auburn students, faculty, members of other public agencies and the general public.”

FAA permits Amazon to test new UAV model

Amazon had complained that the UAS approved by the FAA in March was already obsolete, due to the length of time it took to get the COA. Amazon has now received a letter from the FAA granting operation of “the Amazon-manufactured multirotor small UAS that has been described to the FAA in a confidential filing.”

33 UAV Experts Reveal Favorite Drone Accessory

UAV Coach asked 33 experts, “If you could only choose one drone accessory, which one would you choose and why?” The site, which seeks to help people fly their quadcopters, “wanted to discover what some of the top industry professionals, drone bloggers, news sites, companies, and pilots would use to enhance their flights if they only had one option.” The group of experts includes past guests Tim Trott and Parker Gyokeres. Oh, and also our own David Vanderhoof.

Video of the Week

Dragonfly – Vanuatu Disaster Relief 2015

This very interesting video documents the relief provided by the 240 foot super motor yacht “Dragonfly” after Tropical Cyclone Pam pummeled the islands of Vanuatu. Much of the video was shot with a quadcopter, and it very clearly illustrates the complete destruction of the island.

Mentioned

DJI Developer

DJI has a developer program and SDK which supports the Phantom 2 Vision and Phantom 2 Vision+. Support for the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 is coming soon. iOS and Android operating systems are supported now, with Windows Phone support coming soon.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2

Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams take you back again to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns to the big screen with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

UAV089 New Quadcopters from DJI and 3DR

3D RoboticsDJI and 3D Robotics introduce new quadcopters, more FAA exemptions, EASA looking at RPAS regulations, and export control implications for drones.

News

The World’s Largest Drone Company Unveils Newest Product DJI Phantom 3

DJI introduced the Phantom 3 in two models, the Professional at $1259 and the Advanced at $999. The Professional offers a 1080P 4K camera. Both come with the Lightbridge Technology offering real-time HD Video from up to a mile away. The DJI app now includes a flight simulator.

3D Robotics teases stylish drone with pro features

3DR - Dawn

 

3D Robotics released a teaser video for a new quadcopter to be introduced April 13th. It looks like the styling team took a page from the DJI Phantom book. Engadget believes it will have first person view out of the box, a pre-programmable flying route, perhaps follow-me settings, and a new gimbal design.

 

3D Robotics Launches DroneKit, Its API For Building Drone Apps

A few weeks ago, 3D Robotics launched “DroneKit,” an open-source API for writing drone apps. It works with any drone that uses its APM autopilot. With the API, developers can write web-based and mobile apps, as well as apps written in Python that run on the drone itself.

FAA Grants 30 New Commercial UAS Exemptions

The FAA approved 30 more commercial UAS exemptions, including exemptions for insurance companies USAA and AIG. In a press release (FAA Approves Drone Petition), USAA says, “The Federal Aviation Administration approved USAA’s petition on April 2 to conduct research and development on its new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) program to better serve members, especially after catastrophes.”

The FAA approved USAA’s use of a PrecisionHawk drone for daytime, line-of-sight flights under 400 feet with a trained pilot. USAA will work with PrecisionHawk to develop best practices, safety and privacy protocols, and procedures for future operational use.

In another press release (It’s Wheels Up with ‘Transformative Technology’) written before the petition was submitted, USAA provides some examples of the applications they have in mind:

“We’re constantly seeking ways to better serve our members, especially during catastrophes, when getting into neighborhoods immediately after can be dangerous to human life, and applying new technologies is one way we can do that,” says Alan Krapf, president, USAA property and casualty insurance group.

USAA has teamed up with Texas A&M University to research and develop how to effectively put UAS to work for its members. This is being conducted with the University’s Roboticists Without Borders and Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR).

Also granted exemptions were AeroVironment for agriculture, aerial survey, and patrol applications, and senseFly for precision agriculture.

The total number of approved exemptions is now 99. The FAA has received 700 applications.

EASA Presents its Vision for the Future of the Aviation Regulatory System

EASA (the European Aviation Safety Agency) published an ‘EASA Opinion’ with proposals for the future of the aviation regulatory system. They include proposals for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs).

As part of implementing a General Aviation Road Map, EASA proposes to amend existing regulations to introduce, “…the necessary flexibility for small, low-risk GA as well as for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs) by introducing provisions which will allow possible deviations from existing requirements, where appropriate.”

