UAV073 FAA says Go, NYC says NO

Gray Eagle UAS

The FAA issues more exemptions, the NPRM might affect hobbyists, NYC looks at banning drones, agriculture eager to get started, Fort Bliss is building a drone port, and drone videos for the holidays.

News

FAA Grants Five More Commercial UAS Exemptions

The FAA granted five regulatory exemptions for unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations to four companies under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The four companies that received exemptions want to fly UAS to perform operations for aerial surveying, construction site monitoring, and oil rig flare stack inspections.

The FAA determined that the UAS in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.

The FAA has a backlog of 167 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S. Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Integration, Oversight, and Competitiveness

FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Margaret Gilligan explained that the FAA implemented a Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) program which will permit Test Site designees to issue experimental certificates for unmanned aircraft.

To help the test sites develop the capability to assess unmanned aircraft and issue these certificates, the FAA developed both online and in-person training. Once test site designees have completed FAA training, they will be authorized to work within this new program.

Drone downer: Will new FAA rules ground recreational fliers?

Congress in 2012 exempted hobbyists from new FAA rules – provided they adhere to, among other things, the safety code of a community-based organization, such as the 170,000 member AMA. But there are are an estimated 300,000 non-members flying hobbyist aircraft who are largely unaware of hobbyist association safety codes.

NYC lawmaker wants to ban drones except for cops with warrants

Councilman Dan Garodnick introduced a bill banning use of all drones except for those operated by police officers with warrants:

No person may avigate a UAV within the limits of the city except:

  1. The police department in accordance with section 14-133.1.
  2. A person avigating such UAV pursuant to and within the limits of an express authorization by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Councilman Paul Vallone introduced a different bill that is less aggressive. It lists 10 instances where operating a UAV would be illegal, including at night, out of the operator’s line of sight, or above 400 ft high. Otherwise, hobbyists and commercial interests would be free to fly drones.

UAV Industry About to Take Off for Ag

At the recent Indiana/Illinois Farm Show, there was big interest in drones. Agricultural applications of UAV technology are taking place in Canada and Europe because drone use is not illegal. U.S. farmers are being cautious until the FAA creates regulations for commercial use, but several exhibitors at the Show were offering UAVs for sale. At price points between $1,200 and  $25,000, growers were advised to start low and evaluate the systems before making large investments.

Fort Bliss builds Gray Eagle UAV complex

The “droneport” will have a 50,000 square foot hangar and flight facility for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, an upgraded Predator. The Gray Eagle has a Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE), which can support various types of fuels. With the hangar will come a 5,000 foot runway, taxiways and aprons. A 1,000 foot runway will be made for the RQ-7 Shadows.

Program to Address Growing Need for Drone Operators

In the spring 2015 semester, Florida State University plans to launch the “Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems” course as part of the new Application of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems program. It’s part of the University’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) program.

Videos of the Week

Christmas on Wendhurst

A drone’s eye view of an amazing Christmas display shot by Daryl Watkins.

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens Deck the Hall 2014 Aerial Video

Andrew Cross created a Christmas display video of the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens using a DJI Phantom 2 with a 3D gimbal and GoPro 3+, and a Tarot 810 Hexacopter with a gimbaled Sony NEX5T.

Airbus A310 by MM – indoor airshow Leipzig

This 1/22 scale Airbus is flown indoors. It has a 2 meter wingspan and weighs 284 gms. The fuselage is filled with helium to help keep the weight down.

UAV072 Drone for the Holidays

Arca Space AirStrato

A new civilian HALE, 12 drones for the holidays, where to fly your drone in the UK and Canada, drone near misses and hits, and a holiday video of the week.

News

Arca Space Announces New Range of High-Altitude UAVs

New Mexico-based Arca Space Corporation announced the AirStrato line of electric HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs. These fill a gap between large, expensive military unmanned aerial vehicles and small, inexpensive civilian commercial drones. The target market is small-scale businesses and research institutions.

