Monthly Archives: September 2017

UAV210 A Global Drone Registry

ICAO proposes a global drone registry, a multi-rotor endurance record, a major change at Drone360 magazine, tracking drones with cellular networks, drone support following Hurricane Irma, and more swarming technology.

The Skyfront Tailwind hybrid-electric drone.

The Skyfront Tailwind hybrid-electric drone. Courtesy Skyfront.

UAV News

U.N. aviation agency to call for global drone registry

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposed a global database of drone owners. The database would remotely identify and track drones and their operators. More details will be provided at ICAO’s DRONE ENABLE Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry Symposium September 22-23, 2017 in Montréal, Canada. The Event Guide and Directory [PDF] lists a session where “The ICAO registration system which is under development will be explained including its purpose, intended functionality and interaction with national registration systems.”

Skyfront Boasts Multi-Rotor UAV Flight of More Than 4.5 Hours

Drone builder Skyfront says they have set a new endurance world record for a multi-rotor UAV. Their Tailwind quadcopter flew for 4 hours and 34 minutes. The hybrid-electric drone offers a 3 kg payload and is intended for inspection, surveying, mapping, and agriculture. An internal gasoline engine spins a generator which produces an unregulated direct-current voltage. The power electronics system regulates the voltage and a small battery is available to provide boost and back up power. Watch the time-lapse video: World Record Multirotor Endurance Flight – 4 hours 34 minutes – Skyfront Tailwind.

An Important Message about Drone360

The September-October 2017 issue of Drone360 magazine will be their last publication. Instead, Drone360 returns to Discover magazine, where it started as a blog. The drone360mag.com URL will still be valid.

From cell phones to drones, 5G connectivity is changing the game

Lia Reich, VP of communications and marketing at PrecisionHawk and a member of the Drone360 editorial advisory board, discusses manned and unmanned aircraft integration issues. That includes the idea of using cellular networks for UAS Traffic Management (UTM).

FAA Works with Florida Drone Operators to Speed Hurricane Recovery

As of September 15, 2017, the FAA had issued 137 airspace authorizations for drones in Florida in response to Hurricane Irma. The Air National Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Airbus Aerial, the Jacksonville Electric Authority, Florida Power and Light, and others participated in response efforts.

New swarming drone technology could help find lost hikers, study wildlife

University of Colorado, Boulder researchers have developed technology that allows a single operator to control multiple drones. CU Boulder is operating under a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA that allows one pilot to fly up to 30 aircraft at a time. The project is an international collaboration with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

UAV209 Drones for Disaster Relief

Using drones for disaster relief, a new marketplace for used drones, a drone park for a Florida county, unmanned aircraft replacing manned helicopters, bright career prospects for drone pilots, and fighting pollution with gas-sniffing drones.

UAV News

Amateur Drones Over Houston Endangering Rescue Choppers, Officials Say

The Texas Military Department representing the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard tweeted: “#ALERT: We are seeing civilian drones that pose EXTREME risks to our rescue pilots and crews in high need areas.”

Amid Warnings, Drones Respond to Hurricane Harvey Aftermath

FAA: “The FAA warns drone operators that flying an unauthorized drone could interfere with local, state and federal rescue and recovery missions. You could be subject to significant fines if you interfere with emergency response operations”

And, “Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if a TFR is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.”

Drones and their pilots get a closer look at havoc caused by Harvey

droneUp matches drone pilots with appropriate agencies for disaster relief.

Drones for disaster relief

People streamed into Texas with drones, trying to help. But how do we safely and effectively integrate drones with disaster relief efforts?

droneUp pulls qualified drone pilots together and coordinates with local authorities. droneUp says they are “about flying. It’s about building a community of enthusiasts who share a passion. droneUp was designed by pilots, for pilots to support our diverse needs and interests. We can scale to provide mission support for hundreds of thousands of pilots responding, reporting and communicating in real time. droneUp facilitates safety, fellowship, emergency assistance, and commerce for a network of pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles using a mobile application connected to cloud servers. You’re joining the central resource and community for drone pilots worldwide.”

To use droneUp, qualified pilots register for an account on a mobile app. When law enforcement or first responders need drone assistance, a mission is created and local pilots are alerted. Pilots acknowledge alerts on their app and take action.

Is DRONEFAX the New Craigslist for UAS?

New start-up DRONEFAX offers a marketplace for buying and selling used drones, as well as inspection and repair services by an FAA-licensed aviation maintenance technician. Discounts on drone insurance are available for drones purchased through the marketplace.

Drone park takes flight

Citrus County has the first designated drone park in Florida. Drone enthusiast and County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith responded to Lecanto High School student Catherine Schlabach’s request for help get a drone club up and running at the school. The Citrus Drone Racing Club now has 52 members and a place to fly.