US policy on the export of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS): a detailed look and analysis

The U.S. Department of State conducted a UAS policy review and has issued a new policy that governs the export and subsequent use of commercial and military unmanned systems. The new policy could allow export of weaponized UAS to U.S. allies, under certain circumstances and uses.

The policy also could also allow export of more types of commercial UAS to other countries, subject to compliance with U.S. laws and regulations and applicable multilateral commitments.

The U.S. Export Policy for Military Unmanned Aerial Systems fact sheet contains additional information.

In the United States, there are two sets of export regulations that would apply to drones, related components, systems, software, and technology:

U.S. exporters of drones, related systems, and technologies should pay close attention to these regulations.

Video of the Week

3DR – Dawn of the Aerial Age

3D Robotics teaser of their new quadcopter to be unveiled April 13, 2015.

Mentioned

Listener Bill sends in How SDG&E trains drone operators to help restore power.

San Diego Gas & Electric becomes the first utility company approved by the FAA to use unmanned aircraft systems. The company is looking at applications for its 26,000 miles of power lines.

Reminder

Visit http://theUAVdigest.com/nprm and you’ll be redirected to the regulations.gov web page where you can find the NPRM and submit your comments online on or before April 24, 2015.

UAV088 Conversation with a Section 333 Exemption Holder

Silent FalconWe talk about the recent FAA policy change designed to streamline the process of granting a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for holders of a Section 333 exemption. Also, we look at solar electric drones in the news, as well as the package delivery testing being done by Amazon in Canada and morphing robotic wings.

Guest

Mark Burns owns Burnz Eye View LLC, a promotion and marketing company specializing in aerial filming. We talked with Mark in Episode 83 after Burnz Eye View became the 16th company in the United States to receive a Section 333 exemption from the FAA. Mark has joined us again to give his observations on the impact of the FCC policy change for COAs on Section 333 exemption holders.

Be sure to follow the Burnz Eye View Blog for posts on topical issues, including Dear FAA, What use are Rules without Enforcement?

Also, note that Mark will be a panelist at the Unmanned Systems Institute Conference September 23-25, 2014 in Las Vegas.

News

First Solar-Electric Drone Enters Production

Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (SFUAS) has begun production of the Silent Falcon solar-electric aircraft. The Silent Falcon is a composite, fixed-wing sUAS with solar cells on its wings.

According to SFUAS, “The patent pending Silent Falcon™ is a solar/electric, all composite, modular small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) designed for commercial, public safety, and military applications. With Silent Falcon’s™ solar electric propulsion system, rugged composite structure, and three interchangeable wing configurations, it is the first sUAS capable of meeting long range and long endurance mission profiles.”

Facebook’s UAV Flies, Builds On Developments In Solar Power

Facebook announced the first flight of the Aquila subscale prototype of a solar-powered unmanned aircraft. The stratospheric “atmospheric satellite” is intended to bring the Internet to remote parts of the world. The full scale version is under construction.

Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration

The Guardian reports that Amazon is testing package delivery technology at a “secret” site in British Columbia, Canada. Amazon is said to have purchased some land where plain-clothed security guards keep those away who might wander into the area. The company is looking at using the airspace from 200 feet to 500 feet to carry the 5 pound or less packages that represent 86% of all packages they ship.

Morphing Robotic Wing Developed to Help Drones Manage Collisions

Birds can move their wings to help navigate through obstacles like tree branches, but man-made aircraft don’t have that ability. Except now researchers at Stanford University have created mechanisms that can passively morph their wings in ways similar to what birds and bats do.

Mentioned

Drone development in Alaska still on track

The Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) is one of the six FAA UAS test sites. Funding cuts threatened the program, but a Senate subcommittee has taken action to restore the money.

Reminder

Visit http://theUAVdigest.com/nprm and you’ll be redirected to the regulations.gov web page where you can find the NPRM and submit your comments online on or before April 24, 2015.

UAV087 FAA Streamlines COA Process

Draganflyer X6A new FAA policy streamlines the Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) process, an unmanned aircraft Business Park is born, a Senator proposes a “Commercial UAV Modernization Act,” and drones used at a golf tournament, or not.