The Twelve Drones of Christmas

FlightBots.com picked their favorite drones for the holiday season:

  1. Quadcopter Q4 Nano – A very small RTF.
  2. Hubsan X4 HD – A low cost little starter drone quadcopter with HD 2MP Camera.
  3. Hubsan X4 H107D FPV – An out of the box basic first person view (FPV) starter drone.
  4. Blade 180 QX HD ready to fly (RTF) – A low cost starter drone for aerial photography.
  5. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite – Control this using your smartphone or tablet.
  6. Quanum Nova – Outperforms other drone in its price range.
  7. Walkera QR X350 PRO – An RTF FPV Quadcopter that generally costs less than competing products.
  8. DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ – The easy to fly all-in-one consumer drone with advanced software.
  9. 3DR IRIS+ – For real consumer and professional applications.
  10. 3DR X8+ – A real workhorse with modular design and autonomous delivery capabilities.
  11. Walkera Scout X4 – Features include the ability change from quadcopter with 4 motors to octocopter with 8 motors, real time telemetry and flight times up to 25 minutes.
  12. DJI Inspire 1- Carbon fiber arms lift out of sight, 360 degree view, 4K video, 12 megapixel photos.

Where you can and can’t fly a drone

The niche hobby has turned mainstream, and that means lots of new drone pilots after the holidays. What are the rules in the UK?

TGI Friday’s Dumb Mistletoe Drone Cut Somebody’s Face Open

TGI Friday’s idea for drones carrying mistletoe inside the restaurant has already resulted in an accident. During a demonstration for the Brooklyn Daily, the pilot encouraged the reporter to let him land the drone on her hand. She flinched and the drone struck a photographer in the face.

Pilots fear private drones after Heathrow near-miss

The UK Airprox Board (UKAB) is expected to release its report on December 12 about the Heathrow Airport incident earlier this year where an Airbus A320 with passengers had a close encounter with a civilian drone.

Near-collisions between drones, airliners surge, new FAA reports show

Reports of near collisions between unmanned and manned aircraft continue to be reported to the FAA by commercial pilots, private pilots, and air traffic controllers. Since June 1, there have been 25 such encounters of small drones coming “within a few seconds or a few feet of crashing into much larger aircraft.”

The list is available from The Washington Post in Near Mid-Air Collisions With Drones.

The Government Admits Drone Rules Won’t Be Ready Until at Least 2017

The FAA was given until September 2015 to establish regulations that integrate UAS into the National Airspace. The The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the rules won’t be in place until 2017 or later.

Video of the Week

This Drone Video of Synchronized Holiday Lights Is the Most American Thing Ever

A subdivision in the American Southwest synced up a neighborhood-spanning light show to Trans Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards of Winter,” ​and filmed the whole thing with a drone.

Feedback

DroneIQ – How to freely operate a commercial or research drone in Canada

By freelance reporter and UAV enthusiast William Levasseur. This video provides details about the new Transport Canada regulations for commercial UAV operations.

DroneIQ – Why the Transport Canada UAV exemption is useless

This follow-on video explains why the Transport Canada definition for “built-up area” might make the new exemption useless for anything other than surveying very remote farmland or working in the wilderness.

UAV071 Are Strict sUAS Regulations Better Than No Regulations?

SkySpecsShould we be satisfied with strict regulations if that will allow commercial operation of UAVs to begin? Also: The FAA looks to focus on drone certification and pilot standards, Canada makes it easier to fly small UAVs, UAS pilot training, model aircrafters getting swept up in drone regulations, and a proposal to allow drones to fly in US National Parks.

Guest

Ryan MortonRyan Morton is a roboticist. He’s the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of SkySpecs, which produces innovative drone technologies that help pilots focus on the mission without worrying about what they might crash into next. SkySpecs is also working with various government agencies to integrate drones into the airspace.

Ryan was recently interviewed for the Wired article, The FAA’s Drone Rules Are Too Narrow, But They’re Better Than Nothing.

Ryan is a veteran of the USAF and graduated from both the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and the University of Michigan. He was a member of the winning team at MAGIC 2010, a US/Australian-funded multi-robot exploration competition wherein (mostly) autonomous ground-based robots explored an unknown environment and detected various objects of interest.

At the Executive Order 12866 meeting at the White House with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Ryan had the opportunity to assist Lisa Ellman and others from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (MLA), as well as another industry startup, Measure, in discussing some views on sUAS integration. One of those is that stalling the process to get the UAS regulations “perfect” from the start is a mistake. Instead, we should implement some regulations now, even if overly restrictive, then iterate.

The excellent MLA blog Plane-ly Spoken covers topics such as recent decisions and litigation, legal trends, airworthiness directives, regulatory interpretations, FAA counsel opinions, and FAA enforcement actions.

