UAV151 Part 107: Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

FAAThe DOT and FAA released the rule that finalizes the February 2015 NPRM titled Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. That NPRM proposed operating and certification requirements for sUAS to operate for non-hobby and non-recreational purposes. To this point, those operations were allowed via Section 333 exemptions, COAs, and special airworthiness certificates. This rule now takes over and adds a new part 107 to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).

 

Press Release – DOT and FAA Finalize Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems [PDF]

In this episode, we provide a summary of the major provisions of Part 107, including:

  • Operational Limitations
  • “Remote Pilot in Command” certification and responsibilities
  • Initial and recurrent aeronautical knowledge tests
  • See-and-avoid and visibility requirements
  • The “Visual Observer”
  • Aircraft Requirements
  • Model Aircraft
  • Transporting Property for Compensation
  • International Operations and Foreign-Owned Aircraft
  • Public Aircraft Operations
  • Moored Balloons, Kites, Amateur Rockets, and Unmanned Free Balloons
  • Micro UAS
  • The preflight briefing
  • Flight termination system
  • External load and dropping objects
  • Requirement for English language proficiency

In other news:

Unanimous “Not Guilty” Verdict in Los Angeles’ First Criminal Drone Use Trial

Arvel Chappell III challenged the constitutionality of the charges brought against him by the City of Los Angeles. Chappell claimed the municipal anti-drone ordinance is preempted by federal law. The jury unanimously agreed.

The FAA and DOT Just Released the Small UAS Rule: Will Your Company be Ready?

Part 107 webinar for Monday, June 27, 2016. Topics covered will include:

Differences between the Final Rule and what the FAA initially proposed in the NPRM;
Timeframe for implementation of the new rule;
Implications for Section 333 Exemption / COA Holders;
Operator certification/pilot certificate requirements;
Flights near and over people;
ATC approvals to operate in certain classes of airspace;
Visual line-of-sight requirements;
Vehicle design and airworthiness certification;   
Part 107 exemption process; and
Upcoming FAA rulemaking and next steps moving forward.

 

 

UAV150 3D Printed Drone

A 3D printed aerial imaging drone, new drone sightings data analysis, a hand gesture-based controller for the Parrot AR, bad practice lawsuits, control of airspace over private property, and an autonomous aerial taxi.

O'Qualia Captor UAS

O’Qualia Captor UAS

News

O’Qualia unveils Captor UAS, a fully 3D printed commercial aerial imaging drone

Singapore-based startup O’Qualia has created the Captor UAS, said to be a high-quality aerial imaging drone with a 3D printed body.

Updated analysis of FAA drone data shows decline in UAS sightings

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has analyzed recent FAA drone sighting data and finds that UAS sightings peaked in August 2015, but have been declining month-by-month since then.

Hacked Nintendo Power Glove lets you control drones like a wizard

The Power Glove was released in 1989 as a controller accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Only two games were available, and they did not sell well. Nolan Moore has now taken a Power Glove and turned it into a hand gesture-based controller for the Parrot AR Drone.

You can follow Moore’s the development on his project blog.

Man who built gun drone, flamethrower drone argues FAA can’t regulate him

Two lawsuits are underway for the Connecticut student who mounted a gun then a flamethrower on a quadcopter. One suit seeks to reinstate him at Central Connecticut State University, which expelled him. The other lawsuit concerns failure to comply with FAA administrative subpoenas for certain records.

Should you be allowed to keep drones from flying over your property?

This article presents the opposing views of two legal experts concerning the legal right to fly a UAV over private property. One contends that privacy and safety considerations dictate that flights unauthorized by the property owner should not be allowed.The other expert says drones are the next frontier in aviation and decisions about where drones they can fly should be made collectively.

Human-Carrying Drone Taxi to be Tested in Nevada

Ehang has received approval from the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to test the autonomous aerial taxi. A prototype of the Ehang 184 was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

EHANG184, world’s first Autonomous Aerial Vehicle

Drone videos endangered Bryde whale feeding in research first

Students from the Auckland University of Technology were looking at dolphins when they spotted the rare Bryde whale off the coast of New Zealand. The critically endangered whale was feeding her calf using a rarely seen process called “lunge feeding.” The students captured video using a Hex H2O waterproof drone.