News

FAA Streamlines UAS COAs for Section 333

The FAA says they will grant a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for “flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption for aircraft that weigh less than 55 pounds, operate during daytime Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, operate within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports.”

Drones’ buzz to replace roar of Air Force giants in North Dakota

Claimed to be “the first commercial UAS Business and Aviation Park in the nation,” Grand Sky is open and taking applications for build-to-suit site occupancy. Located on Grand Forks AFB, and executed in partnership with Grand Forks County, North Dakota, Grand Sky is looking for tenants and owner occupants who will engage in UAS testing, evaluation, research, development, and operations.

County bans drones during Masters Tournament at Augusta

In an effort to prevent drones from interfering with the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, commissioners approved a county-wide ban on launching or operating drones between April 2 and April 13. Prior to being amended, the ban originally would have affected all drones at any time in areas with dwellings, congested areas, at sporting events, and in heavily populated parks.

Golf Channel Experiments with a Drone at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

The FAA approved the use of a drone at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Golf Channel used a drone to capture footage before the event.

What we should not do with drone regulation

The author of this article proposes the use of geo-fencing, detection and tracking systems for high security areas, and interceptor drones with nets to capture invading drones.

Senator Cory Booker To Introduce Commercial Drone Legislation Following FAA’s Amazon Ruling

Senator Booker’s proposed “Commercial UAV Modernization Act” is meant to allow certain commercial operations until the final FAA regulations are issued. These temporary rules would allow sUAS to perform missions such as construction site surveys or crop mapping. The bill also calls for a new “Deputy Associate Administrator for Unmanned Aircraft” to report to the head of the FAA and the Secretary of Transportation.

Video of the Week

You Need to Comment on the #NPRM

Victor Villegas, aka DroneSinger, calls himself the “Weird Al” Yankovic of drones. He creates drone songs to bring attention to drone issues and drone culture. This musical parody song encourages drone fans to comment on the FAA’s NPRM for commercial use of sUAS.

@dronemama says:  Be sure to read and comment on the NPRM.

Mentioned

Drone racing on the rise

FPV drones race at 150 km/hr an empty car park (parking garage) at night.

 

UAV086 Dual and Arclarity Developing Sense and Avoid Solution

Dual Electronics Corporation, a manufacturer of aviation GPS and ADS-B receivers, is working with Arclarity LLC, a developer of 3D augmented reality aviation systems, to develop a sense-and-avoid solution for autonomously flying drones operating in the US airspace.

Guests

Greg Lukins, Vice President, Business Development, Dual Electronics Corp.

An engineer by training and an entrepreneur at heart, Greg pairs technologies with business opportunities, and has a 20-year track record of successfully bringing ideas, technologies and products to market globally. Greg is VP of Business Development at Dual Electronics and also manages Dual’s market leading GPS product line. He holds an MSEE, is a licensed pilot, and lives in Florida where the weather is always perfect for flying Cessnas and drones.

Brian J. Scott, Founder and Principal, Arclarity

Brian is an aviator and an engineer with experience in modeling/simulation and flight simulator projects. He is committed to applying his experience and expertise to bring enhanced situational awareness and navigation to aviation. Brian holds a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida and is an instrument rated private pilot with experience in both piston and turbine aircraft.

Dual Arclarity Sense and Avoid SolutionsDual Electronics Corporation is a subsidiary of the Namsung Corporation, and is based in Heathrow, Florida. Dual offers a wide selection of mobile electronics, marine electronics, and portable GPS and ADS-B receivers for aviation. For more information, visit www.GPS.dualav.com.

Arclarity LLC is based in Orlando, Florida and provides aerial navigation solutions centered on increased situational awareness and collision avoidance.  For further information, visit www.arclarity.com.

News

Amazon Gets Experimental Airworthiness Certificate

The FAA issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to an Amazon Logistics, Inc. unmanned aircraft (UAS) design that the company will use for research and development and crew training. The FAA typically issues experimental certificates to manufacturers and technology developers to operate a UAS that does not have a type certificate.

The FAA Says You Can’t Post Drone Videos on YouTube

An aviation safety inspector in the FAA’s Tampa office seems to believe that posting video from a drone on YouTube constitutes “commercial use” because the popular video site has advertisements. The FAA inspector was responding to a complaint.