News

Huerta Says UAS Rules Stress Certification, Pilot Standards

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta reconfirms that the FAA intends to issue the proposed small UAS regulations by year-end. He says, “I can’t say what is going to be in it but broadly speaking, what we are looking at are all the questions relating to how we certify the aircraft and what are the qualifications of the operator as well as what uses they can be put to.”

New rules for small unmanned aircraft: Transport Canada makes it easier to fly small UAVs for work and research

Transport Canada released Advisory Circular (AC) No. 600-004, Guidance Material for Operating Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems under an Exemption. This introduces two exemptions that will not require a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). These are for very small UAVs (under 2 kg) and small UAVs (between 2 kg and 25 kg).

Unmanned Experts Partners with Gold Seal to Provide FAA Ground School

As we speculate about what the FAA will propose for sUAS regulations, it’s a pretty good bet that some type of operator certification or license will be required. That implies there will be some training for pilots. Flight training provider Gold Seal has teamed up with Unmanned Experts to adapt the manned aircraft training for UAS. The UAV Ground School PPL Course is now available for purchase.

Fraunhofer developing flying inventory robots to keep tabs on stock

A project of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics would have autonomous drones perform warehouse operations like stock taking and record keeping. Under the InventAIRy Project, warehouses wouldn’t have to shut down while employees took a physical inventory.

In a conventional RFID inventory tracking system, the chips are in the goods which are recorded as they pass by the antennas. In this system, the chips remain stationary, but the antennas move – on a flying robot.

Domestic Drone Casualties

The writer is concerned that the model airplane hobby is getting swept into the whole UAS regulations process, and this isn’t good for R/C and it isn’t good for full sized aviation either.

Video of the Week

DJI Phantom 2 Epic (Domtoren Utrecht)

Listener Frank sends us this beautiful video of a drone flying in the mist.

Feedback

Listener Andy offers three points concerning the US National Park ban on UAVs:

  1. As a hiker, scrambler, and a lover of peace, quiet, and solitude… I do not want some bozo flying these things around me or my family while I am trying to enjoy mother nature.  The reason I am there in the first place is to get some respite from some of the bozos in my everyday life.
  2. As a photographer/videographer, and lover of all things that fly (except mosquitoes  – the bug, not the plane),  I also love getting that unique viewpoint that only a drone/UAV can provide.
  3. But… Point 2 cannot be at the expense of safety or annoying someone who relates to Point 1. 

Andy describes how most National Parks are large, with visitors tending to concentrate in a few areas, leaving many isolated locations away from the crowds. There is plenty of space to fly to get unique aerial footage without compromising safety, space, and solitude.

With that, Andy recommends that hobby drone/sUAV flight should be permitted in the National Parks with the following guidelines…

  • No flying at High Density Area Lookouts/Features or Ecologically sensitive locations (e.g. Mt. Rushmore/Yosemite ValleyOld Faithful Geyser Basin). This can be defined/zoned and given to the pilot when they obtain a permit. 
  • Charge a permit fee – make it reasonable ($10 a day, $20 a week). The permit process would force the “pilot” to get current information on where flying is or is not permitted.
  • Operator must be an AMA member or certificated pilot. This would ensure at least some training/knowledge/exposure to things that fly as compared to the standard individual.
  • As part of the conditions of the permit: common courtesy. If there are any other visitors in the vicinity that flying disrupts or once an objection is raised, the operator must quit.  (Offering the other guests a dronie may help promote positive responses.)
  • General AC 91-57 adherence (400 feet, LOS, etc.).
  • No Wildlife harassment (set a distance restriction.)

Mount Rushmore

In his visits to the Badlands, Custer State Park, and Mt Rushmore, Andy noticed helicopter operations present. These, he says, are noisier than typical multicopters.

UAV070 Preview of the FAA sUAS NPRM

NAB Chernobyl Aerial VideoSneak peak at the FAA sUAS regulations, NZ drone regs, bioengineered drones, busting poachers, the threat to airliners, first amendment issues, and GoPro to enter the UAV market.

News

Drone Flights Face FAA Hit

The Wall Street Journal reports that “people familiar with the rule-making process” are talking about what we can expect in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) from the FAA for sUAS.