Video of the Week

Drone Ballet: Watch a high-tech dance at Mount Fuji

“Sky Magic” was produced by Japanese advertising company MicroAd using twenty drones with LED lights. Traditional Japanese guitars called shamisens provide the background music.

 

 

 

 

 

UAV149 Sense and Avoid and Package Delivery at NASA Langley

David talks with Frank Jones, Deputy Director, Research Services Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center.

David Vanderhoof and Frank Jones

David Vanderhoof (L) and Frank Jones (R)

Frank Jones describes how sense and avoid algorithms based on ADS-B have been researched using the specially instrumented NASA Cirrus SR-22 as a surrogate drone. NASA and the other research partners conducted a number of flight tests to try and tried to break the algorithms with “blunder maneuvers” and observed how the software performed.

The SR-22 also participated in the project with Virginia Tech, Flirtey, and others to deliver medical supplies by drone. The SR-22 carrying the supplies was flown remotely to an airport; the package was transferred to the Flirtey quadcopter, which then made the “last-mile” delivery.

Currently, an urban test environment is being created at NASA Langley where sUAS could be flown routinely across the campus using them operationally to deliver mail and packages, conduct building inspections, and perform other tasks.

Find NASA Langley Research Center on Twitter as @NASA_Langley.

We’d like to thank Kathy Barnstoff and Bill Baley for arranging the NASA Langley interviews.

 

UAV148 Voluntary Best Practices for UAS Privacy

A manned aircraft manufacturer looks ahead to UAS, whale-watching drones, ADS-B for UAS, a report on U.S. drone retail sales, and the U.S. Commerce Department issues privacy guidelines.

News

Air Tractor® Makes Entry into the UAS Market – Acquires Yield Defender

Air Tractor, Inc. produces a number of manned agricultural aircraft: 400, 500, 600 and 800-gallon capacity airplanes powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbine engines. But they’ve seen the future, and it’s unmanned, so they’ve purchased Hangar 78 UAV and its Yield Defender unmanned aerial system.

Yield Defender DronesAir Tractor President Jim Hirsch says, “We have done our research, and it’s clear that aggressively investing and further developing unmanned aerial systems into agriculture will enable Air Tractor to remain an industry leader and provide the latest technology to ag producers as UAS capabilities mature and are integrated into the industry.”
Yield Defender UAS systems are engineered for the agriculture industry. Their UAS has Near Infrared (NIR) sensors, thermal imaging, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology.

PWWA looks toward regulations of whale watching drones

The Pacific Whale Watch Association wants to make sure whales remain wild. They recognize the research value of drones, but they don’t know if hobby drones disturb whales. Additionally, they say current laws are vague or don’t exist. For now, PWWA asks drone operators to follow the Whale Wise Guidelines: stay at least 200 yards outside the perimeter of a whale or pod, and more than 400 yards from the path of a traveling pod.

Obstacles Appear to Extending GPS-Based ADS-B for UAV Operations

Inside GNSS published a comprehensive article that looks at issues and possible solutions for using the automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system on unmanned aircraft. The FAA has mandated installation of the ADS-B system in manned aircraft by 2020.

Obstacles to using ADS-B on UAVs include: cost, weight, and large numbers of drone flights. Also, many areas in the U.S. do not have ADS-B coverage below 500 feet.

Harris Corporation, the FAA’s prime contractor for ADS-B, announced ADS-B Xtend, a dual-band receiver and relay system that can be installed in areas without close-to-the-ground ADS-B capabilities. It provides UAV operators with aircraft tracking data, maps, and weather information.

Harris is partnering with PrecisionHawk to include information from the Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System or LATAS, which uses cellular networks. The Xtend ground receivers have a 150-mile range, and they can be attached to existing structures or even to mobile vehicles for roaming coverage.

Drone dollar sales for the past 12 months were three times higher than sales from prior year

Top selling drone brandsRetail research firm The NPD Group released a report that says for the twelve months ending in April, drone sales have grown 224 percent year-over-year to nearly $200 million.

Drones with 4K cameras accounted for more than one-third of dollar sales, and drones with built-in GPS accounted for 64 percent of revenue. Drones with an average price greater than $500 accounted for 56 percent of dollar sales and drones sold during the 2015 holiday season increased 445 percent from the prior year.