Video of the Week

Sheer cliffs, dense jungle and its own climate: Mesmerising drone footage captures haunting beauty of the world’s largest cave

Spectacular video of Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong cave, which is also the subject of some controversy concerning a construction project (Stop the Construction: Save the Son Doong Cave!).

UAV085 NTSB: Putting Some “English” on Drone Investigations

NTSB investigates unmanned aircraft accidents

We speak with Bill English from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about that agency’s investigations of unmanned aircraft accidents. Bill talks about the scope of their involvement, the data available to investigators, and the similarities to manned aircraft. We also talk about the FAA NPRM and the role of the NTSB when FAA enforcement penalties are appealed.

Guest

Bill English - NTSBBill English is an Investigator-in-Charge in the Major Investigations Division of the Office of Aviation Safety.  He has been with the NTSB since 1999 as an investigator on major air carrier events such as Asiana Boeing 777 in San Francisco and the B747 cargo fire in Dubai.

Bill is also the NTSB’s resource for unmanned aircraft investigations. He has built and flown his own small multi-rotor system, and trained on numerous platforms up to the MQ-9.  He was also responsible for developing the NTSB’s civil unmanned aircraft accident regulations, investigations manual, and training programs.

In addition to his NTSB responsibilities, Bill is a certified instrument flight instructor and commercial pilot in single and multi-engine airplanes; has flown aerial observation, corporate, and electronics test aircraft; and has extensive experience in flight inspection and advanced navigation technology.  He holds degrees in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University, in Geospatial Intelligence from Penn State, and also graduated from the USAF Mishap Investigation Course.

The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation – railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The NTSB determines the probable cause of the accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, the NTSB carries out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinates the resources of the Federal Government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members impacted by major transportation disasters.

Mentioned

Aviation Gateway Park Brings Innovation, Education and UAVs AirVenture

The latest innovations, unmanned drone demonstrations, and a world of possibilities for young aviation enthusiasts are part of the new Aviation Gateway Park that makes its debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.

One of the highlights of Aviation Gateway Park will be a new “Drone Cage,” where unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be demonstrated each day during AirVenture. Manufacturer demos, educational presentations, obstacle course contests, and free flight can be viewed from all sides of the cage, including from bleachers inside the Park’s Innovations Center. Companies interested in exhibiting and demonstrating should contact EAA’s exhibits office at exhibits@eaa.org.

 

UAV084 Talk to the Drone

Piaggio P.1HH HammerHead

NPRM update, a drone at a baseball spring training camp, researching the effects of drones on birds, rooftop inspections by UAVs, the Piaggio P.1HH HammerHead prototype maiden flight, Europeans work to harmonize UAV guidelines, and drones that communicate with ATC by voice.

FAA sUAS NPRM

The Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems NPRM was released February 15, 2015 and published in the Federal Register February 23, 2015, starting the 60 day clock for public comments. Comments must be received by April 25, 2015.

Use the shortcut theUAVdigest.com/nprm to visit the regulations.gov webpage which provides links to the NPRM document and the comment submission page.

News

MLB sucks fun out of Indians’ camp, grounds pitcher’s homemade drone

A player on the Cleveland Indians baseball team brought a drone to the team’s spring training camp and took some aerial photos. The MLB shut him down, probably because the ball field is next to Phoenix Goodyear Airport

French Researchers Bother Birds with Drones, for Science

To study the effects of drones on wildlife, researchers flew a quadcopter near eating or resting birds more than 200 times. They tried different speeds and angles of attack and looked for signs of stress.

They found that if you stayed 15 feet away, the birds didn’t much care about the quadcopter. Frequency of approach didn’t matter and color of the drone didn’t matter. However, approaches from directly above did upset the birds.

Ideas for future study include rotary vs. fixed wing drones, drone size, and sound of the drone. Also, stress indicators for other species may not be visual.

Somerville using drones to survey snowy building roofs

Outside of Boston, the town of Somerville has hired an aerial cinematography and multimedia company to fly drones over municipal buildings to inspect for excessive snow.

Above Summit is providing an alternative to sending workers up to look for dangerous snow accumulations. They inspected 10 buildings in one day alone.

HammerHead UAV prototype makes maiden flight

Piaggio Aerospace conducted the maiden flight of the P.1HH HammerHead prototype. The medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) HammerHead is derived from the Avanti II twin-pusher turboprop.