The expectation is that the FAA will:

  • Lump all sUAS under 55 pounds under the same regulations
  • Require sUAS operators to have a manned-flight pilots license
  • Limit flying to daytime hours, below 400 feet, line of sight.

The NPRM is still expected before year-end, followed by a public comment period.

New Zealand to introduce civil UAV regulations

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to issue New Zealand’s notice of proposed rulemaking for unmanned air vehicles on December 4. There are no details on what the proposal will contain, but the CAA had input from the UAVNZ industry group and Callaghan Innovation, an entity that promotes economic progress in New Zealand. The CAA says that certification will likely be required for operators of high risk UAVs.

NASA Is Working on Creating Bioengineered Drones Made of Mushrooms and Bacteria

NASA is supporting the Prototyping a Biological UAV project “to grow a mycelium-based chassis for [a] biological drone.” One motivation for this program is to create lightweight sensors that require no electrical energy.

Poachers Caught by ShadowView Drones

ShadowView Foundation drones were used during an anti-poaching operation in the Greater Kruger Area in South Africa.  Rhino poachers were apprehended as a result.

This is believed to be the first time drones were used for this purpose.

ShadowView used information from the drone to direct local rangers on the ground. “One of the rangers reported via radio the poachers were heavily armed and immediately engaged upon sight. During the ensuing firefight, the rangers unfortunately killed one of the poachers.”

Is The Small-UAV Threat To Airliners Overrated?

Regulatory agencies require that commercial aircraft withstand impact by birds. This article wonders if existing regulations for bird strikes can be extended to include small UAVs.

Up in the Air: The free-speech problems raised by regulating drones

Ferguson, Missouri has been the scene of protests and vandalism after a Ferguson Police Department officer fatally shot an 18-year-old man. The FAA granted no-fly zone requests, but there are indications that this was done to keep news helicopters out of the area. This article explores possible First Amendment issues associated with news gathering by drone.

WSJ: GoPro Is Going to Make Its Own Drones

Reportedly, GoPro is going to start making its own multi-rotor helicopters in the $500-1,000 range. Availability is said to be late 2015.

The 19 best drone photos of 2014

Mashable picks 19 awesome images that could only have been created from an aerial perspective.

Video of the Week

Chernobyl by Drone  

Eerie video of the Chernobyl Exclusion Area almost 30 years after the meltdown.

UAV069 NTSB on FAA v. Pirker: Remanded

Stunt Sheep Don’t try this at home: Trappys $10k fine UVA videoThe NTSB issued its Opinion and Order in the FAA v. Raphael Pirker matter, reversing the Administrative Law Judge’s decisional order and remanding the matter for further proceedings.

Guest

Justine HarrisonJustine Harrison is an attorney whose practice includes corporate and aviation law. She’s a multi-engine instrument rated pilot, aircraft owner/operator, and an experimental aircraft builder.

Justine understands aviation issues, has experience in aviation transactions, as well as FAA and NTSB matters. Her aviation clientele includes companies which research, develop, manufacture, service, and test unmanned aircraft. Justine also defends individuals and companies in FAA enforcement actions.

Justine is also fresh from the first ever Unmanned Aircraft Systems Workshop organized by the American Association of Airport Executives. This was a great opportunity to hear concerns from airports, which are both anxious and nervous to get in on the unmanned action.

News

The FAA had assessed Pirker $10,000 based on “alleged careless or reckless operation of an unmanned aircraft.” Pirker’s appeal was heard by an NTSB Administrative Law Judge who terminated the enforcement proceeding and declared that Pirker’s Ritewing Zephyr was a “model aircraft,” not an “aircraft” for purposes of regulation. The FAA then appealed to the Board.

On November 17, 2014, the NTSB issued an Opinion and Order in the matter of the FAA v. Raphael Pirker reversing the Administrative Law Judge’s decisional order and remanding the matter for further proceedings.

In its November 18, 2014 Press Release, the NTSB says, “The National Transportation Safety Board announced today that it has served the FAA and respondent Raphael Pirker with its opinion and order regarding Mr. Pirker’s appeal in case CP-217, regarding the regulation of unmanned aircraft. In the opinion, the Board remanded the case to the administrative law judge to collect evidence and issue a finding concerning whether Pirker’s operation of his unmanned aircraft over the campus of the University of Virginia in 2011 was careless or reckless.”