Privacy fears: Panel has advice for drone operators

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released the 8-page Voluntary Best Practices for UAS Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability. [PDF] The best practices are directed to both commercial and non-commercial drone users.

The document describes voluntary best practices, many relating to the collection of “Covered Data,” or information collected by a UAS that identifies a particular person. Due to First Amendment issues, the guidelines do not apply to newsgathering and news reporting organizations. The appendix lists eight guidelines for “Neighborly Drone Use.”

Video of the Week

Drone Roof Inspection

In this video, listener Ken Krantz uses a drone to inspect his solar panels and pool heating apparatus, with a little humor thrown in. The inspection actually revealed a broken item in need of repair. Ken tells us, “I should point out that, before this flight, I called my local tower and filled out a DROTAM that included the time of my flight, the max altitude (I specified 150’) and a number I could be reached at should they need to retract the DROTAM permission. AND, of course, I have an FAA UAS registration number affixed to the craft.”

Mentioned

UAV Propulsion Tech is a sponsor of The UAV Digest, and President Bob Schmidt has created a LinkedIn group called UAV Tech, “a networking group for technical people in the unmanned aerial vehicle industry. It will focus on advanced technology for UAV’s like: propulsion, payloads, servos, autopilots, sense/avoid, launch/recovery, generators, parachutes, airframes, materials, applications, and testing.” Group membership is by request.

New drone racing sport taking off in Utah

Patrick sent us this article that describes how a man who bought a toy quadcopter for his son ended up designing custom drones and became involved with Drones, Etc., an online business founded in early 2013 by two professional aerial enthusiasts.

 

 

 

 

UAV147 Drones That Perch on Walls

The FAA tests a drone detection system at JFK and releases registration data, drone-on-drone refueling demonstrated, a drone that can perch on walls, a new UAS risk management course, and a review of a guide to drones.

Stanford Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory

Rotorcraft perching, recovery, and takeoff

News

FAA Tests FBI Drone Detection System at JFK

The FAA conducted tests of the effectiveness of an FBI UAS detection system at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. Five different rotorcraft and fixed wing UAS participated in about 40 separate tests. Also involved in the tests were the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice, Queens District Attorney’s Office, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Griffiss International Airport test site in Rome, NY, provided expertise in planning the individual tests as well as the flight commander for the tests and two of the UAS used.

FAA Releases Drone Registration Location Data

In response to a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the FAA released a spreadsheet showing the number of UAS registrations by country, state/province/region, city, and postal code. Almost 40,000 entries for “Hobbyist” registrations, and nearly 5,000 “Non-Hobbyist” registrations. Names and addresses of registrants are not part of this database, and will only be made available by registration number.

Heatmap of hobbyist UAS registrations, courtesy AirMap

Heatmap of hobbyist UAS registrations

Heatmap of non-hobbyist UAS registrations, courtesy AirMap

Heatmap of non-hobbyist UAS registrations

We’d like to thank Airmap.com for providing the heat maps. Find the AirMap for Drones app in the iTunes store and use it to access low-altitude airspace advisories, create flights, file digital notices, manage aircraft, and more.

Now drones can go on and on: Unmanned aircraft refuel autonomously in MID-AIR, meaning they can carry out longer missions

Chinese researchers have developed a method of autonomous aerial refueling where the “tanker” uses cameras to determine the position of the “receiver.” The tanker then flies to the receiving drone and refuels it through a boom.

Microspines Make It Easy for Drones to Perch on Walls and Ceilings

Quadrotors have limited flight duration, so the ability to “perch” or land for extended periods of time would be beneficial, particularly for applications where the operator wants to collect data over time. Stanford’s Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory has been working on perching technology that would allow a small drone to land on a wall using an opposing gripping system.

Video of the Week

The Flying Scotsman crossing the Forth Bridge 15.5.16 Filmed by drone!

Peter Keith captured the Flying Scotsman crossing the Forth Bridge after a 10-year restoration project. Shot using a DJI Inspire 1 X5r Drone.

