Monthly Archives: May 2014

UAV042 It used to be UFOs, now it’s UAVs

Nighthawk IV UAS

AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014 conference and trade show, a drone narrowly misses a commercial flight, and hack-proof UAS software from DARPA.

Guest: Bob Schmidt, President, UAV Propulsion Tech.

AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2014 conference and trade show was held in Orlando, Florida May 12-15, 2014. Bob attended and he offers his perspectives on the event. Follow Bob on Twitter as @Schmidtproducts.

The News:

Drone just missed turbo-prop over Perth military airspace

A De Havilland Dash 8-300 turbo-prop on approach to Perth Airport encountered a strobe light coming towards them. After taking evasive action, the object passed them about 20 m horizontally and 100 ft vertically. Was it a UAV at 3,800 feet?

Airplane Near-Misses: How Often Do They Happen?

Actually, quite often, according to the FAA.

DARPA unveils hack-proof drone

The Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) has a project to develop hack-proof software for aircraft navigation and control. In the High Assurance Cyber Military Systems project (HACMS), cyber experts were unable to hack into a prototype quadcopter running the software.

Videos of the Week:

David’s pick: Superyacht mast pulled, filmed by a Drone. This is Superyachting. Big boat, big mast, impressive aerial views.

Max’s pick: Basic Quadcopter Tutorial – Chapter 1. This 9-part video tutorial shows how to build a quadcopter from components. Produced by Hoverfly, who develop multi-rotor aerial systems, including a tethered quadcopter.

Listener Feedback:

Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2015 [PDF] Will more money help the FAA develop UAS regulations sooner? From Bill.

How to shoot amazing video from drones. A compilation of videos shot by UAV’s. From Kevin.

Northrop Grumman to collaborate with RMIT University on UAS. Northrop Grumman and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University plan to study airworthiness operating requirements for UAS in Australia, Focusing on larger aircraft.

Micro-Aircraft Declared Safe to Fly in U.S. Skies. Applied Research Associates, Inc. produces the Nighthawk IV UAS, launched by hand or tube with GPS and a built-in autopilot. It weighs 1.6 pounds, has a 60 minute flight time, and a range of over 10km. From Jesse. (Photo above.)

UAV041 Regulating UAS

Flying Fire Breathing Dragon

UAS regulation proposals from CASA in Australia and from a listener in the U.S., a “Ten best drones” list, NASA testing sense and avoid with a Predator, and bright job prospects for those with UAS skills.

The News:

NPRM 1309OS – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
Australia’s ‘low risk’ drone strike stance could bring down airliners
Certified UAS operators in Australia hits 100

The Australian CASA released an NPRM (a Notice of Proposed Rule Making) on May 14 concerning Remotely Piloted Aircraft (or RPA) used for commercial operations. It excludes model aircraft used for recreational purposes, but it does have provisions for a “low risk” class of RPA with a gross weight of no more than 2 kilograms:

10 Best Remote Control Drones for 2014

The editors at Faveable made a list of what they believe to be the ten best consumer drones available today.

NASA Wants To Prove Predator Drones Can Play Nice With Airliners

NASA plans to fly an MQ-9 Predator B and two manned manned aircraft in the same airspace. The idea is to test sense and avoid algorithms under real world conditions.

Graduates with drone skills are going to be in demand soon

If you can design, build, or operate drones, you might have a bright future ahead of you. In a 2013 report, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International says we could see 70,000 new jobs in the U.S. within three years, and 100,000 new jobs by the year 2025.

Video of the Week:

Drone HDR with HDRinstant

Use stacking and morphing technology to create HDR images from your drone videos.

Listener Feedback:

Roy submits two articles for consideration:

Question: What Should the FAA Do About Small UAS? – General Aviation needs to participate in the conversation.

UAVs: Chafing (Rightfully) Against Regulation – The UAV industry and enthusiasts are different than “legacy” aviation. They are historically unrestrained by regulations, and live in a world of fast technology change. The FAA is talking like they are in charge, but they aren’t.

Roy also offers the things he thinks the FAA should be looking at when classifying UAS: weight, speed, and type of control. Type of control defined as:

    • Line of sight and the pilot has to watch it.
    • Point of view and the pilot flies it by watching a video feed from the drone.
    • Completely autonomous, so no pilot is required.