In its appeal, the FAA argued two main points:

  1. The law judge erred in determining respondent’s Zephyr was not an “aircraft” under 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(6) and 14 C.F.R. § 1.1.

49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(6): “aircraft” means any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.

14 C.F.R. § 1.1: Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

  1. The law judge erred in determining Pirker’s aircraft was not subject to 14 C.F.R. § 91.13(a).

14 C.F.R. § 91.13: Careless or reckless operation.

(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.

On the definition of “aircraft,” the NTSB found that Pirker’s unmanned aircraft system is an “aircraft” for purposes of § 91.13(a). The NTSB relied on the plain English in the statutes, which doesn’t exclude model aircraft, and doesn’t differentiate between manned and unmanned aircraft. 

The NTSB says, “We acknowledge the definitions are as broad as they are clear, but they are clear nonetheless,” and, “In summary, the plain language of the statutory and regulatory definitions is clear: an ‘aircraft’ is any device used for flight in the air.” 

In summary, it doesn’t matter if Pirker’s Ritewing Zephyr is a model aircraft or not, and it doesn’t matter if it’s manned or unmanned, it’s still an aircraft under 14 C.F.R. § 91.13 which prohibits operation “of an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.” 

The NTSB concludes, “We therefore remand to the law judge for a full factual hearing to
determine whether respondent operated the aircraft ‘in a careless or reckless manner so as to
endanger the life or property of another,’ contrary to § 91.13(a).”

Video of the Week

Stunt Sheep Don’t try this at home: Trappys $10k fine UVA video

UAV068 A UAV Entrepreneur

DJI Inspire 1

Opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs looking to develop a commercial UAV business.

This Episode

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry is in its infancy and presents many business opportunities to entrepreneurs. Some opportunities are obvious, like agriculture, real estate, emergency response, and package delivery. Others have not yet been imagined.

In this episode, we look at issues for UAV startups, with someone who is immersed in that process.

Guest

Don Toporowski is an advisor to clients of both the MaRS Discovery District, Canada’s largest centre for innovation and business acceleration, and with startups coming out of the Queen’s Innovation Connector.

Don has focused on the CleanTech sector for most of his career, but he recently shifted his focus to the UAV market. He hopes to find a few entrepreneurs with very good ideas for businesses developing or using UAV technologies, and to help them build winning sales strategies, raise capital, and become successful in their endeavors.

Don describes some UAV startup success stories, and the current roadblocks faced by entrepreneurs: regulatory uncertainty, funding issues, availability of business insurance, and reliability of UAVs.

Contact Don at don.toporowski@gmail.com, +1 416 722-2007, on Skype at dontoporowski, or search for Don Toporowski on LinkedIn.

News

The DJI Inspire One is the coolest drone I’ve ever seen

DJI just released the Inspire 1 quadcopter, intended to offer more professional level features than the Phantom, yet still remain relatively easy to fly.

The Inspire 1 has legs that fold to allow an unobstructed view, a ground-facing camera for stabilization when there is no GPS signal, and a 4K video camera. Price is set at $2,800.

The video of the launch event DJI Inspire launch – November 12, 2014 shows the new quadcopter. [Fast forward to 14:30.]

Videos of the Week

Mexico City International Airport from Above shows the airport from a different perspective.

Drone tour of Tower of London poppies came to us from longtime listener Mark. It shows the armistice poppies around the Tower of London. Nearly 900,000 hand made ceramic poppies represent the fallen British soldiers from World War I. Each poppy has been sold to raise money for service charities.

 

UAV067 ScanEagle 2 Launched

Insitu ScanEagle 2A new ScanEagle from Insitu, an Ohio UAS test site is up and running, students learning about UAVs in a precision agriculture program, ABC creating drone journalism policies, and a drone on an urban rescue mission.

News

Insitu Launches New ScanEagle 2 UAS

The new Insitu ScanEagle 2 features a slightly longer fuselage, the same wingspan, and a new engine from Orbital. Endurance of this fixed-wing system grows to 24 hours from 16.

US Navy seeks information on sense and avoid radar for Triton UAS

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has been unable to develop sense and avoid radar for the Triton. They’ve issued an RFI (Request for Information) and NAVAIR wants a scaleable SAA box that is modular and deployable to other platforms.