Mentioned

Online Global Unmanned Aircraft Systems Risk Management

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announces a new 8-week on-line course which discusses risk management as it relates to UAS, and also covers international efforts at addressing that risk. Taught by Dr. Sarah Nillson, our guest on Episode 111.

The Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Join David and Max June 18, 2016, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia for a day of full immersion in both manned and unmanned aviation.

Book Review

The Complete Guide to Drones: whatever your budget

David reviews this 144 page paperback by Adam Juniper and finds it to be a valuable resource. Author Juniper is a long-time R/C and drone flier, has produced many YouTube videos, and he has worked as a professional video producer.

 

 

UAV146 The FAA Creates, Permits, and Rescinds

The FAA created an advisory committee, permits educational institutions to fly UAS, and rescinded a proposed website for collecting reports of bad drone behaviour. UPS and Zipline partner for drone delivery of medical packages, and more interviews from the Drone Dealer Expo.

Zipline International

Zipline International medical package delivery drone

News

FAA Administrator Makes Major Drone Announcements

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta made two significant announcements at the AUVSI annual conference in New Orleans. Another advisory committee is being formed to provide advice on unmanned aircraft integration issues. Huerta said, “Input from stakeholders is critical to our ability to achieve that perfect balance between integration and safety. We know that our policies and overall regulation of this segment of aviation will be more successful if we have the backing of a strong, diverse coalition.”

Huerta also announced that students can operate UAS for educational and research purposes without going through the Section 333 process. This allows educational institutions to conduct activities that have been restricted in the past.

UPS-backed Rwandan blood deliveries show drones’ promise, hurdles

The UPS Foundation announced a partnership with Zipline, a California­-based robotics company, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to “explore using drones to transform the way life-saving medicines like blood and vaccines are delivered across the world.” The UPS Foundation has awarded an $800,000 grant to support the initial launch of this initiative in Rwanda using Zipline fixed-wing drones.

Zipline International, Inc. is a robotics company that works with governments to provide access to medical products at the last mile. Zipline is supported by investors such as Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Subtraction Capital, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Stanford University.

UPDATE: FAA Withdraws Request for Drone Reports Dubbed Witchhunt By Many

Congress has directed the FAA to “assess the flight behavior of [drones] and enable the reporting of [drone] sightings that cause public concern for safety, national security, and/or privacy.” In response, the FAA planned to launch a website to collect “airborne and ground based observations by the public of drone behavior that they consider suspicious or illegal.”

Now, however, the FAA has withdrawn the plan [PDF], citing that the proposal “contained errors, and needs further clarification.”

Drone Dealer Expo Interviews

More interviews by Tim Trott of Southern Helicam from the Expo:

David Alamillo, Chief Pilot and Flight Operations Manager, Farm Solutions, which manages sensor output for agricultural applications, and integrates with drone manufacturers

Mark Manson, Consumer Experience Lead for Academy of Model Aeronautics

Videos of the Week

Max and @dronemama Fly Away Dronie

This “fly away dronie” of Max Flight and @dronemama was taken by Hover Solutions, LLC at the 2016 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, Maryland. Hover Solutions was at the Festival with their DJI Inspire 1 to film the festival for the organizers.

Hover Solutions provides aerial photography and video for clients, UAV education, and industrial applications such as orthomosaic mapping and multisensor scanning services, including 3D modeling and NDVI overlays.

Hover Solutions will be exhibiting at the 2016 Howard County Fair, August 6-13, 2016, at the Howard County Fairground in West Friendship, Maryland. They’ll have a booth next to the main building. Stop by and say hello!

Clash of epochs: Drone speared at history festival in central Russia

A drone that was filming a historical reenactment in Russia was taken down by a spear thrown by a man dressed as an ancient Russian warrior. How often do you see that?

UAV145 The Autonomy Incubator with Dr. Danette Allen

Dr. Danette Allen from NASA Langley Research Center’s Autonomy Incubator describes projects that will advance autonomous technology for unmanned aircraft.

Guest

Dr. Danette AllenDr. Danette Allen is the NASA Senior Technologist for Intelligent Flight Control System and the Head of the Autonomy Incubator at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC). She is responsible for setting the strategic vision, transforming the workforce, and building systems to realize the promise of autonomy and robotics in enabling new missions in space, aeronautics, and science. Dr. Allen provides subject matter expertise on several DoD autonomy programs including ONR AACUS, DARPA CODE, and DARPA ALIAS.

