Monthly Archives: November 2017

UAV219 Drone Registration: It’s Baaack!

Authority for drone registration would return to the FAA if the National Defense Authorization Act is signed into law. Airbus subsidiary A³ is building full-scale demonstrators of an electric single-seat tilt-rotor VTOL aircraft for a fleet of autonomous self-piloted taxis, LAANC is starting at four airports, AT&T deploys their Cell on Wings, and AOPA holds their first Drone Talk webinar.

UAV News

Congress Poised to Restore Drone Registration Tossed by Court

H.R. 2810: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 contains a measure that would give the FAA authority to bring back drone registration. A committee resolved differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, and the House approved the committee report. The Senate is expected to vote, and if passed the bill would go to the President for signature.

The legislative language is on page 829 of the National Defense Authorization Act conference report [PDF]:

(d) RESTORATION OF RULES FOR REGISTRATION AND MARKING OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.—The rules adopted by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration in the matter of registration and marking requirements for small unmanned aircraft (FAA-2015-7396; published on December 16, 2015) that were vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Taylor v. Huerta (No. 15-1495; decided on May 19, 2017) shall be restored to effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

Track the progress of the bill at GovTrack.us.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) are in favor of drone registration. The AMA FAQ answers some questions about the resumption of drone registration.

Airbus will test its Vahana electric ‘flying car’ by the end of 2017

Airbus is building two full-scale demonstrators of an electric, single-seat tilt-rotor VTOL aircraft. Their goal is first flight by the end of 2017 at their flight test center in Pendleton, Oregon. Airbus’ A³ subsidiary envisions a fleet of autonomous multi-rotor aircraft acting as self-piloted taxis, with a production-ready version by 2020.

Concept video: Vahana: Airbus entwickelt selbstfliegendes Lufttaxi

FAA Rolls Out Automated Authorizations for Drone Flights

Part 107 commercial drone operators can obtain automated authorization to fly in controlled airspace. This is under the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program and applies to four U.S. airports: Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG) Airport, Lincoln Airport (LNK) in Nebraska, Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) in Nevada, and California’s San Jose International Airport (SJC). AirMap and Skyward will provide the service via smartphone and as many as 49 more airports will be added by 2018.

AT&T deploys first cell site on wings

AT&T is using a COW (cell on wings) in Puerto Rico where connectivity is still out in many areas after Hurricane Maria. They say this is the first time an LTE cell site on a drone has been successfully deployed to connect residents after a disaster. The drone is tethered 200 feet above the ground with the tether providing power and data transmission. The COW can stay airborne for several hours.

AT&T’s First Official Deployment of Cell On Wings In Puerto Rico

First AOPA Drone Talk webinar available

AOPA Director of Regulatory Affairs Justin Barkowski, Senior Director of UAS Programs Kat Swain, and Legal Services Plan attorneys Jared Allen and Chad Mayer offer expert advice for navigating current federal regulations, along with a growing number of state and local rules and regulations that drone pilots should be aware of (or risk fines and penalties) in AOPA’s first Drone Talk webinar, recorded Nov. 10, 2017.

Watch the webinar: AOPA Drone Talk Series: Drones and the Legal Landscape

See also the AOPA YouTube channel: AOPA | Your Freedom to Fly

Hogan Lovells UAS Regulatory and Policy Developments webinar

Lisa Ellman and Matt Clark from Hogan Lovells were joined by CNN Senior Counsel Emily Avant to talk about Part 107 waivers, the CNN waiver for flights over people, the UAS Integration Pilot Program, LAANC, and a few notable aspects of drone activity in 2017.

UAV218 UAS Integration Pilot Program Details Emerge

Additional details of the FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program have emerged, with webinars held on that topic by the FAA and others. Also, Boeing’s acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences is complete, NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is expanding its research scope to include Urban Air Mobility, and drone strikes on manned aircraft.

UAV News

UAS Integration Pilot Program Webinar

UAS Integration Pilot Program

The FAA conducted several one-hour UAS Integration Pilot Program webinar sessions. The Program seeks to achieve BVLOS and other complex operations (flight at night, over people, and operational coordination with manned aircraft), promote innovation, develop regulations that reduce the need for operations by exception. address security concerns, and balance national and local interests.

The 17-minute UAS Integration Pilot Program Webinar video provided an overview of the program, the application process, acceptance criteria, and deadlines.

We recorded the live Q&A session from the November 3, 2017, webinar, which runs about 40 minutes:

To learn more, about the UAS Integration Pilot Program, see these FAA webpages:

UAS Webinar: Regulatory and Policy Developments

Hogan Lovells Unmanned Aircraft Systems is offering a free webinar Thursday, November 16, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Eastern to discuss key UAS regulatory and policy developments and provide insight on the Part 107 waiver process. Emily Avant, Senior Counsel for CNN, will be participating to discuss CNN’s new waiver for operations over people, what it means for the broader commercial UAS industry, and tips for making your waiver application a success.