The Triton is a naval version of the RQ-4A Global Hawk, with a different wing to handle higher stresses.

WSRI conducts its first test of UAS aircraft

Wright State Research Institute (WSRI) conducted its first UAS research flight at Wilmington Air Park using a senseFly eBee

3D Aerial Solutions piloted the eBee used to conduct modeling and simulation research, to gather terrain data for 3D flight simulation environments. The flight operated under a recently awarded certificate of authorization (COA) from the FAA.

Sinclair sees UAS payoff in future jobs

Sinclair Community College in Ohio sees a coming boom in unmanned aviation opportunities, and they’re investing millions to help train a UAS workforce. They’ve spent over $5 million on curriculum, flight simulators, and more than 50 UAVs. The college will use its field house to serve as the largest indoor unmanned aerial vehicle flying range in Ohio.

Sinclair plans to open a National UAS Training and Certification Center using $5 million of their money and $4 million from State funds. Sinclair has partnered with Ohio State University and additionally, has established partnerships with Wright State University, the University of Dayton, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and other educational institutions.

LRSC students study ag potential of UAS

Lake Region State College’s Precision Agriculture Center in North Dakota wants its graduates to have UAV skills. The program offers both theoretical and practical core courses and hands-on training.

The average North Dakota farmer spends about $1.3 million per year planting and harvesting crops. UAS and satellite mapping can cut those costs 6-16%.

Changes to aviation laws will give media more freedom to use drones for newsgathering

ABC in Australia has a project to develop and regulate their use of drones for journalism.

Proposed changes to Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) rules would allow “low risk” operations, making it easier for the media to use sUAS for newsgathering.

ABC has developed a 3-day training course for camera operators that covers air safety rules, privacy policies, and flight training using Phantom 2 RPAs. ABC policy will prohibit using small drones over bushfires because of the high winds, low visibility, and possible presence of water bombing aircraft.

Drone used to rescue window cleaner dangling from tower block

A window washer in Abu Dhabi had a tense situation when his scaffold failed. The man was clinging to one of the windows ten stories up in the air. Police brought in a drone equipped with video and a speaker, calmed the man down, and instructed him on how to affect a repair and lower himself down.

Simpler rules for small unmanned air vehicles

Transport Canada announced at the Unmanned Systems Canada conference in Montréal, two exemptions that simplify small unmanned air vehicle (UAV) operations and safely integrate UAVs into Canadian airspace.

Under the new exemptions, a Special Flight Operations Certificate will not be required for UAVs under 2 kilograms and certain operations involving UAVs under 25 kilograms. The new approach will apply to commercial operations and contribute to a strong safety regime for those on the ground and in the skies.

Once the changes come into effect later this month, operators must check on Transport Canada’s website to determine if the exemptions apply to them and respect specific safety conditions, including requirements to operate within visual line-of-sight, maximum altitudes and away from built-up areas and aerodromes. In addition, Transport Canada is simplifying the application process and reducing the time it takes to issue Special Flight Operations Certificates for larger UAV operators.

In October, Minister Raitt launched the Government of Canada’s national safety awareness campaign for UAVs, which aims to help Canadians better understand the risks and responsibilities of flying UAVs. For more information, visit www.tc.gc.ca/SafetyFirst.

Video of the Week

BIZZBY SKY – Drones On-Demand

BIZZBY SKY is an on-­demand drone service using a real-time smartphone technology platform. The fully autonomous drone is capable of picking up and delivering small items. Under this concept, drones can be summoned to arrive within minutes to the pickup location.

UAV066 Drones with Brooms

Aerial Power Limited

Drones assist with solar energy production, the satellite industry sees UAS opportunities, a quadcopter approaches a commercial flight, NYPD is developing a plan to counter weaponized drones, and more from the NBAA panel discussion on UAS.

News

These Drones With Little Brooms Keep Solar Panels Clean

Large solar panel farms are increasingly being used to generate electricity. You can capture a lot of solar power in the desert, but the panels need to be cleaned to remove the dust that accumulates. Startup Aerial Power Limited is testing brush-carrying UAVs that gently keep the solar panels clean.

Different Industries Debate the Potential of UAVs and the Need for Satellite

UAVs often depend on satellite-based technology, and the satellite industry sees business opportunity in that. By their nature, satellite data transmissions are global, and that means international standards are needed.