In this episode, Dr. Allen talks about the democratization of the airspace, and she explains the process by which NASA flies UAS at Langley, which is adjacent to active Air Force operations. Dr. Allen also describes an earth science delivery demonstration that is coming up. There, a payload sensor will be placed autonomously in a difficult-to-access location, where it can collect data. Later, the sensor is retrieved and returned to the scientist. Dr. Allen is also investigating an autonomous Mars explorer and the concept of “trusted autonomy.”

Prior to her current position, Dr. Allen served as the Research Team Lead for Human-System Integration (HSI) and ATM Concepts in Crew Systems and Aviation Operations. She also served as Mission Manager in the Earth Science Systems Pathfinder (ESSP) Program Office as well as Head of the Mission Simulation Lab (MiSL) and the Integrated Design Center.Autonomy Incubator logo

Dr. Allen began her NASA career in the design, development and operation of spaceflight missions including Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE) on STS-64, Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS) on Mir, and Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III on ISS. Dr. Allen received her Bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University, MBA from Manchester University (UK), Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Old Dominion University, and her Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Computer Science from UNC Chapel Hill. She is the recipient of several NASA awards including the NASA astronauts’ “Silver Snoopy” award for achievements related to human flight safety and mission success as well as the NASA “Systems Engineering Excellence Award” medal.

Follow Dr. Allen on Twitter @DrDanetteAllen

UAV144 UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Research Platform

A milestone for the UTM research platform, controlling drones with brain waves, FAA approval for night flying, rules for sUAS get one step closer, more from the Drone Dealer Expo, and a Flirtey goes into the Smithsonian.

Flirtey founder and CEO Matthew Sweeny

Flirtey founder and CEO Matthew Sweeny

News

NASA Marks Success for Most Complex Drone Traffic Management Test Yet at FAA Test Sites

A three-hour field test of NASA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) research platform included 24 drones flying in all six FAA UAS test sites. Operators planned operations, entered flight plans,  and used a variety of aircraft and software. Up to 22 drones were operated simultaneously. The UTM research platform checked for conflicts, approved or rejected the flight plans, and notified users of constraints. This Technical Capability Level One test addressed rural UAS operations within line-of-sight.

University of Florida held the world’s first brain-controlled drone race

Sixteen pilots at the University of Florida used a brain-computer interface (BCI) to control DJI Phantoms down a 10-yard course. Each pilot was calibrated with electroencephalogram headsets measuring neuron activity, which was then bound to the controller for flight.

Nocturnal UAV ops approved

Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance has become the first commercial drone operator to be granted approval by the FAA to conduct UAV operations at night. Tremco plans to inspect buildings at night for energy leaks, rooftop damage, deteriorating façades, safety issues, etc. In partnership with Toronto-based Industrial SkyWorks, they’ve developed the SkyBEAM (Building Envelope Aerial Mapping) UAV using an Aeryon Skyranger quadcopter with HD video and infrared cameras.

Big News: Small UAS Rule at OIRA for Final Review

Law firm Hogan Lovells reports that “the FAA has sent the Small UAS NPRM to the White House for a final interagency review.” The Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) rule must go through a review process at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the White House. OIRA received the FAA’s Small UAS rule on April 20, 2016. Their review period averages 53 days.

Interview with Drone Nerds from Drone Dealer Expo

Continuing with Tim Trott’s interviews recorded at Drone Dealer Expo, we bring you his conversation with Lance Knowles from Drone Nerds, Incorporated, a distributor for brands like DJI and Monster X heavylift craft for commercial applications. Tim and Lance talk about the impact of regulations, the responsibilities of drone manufacturers and dealers, knowledge exams and check rides for drone operators, and measuring commercial drone operator proficiency.

Mentioned

The Flirtey drone used to make the first FAA-approved delivery in the U.S. has been accepted into the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display on Saturday, June 18, 2016, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. See recreational and home-built aircraft as well as classic automobiles. Enjoy presentations, demonstrations, special tours, and hands-on activities for all ages.

 

UAV143 Drone Dealer Expo 2016 – Part 2

An interview by Tim Trott with drone lawyer Jonathan Rupprecht at Drone Dealer Expo 2016.