Drones edging out helicopter film pilots, videographers

Some videographers are losing their jobs because major motion picture producers are using drones instead of helicopters. Drones are safer and significantly less expensive than helicopters.

UMaine Augusta’s new drone course training aces for a growing industry

Last year, the University of Maine at Augusta began offering Maine’s first university-level UAV course. The seven-week drone course prepares students for the FAA test for remote pilot operators. UMA says graduates are immediately in demand and can earn six figures working for large corporations.

Drones Are Helping a Massive Chinese Factory Town Fight Pollution

With more than 900,000 factories registered in the Chinese city of Dongguan, it is impossible for officials to inspect them all for safety and environmental compliance. Now drones with gas detecting sensors are assisting in the fight against pollution.

Videos of the Week

Drone Funny Footage Fail

My favorite drone fails compilation!

Feedback

Listener Steve captures the flight of an RC airplane with his DJI Mavic:

RC Flying with Richard

A week later the two aircraft met up again but with different results:

RC Flying with Richard – Part 2

 

UAV208 The Bladeless Drone

A bladeless drone wins a design award, women to watch in UAS, drone support for Hurricane Harvey, DJI issues a mandatory firmware update, Customs and Border Protection nabs a drug runner, video gamers as drone pilots, and talking drones from Amazon.

The Edgar Herrera designed bladeless drone concept.

The Edgar Herrera designed bladeless drone concept.

UAV News

The Dyson of Drones

Mexican designer Edgar Herrera has created a concept for a bladeless drone that is a winner in the 2017 Red Dot Design Concept Award. In this design concept, three bladeless air ducts control direction and can rotate 20 degrees. A fourth central duct provides lift. Is it a viable design? Maybe yes, maybe no.

2017 Women to Watch in UAS

Drone360 magazine and Women and Drones announced the 2017 Women to Watch in UAS List. Nine women were chosen “for their work disrupting, innovating, and shaping the future of the UAS industry.”  The women are:

  • Holly Kasun, COO/CMO and Cofounder of Flybrix based in San Francisco, CA.
  • Mary Wohnrade, Civil engineer, Part 107 operator, and President/Owner of Wohnrade Civil Engineers, based in Broomfield, CO.
  • Karen Joyce, Scientist and Senior Lecturer at James Cook University, Cofounder of She Flies, based in Queensland, Australia.
  • Lexie Janson, FPV drone racer, software developer, drone certification teacher based in Gdynia, Poland.
  • Natalie Cheung, General Manager of Drone Light Shows in the UAV Group at Intel based in Santa Clara, CA.
  • Catherine Ball, Cofounder of World of Drones Congress, Cofounder and Chief Engagement Officer at She Flies, Founder and Publisher of Gumption Trigger, based in Queensland, Australia.
  • Helena Samsioe, Founder and CEO of GLOBHE based in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Gretchen West, Senior Advisor at Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, Co-Executive Director at the Commercial Drone Alliance, and Cofounder of Women of Commercial Drones, based in Menlo Park, CA.
  • Leah LaSalla, Technical Founder and CEO at Astral AR based in Austin, TX.

FAA Supports Drone Assessments for Houston Response and Recovery

As of August 31, 2017, the FAA had issued 43 unmanned aircraft system authorizations to drone operators supporting the response and recovery for Hurricane Harvey or covering it as part of the media.

DJI will ground Spark drones on September 1st unless owners install an update

DJI is pushing out a firmware update to fix the problem with some Spark drones falling out of the sky.This is a mandatory firmware update. Your Spark won’t fly without the update. DJI says the problem is related to the battery management system and power supply.

See the DJI press release: DJI Spark Firmware Update Enhances Flight Safety

Border Patrol Spots Meth-Carrying UAV in San Diego

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection has arrested a 25-year-old man for using a consumer drone to transport several pounds of methamphetamine across the Mexican border.

Would Video Gamers Make Better Unmanned Aircraft Pilots Than Actual Pilots?

Psychologists at the University of Liverpool in the UK conducted a study. “Findings support the idea that VGPs (video game players) could be considered a resource in UAS operation.” The report is published in the journal Cogent Psychology: Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operators’ accuracy and confidence of decisions: Professional pilots or video game players?

Look for Military Drones to Begin Replacing Police Helicopters by 2025

Defense contractors see a market opportunity for large military-style drones to be used instead of police helicopters. General Atomics is investing in a new version of the Reaper.

Alexa-enabled Amazon drones could talk with customers when delivering packages

An Amazon patent envisions drones that interact with people – live audio and video. This could be used to warn someone standing too close to the landing zone or to have a conversation with customer support.

UAV Video of the Week

RDDC2016: Bladeless Drone

Photos of the Week

Solar Eclipse, Cerulean, KY by Max Flight

Solar Eclipse, Cerulean, KY by Max Flight

Reaper by David Vanderhoof

Reaper by David Vanderhoof