Quadcopter drone ‘deliberately flown at passenger airliner’ over Essex

The UK Airprox Board has released its report on the May 2014 incident where a quadcopter came close to an ATR72 on approach to runway 06 at Southend Airport. The report (No. 2014073) states:

“As the aircraft was about to intercept the ILS Glide-Slope, the pilot saw a remote-controlled quadcopter very close to the right wing-tip. The aircraft captain did not see the quadcopter but the sighting was reported to Southend ATC. The co-pilot formed the impression that the quadcopter had been flown deliberately close to the AT72 because he had seen it around 100m away as it approached from the right-hand side and made a turn to fly in the opposite direction to his aircraft, around 25m away and at the same level.”


The quadcopter operator could not be traced. Beyond that… nothing to be done.

NYPD: Threat Of Terrorists With Drones Is A Growing Concern

New York police have been concerned about the possibility of an attack by drone. While they don’t have any intelligence about a specific threat, they want to be prepared. The NYPD is consulting with the military and they are working on a plan to counter weaponized drones.

NBAA2014 – BUSINESS AVIATION CONVENTION & EXHIBITION

We continue with more from the October 21, 2014 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition panel discussion titled:  Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Regulatory and Legal Developments.

The Panel was moderated by: Marc Warren , Crowell & Moring LLP with panel members: Dean Griffith , FAA; Mario Mairena , AUVSI; Govt Relations; Dave Hamrick, MITRE Corporation; and Ted Wierzbanowiski , ASTM standards for sUAS.

Topics:

  • Do you have to be a licensed pilot to fly sUAS?
  • What standards did the ASTM recommend?
  • Why does the Section 333 exemption require a private pilot’s certificate?

See Episode 65 for more clips from the panel discussion.

Videos of the Week

Drone Loses Contact With Operator, Activates Return To Home, Crashes GoPro4 Into Rock

Every Angle Films was shooting video of a beautiful sunrise at Pinnacle Peak, Utah with a new GoPro4 mounted on a DJI F550 with an H3-3D gimbal. When the F550 lost contact, it initiated a “return to home.” The only problem was that Pinnacle Peak was in the way.

OK Go – I Won’t Let You Down – Official Video

Shot by the OK Go band in Japan with 2,400 people and a drone. CNN (Music video shot with drone goes viral) tells the story.

Mentioned

‘Ambulance drone’ prototype unveiled in Holland

This prototype of a flying defibrillator can reach heart attack victims quickly.

 

UAV065 UAS Regulatory and Legal Developments

NBAA 2014 Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Regulatory and Legal DevelopmentsWe review the Unmanned Aircraft Systems:  Regulatory and Legal Developments panel discussion at the NBAA 2014 conference.

NBAA2014 – BUSINESS AVIATION CONVENTION & EXHIBITION

At the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Florida on October 21, 2014, a panel discussion was held titled, “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Regulatory and Legal Developments.”

The Panel was moderated by Marc Warren of Crowell & Moring LLP. Panel members were: Dean Griffith, FAA; Mario Mairena, AUVSI; Dave Hamrick, MITRE Corporation; and Ted Wierzbanowiski, ASTM standards for sUAS.

In this episode, we bring you selected clips from the first half of the panel discussion.

Topics include:

  • Some early history of FAA and ASTM activity.
  • The process for providing the FAA with sUAS recommendations.
  • The NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) for sUAS that the FAA intends to issue by the end of 2014.
  • RF spectrum allocation
  • The FAA view of sUAS as aircraft and the plan they have.
  • Challenges faced by the FAA to meet the Congressional mandates.
  • Next steps the FAA intends to take.
  • The COAs issued by the FAA.
  • Recreational (hobbyist) vs. commercial use.
  • How UAS technology might flow down to manned aviation, particularly General Aviation.

Other topics discussed by the panel that we’ll cover in the future::

  • If sUAS flyers should have a pilot’s license.
  • Educating UAS pilots.
  • Exemptions under Section 333 as a bridging authority.
  • Social risks with UAS, like privacy.
  • States and local governments enacting anti-UAS laws.
  • Is US competitiveness suffering?
  • What does the future of UAS (of all sizes) look like?
  • Are unmanned commercial passenger or cargo flights in the future?
  • Where did the 55 pound line come from?