Jonathan RupprechtWe continue our coverage of Drone Dealer Expo 2016 with an insightful conversation that Tim Trott recorded with Jonathan Rupprecht from Rupprecht Law.

Jonathan notes that the industry will become more regulated and comments on the responsibilities of drone manufacturers and retailers. He also has a very interesting and sobering take on the many organizations that represent the unmanned industry: their objectives, focus on constituencies, power, and approach to dealing with the FAA.

Jonathan comments on regulations that are coming in the future, such as the “micro UAV” rule recommendations, FAA reauthorization, Part 107 changes, and even Part 48 drone registration as a result of the lawsuit. We also hear his thoughts on the “cowboy operators” and the risks they pose.

Tim Trott, from Southern Helicam, is an instructor and the author of UAS Operations: Preparing to meet the anticipated FAA knowledge test requirements for UAS Operator and/or Pilot UAS Rating and The Droner’s Guide: From Beginner to Professional . In the future, we’ll bring you Tim’s interviews with a number the exhibitors at the Expo.

Video of the Week

Watch DARPA’s bizarre 24-motor drone aircraft fly for the first time

The Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike aircraft is intended to be a pilotless VTOL aircraft that can carry several thousand pounds of cargo and achieve a 400-knot cruise speed. A one-fifth-scale model has achieved its first flight.

UAV142 Drone Dealer Expo 2016 – Part 1

Observations from the Drone Dealer Expo, hydrogen fueled drones, a drone rescue patent, and proposed federal preemption of UAS laws.

Guest

Mike DanielsMike Daniels says he has been designing, building and flying model aircraft since the 1970s. He’s flown free flight, control line, and RC airplanes, helicopters, and multi-rotors. Mike built an F550 with parts he designed and printed, and he’s currently flying a Yuneec Typhoon Q500 and an Ares Ethos Q130. His new Typhoon H should arrive at any moment.

Mike holds an FAA pilot’s certificate to fly single engine land and sea planes, and an FAA repairman certificate for Light Sport Airplanes with a Maintenance Rating.

Mike shares his experiences by blogging at blog.mikeflys.com, and he’s created an online e-paper called  “The UAV Daily.” He’s also starting a drone store at www.mikeflys.com where he’ll only sell products he knows and likes. Follow Mike on Twitter as @Mike_Flys.

Drone Dealer Expo 2016

Mike gives us his observations from the Drone Dealer Expo he attended April 11-13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Mike characterizes the attendees and describes some of the event themes.

A drone racing expo was held in the parking lot to demo FPV racing, and there was talk about ESPN broadcasting races. The subsequent press story With ESPN deal, drone racing gets serious confirms that ESPN has signed a multi-year deal to broadcast drone races.

We talk with Mike about the theory that the timing of the FAA UAS registration requirement may have depressed holiday drone sales. We also learn that a panel discussion led to a lively discussion about UAS regulations. There was a consensus belief that a future drone operator’s certificate will require an in-person written test, not an online test.

News

MMC’s Hydrogen-fueled Drone, the HyDrone 1800, Leads the Way into a New UAV Era

MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology Co., Inc. (MMC) launched their HyDrone 1800, a hydrogen-fueled drone with a claimed flight time in excess of four hours, a one-minute recharge cycle, and a flight radius of up to 100km with a live video stream.

Google Has Patented a Drone Rescue Service

Google’s concept is that users could push a button instead of calling 911 and get the help they need, delivered by a self-flying drone.

Lawmakers seek to ensure FAA bill won’t preempt local drone laws

Senate debates contentious provision against state drone laws

Some members of the US Senate are adding amendments to the FAA reauthorization bill that would create a federal preemption for state or local laws related to the design, manufacture, testing, licensing, registration, certification, operation, or maintenance of UAS. Local governments could not regulate airspace, altitude, flight paths, equipment or technology requirements, and pilot requirements.

Video of the Week

Killerdrone! Flying chainsaw

Crazy Finnish farmers built an epic drone with a remote controlled chainsaw.

Mentioned

Facebook will now let any camera stream to Facebook Live, even a DJI drone: Post to your wall, but from the air