UAV040 A Multicopter First Flight

Black Knight Transformer

David flys a multicopter, an Iranian RQ-170 clone, Embry-Riddle creates an unmanned masters program, Italy looks to build a UAV school, a US Airways flight encounters a UAV, Northrop Grumman and Yamaha team up, and Parrot has a new FPV drone.

David’s First Flight

Parker Gyokeres from Propellerheads Aerial Photography gives David the opportunity to fly a hexacopter, an AGL Hobbies UAP2-V2 with a Sony NEX camera on a 6-axis gyroscopic gimbal and a Naza-M.V2 controller. The video.

The News:

Iranian Version of RQ-170 Drone Unveiled

The Iranian IRGC Aerospace Force claims to have reverse engineered the captured RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone.

Embry-Riddle Worldwide to Launch Master’s Degree in Unmanned Systems

In August 2014, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University plans to offer a Master of Science in Unmanned & Autonomous Systems Engineering.

Italy May Build UAV School

The Italian Air Force in thinking about opening a UAV school that would be available to other air forces. Italy already provides manned aircraft training to foreign pilots at it’s Lecce facility.

Possible UAV incursion and near missAirliner-Drone Near Miss Spurring FAA to Clamp Down on UAVsAUVSI: Uncertainties surround reported UAV and airliner airprox

The pilot of a US Airways CRJ-200 reported “a near midair collision” March 22, 2014 at 2,300 feet with a drone near the airport in Tallahassee, Florida. The pilot reported that the small unmanned aircraft involved looked similar to an F-4 Phantom jet. This comes from Jim Williams, head of the FAA’s unmanned-aircraft office.

Northrop Grumman, Yamaha Announce ‘R-Bat’ UAV

The Rotary Bat (or R-Bat) is based on Yamaha’s RMax agricultural helicopter, and will be part of Northrop Grumman’s Bat line of small unmanned aircraft systems. The R-bat is intended for search and rescue, power line inspection, and forest fire observation missions.

Parrot’s New Drone Lets You Simulate Flying, Feet on the Ground

The new Parrot Bebop quadcopter is essentially a flying high quality fisheye camera. FPV is provided by your smartphone or tablet. An option is the Skycontroller. This twin-joystick controller extends the Wi-FI range up to 2 kilometers. Normally, the range is 300 meters. The drones can also sync to Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. AvWeb video from the AUVSI show in Orlando: Parrot’s DIY Bebop Camera Drone.

Video of the Week:

Incredible First Flight of the AT Black Knight Transformer from Mick

The Black Knight Transformer is an autonomous “flying truck” that is both a helicopter and an automobile. Missions include autonomous casualty evacuation and cargo resupply. This is video of the prototype driving and flying tests.


UAV039 Alaska UAS Test Site Stands Up

Aeryon Scout

The Alaska UAS test site stands up, the X-37B space drone reaches 500 days in orbit, the National Park Service says no drones but archaeologists say yes, a drone delivery gone wrong, and armed drones for everyone.

The News:

Fairbanks flight opens unmanned aircraft test site

The FAA issued a two-year Certificate of Authorization (COA) to the Alaska UAS Test Site. They’re using the Aeryon Scout for data collection in demanding weather conditions.

Mysterious robotic plane hits 500 days in space; what’s it doing? and Air Force space drone’s secret mission hits one-year milestone

An X-37B Orbital Space Vehicle built by Boeing has been in low Earth orbit for 500 days. It’s similar in appearance to the Space Shuttle, but smaller. The U.S. Air Force is using the unmanned vehicle to look at reusable space-vehicle technologies, but mission specifics is a matter of speculation.

Drones Ordered Out of Yosemite by the National Park Service and Yosemite Looks To Ban Drones By Relying On An Absurd Legal Argument

The U.S. National Park Service issued a notification that “the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) are prohibited within park boundaries” at Yosemite under all circumstances.

Scientists: Drones prove useful in unearthing archeological mysteries

Thermal imaging drones can locate archaeological dig sites, leaving more time for the actual dig.

‘Goosebuster’ drone keeps geese from pooping on Ottawa beach

Canada Geese are prolific poopers. They make a mess and its unhealthy. Petrie Island in Ottawa has been suffering from this but they have a solution: the Goosebuster hexacopter.