Piaggio Aerospace chief executive Carlo Logli said, “Today we have compelling reasons to believe that P.1HH will become the first European state-of-the-art MALE UAS, uniquely suited to perform a wide range of surveillance and security missions at the highest technological level.”

The vehicle management control system, sensors, data link, and ground control station come from Selex ES. Missions include border control, wide area and targeted surveillance, and humanitarian assistance.

European regulators target harmonised UAV guidelines

The European Commission and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) believe that current air traffic management systems will not adapt to UAVs. Instead, unmanned systems will have to feed the air traffic control we already have today. If that’s going to work, then unmanned air vehicle regulations need to be more globally aligned.

The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (SJU) initiative includes a strategy to modernise and harmonise UAV operations. An upcoming RPAS element in SESAR’s strategy will facilitate this further.

New system allows air traffic controllers to converse with drones

Researchers at RMIT University in Australia have developed a system that lets drones communicate with air traffic controllers using a synthesized voice. This is being conducted with Thales’ Centre for Advanced Studies in Air Traffic Management (CASIA), and UFA Inc., a software engineering firm.

The system uses UFA’s ATVoice® Automated Voice Recognition and Response software. With it, drones can verbally respond to spoken information requests over the radio, and even act on clearances from air traffic controllers.

ATVoice is used in flight simulators which allow “the user to control the simulation exercise through voice commands using standard FAA or ICAO air traffic control phraseology,” according to UFA.

Video of the Week

The Dronesis Audi’s new commercial which re-creates Hitchcock’s The Birds using flocks of multicopters as the evil intimidators.

Mentioned

NPRM…Now What? Start or Accelerate Your Commercial Drone Company by Ryan Morton of SkySpecs.

UAV083 Section 333 Exemption Challenges

Burnz Eye View LLC

Experiences of a Section 333 exemption recipient, drones over Paris landmarks cause a commotion, and Rhode Island wants to regulate commercial and recreational drones.

Guest

Mark Burns is the owner of Burnz Eye View LLC, a promotion and marketing company located in Southern California and specializing in aerial and “MōVI” filming. On January 23, 2015, Burnz Eye View became only the 16th company in the United States to receive a Section 333 exemption from the FAA allowing Burnz Eye View to fly sUAS commercially.

We talk with Mark about the process of obtaining the exemption, utilizing the services of an aviation attorney, and communications with the FAA. Mark also describes the challenge of operating within the limits of the exemption. He advises UAV operators to create a logbook to document flying time and maintenance in order to demonstrate proficiency to potential clients and for insurance purposes. Mark points to Skyward as a company that can help you set up a digital logbook.

Burnz Eye View began with aerial video for the real estate industry, but since the exemption Mark is looking to expanding into television and commercial films, insurance/structure/bio inspection with thermal and IR/EO, and integrating sUAS in national parks and sporting event activities.

Mark was first introduced to flying as a Marine while serving as aircrew in the back of a CH-46E helicopter in Okinawa, Japan. After serving for over nine years, Mark went on to work in the greater Washington D.C. area as a government contractor in the intelligence and biometrics fields. Mark and his family moved to California in 2009 and he started Burnz Eye View in 2013.

News

Mystery drones ‘fly over French capital’

Mysterious drones over Paris cause panic

At least five drones were spotted flying over a number of Paris landmarks on two consecutive nights. The sites included the US embassy, the Eiffel Tower, the Place de la Concorde, the Invalides military museum, a train station, the Paris Opera, the Tuileries gardens, and Paris’ Montparnasse Tower.

3 arrested over Paris drone; no known link to night flights

Three Al-Jazeera journalists arrested for flying drone in Paris

Three Al Jazeera journalists were arrested for flying in some woods in western Paris. They say they were filming a report on the mystery drone flights. Two were subsequently released.

RI lawmakers want to study, regulate drones

The “Rhode Island Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles Act” [PDF] would give the state the authority to regulate commercial and recreational drones:

  • Drones would have to be registered with the Department of Public Safety.
  • Operation would be limited near airports, military and government buildings, and schools.
  • It would be illegal to take pictures or video of a private building without permission.

Mentioned

No Film School channel on YouTube for guidance on how to take your aerial cinematography to the next level.

