Monthly Archives: August 2013

UAV 003 Hurricanes, Fires, and Drones! Oh My!

Latitude Engineering Hybrid Quadcopter

A quadcopter that is also a plane, chasing storms (and other things) with disposable UAV’s, using UAV’s in place of satellites, and a tiny town that wants to pay you to shoot down drones.

The News:

Whaddaya get when you cross a quadcopter with a plane? The HQ UAV

For take-offs, landings and hovering, the Latitude Engineering HQ utilizes four horizontally-mounted propellers – just like a regular quadcopter. These are each driven by an individual electric motor, all four of which receive their power from two 5-cell 11,000 milliamp-hour lithium-polymer battery packs.

Cheap, Disposable Drones Are the New Storm Chasers

Some environments are simply hazardous for flying: wildfires and volcanic eruptions are examples. These are perfect opportunities for drones to provide the kind of observation you’d like to avoid with a manned aircraft.

The DataHawk from the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles at the University of Colorado Boulder is to be used to measure Arctic Ocean ice melt. This will actually be flown to a spot on the ocean, then float like a buoy and drop sensors into the water to make measurements.

The University of Queensland in Australia designed a $50 plane made from biodegradable paper. The electronics are printed directly onto the body of the plane, which has small voice-coil actuators for steering.

The Samara prototype, also from the University of Queensland, falls slowly and transmits data by radio, and works like a Maple seed.

Solar-powered Solara UAV could stay aloft for years

The Titan Aerospace has designed the Solara UAV to stay aloft for 5 years at 65,000 feet as an “atmospheric satellite.” These have solar cell covered wings over 160 feet across.

Colo. ordinance would OK shooting down drones and FAA Warns Colorado Town Against Drone Hunting

Deer Trail, Colorado, population 559, want you to shoot down drones and the License is only $25.00. Shoot down a drone and you’ would earn a $100 bounty. Not all residents agree, and citizens get to vote on the proposal in October. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the U.S. airspace and has issued a statement warning people that shooting drones could result in fines and prosecutions.


UAV 002 Sense and Avoid

NASA's Langley Research Center Cirrus SR-22

Guest Jamie Dodson is Foreign Intelligence Officer, and Senior Technology Protection Engineer for the US Army Aviation & Missile Command. He has over 30 years of experience in Intelligence Operations for the US Military, having served with Special Operations, Army Aviation, Airborne Infantry, and Military Police. He is also author of the award winning Nick Grant Adventures series. Find him on Facebook.

The News:

‘Sense and Avoid’ Technology Evaluated in Weeklong Flight Tests

Unmanned aircraft have to know how to avoid other aircraft, but especially other unmanned aircraft. To test Sense and Avoid software developed by the MITRE Corp., the University of North Dakota and Draper Labs, NASA’s Langley Research Center has conducted flight demonstrations with a Cirrus SR-22 and a Cessna 206 through the Limited Deployment-Cooperative Airspace Project (LD-CAP). The system uses ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) as the sensor.

T-20 UAV  Reaches high Altitude Mark

The Arcturus T-20 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has been flown to an altitude of 23,500′ MSL. The primary mission of the T-20 is intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance: aerial mapping, drug interdiction, border patrol, force protection, search and rescue, as well as military ISR.  The T-20 is also being studied for use in fighting wild fires.

4.)  Drones to protect Baltimore and DC and Don’t Be Alarmed by the Drone Blimps Hovering Over D.C. They’re Here to Stop Cruise Missiles

Two Raytheon JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor)  helium-filled aerostats are planned to provide Washington, DC with protection against threats such as cruise missiles, high-speed attack boats, armed drones, planes, tanks, and trucks. Guest Jamie Dodson played a role in the JLENS program.

The Killing Machines by Mark Bowden a national correspondent for The Atlantic.

This well done article is balanced and presents the history and current issues associated with military drone strikes. Highly recommended regardless of your position on this issue.

Recorded 22 August 2013

UAV 001 The D Word

Northrup Sandshark

The word “drone” has a negative connotation to some. What does it mean and can perception be changed?

This week’s event:

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems 2013 Conference
Aug 12 – 15, 2013 in Washington, DC

AUVSI is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. They have 7,500 members from government organizations, industry and academia. AUVSI members support defense, civil and commercial sectors.

The News:

DON’T SAY ‘DRONES,’ Beg Drone Makers

To the public, “drone” has a bad connotation: military, death, etc. Can the industry change the word and change perception?

Florida Keys turns to UAVs to take on mosquitos

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is set to begin testing August 26 a Condor Aerial Maveric fixed wing UAV. They’ll use infrared cameras to identify pools of water that can host mosquito larvae. Then the water would be treated with larvicide on the ground. The Maveric was originally developed for law enforcement.

Northrop Offers Rental Drones To Air Force, Customs Training

Northrop Grumman has a new idea for the Air Force and U.S. Customs and Border Protection: rather than train remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) pilots on MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers or in expensive simulators, give them basic flying time on a small SandShark drone. They’d pay by the hour.

This would save $70M per year. Operators can control them over any 4G cellphone network or the Internet.

UAVs in the U.S. Coast Guard

Drug smugglers have something new to worry about: the ScanEagle UAS. In demonstration trials, the Coast Guard interdicted a half ton of cocaine. They want to roll out the ScanEagle across its national security cutter fleet, starting in fiscal 2017.

AUVSI: Insitu looks to widen civilian ScanEagle applications

Boeing subsidiary Insitu continues to make commercial headway with the ScanEagle. In addition to the Coast Guard application, an undisclosed oil company plans to perform ice flow monitoring and wildlife observation flights off the Alaska coast.

ScanEagle air vehicles have logged more than 730,000 operational flight hours, through more than 88,000 sorties.


UAV 000 Getting to Know You


In this first episode, we introduce ourselves, define some unmanned aerial vehicle terminology, and briefly comment on the recent FAA action to grant type certification to the Insitu ScanEagle and the AeroVironment Puma.

FAA Certification for ScanEagle

AeroVironment’s Puma AE Small Unmanned Aircraft System Receives Federal Aviation Administration Type Certificate for Commercial Use