Credit

We are grateful to Carl Valeri who attended the Convention and recorded the panel discussion for us. Find Carl at the Aviation Careers podcast and the Stuck Mic AvCast.

 

UAV064 Drones In the Water and Out of the Air

The Flyox I from Singular AircraftAn amphibian RPA, India bans drones, open source code for drones, area terrain mapping, DARPA’s ship-based MALE UAV concept, a new UAV market study, and more on logbooks for drone pilots.

News

The Flyox Amphib UAV enters market

Singular Aircraft has released the Flyox I, an amphibian RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) that can take off and land on water, as well as on unpaved runways and snow.

Flyox I is a high wing aircraft with a 14 meter wingspan, a 2000 kg payload, and is powered by two 340 HP engines. It can automatically take-off and land, and can be programed with preset flight paths.

Envisioned applications include agriculture, firefighting, goods transport, surveillance, and rescue.

India bans civilian drones in the country till it revises existing policies

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has prohibited the use of civilian drones in India. The DGCA says, “Due to lack of regulation, operating procedures/standards, and uncertainty of the technology, UAS poses threat for air collisions and accidents.”

Serbia and Albania game abandoned after drone invasion sparks brawl

Serbia’s European Championship football (soccer) qualifying match with Albania was stopped after a fight between the players broke out. When a DJI Phantom flew over the field carrying a “Greater Albania” flag, a Serbian player pulled it down, and that sparked the brawl.

Industry Coalition Wants Open Source Code for Drones

The Dronecode Project has been established as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project to foster a common, shared open source platform for UAVs. The Project includes the APM/ArduPilot UAV software platform and associated code, currently hosted by 3D Robotics.

Founding members include 3D Robotics, Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, Intel, jDrones, Laser Navigation, Qualcomm Technologies, SkyWard, Squadrone System, Walkera and Yuneec.

More than 1,200 developers are working on Dronecode. Press Release: Linux Foundation and Leading Technology Companies Launch Open Source Dronecode Project

Drone approved to map area terrain

Wright State Research Institute (WSRI) will partner with 3D Aerial Solutions to fly an eBee drone to map terrain at the Wilmington Air Park. The photogrammetry flights will produce a series of two-dimensional photographs that together create a 3D image. The Ohio/Indiana UAS Test Site will then use the data to virtually fly UAVs.

The eBee is a hand-launched flying wing type aircraft with a single pusher engine. It has a 38” wingspan, a 50 minute flight time, and a radio range of just under 2 miles.

Wright State also has asked the FAA for permission to fly a UAV above the National Center for Medical Readiness. A decision is pending.

DARPA advances ship-based MALE UAV concept

DARPA (the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has awarded AeroVironment a $19 million preliminary design contract to demonstrate launch and recovery of a medium-sized UAV from a small vessel.

According to DARPA, the tactically exploited reconnaissance node (TERN, now retitled Tern) program, “envisions using smaller ships as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude long-endurance [MALE] unmanned aircraft. Ideally, Tern would enable on-demand, ship-based unmanned aircraft system operations without extensive, time-consuming and irreversible ship modifications.”

“Subscale flight demonstrations” are expected over the next 12 months.

2014 UAV Market Research Study assesses size, growth of total UAV market

The “2014 UAV Market Research Study” from IGI Consulting estimates that the US market will grow from $5 billion in 2013 to $15 billion in 2020.

The study looks at the total UAV market, ranging from large military UAVs to small amateur UAVs. It considers DOD, Civil, Commercial, sUAS, DIY Amateur, and Radio Control aircraft.

Growth will be driven by the commercial and Do-it-Yourself markets, with major commercial applications being: agriculture, real estate, filmmaking, oil and pipeline, electric utility, and specialized package delivery.

Video of the Week

Hawk 1, Drone 0: Bird of prey attacks quadcopter, takes down from skies

A red-tailed hawk swoops down and takes out a Phantom FC40 quadcopter.

Mentions

Camera Drone Slams Into Turkey’s Blue Mosque, Recovers, Moves On

The UAV Systems Association, “America’s First Commercial Drone Association.” Members include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, software publishers, professional photographers, and enthusiasts.

2014 Strato Reel

More logbook references and software

UAV flight log for Android
RPAS Logger Lite for Android
RPAS Logger Lite description from RPAS Training & Solutions
UAS Flight Log online software
and Where Do We Go From Here? from Southern Helicam