Other webinar topics will include:

  • Status update on Part 107 waivers granted to date
  • The inside scoop on CNN’s precedent-setting waiver for operations over people
  • Developing a safety case for a Part 107 waiver application
  • The Trump Administration’s new UAS Integration Pilot Program
  • Rollout of the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system
  • Upcoming FAA rulemakings and next steps moving forward

Register for the Hogan Lovells webinar here.

Also, Drones and the Legal Landscape from the AOPA Drone Talk Series will be held November 10, 2017, 8 PM Eastern.

Boeing completes acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences

Boeing announced the completion of its acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences. Aurora will operate under Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology as a subsidiary called Aurora Flight Sciences, A Boeing Company. It retains its independent operating model. Boeing first announced the agreement with Aurora on Oct. 5, 2017, pending U.S. government approval.

NASA Embraces Urban Air Mobility (UAM), Calls for Market Study

NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) is expanding its research scope to include Urban Air Mobility or UAM.

UAM is defined in this article as “a safe and efficient system for air passenger and cargo transportation within an urban area, inclusive of small package delivery and other urban Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) services, which supports a mix of onboard/ground-piloted and increasingly autonomous operations.”

NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics Jaiwon Shin says, “We plan to conduct the research and development, and test the concepts and technologies that establish feasibility and help set the requirements. Those requirements then serve to make using autonomous vehicles, electric propulsion, and high density airspace operations in the urban environment safe, efficient and economically viable.”

ARMD awarded contracts to Booz Allen Hamilton and to Crown Consulting to conduct market studies on the policy, economic, social, environmental, and legal barriers to enabling UAM; and also to estimate how much potential demand there is for UAM.

Here’s How Drones Do (and Don’t) Threaten Passenger Aircraft

Recently, a civilian drone struck a U.S. Army UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter and a drone hit a Beechcraft King Air. Studies have been conducted by the Crashworthiness for Aerospace Structures and Hybrids (CRASH) Lab, the U.K.’s Department for Transport and Military Aviation Authority, and George Mason University, but there is little data on the damage small drones can cause in a collision.

 

UAV217 CNN Newsgathering Drone

CNN gets a waiver for a newsgathering drone, DJI offers an electronic license plate for drones and will quiz pilots before first flight, more on the Drone Integration Pilot Program, and drone regulations in India.

The Snap newsgathering drone. Courtesy Vantage Robotics.

The Snap newsgathering drone. Courtesy Vantage Robotics.

UAV News

CNN gets a first-of-its-kind waiver to fly drones over crowds

CNN received a Part 107 waiver from the FAA to fly the Vantage Robotics Snap over people as a newsgathering drone at altitudes of up to 150 feet AGL. The FAA accepted CNN’s “Reasonableness Approach” that considered the potential results of a crashed drone, the safe operating history of CNN, CNN’s safety procedures, and the features of the drone itself.

The 500-gram Snap shoots 4K video, streams 720p video, has a micro-gimbal, and has electronic image stabilization. The drone is frangible with enclosed rotors made of deformable material.

CNN and Vantage worked on the program for over two years.  CNN was represented by Lisa Ellman and Matt Clark of Hogan Lovells in the waiver application process.

DJI Requires Knowledge Quiz for First-Time Drone Pilots

Before first flight, DJI pilots will be presented with nine questions by the GO 4 flight app. Nine correct answers are required but they cycle so if you get some wrong, you keep trying until you get nine right. This knowledge quiz was developed in collaboration with the FAA and will initially launch in the US. Other countries will come later.

DJI Demonstrates AeroScope: Drone License Plate Technology

An AeroScope receiver can monitor transmissions between the drone and the controller. That includes data such as location, altitude, speed, direction, takeoff location, operator location, and an identifier such as a registration or serial number. Used around sensitive areas to identify rogue drones, AeroScope been called an “electronic license plate for drones.”

FAA Drone Integration Pilot Program (2017)

Rupprecht Law provides a good summary of the Drone Integration Pilot Program we talked about in episode 216. Rupprecht offers some pros and cons of the Program as well as some questions that remain unanswered.This is intended to be a living document from Rupprecht as program aspects become clear.

White House Unveils New Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program

Ten things you should know about the new UAS Integration Pilot Program.

UAS Integration Pilot Program

The FAA published a webpage with these sections: Learn About the Program, How to Apply, and Help & Resources. In addition, a UAS Integration Pilot Program Webinar will be held to “…provide you with an overview of the UAS Integration Pilot Program, the application process, and specific criteria and deadlines that are required in order to be accepted into the program.”

Draft regulations on drone usage announced: 5 categories, prior permissions required

Civil aviation ministry to make flying drones in India legal; framework to be finalised by 31 December

The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced draft regulations for India. A one-month comment period will precede the finalized rules. Five drones categories are established based on maximum take-off weight: nano (up to 250 gm), micro (251 gm to 2 kg), mini (2 kg to 25 kg), small (25 kg to 150 kg), and large (over 150 kg).

No registration is required for nano drones. Micro drones and up require registration with a Unique Identification Number. Mini drones and up require training and an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit. A different approval is required for each operation of the drone. Certain no-fly zones are established.

UAV Video of the Week

Introducing Vantage Robotics’ Snap. The first safe portable flying camera.