From police work to inspecting farms, drones can be big business in Canada

Applications include commercials and aerial videos for real estate companies. Since 2010, the RCMP have been using UAVs help with traffic accident reconstruction, and also for search and rescue efforts. Stewart Baillie, chairman of Unmanned Systems Canada, says “It really is a disruptive technology. It’s changing the game.”

New York man receives pieces of government drone that UPS delivered by mistake

A college student ordered a lifting bench, but the box also contained componets for an Aerovirorment Puma owned by NOAA.

Every Country in the world in 10 years will have armed drones

Countries across the globe are developing armed drones, for their own use and sometimes to sell to others.

Video of the Week:

Flite Test – FPV in the Woods (SEFF) – Let’s Fly! from Luke in Melbourne, Australia.


What is this mysterious aircraft filmed ‘blitzing Taliban base in Afghanistan’? Footage shows ‘UFO’ blasting terrorists’ encampment. But it’s a fake: Calm Down People, Here’s Proof The Video Of A ‘UFO’ Attacking A Taliban Base Is 100-Percent Fake

Watch Drones Deliver Coke to Workers Building Singapore Skyscrapers




UAV038 Lockheed Martin Builds sUAS

Lockheed Martin Indago

Lockheed Martin gets into sUAS, Texas EquuSearch files suit, drones for weather forecasting and wildlife protection, a fixed wing VTOL drone, an Optionally Manned UH-60, a North Carolina UAS law, drone journalism goes indoors, and an unmanned R&D forecast.

The News:

Lockheed Martin Marks Significant Milestone in Research & Development for Unmanned Technologies

Lockheed Martin is advancing their push into the sUAS segment with their Indago VTOL Quad Rotor for mobile surveillance. The quad and accompanying handheld ground control station (GCS) and new Commercial Avionics Suite are intended for both Commercial and Military applications.

The 32 inch diameter Indago is man-packable, unfolds, and can be deployed in minutes, with up to a 45 minute flight time. LOS range is 5km, payload 180g. It folds into a 12x9x6 package.

Texas Nonprofit sues FAA

Texas EquuSearch has gone ahead and filed a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C. federal appeals court. The suit claims there is no basis in law to prohibit the operation of model aircraft for humanitarian search and rescue activities.

Drones could revolutionize weather forecasts, but must overcome safety concerns

The promise is that drones could be deployed to collect meteorological data for weather prediction models.

German mini drones rescue Bambis from hay shredders

Every year in Germany, about 100,000 animals are killed by combine harvesters cutting hay. Small aerial drones are being deployed in a wildlife rescue project to keep fawn hiding in tall grass from being shredded.

Five drones are being used in a pilot program where digital and infrared sensors find the young deer, radio beacons are attached to the animals, and farmers can subsequently detect the deer.

Arcturus UAV

Arcturus gets the Jump on vertical takeoff and landing for fixed wing UAVs

For some missions a rotary wing UAV is best, and for others a fixed wing UAV provides superior results. But what do you do when you need the best features of each? Arcturus UAV has a solution: Add-on electric rotors that bring VTOL capability to a fixed wing UAV.

Sikorsky demonstrates optionally piloted Black Hawk

The first flight of an Optionally-Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) was conducted at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida facility.

The OPBH demonstrated autonomous hover and flight operations under the control of a man-portable ground control station (GCS).

North Carolina Legislative committee approves proposed law to regulate “drones”

The proposed legislation [PDF] contains privacy regulations, a drone operator knowledge and skills test developed by the state Aviation Division, and licenses for commercial operation of drones.

University of Missouri brings drones class indoors after feds complain

Last summer the FAA told the University of Missouri School of Journalism to stop flying drones outdoors. What did they do? They fly them indoors, of course.

Europe, Asia plan to spend big on drone development

Consulting firm Forecast International has a report out that predicts that by 2022, less than half the worldwide total spend on drone research will be by the U.S.

Videos of the Week:

Flying Robot Rockstars: KMel Robotics presents a team of flying robots that play musical instruments.

Meet Your Creator – Quadrotor Show: A troupe of 16 quadrotors dance to and manipulate sound and light at the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase 2012.