RageCams for camera lens modifications to change focal length or eliminate fisheye effects.

UAV082 Reaction to the FAA’s NPRM for Commercial sUAS

NBC Exclusive Drone Footage Captures Frozen Niagara Falls

Companies, the press, and other interested parties have looked at the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for small UAS, and the response has been positive, but there is work to be done.

For documents related to the sUAS NPRM, visit regulations.gov and search for Docket FAA-2015-0150. At press time, the Recently Published Rulemaking Documents page still shows the NPRM as pending publication in the Federal Register, but a PDF of the NPRM is available.

News

FAA’s liberal proposed rules win allies in drone business

Jon Resnick, Policy and Marketing Representative in Washington for DJI says, “We are very pleased the FAA is taking a reasonable and practical approach to integrating commercial UAS into the National Air Space. We are very encouraged and stand ready to collaborate with the FAA to implement common-sense proposals as quickly as possible.”

Mark Dombroff, from law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge says, “My concern is that there will be people entering the UAS business who are attracted by the potential economics. This really requires aggressive monitoring and enforcement by the FAA to insure that the rules are observed.”

With new rules, the FAA and drone industry make up

“Drone advocates let out a collective sigh of relief as new commercial drone regulations are more industry-friendly than expected.”

Fortune says, the “FAA … is far more in tune with industry needs than many imagined.”

They call it “a promising sign.”

Matthew Bieschke, president of the UAS America Fund says, “I think the FAA has had a tremendously difficult job to do, and I think what they came out with over the weekend was surprising. It was less conservative than a lot of people in the industry thought it would be.”

Lisa Ellman, counsel and co-chair of the UAS Practice Group at the D.C. office of McKenna Long & Aldridge says, “People feared that the new process would look like the Section 333 exemption process up to and including the private pilot’s license requirement … so this is a huge, wonderful thing, this new UAS operator’s certificate. It will be relatively easy to get and will make drones broadly accessible.”

Brendan Schulman, head of the unmanned aircraft systems practice at New York City-based law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, says there are aspects of the Notice that the FAA got wrong: Limitations on academic research, night flying, and the height limitation.

Regarding drone-based delivery, Schulman says in an email to Fortune, “The proposal considers drone delivery to be air carriage subject to heightened regulatory standards outside the UAS proposal. That’s a legal distinction that made sense in the manned aircraft era but I am not sure why they are holding on to it. It strikes me as a real blow to Amazon and other companies that have been working on drone delivery projects.”

Amazon drone plans shot down by authorities

In the proposed regulations, operators of commercial sUAS must fly under “unaided” line of sight and not over people. This makes package delivery impossible. Amazon vice-president of global public policy Paul Misener told CNBC by email, “The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers. We are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need.”

Small UAV Coalition Applauds the FAA’S Release of the Proposed sUAS Rule as a Good First Step for Industry

In its press release, the Small UAV Coalition says, “We applaud the FAA for creating a flexible framework that appears to be risk-based, as we have advocated, and focused on the technological capabilities of UAVs, rather than simply adapting a set of rules from those currently governing manned aircraft.” And, “In particular, we support the FAA’s proposal not to require an airworthiness certificate for small UAVs, and to eliminate any requirement for a pilot to obtain manned aircraft flying experience or a medical exam.”

But the Coalition does have some issues with the proposal concerning line of sight, testing on private property, night flying, the altitude limit, and first person view.

President Obama Calls for Transparency in UAS Privacy Memo

President Barack Obama released a Presidential Memorandum to the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies: Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Video of the Week

NBC Exclusive Drone Footage Captures Frozen Niagara Falls

Capturing the beauty of the frozen falls.

UAV081 FAA Releases the sUAS NPRM

Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The FAA has finally released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for sUAS. The document contains the proposed regulations governing the commercial use of small UAVs.

In this episode, we take a first look at the NPRM and consider the proposed requirements for pilot certification, training, UAS registration, maintenance and inspection, and model aircraft. We also discuss the alternatives considered by the FAA, but not included in the NPRM, and how the public can submit comments about the proposal to the FAA.

Docket FAA-2015-0150, Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Leaked FAA Document Provides Glimpse Into Drone Regulations

Inadvertently Posted FAA Document Provides Insights Into Forthcoming Drone Regulations

FAA proposes to allow commercial drone use